The Greatest Battles in History

Great Battles
Battle Of Ampheia, 738 BC

There have been some great battles throughout our history. These are the ones considered the great battles of all time.  If your thoughts are different than mine please let me know. We can have a friendly war over it.

Stalingrad (World War II, 1942-43)

During World War Two the Allies fought against the Axis. Originally, Russia had an uneasy alliance with Germany led by the Führer Adolf Hitler and Stalin the head of Russia. Hitler ended the risk of a war with Stalin by signing the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact in August 1939. The agreement secretly divided the independent nations of Eastern Europe between the two powers and assured adequate oil supplies for the German war machine.

Except, Stalin didn’t trust the little corporal from Germany, his senses were proven right. In June 1941, Hitler broke the non-aggression agreement with Stalin and Germany invaded the Soviet Union. This decision of Adolf Hitler was the beginning of the end for the Third Reich.

The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943)

Stalingrad was number one in the great battles of history. It was the last great offensive by the German Nazis on the Eastern Front. The Battle of Stalingrad resulted in the death or capture of more than a quarter million German soldiers. It was an extremely costly defeat for German forces. Germany had to withdraw vast military forces from the West to replace their losses in Russia because of the Battle of Stalingrad.

 

Battle of Saragarhi (Tirah Campaign War, 1897)

Saragarhi was a small village in the border district of Kohat, situated on the Samana Range, in present-day Pakistan. The area was very volatile with tribal Pashtuns attacking British forts from time to time.

Uprising by the Afghans began there in 1897, and between 27 August – 11 September and they finally attacked. On 12 September 1897, 10,000 Pashtuns attacked the signaling post at Saragarhi which was manned by the 36th Sikh Regiment.

Around 9:00 am, around 10,000 Afghans reach the signaling post at Saragarhi. The forces protecting the fort sent out calls for getting reinforcement and that they were under attack.  Their heroism was shown by these gallant soldiers who died at their posts in the defense of the fort of these gallant soldiers who died at their posts in the defense of the fort of Saragarhi, on the 12 September 1897.

The Sikhs fought against overwhelming numbers, thus proving their loyalty and devotion to their sovereign The Queen Empress of India. They were honored for their gloriously fight maintaining the reputation of the Sikhs for unflinching courage on the field of battle.

 

Operation Overlord (Normandy, France 1944, WWII)

Operation Overlord has the place of being the second great battles of history. Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings (Operation Neptune, commonly known as D-Day). The invasion included 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on the 6 of June, and there were estimated more than two million Allied troops in France by the end of August.

Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings (Operation Neptune, commonly known as D-Day). A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August.

Estimates of German losses for the Normandy campaign range from 400,000 (200,000 killed or wounded; 200,000 captured) to 500,000 (290,000 killed or wounded, 210,000 captured) to 530,000.

 

Yorktown (American Revolution, 1781)

The Siege of Yorktown, also known as the Battle of Yorktown, ending on October 19, 1781, at Yorktown, Virginia, The battle was a decisive victory by a combined force of American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau. They jointly defeated the British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis. The capture of both General Charles Cornwallis and his army prompted the British government to negotiate an end to the conflict.

 

Thermopylae (Persia / Greece War 480 BC)

The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states between Sparta and Athens led by King Leonidas of Sparta, against the Persian Empire of Xerxes I, the battle lasted only three days. This was Persia second invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium where Xerxes I Navy fought the Athenian navy. The Spartan and their small force of allies fought their battle in August or September 480 BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae. The Persian invasion was a response to their defeat by the Athenian during the first Persian invasion of Greece. This ended by an Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.

Xerxes had amassed a huge army and navy and set out to conquer all of Greece. The Athenian general Themistocles had proposed that the allied Greeks block the advance of the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae, and simultaneously block the Persian navy at the Straits of Artemisium.

The 300 Spartans, King Leonidas of Sparta and his personal bodyguards fought to the death.

Xerxes, army, and navy were beaten badly as they retreated back to Persia.

The Greeks will have another meeting with Persia when they are defeated by Alexander The Great.

I have a point of consideration. Did Rome ever thank Persia? If there was no longer a Persia would Alexander the Great gone west instead of east and conquer the Great  Rome to be?

 

“The Battle of Stalingrad” 7/7/2017<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad>.

“The Battle of Saragarhi” 7/7/2017< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saragarhi>.

“Operation Overlord” 7/7/2017< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Overlord>.

“The Siege of Yorktown” 7/7/2017 < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Yorktown>.

“The Battle of Thermopylae” 7/7/2017<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae>.

Attila Duka  “Top Ten Greatest Battles in History” 7/7/2017 <https://www.thetoptens.com/top-ten-greatest-battles/>.

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Leonidas and His Three Hundred

three hundred
King Leonidas

Leonidas (c. 530-480 B.C.) was a king of the city-state of Sparta from about 490 B.C. until his death at the Battle of Thermopylae against the Persian army in 480 B.C. Although Leonidas lost the battle he was immortalized with his death and that of his three hundred personal bodyguards at Thermopylae.

Like all male Spartan citizens, Leonidas had been trained mentally and physically since he was big enough to walk. In addition, Spartan children were taken away from their mothers at an early so to start their training to become Hoplites.

Hoplites were armed with a round shield, spear, and iron short sword. Equally important, in battle, they used a formation called a phalanx, in which rows of hoplites stood directly next to each other.  So that their shields overlapped with one another. During a frontal attack, this wall of shields provided significant protection to the warriors behind it. The Roman used a similar tactic. Except they used a rectangular shield to form a wall when the shields overlapped.

The problem with the phalanx is if the enemies attacked either from the side or behind they were unprotected and vulnerable. It was this fatal weakness of the formidable phalanx formation.  These proved to be Leonidas’  and his three hundred undoing against an invading Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

FAMILY

Leonidas was the third son of Anaxandridas II of Sparta. He was the half-brother of the late King Cleomenes I of Sparta. Leonidas was crowned King after the death of his half-brother. Cleomenes’ died of a suspected suicide. Leonidas was also married to Cleomenes’ only child, the wise Gorgo, Queen of Sparta.

Battle of Thermopylae,

 The battle of Thermopylae took place in northern Greece (480 BC) during the Persian Wars. Not to mention, this was basically a revenge reprisal by the Persians (now Iran) after they were defeated at Marathon ten years earlier. This time the Persian invasion was led by King Xerxes in 480 bce. Leonidas King of Sparta and his new alliance with Athens had decided what must be done to save Greece. Leonidas knew that the army of Xerxes was going to invade Greece from the north via the very narrow Thermopylae passage and by sea. Athens would be responsible for the taken care of the Persian fleet.

Leonidas realized that the only way his small force with his three hundred personal bodyguards was to stop Xerxes army would be at Thermopylae. There the Persian King Xerxes had led a vast army overland from the Dardanelles. The army accompanied by a substantial fleet that was moving along the coast. His forces quickly seized northern Greece after he defeated King Leonidas and his forces at the narrow pass of Thermopylae.  Next to the sea nearby in the straits of Artemisium.

The End of the King and the Three Hundred

King Leonidas succeeded with his plan to hold back the Persians. Leonidas efforts gave Greece the opportunity to organize to fight Xerxes. King Leonidas armored Greek infantry held a line only a few dozen yards long between a steep hillside and the sea. This battlefield was very narrow and was personally picked by Leonidas. It prevented the Persians from bringing their superior numbers to bear. The Greeks were able to hold back two days the fierce Persian attacks. They succeeded to impose heavy casualties on the Persians while suffering relatively light losses themselves.

Unfortunately, King Leonidas and his 300-man who refused to leave their King and retreat. Mainly, because it was contrary to Spartan law and custom. This led to their demise and their infamy.

 

The Spartan motto was “come back carrying your shield or upon it”. They never left their men behind.

This thought is also followed by the United States Marines.

 

“Leonidas I” June 2017 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonidas_I>

History.com Staff “LEONIDAS” June 2017 <http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/leonidas>

N.S. Gill “King Leonidas of Sparta and the Battle at Thermopylae” June 2017 <https://www.thoughtco.com/king-leonidas-of-sparta-battle-thermopylae-112481>

Donald Sommerville “Battle of Thermopylae GREEK HISTORY” [480 BC] June 2917 <https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Thermopylae-Greek-history-480-BC>

 

 

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