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How did beehives once become part of a military manoeuver?

Question #55248. Asked by peasypod.
Last updated Sep 24 2016.

Answer has 3 votes
Currently Best Answer
20 year member
772 replies

Answer has 3 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
These are not really manoeuvres but do sound quite effective.

The Romans learned to use bees in the wars they waged. They were less deceptive in this than the Heptakometes, however, and instead of employing the subterfuge of poisoned honey they simply sent beehives catapulting into the ranks or fortifications of their enemies. The unleashed fury of the bees, enraged when their hives were smashed, is credited with being the decisive stroke of more than one battle.
In the eleventh century, Emperor Henry I's troops, commanded by General Immo, defended their fortifications by launching a barrage of beehives at the siege forces of Duke Geiselbert of Lorraine and sent them scurrying.
King Richard is recorded as having used hives of bees as catapult-launched bombs against the Saracens during the Third Crusade in the twelfth century.
In 1289 in Gussing, Hungary, an Austrian invasion lead by Duke Albert was repulsed with a fusillade of hot water, fire and bees thrown from the battlements of the city.
In 1513 under the reign of Emmanuel the Fortunate, King of Portugal, a General Baruiga was turned from Tauris in Xantiane by the Moors-- who threw hives down on his troops from the citadel's walls.
In the 18th century battle of Alba Graexa, the Turks, who had succeeded in breaching a wall of the city, found to their dismay that the inhabitants had piled beehives there as a barricade and were thus prevented from entering the city.
Bees have even been used in naval battle: in the Mediterranean Sea the crew of a small corsair vessel, only about fifty men, boarded and captured a much larger galley manned by 500 soldiers-- after the pirates cast beehives from the masts of their ship down onto the crew of the galley, who had intended to apprehend them.
From War and Bees: Military Applications of Apiculture.
link (dead link replaced)

Response last updated by satguru on Sep 24 2016.
Feb 17 2005, 6:32 AM
Answer has 1 vote
19 year member
3273 replies

Answer has 1 vote.
Nice One SM, one Golden Banana for you.

Yep, although there were many instances, the one I had in mind (which you did point out) was in 1191, during the third Crusade, when Richard the Lion-Hearted captured the city of Acre. The inhabitants were barricaded inside, so King Richard had his soldiers throw 100 beehives over the walls. The people in the fortress surrendered immediately.

Feb 17 2005, 6:46 AM
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