Here is a short article on a risk of warfare that I for one have never given thought to..
How To Switch Sides In The Middle Of A Battle
Switching sides in a war is a process fraught with danger. Running
toward an enemy position with your hands up can be thought of as
treasonous by one side, so they try to kill you, and treacherous by
the other, so they try to kill you.
However things rarely go as disastrously wrong as they did for the poor Libyans fighting for Agathocles The Tyrant of Syracuse Sicily in 310 BCE when they were besieging Carthage in North Africa. Several thousand of their number decided to desert and offer their services to the Carthaginians
No one knows why they decided to leave but Agathocles the Tyrant was
not well regarded as you’d expect from a man with that name, he was
later described as being a man of “barbarous cruelty and inhumanity
with infinite wickednesses.” I doubt he was a man to treat the hired help well.
These few thousand men, quietly left their camp one moonless night and
went as quickly as silence allowed toward the city walls of Carthage.
There was one small flaw in their plan. No one told the Carthaginians
they were coming.
An alert sentry saw this mass of soldiers advancing toward their city
gates and raised the alarm. In no time, the defender’s spears rained
down upon the Libyans, killing many and forcing the rest to run back
to their former camp.
At this point, the Syracusians hearing the commotion and seeing a mass
of soldiers charging their position, thought that they were coming under attack, so spears started to fly from that direction too.
It is not recorded how many Libyans survived being trapped between the two frightened armies but if any did, it is doubtful any would have
survived once Agothocles discovered the truth of the matter.
(c) 2018 Paul Hannah