Top 10 Greatest Battles in History

The Top Ten
1 Battle of Saragarhi (Tirah Campaign, 1897)

One of the greatest and most unequal battles of all time: 21 Sikh soldiers against 10,000 to 12,000 Afghan attackers, with a ratio of 1:476 or higher. All 21 soldiers died, and they were all posthumously awarded the Indian Order of Merit. This award was the highest gallantry recognition for an Indian soldier, bestowed by the British crown. The corresponding gallantry award for the British soldiers was the Victoria Cross. It's an amazing battle. You should read about it.

Without any doubt, the bravest battle ever fought was by the 21 Sikh soldiers. Knowing that 10,000 invaders would soon be upon them, they made the greatest act of bravery imaginable. They decided to hold their ground and fought until their last breath to ensure that the enemy would be delayed and, consequently, unsuccessful in their attempt to penetrate into the state.

2 Battle of Stalingrad (World War II, 1942-43)

In terms of important battles, this tops it. Stalingrad shows both the faults of Nazi Germany and the brutality of Stalin. This battle turned the tide of the war in the Allies' favor. It meant Germany was on the defensive for the rest of the war and also caused the Germans to be mindful of Stalin's brutal, yet highly effective, strategies.

This battle easily outranks the importance of any of the Western Front battles, except for maybe the Battle of Britain and the D-Day landings. It solidified the Soviet Union as the most powerful country on the planet and ensured that the Germans would never be on the offensive in the war ever again. The battle showed the willingness and strong will of Russia, and if provoked, what Russia was truly capable of.

3 Operation Overlord (World War II, 1944)

Think carefully. If this naval invasion had not succeeded, the next step would have been the deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe. Not a good scenario at all, but that is what would have happened.

All the Russians think Stalingrad was the most important because they were getting their tails kicked until they won one battle that they treated as the so-called "turning point" in WWII.

Operation Overlord liberated France and pushed the Germans back with skilled troops. Unlike the Russians and their strategy of sending unarmed soldiers and instructing them to pick up weapons from others, these weapons did not work half the time.

4 Battle of Britain (World War II, 1940)

This was a brilliant side conflict in WWII and a very important victory on so many levels. Not only did Britain retain its 'defiant under any circumstances' status during WWII, but it also humiliated the high command of the Luftwaffe, annihilated the morale of the German people, boosted the morale of Britain, and gave birth to legends such as the Spitfire. Most importantly, it hammered the final nail in the coffin for a German invasion of Britain. Faced against impossible odds, yet still Britain kicked ass - typical Britain, to be honest.

5 Battle of Yorktown (American Revolutionary War, 1781)

The Battle of Yorktown was the climax of the American Revolution and directly led to the independence of the United States of America. While others may have been larger and more dramatic, no battle in history has been more influential. From the days following their victory at Yorktown, Americans have steadily gained power and influence up to their present role as the world's most prosperous nation and the only military superpower.

The rebels' chances of success seemed remote when the American colonies formally declared their independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776.

6 Battle of Hastings (Norman Conquest of England, 1066)

The Norman victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 was the last successful invasion of England and the first and only since the Roman conquest a thousand years earlier. Its aftermath established a new feudal order that ensured England would adopt the political and social traditions of continental Europe, rather than those of Scandinavia. The single battle also gained the country's crown for the Norman leader William.

The battle itself was not great, as William had a massive advantage with his heavily armed mounted knights against Saxon troops who had little training and had just forced-marched halfway across England. It was afterward that makes the battle historic. The Normans brought with them the feudal system of government and much of our language. They brought England into the political stage of Western Europe.

7 Battle of Waterloo (Napoleonic Wars, 1815)

I believe if it had not been for that victory, Europe would have been run by a despot from France who thought of nothing more than promoting his family to posts for which they were not suited, and did not care what the locals thought. Whilst Napoleon was a great general and leader of men, it was France's wishes to be a superpower that they never really achieved, despite several attempts.

A lot better than Yorktown. This changed politics in Europe and brought general peace for 100 years. Yorktown was just the last major battle in a war already won.

8 Battle of Thermopylae (Greco-Persian Wars, 480 BC)

This battle is not great because Spartans were just superior warriors, but because of their ethical values and principles that they followed through to the very end. When Persian scouts went to spy on what the Spartans were doing before the battle, they reported back that the Spartans were casually combing their hair and laughing. They knew they were going to die, yet they were going to pass away with no fear, beautiful and proud.

Being a Spartan meant no fear, endurance in pain, and never ever letting down your fellow warrior. They represented the Greek Laconic spirit and way of life: direct, sincere with no doubts, sincere in life and in death. That is the reason why, after 2,500 years, this battle is still an example of how humans can become immortal. This is why people will always remember and respect King Leonidas and his few 300 warriors that stood against an army of 100,000-150,000 Persians.

9 Battle of Midway (World War II, 1942)

Simply a great underdog story where the inexperienced U.S. Navy defeated one of the most powerful navies in World War II. The U.S. destroyed all four Japanese carriers. The U.S. only lost one carrier and defended Midway. A great battle and a huge turning point for the Pacific War.

Six minutes to destroy the heart of the greatest fleet ever assembled... And shatter the dreams of a worldwide empire associated with this fleet.

This battle lifted American spirits. It was a turning point in the war in the Pacific.

10 Battle of Kursk (World War II, 1943)

Kursk should be way higher on the list, at least number 2, after Stalingrad. It was the largest tank battle in the world, and after it, the Soviets gained the upper hand on the Eastern Front. The Germans weren't able to mount any offensives and were on the retreat in the East for the rest of the war. The battle turned the tide in Europe.

If Germany had won, it's likely the Soviets would have been defeated, and the Germans could have focused more of their troops on the West, possibly winning the war.

The largest battle in WWII. Millions of men, hundreds of thousands of mortars, cannons, tanks, and aircraft.

The Contenders
11 Battle of Berlin (World War II, 1945)

Since my family went through this, and I heard firsthand what the Berliners endured, I vote for this.

12 Battle of Iwo Jima (World War II, 1945)

The refusal of the Japanese to surrender in this battle was one of the reasons the bombs were dropped, changing history forever.

13 Battle of the Somme (World War I, 1916)

So many brave men on both sides lost their lives. It was fought on the border between France and Germany. It was an extremely bloody battle, with over 1,000,000 casualties.

Yes! This should be first. Known as the bloodiest battle in history. And that's coming from a soon-to-be Year 6 Peer mentor!

Over 1 million lives were lost in barely 4 months.

14 Battle of Arnhem (World War II, 1944)
15 Fall of Constantinople (Ottoman-Byzantine War, 1453)

A sultan who studied and dreamt for years about this siege, the siege of Constantinople, the young Sultan Mehmed II, a.k.a. Mehmed the Conqueror, who was 21 years old, couldn't sleep because he was always thinking about his first battle, the glorious walls of Constantinople, doomed to fall to the Turks. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, 'The army which will conquer Constantinople will be glorious, and their leader will be wonderful.'

A new beginning for the Turks, an end of the Christian and Roman era, walls which hadn't fallen for centuries, fell to a young, ambitious Ottoman sultan.

16 Tet Offensive (Vietnam War, 1968)

The Tet Offensive led to the resignation of Robert McNamara and the stepping down of Lyndon Johnson as President of the United States, the first president to not seek re-election. While it was a military defeat for the communists, the sheer psychological impact of Tet on the U.S. meant that they realized the war could not be won despite their best efforts. The North were just too determined and militarily strong.

Although this was tactically and strategically a victory for the USA and South Vietnam, the wide media coverage of the Tet Offensive caused outrage in the American public. This was a crushing blow to American spirit and led to the USA's withdrawal from Vietnam.

17 Battle of Verdun (World War I, 1916)

The great victory of the French army with the recapture of Douaumont. The number of deaths exceeded 500,000. It should be in the top 5.

18 Battle of the Bulge (World War II, 1944-45)

This is a great battle. We are in fact studying it in history class. It is quite interesting for young students like me to see how soldiers fought and how strong they stayed.

Hitler's last push failed because he refused to let his marshals do the work and insisted on trying to command.

The Battle of the Bulge was pivotal. Without it, the war would have been longer.

19 Battle of Gallipoli (World War I, 1915-16)

The most remembered battle for Australia, New Zealand, and Turkey. Surely, three countries remembering this should put this battle at number one. All three lost many people, and the ANZACs, despite losing, remember and respect the battle and opponents.

It has also been made into many movies where it leaves you crying because the battle was just so horrific. I want Australians, New Zealanders, and Turkish people to get behind me on this. This is the battle that gave all three nations a name and made us look capable and scary in battle.

20 Battle of Cannae (Second Punic War, 216 BC)

The single greatest tactical defeat in history.

Rome gathered the largest army they had ever assembled, 80,000 men, in an attempt to crush the much weaker invading Carthaginians. However, the Carthaginian leader, Hannibal, devised a brilliant tactic to somehow defeat the massive Roman army. He tricked them into getting encircled by his smaller army and then slaughtered almost all of them. Somehow, a genius had beaten the sheer might of Rome with a much smaller force.

Military circles call this "the battle."

The Romans outnumbered Hannibal's army by a very large margin. However, due to the sheer genius of tactics devised by Hannibal - placing his weaker forces in the center and his strongest at the flanks - the flat line of Carthaginian forces became concave. This forced the Romans into a compact line. As the mounted forces defeated the Roman horsemen, they encircled and turned the entire battle on its shoulders with close to minimum casualties to Hannibal's men and countless on Rome's side.

21 Battle of Troy (Trojan War, around 1200 BC)

The time period of the war was the age of Homer, a great writer who wrote the Iliad, the story of the war.

However, it was the involvement of the gods that made this war so different and important to history. It still hasn't been proven whether the war really happened or not.

Although it may be a war that never occurred, the stories and legends of this battle make it more interesting than most real wars in human history.

This is only number 11? This is a legendary battle. The Greeks put soldiers in a horse, so when Troy took it within their walls, the Greeks came out and took the city. A legendary battle to this date.

22 Battle of Moscow (World War II, 1941)
23 Battle of Yarmouk (Rashidun Caliphate-Eastern Roman Empire, 636)

General Khalid Bin Waleed fought the battle as a state of the art, and the result of this battle impacted almost all walks of life of the people of the world. It was one of the best battles ever fought under the command of the best general ever born. He fought almost a hundred wars along with his soldiers and was never defeated in any war.

The Battle of Yarmouk made Muslims the superpower of the era. It was the result of this battle that Islam gained global outreach, succeeding in becoming the world's second-largest religion. Although Christians had the advantage of 700 years of existence, making Islam the world's fastest-growing religion.

24 Battle of Gaugamela (Wars of Alexander the Great, 331 BC)
25 Battle of the Chesapeake (American Revolutionary War, 1781)
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