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Thread: Most decisive battles of all time.

  1. #16
    Senior Contributor Triple C's Avatar
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    Astralis,

    I had a dinner with a bunch of Chinese history specialists from my former research institute. Apparently "Mexican silver dollars", by which was meant pieces of eight or some other form of Spanish mint, remained a major currency in China right to the eve of the Maoist Revolution!

    Z,

    I think Imperial Spain, by unleashing the Eighty Years War and Thirty Years War, unwittingly set into motion a lot of important forces that shaped Europe's destiny, though ironically not to their own benefit.
    Last edited by Triple C; 21 Jun 14, at 08:34.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    I say years, because a setback in the Pacific would have delayed the timetable in the Atlantic theater as well. A victory isn't about the islands themselves, it's about the carriers and the pilots. If the US loses more than just the Yorktown, even if Midway still stays in US hands, Japanese have strategic control of the Pacific, hampering US movement in the area.
    Bigross- You may have already seen this page, but if you haven't, it sets the story straight. For me reading this makes it beyond the shadow of a doubt that Japan simply stood no chance. The sea level must have gone up a bit in 1943 with all the capital ships the US was flinging into the ocean.

    Grim Economic Realities

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post

    Z,

    I think Imperial Spain, by unleashing the Eighty Years War and Thirty Years War, unwittingly set into motion a lot of important forces that shaped Europe's destiny, though ironically not to their own benefit.
    No doubt, but I do not think at the level needed to be a top 10.

  4. #19
    Senior Contributor Amled's Avatar
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    Defeat of the Spanish Armada
    Must surely rate an honorable mention.
    If for nothing else, then the pivotal change a Spanish victory would have ha in European/world history.
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    Can I nominate:

    - the Ottoman conquest of Byzantium in 1453
    - the Battle of Talas between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty in 751 AD
    - the Battle of Tours between Frankish + Burgundian forces and the Umayyad Caliphate in 732 AD
    Last edited by Nightowl; 08 Jul 14, at 23:49.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightowl View Post
    Can I nominate:

    - the Ottoman conquest of Byzantium in 1453
    - the Battle of Talas between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty in 751 AD
    - the Battle of Tours between Frankish + Burgundian forces and the Umayyad Caliphate in 732 AD
    For what global reverberations? Tell us why you'd pick those battles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    For what global reverberations? Tell us why you'd pick those battles.
    - the Ottoman conquest of Byzantium in 1453
    Ends the Roman Empire, closes off the silk route, which ends Venice as major trade hub and prompts Europe into venturing into overseas spice trade. Kicks off the colonial age.

    - the Battle of Talas between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty in 751 AD
    Ends the westwards expansion of China, opens up Central Asia for Islam

    - the Battle of Tours between Frankish + Burgundian forces and the Umayyad Caliphate in 732 AD
    At this period in time, a divided Europe could have easily been conquered by the expanding caliphate. Forget the entire Middle ages after that, because religious conflict will be very different from that point onwards. New fault lines, new coalitions, new wars, new history. An argument can be made that the age of enlightenment flourished thanks to Christian values. But then ofcourse the Caliphate was the center of science and art for a period, so counterarguments could be made.
    Last edited by Nightowl; 09 Jul 14, at 00:25.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightowl View Post
    - the Ottoman conquest of Byzantium in 1453
    Ends the Roman Empire, closes off the silk route, which ends Venice as major trade hub and prompts Europe into venturing into overseas spice trade. Kicks off the colonial age.
    Old school view that I am not sure stands up to scrutiny. If we look at the isolation of the city itself, plus the fact that Portugal had already kicked off the age of discovery. The Portuguese had found Madeira and the Azores and were mapping the currents and winds that would allow the newly developed caravel to circumnavigate Africa and then the world. They may even have already discovered Brazil since the Treaty of Tordasillas only makes sense if Portugal knew what was to be found in their sphere of influence. Similarly the Reconquista was finishing up in Spain giving Castille a large force of skilled adventurers. The Silk road had already collapsed (even if it had not ended entirely) with the ravages of the Black Death. So why you may not be wring, I think the global impact may have been overstated. The loss of the city may have sped up the inevitable, but I don't think it changed the general trajectory of history.

    - the Battle of Talas between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty in 751 AD
    Ends the westwards expansion of China, opens up Central Asia for Islam
    How much farther west could the Chinese have gotten without fragmenting? The Mongol solution was a federated empire based on kinship. I'm not sure the legalistic Chinese could have done so. Never mind that multiple emperors didn't work out to well for the Romans or Mongols. As for Islam, I think that it could have gone Christian if not for the various schism wracking he Byzantines. Even as late as Kublai Khan many senior Mongols were Aryan or Nestorian Christian. Which is what gave rise to the legend of Prester John.

    - the Battle of Tours between Frankish + Burgundian forces and the Umayyad Caliphate in 732 AD
    At this period in time, a divided Europe could have easily been conquered by the expanding caliphate. Forget the entire Middle ages after that, because religious conflict will be very different from that point onwards. New fault lines, new coalitions, new wars, new history. An argument can be made that the age of enlightenment flourished thanks to Christian values. But then ofcourse the Caliphate was the center of science and art for a period, so counterarguments could be made.
    This one is worthy of consideration. Though it hinges on the battle being either an invasion or a recon in force. The generally accepted size range of the Arab army argues for recon in force or an army at the end of its logistics tether. Ultimately, Islam never did very well in penetrating past Europe's defensive mountain ranges. The Pyrenees, Alps, Carpathians, Urals all served as a sort of barrier that Islamic Armies were not able to sustain a penetration. Even in Russia the Rus through off the Mongol/Islamic yoke. The Danube being the biggest river-highway into the heart of Europe available to the Moslems, its also where they made the most impressive gains. On the flip side, the water sheds these barrier mountains created proved to be ideal highways for the Vikings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    This one is worthy of consideration. Though it hinges on the battle being either an invasion or a recon in force. The generally accepted size range of the Arab army argues for recon in force or an army at the end of its logistics tether. Ultimately, Islam never did very well in penetrating past Europe's defensive mountain ranges. The Pyrenees, Alps, Carpathians, Urals all served as a sort of barrier that Islamic Armies were not able to sustain a penetration. Even in Russia the Rus through off the Mongol/Islamic yoke. The Danube being the biggest river-highway into the heart of Europe available to the Moslems, its also where they made the most impressive gains. On the flip side, the water sheds these barrier mountains created proved to be ideal highways for the Vikings.
    Two sieges of Vienna and the Tartar/Ottoman wars in Ukraine/southern modern day Russia and the Balkans? Your failure to recognise these wars has led you mistake today's Muscovite Empire with the old Kievan Rus Kingdom which the Mongols destroyed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Two sieges of Vienna and the Tartar/Ottoman wars in Ukraine/southern modern day Russia and the Balkans? Your failure to recognise these wars has led you mistake today's Muscovite Empire with the old Kievan Rus Kingdom which the Mongols destroyed.
    Uhm Snapper, please re-read what I wrote....

    This one is worthy of consideration. Though it hinges on the battle being either an invasion or a recon in force. The generally accepted size range of the Arab army argues for recon in force or an army at the end of its logistics tether. Ultimately, Islam never did very well in penetrating past Europe's defensive mountain ranges. The Pyrenees, Alps, Carpathians, Urals all served as a sort of barrier that Islamic Armies were not able to sustain a penetration. Even in Russia the Rus through off the Mongol/Islamic yoke. The Danube being the biggest river-highway into the heart of Europe available to the Moslems, its also where they made the most impressive gains. On the flip side, the water sheds these barrier mountains created proved to be ideal highways for the Vikings.

    Last time I check, the Danube flowed through Vienna. The fact that the ottomans got more or less bogged down in the Mountains of Southern Europe goes straight to my point about defensive mountain barriers. I could also point out that both Armenia and Georgia remained Christian in part due to mountain barriers.

  12. #27
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    To add to Z's point, look at Montenegro. Ottomans never really occupied the central part of it and their ventures there were shortlived compared to the other parts of the Balkans (200 vs 500 years).
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    Arthur Phillips war with the Eora in 1789 has had massive implications on everything British, right up until Pearl Harbour where the impact then became massive on everything America since. Quiet little excursion out into the country side with some pillows and blankets after being formally asked to leave. Within two weeks the enemy were ravaged by disease, supply line and industry to feed any war against the invading English crippled. Beach head secured and able to receive next supply convoy.

    The rest they say is history.

    Had Australia been taken over by the French instead (French left in 1789 when asked), most probably they would of made a treaty with the Germans, as France did. But thats a whole new topic.

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    Ok I am going to make a case for the Battle of Koniggratz (aka Battle of Sadowa) in 1866, the most decisive battle in the Austro Prussian War. The dissolution of German Confederation and the enlargement of Prussia power effectively transferred German hegemony from the Habsburg Empire to Prussia and ruled out Austrian intervention in the Franco - Prussian War that resulted in the defeat at Sedan and the later Seige of Paris, the Paris Commune myth etc etc... It ultimately led to the creation of a German nation as we know it today and fundamentally unhinged the post Napoleonic balance of power in Europe; the Anglo French Entente Cordial later attempted to restore some balance. Without a Prussian victory at Koniggratz no Sedan and no Paris Commune, no Germany as we know it, possibly no USSR, no WW1 or WW2 and no Warsaw Pact.

    Some caveats though... The French themselves contributed to Austrian weakness by supporting the Sardinian Kingdom in the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859 thus weakening Austria in Italy so one could perhaps regard this a prologue to the Austrian defeat in 1866. Also British involvement in the Franco - Prussian War may have altered events and while Anglo French relations were frayed after Crimea but even then the British army of 1870 while being upto Colonial policing actions was dubious use in a large scale continental European War.

    In terms of the importance of 19th century battles Waterloo was nothing; Koniggratz was THE pivotal European battle of the century from which came much else.

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    snapper,

    Ok I am going to make a case for the Battle of Koniggratz (aka Battle of Sadowa) in 1866, the most decisive battle in the Austro Prussian War. The dissolution of German Confederation and the enlargement of Prussia power effectively transferred German hegemony from the Habsburg Empire to Prussia and ruled out Austrian intervention in the Franco - Prussian War that resulted in the defeat at Sedan and the later Seige of Paris, the Paris Commune myth etc etc... It ultimately led to the creation of a German nation as we know it today and fundamentally unhinged the post Napoleonic balance of power in Europe; the Anglo French Entente Cordial later attempted to restore some balance. Without a Prussian victory at Koniggratz no Sedan and no Paris Commune, no Germany as we know it, possibly no USSR, no WW1 or WW2 and no Warsaw Pact.
    OTOH the rise of Germany didn't actually make significant waves until the ascension of Kaiser Wilhelm, and even for some time afterwards. (the UK for a while considered joining the Triple Alliance!)

    the UK was still antagonistic towards France all the way up until 1904.
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