An army unit was once invited by the police force to give a demonstration to a group of police officers to show exactly how an ambush was carried out. They were to show an attack on “enemy” soldiers from a hidden position.
A suitable site was chosen on a lonely road in a remote area where not many road users would be affected. The soldiers put up notices starting from about a kilometre on either end of the road to divert traffic to another road. This diversion was necessary because the soldiers did not want ordinary vehicles to be mixed up with their ambush.
When the diversion notices were in place, a three-tonne army truck was driven and parked across the road so that it blocked the route completely. The troops then prepared to take up their positions on either side of the road. They were supposed to wait for a special lorry which was going to come along the road and be caught in the demonstrator ambush. The soldiers were armed with blank ammunition and thunder-flashes which could make plenty of noise but would not cause any harm. The spectator were then led to a point from which they could watch the ambush and yet remain out of sight.
Just as the last details had been arranged, a perfectly innocent and harmless vegetable lorry appeared round the bend. It-had come from a neighbouring farm within the diversion notices and the driver did not know about the demonstration. Unfortunately, the soldiers did not know this. As soon as they saw the lorry, they opened up a tremendous burst of fire and threw imitation hand-grenades at the lorry.
The driver saw that the road ahead was blocked. He yelled, “We’re trapped! The attendant on the back of the lorry did not need to be told. The two extremely frightened men hurled themselves from the moving lorry, landed in the undergrowth and fled for their lives. The vehicle carried on driverless and crashed into the stationary army truck with disastrous results.
The spectator thought that this was the most convincing and interesting demonstration they had ever watched.
Later on, the owner of the lorry was paid for the damage and the two men were compensated. The soldiers were transferred to another unit which would not involve them in giving demonstrations.