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Thread: History's Greatest Military Defeats

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canmoore View Post
    War of 1812. A country of 10million, failed to defeat a country/colony of 100 thousand.
    Not quite. The US Census of 1790 gave the population as about 4 million. I expect it grew substantially in the next 20 years, as well.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

  2. #32
    Senior Contributor Canmoore's Avatar
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    Well whatever the population (heard it was 10mill) it should have been a lopsided victory

    ...thank god for those flawed strategies, and logistics

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canmoore View Post
    Well whatever the population (heard it was 10mill) it should have been a lopsided victory

    ...thank god for those flawed strategies, and logistics
    Oh, I see. You're talking about Canada. I thought you were talking about US vs Britain. Don't see how it should have been a lopsided victory, though. You guys had the British Empire backing you up.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

  4. #34
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    The Brits finally turned the tide of war but it was our alliance with the First Nations that saved Canada. An Indian charge more than once broke American ranks.

  5. #35
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    None of you people have figured out what the American target was that a British warship fired at 170 years after the War of 1812?

    Shame on you. Particularly you Submarine buffs.
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship View Post
    Battle of New Orleans in January of 1815. Though technically the war had ended the month before by the Treaty of Ghent, if the British took the city (Jackson DID lose his right flank on the west side of the Mississippi) they wouldn't want to give it up and demand renegotiations.

    Instead, it took 170 years before a British warship dared to fire at an American target.
    I agree that Battle New Orleans is worthy of note and the fact the war was over was just salt in the wound for the British.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    The Brits finally turned the tide of war but it was our alliance with the First Nations that saved Canada. An Indian charge more than once broke American ranks.
    I agree
    As I have been lead to belive the US was the aggressor in the War of 1812 the objective was Canada. The US failed to achieve its goal and all of Washington but 8th and I was put to the torch. On that note I question the perception that the US won the war. I am more inclined to call it a draw.

  8. #38
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    The only real winner was Canada, not the British Empire, but Canada. The Canadians came together and it was the French-Canadian regiments who 1st repulsed the Americans. For the 1st time, Canadians have stated that this was their home and the Americans ain't welcome.

    Still, the 1st time the Americans fielded a professional force was at the Battle of Queenston Heights. Their ranks did not break at the 1st sign of an onslaught and that was a tough fight.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship View Post
    None of you people have figured out what the American target was that a British warship fired at 170 years after the War of 1812?
    Shame on you. Particularly you Submarine buffs.
    I assume you're talking about the former USS Phoenix. Given that we were recieving a hell of a lot of US support at the time, however, it's a bit of a dead end arguament.
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  10. #40
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    Globaltracker,

    I have not read any of the primary sources on Alexander's campaigns in India, although Arrian's chronicle is on my reading list. Therefore, I may be the wrong person to take issue with your posts on Alexander.

    That being said, I disagree with several of your source's assertions concerning Alexander. For those readers that did not follow the link for the first article, its author is K.R. Malkani. The passage on Alexander is part something called the 'The Sindh Story'. I venture that if Malkani is Sindhi himself, he may be biased towards his own ethnicity. This could have affected his judgements on Alexander, which are in the minority because of their unconditional condemnation of his Indian fortunes and praise of King Porus.

    However, in the event that Mr. Malkani is an objective historian, he has still made some errors.

    It is true that Alexander lost many men going west in the overland transect of Baluchistan, which started in 325 BC. Alexander apparently retained only 25,000 soldiers of the 85,000 that began the trip [1]. Malkani had this to say:

    Obviously Alexander's Indian trip was about as ``successful'' as Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
    Malkani is mistaken here. Napoleon's affairs in Russia were so devastating not only because he lost so many soldiers, but also because he had many powerful unconquered enemies that took advantage of his weakness. The same cannot be said for Alexander. After he reached Babylon, no serious assaults were made upon Alexander's realms. In fact, the successor states such as the Seleucid Empire remained strong for at least a century to come. So, the loss of Alexander's soldiers in Baluchistan was not of the same strategic importance as Napoleon's misadventures in Russia. For Napoleon, Russia was his doom. Baluchistan did not have comparable importance for Alexander.

    I also think that Malkani has some errors with basic history that cast doubt on his entire article. He states:
    He, however, consoled himself with the thought that Queen Semiramis of Assyria, who had invaded Sindh, had been able to get back with only 20 men --- and Cyrus of Iran, with only seven.
    The Assyrian Empire never got close to India. In fact, it never extended far into the Iranian Plateau. The 'Queen Semiramis' of which Malkani speaks is a mythical Assyrian Queen that has never been conclusively identified with a real historical ruler [2]. Additionally, I can find no evidence that Cyrus the Great emerged from some Indian campaign with only seven men, which is just ridiculous. I could go on, but I think it is clear from these glaring inaccuracies that Malkani is a second-rate historian.

    Moving on, you second source, Professor Dinesh Agrawal, is mistaken about history as well. He states that Alexander was defeated by Porus at the Battle of the Hydaspes River, which is also known as the Battle of the Jhelum, depending on which title you use for the river near which the battle was fought. Agrawal states:
    The depictions by Curtius, Justin, Diodorus, Arrian and Plutarch are quite consistent and reliable in concluding that Alexander was defeated by Porus and had to make a treaty with him to save his and his soldiers` lives.
    This couldn't be further from the truth. Plutarch writes:

    But Alexander, apprehending the multitude of the enemy, and to avoid the shock of their elephants, dividing his forces, attacked their left wing himself, and commanded Coenus to fall upon the right, which was performed with good success. For by this means both wings being broken, the enemies fell back in their retreat upon the centre, and crowded in upon their elephants. There rallying, they fought a hand-to-hand battle, and it was the eighth hour of the day before they were entirely defeated. This description the conqueror himself has left us in his own letters. [3]
    I think I need not dredge up equivalent sources that confirm Alexander's victory at the Hydaspes.

    My friend, your sources are in error. Therefore, your assertions about Alexander have little weight.
    ---------------
    Notes:
    1. Foreman, Laura Alexander:The Epic Story of the Warrior King. Cambridge:Da Capo Press, 2004. p 189 ISBN 0-306-81293-2

    2. Wikipedia: Semiramis Accessed on 6 January 2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiramis

    3. Plutarch. Life of Alexander Taken from section 60, "The Battle Against Porus". http://www.siu.edu/~dfll/classics/Ci.../alexander.pdf
    Last edited by Bulgaroctonus; 07 Jan 07, at 04:30.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    Nicopolis
    Hattin
    Adowa (Ethiopia was still run by Ethiopians)
    Manzikert
    Myriokephalon (mentally)

    Bach Dang battles
    Dong Da (defeat of the Qing)
    Troung, I am glad you mentioned the battles of Manzikert and Myriokephalon, especially the latter. In my opinion, Myriokephalon has received little attention even though it was critical in depriving the Byzantines of Asia Minor and undoing much of the hard work of the Comneni Emperors.

    I may write more on these battles in the next days, but I'll leave you with what A.A. Vasiliev wrote of Myriokephalon:
    In such circumstances, the peace on the eastern border could not last long. On the strength of some local causes as well as perhaps because of the instigation of Frederick [Barbarossa], hostilities broke out. Manuel himself rode at the head of his troops. The aim of the campaign was the capture of the capital of the sultanate, Iconium (Konia). In 1176 the Byzantine troops became entangled in the mountainous gorge of Phrygia, where the stronghold of Myriocephalon was situated not far from the border. There the Turks suddenly assaulted them on several sides and, on September 17th, 1176, inflicted upon them a complete defeat. The Emperor barely saved his life and escaped capture. The Byzantine historian, Nicetas Choniates, wrote: "The spectacle was really worthy of tears, or, it is better to say, the disaster was so great that it could not be sufficiently bemourned: pits were filled to the top with corpses; in ravines there were heaps of slain; in bushes, mountains of dead....No one passed by without tears or moan; but all sobbed and called their lost friends and relatives by name."

    The Battle of Manzikert in 1071 had already been a deathblow to Byzantine domination in Asia Minor. But the contemporaries had not understood this, and still hoped to recover, and get rid of the Seljuq danger. The two first crusades had not decreased that danger. The battle of Myriocephalon in 1176 definitely destroyed Byzantium's last hope of expelling the Turks from Asia Minor. After that the Byzantine Empire could not possibly carry on any efficient offensive policy in the East. She could barelt protect the eastern border and repulse the Seljuq hordes which were continually penetrating her territory. "The battle of Myriocephalon," declared Kruger, "decided forever the destiny of the whole East". [1]
    I also agree in with your choices of Nicopolis and Hattin.

    I know comparatively little about Vietnamese history or Chinese history, so I have little to say about Bach Dang or Dong Da. I am also unfamiliar with the battle of Adowa, though it was apparently a worthy selection for this thread.

    ---------------
    Notes:

    1. Vasiliev, A.A. A History of the Byzantine Empire. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1952. p 428-29 ISBN 0-299-80926-9

  12. #42
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    The title of this thread is actually a misnomer, since one man's tragic and decisive defeat is another man's decisive victory. Therefore, we are really trying to list the decisive battles in history.

    The battle of Nineveh on 12 December, 627 AD is often overlooked. In that battle, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (r. 610-641 AD) personally defeated the field army of the Persian Sassanid Empire. Heraclius himself killed the Sassanid general Rhahzadh and broke the power of the Persians. This was a decisive defeat for the Persians because their empire degenerated into anarchy and weakness. They were easily overthrown by the emerging Muslims in the next decades.

    If Nineveh had gone the other way, and Heraclius's army was smashed in the East, the Byzantine Empire may have disintegrated and Christianity would have lost its greatest bastion in the East. One can imagine the macrohistorical consequences of this.

    I consider the Roman-Persian war that ended with Nineveh to be of great historical importance. If the Byzantine and Persian Empires had no exhausted each other in that long war, they would have easily crushed the Muslim armies that started attacking various parts of the Near East after Muhammad's death in 632. Imagine, no Islam...

  13. #43
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    Bulgar,
    Welcome back. Long time, no post!
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  14. #44
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    British Defeat at Dardanelles War (or Gallipoli Battle)

    Greco-British Defeat at Asia Minor War (Turkish Independence War)

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canmoore View Post
    War of 1812. A country of 10million, failed to defeat a country/colony of 100 thousand.
    how abt the war by the Japanese? they march their way east & southeast asia, defeating many forces.

    1 side of my view - They had killed so many people & damage their family & lfies

    other side of my view - for 1 nation to stand against so many nations (initial stages) @ such a fast pace is remarkable

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