One of history’s most famous generals and conquerors.
A man who was defeated by the Russian winter and by piles.
And bunny rabbits.
You don’t believe Cheapo, do you? Huh, you should have known by now that Cheapo, despite being a waste of oxygen, is not a liar.
It was July 1807.
Napoleon asked his Chief of Staff Alexandre Berthier to arrange a hunt to celebrate the Treaty of Tilsi. But Berthier had grander plans than chasing a few bunnies around the countryside. He had plans for a massacre.
Berthier arranged an outdoor luncheon, invited some of the military’s biggest brass, and started collecting rabbits for the big hunt. Most accounts of the event say that he collected between several hundred and 3000 rabbits. Berthier’s men caged them all along the fringes of a grassy field. When Napoleon started to prowl—accompanied by beaters and gun-bearers—the rabbits were released from their cages.
The hunt was on.
But instead of hopping away, the bunnies charged at the hunters like a pack of fierce honey badgers. The hunters became the hunted.
At first Napoleon and his men thought it was quite funny, and laughed. But their humor soon gave way to bewilderment and concern as the rabbits continued to storm the little emperor.
Before long, the horde of had completely swamped Napoleon’s legs and even started to climb his jacket. The emperor and his men tried in vain to repel the onslaught. They tried beating them with crops, sticks and even muskets, but the rabbits continued to attack. Napoleon even tried shooting them, but he and his men were severely outnumbered. Knowing it was a battle he could not win, Napoleon hastened his retreat to the safety of his carriage..
According to historian David Chandler, “with a finer understanding of Napoleonic strategy than most of his generals, the rabbit horde divided into two wings and poured around the flanks of the party and headed for the imperial coach.”
The flood of bunnies continued to attack his with the same fervour as the revolutionaries that stormed the Bastille or as the Bayern Munich attackers upon seeing the Arsenal defence.
Napoleon was besieged and surrounded.
What do the French do when there is trouble afoot?
They surrender or run away.
The Emperor ordered a full-scale retreat from the field of battle. Once he began to leave the bunnies ceased their attack.
Upon conducting the post mortem of this disaster, they realized that the rabbits were bought from local farmers. Rabbits that were tame. Unlike wild rabbits that would run away, these farm rabbits had no reason to fear people, and saw Napoleon and his men as a food source. They saw him as a waiter bringing out the day’s food. To them, the emperor was effectively a giant head of lettuce.
It is said that a few years later the Duke of Wellington employed the same tactics as the rabbits in the Battle of Waterloo.
We all know, how that turned out.
So there you have it, had it not been for the bunny rabbits, we would probably all be parlez vouing and eating snails now.