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Thread: History's Greatest Military Defeats

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by soutie View Post
    for me it was the zulu war Battle of Ishlandwana where 1500 armed british soldiers where wiped out to the man by zulu,s who,s main weapon was the assegai,a bit dope and a certain mushroon that they mixed then snuffed it to give them that edge as it where,i stand corrected but i think that Britain is the only nation in the world to suffer a military defeat in this magnitude to a force that had no rifles,or very few to speak off.

    Just shows that underestimating the oppostion, and compounding that error by dividing your own numerically inferior troops, is the very worst option to take.
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  2. #62
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlpErTunga View Post
    British Defeat at Dardanelles War (or Gallipoli Battle)

    Greco-British Defeat at Asia Minor War (Turkish Independence War)
    Dude, you have GOT to be the most chauvanistic poster on this Board.

    Hey, let me lend you a little clue: the world does not revolve around Turkey; Turkey is a bit player in world history and on the contemporary world stage. I don't mean to denigrate your country, but HOW do you conclude that a pair of battles that NObody else would list as decisive were somehow 'great' defeats?

    Because one was an indecisive result against a massive Great Power, and the other one was a triumph of such little notoriety that even a history geek like me has never even heard of it.

    But Turkey can be said to have 'won' both of 'em, so to YOU...they make the cut as 'great'.

    PERSPECTIVE, chief. MAN, what do they teach in Turkish skools?

  3. #63
    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdf27 View Post
    Because of the unique nature of what the Ancient Greeks bequeathed us. Not particularly great monuments, but a political system and a system of thought that relied critically on that political system. My opinion is that this would have been destroyed had the Persians conquered Greece, as IMHO they would probably have done had the Greeks lost at Salamis. That would have earth-shattering effects on the world we currently live in.
    ... but you must remember that the Greek World back then during the invasion of Xerxes was divided on the issue of submission and resistance. Many of them acknowledge Xerxes as their emperor and paid tribute, while Athen and Sparta led the opposition to Persian hegemony. The reason I am saying that is that all those Greek city-states that were on the Persian side (neutral) did not suffer neither desctruction of their cities nor of their rule of law and their institution.

    Xerxes's war against Greece was that of revenge for Marathon. He (like George W Bush) wanted to finish the job of his father (Darius the Great - Bush '41). Yes Athen was burned to the ground and those things do happen when there is war and resistance - like Alexander burning of Persopolis and Thebes. But I think saying the civilized world was saved by Salamis is Historian's way of glorifying it to the point of worship. The Persian monarchs couldnt care less about Greece and her ideas, all they cared about was that their title of Lord of Asia was unchallenged. When they conquered Egypt they let them worship whatever Gods they like and samething goes with Babylon and other conquered nations.

    all of this IMHO

  4. #64
    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulgaroctonus View Post
    I agree that the Japanese advances in Asia during World War II were impressive. I think that your post would be better if you could name some of the specific battles and why they were decisive. Or, if you think that the entire war was decisive, explain why.

    The fact that the Japanese killed a bunch of people is not sufficient to establish a 'decisive' nature to their campaigns.
    I think that the Japanese invasion of 1941 were decisive in a way that they showed the subjects people of Asia that Europeian colonials powers were not invincible. For example, the capitultion of over 120,000 British troops in Singapore was a very memorable.

    Though Japan lost the war in the WWII, its legacy and its rapid conquest of south east asia shatterd the Europiean colonial empires forever. Therefore, decisive.

  5. #65
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    A well-made point.

  6. #66
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    has anyone here mentioned the russo-japanese war of 1904-5, or the climatic battles around mukden and tsushima?

    now THAT war had global consequences. almost on par with WWI, but no one really talks much about this one.

    the defeat of an european power by an asian one severely weakened the european sense of self-superiority, as well as the colonials' perceived sense of such- at an earlier date than 1941. for a while, british naval officers seriously talked about giving control of british ships to admiral togo in the event of a "Far East War".

    also, russian defeat in the far east forced the russians to look far more closely at western/eastern europe, which set things up for WWI. it also weakened russian prestige, which was instrumental in the rebellion of 1905 and later on the revolution.

    the war also gave chinese nationalists a sense that an unified nation could defeat an european power, which also spawned greater efforts at overthrowing the manchus. it also spawned far greater japanese involvement in both korea and manchuria, which ultimately gave the japanese military a far greater say in both japanese and chinese societies. prior to this time period, there was talk of an alliance between china and japan; however, japanese pride and involvement in china after this meant a colonial attitude instead of a state-to-state attitude from japan.

    in my birthplace of taiwan, the japanese expanded colonization efforts, as they viewed the next step to be the conquest of manchuria, and soon afterwards, use taiwan and manchuria as "points of pressure" to allow japanese industries to force their way into both north and south china. in the event of a war, staging areas for a possible two-pronged attack.

    in the US, it prompted a not-so-secret agreement between the US and japan to acknowledge japanese control of korea for american control of the Philippines. it also prompted renewed "yellow peril" threats (later ruining US-japanese relations), and acted as something of a pressure to build up the USN...setting the stage for the Pacific War.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  7. #67
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    astralis,

    Great analysis to link all those events and wars together although I am not sure how much effect the russo-japanese war of 1904-5 had on setting things up for WWI. But that war did set stage for Japanese dominance in East Asia and boosted the moral of the founders of Chinese KMT to overthrow Qing emperor. It changed Asia history.
    Last edited by Zeng; 25 Jan 07, at 01:35.
    I am here for exchanging opinions.

  8. #68
    Padishah Shahanshah Senior Contributor xerxes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by temujin77 View Post
    4. Stalingrad. The Germans suffered 850,000 casualties, which I don't believe is the largest they had suffered in the European War (correct me if I'm wrong, please). The real significance, though, was that in addition to the setback suffered at Moscow the German Army morale was now on an irreversible downward spiral on the Russian Front.
    I think the largest capitulation would be Bradly squizzing 330,000 men from the Armeegruppe B and the second largest squizzing after that would be the capture of some 250,000 prisonners in Tunisia by the Earl of Tunisia. I think the 85,000 captured at Stalingrad comes in third, though the Operation Uranus wiped out from the Axis order of battle: two Rumanian armies, one Hungarian army, one Italian army and a powerfull German army. ~ some 200,000 men killed. I am not sure that reduction of the falaise pocket should be mention as well.

    Also, I am surprised that no mention this here but Slim's war in Burma against the Japanese was quite spectacular and very much underrated.

  9. #69
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    The destuction of the Spanish Armada in 1588 would have to rank highly as one of the greatest defeats in history. Not only did it saveguard the position of England, but it marked the beginning of the end of Spanish dominance in Europe and other parts of the world. Given the huge investment that large warships represented, Spain wasn't able to recover from the loss. A little like what would happen to the US position in the world today if the USN was totally wiped out in one day - and then some.

  10. #70
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    If one were to include the results of an entire 'campaign', rather than a more limited 'battle', then Napoleon's invasion of Russia would have to be up there as well - possibly the largest army assembled to that time almost completely destroyed, with the resulting loss of French dominance of Europe.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by temujin77 View Post
    4. Stalingrad. The Germans suffered 850,000 casualties, which I don't believe is the largest they had suffered in the European War (correct me if I'm wrong, please). The real significance, though, was that in addition to the setback suffered at Moscow the German Army morale was now on an irreversible downward spiral on the Russian Front.
    Well, something like 350.000 Axis surrendered in 1943. That doesn't include previous casualties and evacuations.

    However "Bagration" is considered greatest German defeat in WW2 but it depends on when you start counting casualties of Stalingrad.

    My addition would be Marathon for sheer losses ratio alone. Or entire Greco-Persian wars. Again, losses ratio and the fact that worlds largest empire at that time failed to conquer set of divided states which even combined had population several times smaller then Persia. Now add that few generations later Greeks (not in their original form) dismantled Persian empire.

  12. #72
    FreeGeneral Senior Contributor Big K's Avatar
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    @Bluesman i am sorry but i'll state as one of great defeats in war history is:

    Battle of Gallipoli - British/Anzac defeat.

    it's great because,

    after this war a friendship was born between two/three nations which are: Turks, Austalians and New Zealand.

    and i think its a very rare thing.

    born of a friendship which have his roots in the respect eachother on the battlefield. many brave man from everyside has died, but also it was called "gentleman's war"

    and my other 2 grangranfathers has died there at the rank of lieutenant
    Last edited by Big K; 08 May 07, at 19:39.
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  13. #73
    FreeGeneral Senior Contributor Big K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kansas Bear View Post
    Battle of Sarikamis, Dec 29, 1914-Jan 2, 1915.
    but if i am not wrong there was no fight...our man died without fighting.

    2 of my grangranfathers has died in Sarikamis...
    Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy rather in power than use; and keep thy friend under thine own life's key; be checked for silence, but never taxed for speech.

  14. #74
    WAB Resident Historian Senior Contributor Kansas Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big K View Post
    but if i am not wrong there was no fight...our man died without fighting.

    2 of my grangranfathers has died in Sarikamis...

    "1914, December 29. Battle of Sarikamish. The Turkish advance toward Kars was halted and rebuffed with severe losses by Russian General Vorontsov. The struggle here continued as the year ended." -- "The Encyclopedia of Military History 4th Edition", by Dupuy, p 1036.

    "1915, January 1-3 Battle of Sarikamish(continued) Russian General Vorontsov, with about 100K men, lay in the vicinity of Kars to oppose Enver's advance. The Turk's dream of a wide envelopment of the Russians was spoiled by a Russian counterattack, which smashed his(Enver's) army. The Turks lost 30,000 dead, while thousands more froze to death in retreat." -- "The Encyclopedia of Military History 4th Edition", by Dupuy, p1047.


  15. #75
    WAB Resident Historian Senior Contributor Kansas Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlpErTunga
    Greco-British Defeat at Asia Minor War (Turkish Independence War)


    The Brits did nothing to help the Greeks. In fact, Italy removed it's token force, followed by France removing it's minute amount of troops and giving the Turks their weapons! The remaining Allied troops in Constantinople would not allow Greek troops OR supplies through the city to reinforce those Greek troops in Anatolia.

    "But, instead, the Allied army of occupation in Constantinople barred the road to the Greeks." -- "A Peace to End All Peace", by David Fromkin, p544.



    i think you have to study History without prejudices.
    Last edited by Kansas Bear; 09 May 07, at 06:57.

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