Food as ammo

After taking my children to see “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs” in IMAX 3-D (they liked it, by the way), I have a question too. Was food ever employed as ammo? I know that Mongols catapulted plague-infested cadavers to forced Italian colonials out of their castles, but it would be cannibal food.

Vlad–OK, I give up. What does the War Ration book have to do with your question, which, BTW, I have no idea about.


I see the connection. I have a complete set of War Ration Books along with stamps and tokens. If anyone is interested I could post a photo. They aren’t antiques, BTW. I remember going to the grocery store for my mom and actually using them.

Anyway, I suppose food was used as a weapon just like sex, nylons, cigarettes, candy - anything in short supply and valuable. Maybe not shot out of a rifle or cannon, but probably more lethal.

How about potato guns??


Ray–I collect stamps as well as cartridges and have about 25 different Ration books for various commodities such as Butter, Gasoline, etc., but saw no connection (still don’t) to shooting food out of cannons.

The word “siege” comes to mind

Private Bill Speakman, 1st Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers won the VC during the Korean War his actions on the day included… “Private Speakman began throwing bottles at the enemy after running out of grenades.”

A more full account: On 4 November 1951 in Korea, when the section holding the left shoulder of the company’s position had been seriously depleted by casualties and was being over-run by the enemy, Private Speakman, on his own initiative, collected six men and a pile of grenades and led a series of charges. He broke up several enemy attacks, causing heavy casualties and in spite of being wounded in the leg continued to lead charge after charge. He kept the enemy at bay long enough to enable his company to withdraw safely.Press reports of the time reported that Private Speakman began throwing bottles at the enemy after running out of grenades.

I know it is a strange question but so is the movie in which food falls from the sky and kills people. I wanted to see if anyone comes up with an answer which is stranger than the question itself. War stamps, the only connection is food itself. I thought someone might get a kick out of seeing 1942 ration stamps. Think of it, if it were not for vodka, schnapps and grappa, we all would be still sitting in WWI trenches.

The only use of food as ammunition I have come across was in an episode of the acclaimed British TV comedy series “Dad’s Army”, an account of the antics of the fictional Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard during WW2. The hapless platoon was faring badly in a series of initiative tests, until finally they had to use a Smith Gun to repel a mock-attack by regular soldiers. They achieved this by filling the gun’s barrel with onions and firing them at the opposition and sending them running away in tears, much to the fury of the local greengrocer who owned the onions.

The Smith Gun was a curious weapon with a 3 inch smooth-bore barrel (Wikipedia will provide a quick description) which, being of doubtful usefulness, was relegated for use by the Home Guard. Does anyone have any information on the ammunition it was supposed to fire?


Food as ammo?

It seems to me that a WWII era home front poster of WWII stated: “Food is ammo, don’t wast it!” Or, maybe this statement was in a pack of war ration stamps?

There is the strange sport of “pumpkin chunkin” in which large home made air cannon and catapults compete to see which team can fire a pumpin the farthest.

The Mythbusters tested a meat bullet on one of their shows… it did not do very well, sort of like the ice bullet they tested, also a flop. They tested both raw, cooked, and frozen meat, all with poor results. Native tribes people in different parts of the world have used bone pieces for arrow heads, which come from animals which might otherwise be food which had already been eaten. The only tangible use of food as a weapon to kill, might be food left as a trap which is poisoned and meant to kill the enemy - The CCC in Vietnam comes to mind in that regard possibly? - I know they did booby-trapped munitions. Also at the end of the movie “Red Dawn” with Patrick Swayze, the Russians left poisoned food for the rebel kids to find and eat.

Movie “Cast a Giant Shadow” (about Israeli War of Independence, 1948) a Piper Cub Pilot (Frank Sinatra) drops full Soda Siphons on advancing Egyptian troops ( they whistle like Stuka Bombs, and explode when they hit the gound, sending Glass fragments everywhere…) Film starred Kirk Douglas, as a Jewish US Army officer who after WW II, becomes part of the Israeli Hagana and leads the relief of Jerusalem in May-June 1948. Killed by mistake by one of his own men after the ceasefire. Based on the true-life story.

AV Ballistics Film Ordnance Services

Empty ration tins were used to make improvised grenades by British troops in WW1.
Same use (almost) to make carbide bombs for fishing using screw top bottles. I wont tell you how to do it because it breaches forum rules. anyway its dangerous and silly because it litters the the bottom of the lake with broken glass.

They both are examples of food containers rather than food but I can give you a few genuine examples.

  1. cherry stones were widely used in place of lead bullets to shoot squirrels in the old muzzle loading .36 calibre squirrel guns. Lead cost money and money was tight. I don’t know if the stone counts as food though.

  2. rice in shotguns was used by the British to disperse crowds in the days before tear gas and rubber bullets. Usually in places like India

  3. The British aviation industry used to use a big air powered “catapult” to fire dead chickens at aircraft windshields to simulate bird strikes. I believe it was at a place called Cranfield where they did such things. Frozen ones wouldn’t work too well IMO .

  4. spud guns

  5. the old schoolboy standby, the pea shooter.

Oh its good to be back on the forum, it hasn’t lost any of its erudicity.

Its said that the Gernans dropped poisioned bars of chocholate over Southern England but I’ve never seen it in writing. Probably one of those stories but my uncle swears its true.

I’ve seen a video of a dead bird shot into a jet engine as a test. It totally destroyed the engine.

Reverse food rationing. During manuvers at Fort Ord in the summer of 1941 the chow truck was captured. The soldiers manning a machine gun nest set up down the road from our ranch were fed by my family for 3 days. They were carrying Gas Trap M-1s. For the food the kids got to fire the 1917 watercooled BMG mounted on a bicycle cart.


In the movie “1941” the crew of the M-3 Lee tank kept a three foot long salami in the breech of the 75mm gun…

We once had a “food fight” on mess duty using frozen brussel sprouts as ammunition…

How about the old 12 gage shell loaded with rock-salt…?

Interesting, if not a little odd thread!


Rock salt? I totally forgot about it. Was there any commercial shotshell loading done with rock salt? How would it look? How about pepper? Was powdered pepper ever used for crowd control?

Here’s a picture of some experimental Canadian 12 ga riot loads (box dated 12May68). The polyethylene pellet load excluded as food, the balance are Halibut Oil, Table Tapioca and Rock Salt.


ps. It’s great to have the forum back up and running. Thank you!

don’t any one get excited…those rounds have a home !!!