Carabao is a beast of burden on Philippine farms. It was one of the livestock used to figure out the correct caliber of bullets to kill Filipinos in the Philippine-American war. See Colt .45. Killing a carabao was just as bad as burning rice. See Burning Rice.

Military Order of the Carabao is not a joke. For one thing, it is on Wikipedia and, two, it has its own web page, In 1900, at the Army-Navy Club in Manila, the Military Order of the Carabao was founded by noble drunks, I mean warriors, lampooning that snobby bunch, the Order of the Dragon, snooty officers who survived the Boxer Rebellion. However, “as with most jests, it contained a serious ingredient which gradually eclipsed the initial joke.” The Military Order of the Carabao still exists. It “came to epitomize the camaraderie that grows among members of the armed forces who face the dangers and privations of extensive military service far from home.” You can even apply for membership now. You could be Veteran Carabao, for those who served in the Philippines between May 1, 1898, and July 4, 1913, or between December 6, 1941, and July 4, 1946. Or you could be Expedicionario Carabao, for “those who served overseas in support of an officially recognized military campaign, s...

The Krag-Jorgenson rifle was made famous by a jaunty tune sung among members of the Military Order of the Carabao during their annual Wallow, or convention, when they wore bowties and dinner suits—and presumably took along their Krags. “Civilize ‘em with a Krag!” was their anthem, an earworm with lovely, echoing lyrics:


In the days of dopey dreams—happy peaceful Philippines!

When the bolomen were busy all night long!

When ladrones would steal and lie, and Americanos die

Then you heard the soldiers sing this evening song!

Damn damn damn the insurrectos!

Cross-eyed kakiac ladrones!

Underneath the starry flag, civilize them with a Krag!

And return us to our own beloved homes!

The Colt .45 on the other hand was the bomb. Here is a description of the death of a Filipino in Muddy Glory: America’s Indian Wars in the Philippines:


“…he was finally felled by a .45 slug through both ears…he had thirty-two Krag balls through him and was only stopped by a Colt .45—the thirty-third bullet.”


Huzzah! Thus, the U.S. Army replaced the useless Colt .38s and shipped new Colt .45s to the Philippines in 1902. Further experiments on ‘both cadaver and livestock’ to determine the best bullet were undertaken in 1903: “It is desired that the board convene at the Springfield Armory…to draw up…a program of experiments and tests which it shall desire to make.” Well, how now the carabao! Turns out the minimum caliber acceptable on cadaver and lifestock was, of course, the .45. (Great thanks for the exacting, clinical research by John Potocki in his book The Colt M1905 Automatic Pistol! :) 

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