Day 129: Facts! Ridiculous Names of Military Operations

After discovering ‘Operation Flowers Are Blooming’ the other day, I couldn’t wait to dive into the wonderful world of naming military operations. So after another trusty Wikipedia search (I love Wiki, they have a list for everything – even this) and some Googling, I’ve found a slew of suberbly named military operations. Enjoy.

These beauties seem to fall into a couple of broad categories:

#1 – Supreme Overconfidence

– Operation Genghis Khan – Nobody will be unduly alarmed by that comparison, Pakistan. I don’t know that bombing Indian airbases and starting a war is quite the same as conquering half the known world with a stampeding horde, but good on them for aiming high.

– Operation Wrath of God – Don’t undersell it guys. Turns out His wrath was wrought through Mossad systematically hunting down the perpetrators of the Munich attack on the Israeli Olympic team.

– Operation Success – I’m glad you’re not calling it too early or anything. This was a successful (luckily for them) coup in Guatemala carried out by the CIA. And by the way, don’t even get me started on this piece of historical shitassery. I’m beginning to suspect that destructive U.S. meddling in the Americas is going to be a whole other post unto itself. But I digress.

– Operation Sure Victory – The Sri Lankans also humbly refrain from getting ahead of themselves vs the Tamil Tigers in 1997.This one gets all the bonus points because they were, in fact, not victorious at all. They got bogged down into a stalemate for two years before withdrawing having failed in their primary objective of clearing a land route to the Jaffna peninsula. Being cocky came back to bite you there guys.

#2 – Why Does Your Military Mission Sound So Pansy Ass?

– Operation Morris Dance – I swear I’m not making this up. This was Australian which just makes me so proud of my country. Apparently when there is a coup d’etat in Fiji – we dance!

– Operation Rainbow – Sounds awfully cute for an Israeli incursion into Gaza.

– Operation Earnest Will – Some nice good vibrations from the U.S. during the Iraq-Iran war. Actually their entire involvement in this conflict provided us with some great op names, such as Eager Glacier, Nimble Archer, and Praying Mantis.

– Operation Carnation, Operation Daisy, etc. – Why are they always named after flowers? I don’t understand the connection.

– Operation Azalea – Another flower. Between this and Operation Amaryllis, we’re one step away from the French implementing Operation Cup O’ Ace Cup O’ Goose Cup O’ Cris.

#3 – Now THIS Is A Badass Sounding Mission!

– Operations Dragon Blanc, Dragon Noire, Dragon Rouge and Dragon Verte – Operations carried out either by the Belgians in the Congo, or by Daenerys Targaryen.

– Operation Gothic Serpent – Isn’t that the coolest ever? I have no idea why this particular Somalian rebel leader that was being targeted was Gothic, or a Serpent, but whatever. Badass.

– Operation Hooligan Bashing – Those crazy Danes! The hooligans in question were Bosnian Serbs. The bashing in question was done with tanks.

#4 – I See What You Did There…

– Phibriglex – This is here not so much for the name itself, but because it was a training exercise whereupon the U.S. invaded a hypothetical Caribbean country and overthrew it’s hypothetical communist leader, who was given the incredibly mysterious codename of ‘Ortsac’ (read it backwards). In a complete coincidence, this happened a few months before the Cuban Missile Crisis.

– Operation Beau Diddley – Puntastic. A U.S. Swiftboat mission in Vietnam. Those were great value, name-wise.

– Operation Midas – Aimed at money laundering.

– Operation Last Call – Aimed at drunks in bars in Texas.

– Essential Harvest – A NATO mission for disarming Albanians in Macedonia in 2001. Not to be etymologically outdone, the Canadians called their contribution to this mission Operation Forage. I see you there, Canada!

#5 – It’s Funny Coz It’s True

– Operation Pig Bristle – Yes, this involved actual pig bristles. Apparently they’re needed to make paint brushes, and we got them from China, so this was an Australian op (of course) to smuggle the artistically vital pig bristles out of the country during the post-WW2 civil war.

…pig bristles.

– Operation Provide Comfort – Nawww! An international effort to, quite literally, provide comfort and aid to Kurds in Northern Iraq in the early 1990s. I feel like American relations with the region peaked with the naming of this operation.

– Operation Forcing Georgia To Peace – The Russians like to just spell it out for you. This was during the recent Georgian incursion into South Ossetia.

#6 – What In The Actual Fuck?!

– Operation Acid Gambit – The name of the American rescue of Kurt Muse, imprisoned in Panama in 1989. I have no idea why.

– Operation Espresso – This is what the South Africans inexplicably called their part in the much more soberly-named UN Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea, or UNMEE (although if you say it out loud it sounds like “you and me”). Once again, not wanting to be outshone in the naming department, the Canadians on the mission hit back with their brilliantly matter-of-fact Operation Addition. Whoever has been in charge of naming Canadian military operations, I owe you a milkshake sir.

– Operation Cranberry – Australian ops to combat smuggling and illegal fishing in our waters. I have no explanation.

– Operation Block Party – Pretty sure this did not involve an actual party.

– Operation Pocket Money – Carried out by kids after school? I don’t know.

– Operation Wallpaper – …huh?

– Operation Wedding in the Mountains – Seriously, I’m not screwing with you. This exists. It was carried out by the Armenians against the Azeris during a post-Soviet territory dispute. I just have no words for something that good.

I don’t think I can top that one so we’ll stop here. This journey through etymological absurdity was everything I hoped it would be and more. Military operations are my new favourite thing ever. If you come across any more ridiculous sounding ones, please bring them to me. I will love you for it.

Stay tuned for my next instalment in this series, Military Operations That Sound Like Porn Films.

3 thoughts on “Day 129: Facts! Ridiculous Names of Military Operations

  1. It’s always the same – military operations are dubbed with suitably silly epithets that give no clue to the enemy as to what they might be about, but then the PR brigade get going and have to create heroic names that inspire the public. I believe it was a German invention from WWI, and for some reason they always prefixed war plans with ‘Case’ rather than ‘Plan’. (‘Fall Lassen Sie uns Schlag Die englische Schwer’), but Winston Churchill had quite a bit to do with setting out the rules for the British Army, such as not giving operations really stupid names like ‘Bunnyhug’. Seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s just fascinating. The names are anything from fiercely inspirational to ridiculously goofy to super literal to totally incomprehensible. I’d like to meet the guy who’s job it is to name missions. He must have so much fun.
      That’s cool information. I suppose it was about that time when mass media and home front morale really started to influence wars, and if the names of missions got into the press those in charge would want them to be macho and patriotic rather than embarrassing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly! I put the transition broadly in the 15-20 years after the end of WW2, the last really globally encompassing war. After a while – generationally, I think – naming campaigns became a PR exercise, certainly in the US. Curiously, but apparently coincidentally, this period was also when the British came up with an exceptionally silly ‘Rainbow’ list of abstract colours, plus a word, from which the military were required to name things. This led to such stupidities as the ‘Blue Duck’ missile, the ‘Orange Poodle’ early warning radar (mercifully abandoned) and the ‘Green Cheese’ atomic anti-shipping missile. (Luckily it was too heavy for the aircraft designed to carry it, I can imagine the armourers otherwise all falling about laughing as they tried to bolt it to the plane..) Utterly hilarious, except it was true.

        Liked by 1 person

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