Featured Badass Series: #3 The Mystery Ship

It’s the month of October, the Halloween season, and mischief is in the air. It's only fitting to showcase a badass story of costumes, cosplay, tricks, and maybe even a treat or seventy one... 

On the sea during World War 1, German submarines liked to target civilian ships. They would move in right next to them and kill all those onboard with their guns to preserve their heavy artillery. This was pissing off the British military, especially Winston Churchill, and he decided to do something about it. In a letter, he instructed his Commander-In-Chief to create an elaborate masquerade.

The Q Ship was born-- “Mystery Ships” disguised as civilian vessels, secretly packed with big ass weapons that could destroy U-boats. Trap doors allowed soldiers to move around without being seen and keep guns concealed. 

The soldiers couldn’t just hide or sit around waiting for the Germans to float over. That would look suspicious! They needed to go all out and dress the part! Male soldiers dressed in civilian clothes and even took the role of women onboard. They cuddled each other and walked around like innocent, inconspicuous people.

Once this deceptive live-bait hit the water, the German submarines bit. The U-boat was in sight and the show began!

The “ladies,” “sailors,” and other “civilians” on deck ran around screaming, bumped into one another, fought each other, and struggled with lifeboats. The scene was one of pure chaos and panic!


Convinced that the ship was an easy target, the U-boat would come closer and closer like a moth to a flame.

When the submarine was close enough to knock, the treat in-store for them wasn’t candy, and the trick was revealed.

A lever was pulled and hidden weaponry popped out. Soldiers threw off screens and fake cargo boxes and got ready to kick ass. The cruise ship or merchant vessel suddenly transformed into a submarine’s worst nightmare, a warship equipped with instant death-- 12 pound guns capable of ripping through a U-boat like a tin can.  

This worked at least 71 times before the Germans caught on and stopped approaching random vessels.

Since they never lived to tell the tale, they continued to be fooled for nearly a full year!

Now that is one badass trick!


If you loved this story, check out our other featured badass blogs!

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