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Most humiliating defeats in History

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Totenkopf, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    I certainly don't disagree with the fact that the numbers may be a little high, yet ancient scripts state that the army was so large that the ground shook as the army marched, It also mentions thousands of ships.

    These could easily being over estimations however there is no doubt that the army differences were substantial enough to be a considered a heroic victory for the Greeks as well as a disastrous loss for the Perisans.

    The movie 300 throws the true history of what happened away but the truth is the Spartans were literally born for war, trained from birth, as well as the fact that the Greek armies of the time employed the most successful type of formation, the Phalanx. Basically a solid wall of spears and shields, the shields themselves had holes cut into the side to allow spears to sit through without exposing the man to the enemy weapons, as one man falls and he is simply replaced. The men in the front simply stabs forward at the enemy in front while the man behind him attacks over the top and downward. One of the only ways to beat this defensive wall is to flank it, but since Thermopylae doesn't allow for any manoeuvrings around the Spartans and supporting Greek troops.

    The Romans themselves basically copied this type of defense as it was proven that it could hold back enemy. The basic job of such troops or formations were simply to hold the enemy in place and wear them out and hope that the calvary quickly flanks the enemy supported by lighter troops able to move much faster then a standard heavy soldier, spartans were considered to be light soldiers due to the fact that they were no chest armour, only the simple hoplite shied, helmet, greeves, and sometimes bracers, much the same as any Greek hoplite of the time.

    On the persian side they employed many different types of units many pressed into service, many of them simply slaves, making them easy prey for the warlike Greeks. They used basic armour and weapons, with little training, fighting trained and well equipped and led men who lived for war. A good comparision for ww2 is imagine a 10 militia units taking on 1 crack unit of the same makeup, then imagine it as a bottleneck, who is going to win?

    THe Greek were the crack units, while the persians were the militia, of course they naturally had there own crack units. Crack units are evident throughout history with few holding back many in many different times in many different wars, what makes this any different.

    The point throuhgout this whole post is simply an explanation as to how the greeks would have held the Persians and caused them so much hassel.

    As for the logistics, most of the time Ancient armies lived of the land, raiding farms, cities and what ever they could get there hands on, but it still would be a nightmare to supply a 10,000 man army let alone teh supposed 1 million, which I doubt that was the amount, I have read other notes which put it around 50.000 which is far more believeable, but this contricts historic scripts.
     
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  2. wtid45

    wtid45 Ace

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    Whilst a lot of what is written about ancient history is speculation mixed with myth I agree with Tomcat, the battle of Thermoplye (the hot gates) may have exagerated figures as to the persian dead but it did happen the Gates Of Fire by Steven Pressfield, is probably the best faction book you will ever read on the spartan warrior and the battle itself.
     
  3. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    Sorry, the British have fought far too many battles to feel humiliated over this small scale battle.

    ps; the War Of 1812 was full of silly one sided battles, here's one where it was the United States turn to be humiliated
    Battle of Queenston Heights - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    ;)
     
  4. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    Absolutely, for a good example it is still not completely sure as to whether the spears used in the Phalanx formation were used overarm or underarm, same as whether the object of the formation was to hit an opposing phalanx at a walking pace then attack with spears until they all borken, then it is not sure has to whether they would then use there swords or whether the whole battle would simply turn into a pushing match and the phalanx that was disloged and broke first were routed, scripts from the time explain a word that means 'pushing' in terms of the phalanx battle. This of course would simply explain as to why the spartan forces lost very few battles due to there superior physical conditioning and training.
     
  5. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    I have grave doubts that anyone could field an army of that size at that time. The logistics of just feeding them would have been overwhelming ( they certainly would have been quite incapable of living off the land) .
     
  6. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    A historic site dedicated to the Greek forces at Thermopylae

    The 300 Spartans

    I myself agree with you as I stated earlier, I was just quoting facts I have read, but as it was some 2500 years ago we can not be sure. However we know they held an extreme advantage over the Greek forces.
     
  7. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    Thermopylae Today.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I'd like to nominated Battle of Tippermuir when announce before the battle something like "The Lord's day for the Lord's work" and then loose to a force you badley outnumber ...

    I haven't read all this thread yet so my apologies if it's already been mentioned.
     
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  9. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    I believe the Covenanter's actually said "they had the choice of the Lord's Day for doing the Lord's work" after Montrose sent the Master of Maddertie forward under a flag of truce to ask if they wanted to postpone the battle for 24 hours, since this was Sunday.
    And you're right; what an embarrassment it turned out to be for them!
     
  10. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    For sure the Persian casualties are much to over shot, did you ever hear of ancient propoganda?
     
  11. AndyPants

    AndyPants Ace

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    (this is more of a mision aborted - but embarrassing still)..... what about when the US attempted to go into Iran and rescue the hostages being held during the Iranian revolution in 1979 / 81. The so-called "Operation Eagle Claw" .... complete disaster!
     
  12. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Well, the one million Persian army might have had just a little exaggeration in it... =)

    It was unsuprising hower that the Persians' trying to fight the finest hoplite soldiers in the world with light infantry designed basically to walk over a battlefield prepared by missile fire, or absorbing hostile missle fire of the same, in a fortified pass about 200 yards wide, met predictable results.

    The Persians actually had no weapons with which to harm the Greeks. The Greeks' shields were much thicker and as was their bronze armor. The Persian infantry probably was formed with the dryer desert terrain of Persia in mind, was very lightly armed and armored, and usually operated in conjunction with missile cavalry that was useless on that particular battlefield.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Back in the 70s there was a book that looked at probable sizes of some Ancient and perhaps dark age armies based on the logistics available at the time. I'm pretty sure it placed the Persian army at Thermopoly at under 200,000. They were not all light infantry either. The Immortals for instance had armor and used short spears and bows. The Greeks were hardly proof against either.
     
  14. W Marlowe

    W Marlowe WWII Veteran

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    How about the Mexican Army at Buena Vista? A little more Grape Captain Bragg. Col. Jack Coffy Hays prayer if you cant be on side Lord dont be on their. Just watch and you will see the damest fight you ever saw.

    W. Marlowe
     
  15. skywalker

    skywalker Member

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    They also used wicker shields. Spartan armour>Immortal armour.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Without testing reproductions I'm not sure it's clear that Immortal's shields were inferior to that of the Spartans.
    From:
    Iran Zamin 2: The Persian Immortal Army
    According to:
    Military History Online - Thermopylae
    Is a cuirass of fabric going to be better than mail?
     
  17. Mongol862

    Mongol862 recruit

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    I would say the Battle of the Philippine Sea, also known as the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot".
     
  18. Rubberman

    Rubberman Member

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    for American's

    Burning of Washington ,Battle Queenston Heights

    for Canadian's

    Hong Kong and Dieppe
     
  19. J.A. Costigan

    J.A. Costigan Member

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    Despite the fact it was fairly obvious Germany was done at that point, but the Battle of the Bulge was pretty humiliating for all of the hype Hitler gave it.
     
  20. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    I managed to post these in the wrong thread earlier, so I'll try again-
    Kosovo 1389-Serbia forced to become a vassal of the Ottomans
    Grunwald 1410-End of the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic war and downfall of the Teutonic Knights.
    Sauchieburn 1488- James III of Scotland flees early from a battle his forces are losing to a rebel army, and is murdered by a priest.
    Constantinople 1453- end of the Eastern Holy Roman Empire.
    Bosworth Field 1485- End of Yorkists hopes for the English crown.
    Flodden 1513- James IV and the cream of Scottish nobility are massacred in the largest battle ever fought against the English.
    Zusmarshausen and Lens 1647-The Habsburg's final defeat of the Thirty Years War which left their power severely curtailed.
    Worcester 1651- Charles I's final defeat and the end of the English Civil War.
     

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