historical battles

Historical Battles

Epic Historical Battles Timeline

War does not determine who is right – only who is left

A pearl of wisdom from Bertrand Russell, but it doesn’t look like wars are going to disappear anytime soon.  This chronological list of historical battles covers just about all the major important military engagements in recorded history.

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Historical Battles Where When Attackers Outcome Defenders
Marathon, Battle of. Greece 490 BC Athenians and Plataeans. Victory Persian invaders.
Issus, Battle of. Turkey 333 BC Macedonians under Alexander the Great. Victory Persian minions under the command of Darius III.
Cannae, Battle of. Apulia 216 BC 40,000 Carthaginians (†8000) under Hannibal. Victory 80,000 Romans († 70,000) under Lucius Paullus.
Teutoburg Forest, Battle of. Germany 9 AD Germans under Arminius. Victory 3 Roman legions under Varus (Varus Battle).
Lechfeld, Battle of. Germany 955 Hungarian troops attacked under Bulcsú. Defeat Saxony / Franconia / Bavaria under Otto I. / Red Konrad.
Hastings, Battle of. England 1066 9000 Normans under Duke William II attacked. Victory 10,000 Anglo-Saxons under King Harold II.
Blackbirds, Fields of. Kosovo 1389 An estimated 20,000 Christian Serbs and Bosnians, led by Prince Lazar and Vuk Brankovic, attacked the Turks. Defeat 35,000 Turks (Ottoman Empire) under Sultan Murad I, Sultan Bayezid I and Yakub.
Tannenberg, Battle of. Poland 1410 27,000 German troops, under Grand Master Jungingen, attacked. Defeat 39,000 Poles and Lithuanians under Władysław II Jagiello.
Orléans, Battle of. France 1428/29 The French, under Joan of Arc, attacked the Burgundians and English. Victory English and Burgundians under the Earl of Salisbury.
Constantinople (Istanbul), Battle of. Turkey 1453 The Byzantines, under Emperor Constantine XI, attacked the Turks. Defeat 50,000 Turks under Sultan Mehmed II.
Towton, War of the Roses. England 1461 The 40,000 strong House of York army, under Edward IV, attacked the House of Lancaster. Victory 60,000 of the House of Lancaster under Henry Beaufort.
Hohenlinden, Battle of. Germany 1800 100,000 French, under Moreau and Ney, attacked the Austrians. Victory 120,000 Austrians under John of Austria.
Austerlitz, Battle of. Czech Republic 1805 73,000 French (139 guns), under Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte, attacked the Russian and Austrians (278 guns). Victory 85,000 Russians and Austrians under Tsar Alexander I and Emperor Francis II.
Trafalgar, Battle of. England 1805 27 British ships, under Nelson, attacked French and Spanish ships. Victory 33 Spanish and French ships under Villeneuve.
Leipzig, Battle of Germany 1813 210,000 Frenchmen, with 700 guns, under Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte, attacked the Prussians, Austrians and Russians. Defeat 310,000 Prussians, Austrians and Russians under Prince Schwarzenberg and Alexander I.
Hanau, Battle of Germany 1813 60,000 French troops, under Napoleon I, attacked the Bavarian and Austrian troops. Victory 45,000 Bavarians / Austrians under Carl von Wrede.
Waterloo, Battle of. Belgium 1815 72,000 Frenchmen with 246 guns under Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte attacked. Defeat 68,000 English / Dutch (156 guns) and 31,000 Prussians under Wellington and Blücher.
Fredericksburg, Battle of. USA 1862 72,000 Confederate soldiers, under General Lee, attacked Union troops. Victory 100,000 Union army soldiers under General Burnside.
Gettysburg, Battle of. USA 1863 75,000 Confederates, under General Lee, attacked 88,000 Union soldiers. Defeat Union Army (88,000) under General Meade.
Königgrätz, Battle of / Hradec Kralove, Battle of. Czech Republic 1866 278,000 Prussians, under Chief of Staff Moltke, attacked Austrian forces. Victory 271,000 Austrians under Benedek.
Sedan, Battle of. France 1870 120,000 Frenchmen, with 564 guns, attacked German forces. Defeat 200,000 Germans with 744 guns under Moltke.
Little Big Horn River, Battle of. USA 1876 Cheyenne, Dakota, and Arapaho, under chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, attacked. Victory Cavalry Regiment under General Custer.
Tannenberg, Battle of Poland 1914 300,000 Germans, under General Hindenburg, attacked Russian army. Victory 2nd Russian Army (300,000) under Samsonov.
Verdun, Battle of. France 1916 75 French divisions (†167,000) under Joffre, Pétain and Nivelle attacked. Draw 50 German divisions (†150,000) under Falkenhayn.
Skagerrak (at sea), Naval battle of. Skagerrak strait 1916
  • Ships: 151 United Kingdom ships under Sir John Jellicoe and Sir David Beatty.
  • Losses: 3 battlecruisers, 3 armored cruisers and 8 destroyers (113,300 tons) sunk. Killed: 6,094.
  • Ships: 99 German ships under Admiral Reinhard Scheer and Franz Hipper.
  • Losses: 1 battlecruiser, 1 pre-dreadnought cruiser, 4 light cruisers, 5 torpedo boats (62,300 tons) sunk. Killed: 2,551.
Battle of Britain, Battle of. England 1940
  • Aircraft: 2,550 German Luftwaffe.
  • Losses: 2,585 aircrew killed. 1,977 aircraft destroyed.
  • Aircraft: 1,963 Royal Air Force.
  • Losses: 1,542 aircrew killed. 1,744 aircraft destroyed.
Pearl Harbor. Hawaii 1941 4,000 American soldiers, on 10 ships and 261 aircraft were killed. Died Surprise attack by 360 Japanese aircraft under Nagumo.
Midway (at sea), Battle of. Pacific ocean 1942
  • Ships: 3 fleet cruisers, 7 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 15 destroyers, 16 submarines.
  • Aircraft: 360 carrier and land based.
  • Losses: 1 fleet carrier and 1 destroyer sunk. Around 150 aircraft destroyed. Killed: Over 300.
  • Ships: 4 fleet carriers, 2 battleships, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 12 destroyers.
  • Aircraft: 264 carrier based and floatplanes.
  • Losses: 4 fleet carriers and 1 heavy cruiser sunk. 1 heavy cruiser damaged. 248 aircraft destroyed. Killed: 3,057.
Stalingrad, Battle of. Russia 1942 850,000 German, Italian and Romanian soldiers, under Paul and von Manstein, attacked a much larger Soviet army. Defeat 1,700,000 Soviet soldiers under Zhukov, Timoshenko and Vasilevsky.
Ardennes, Battle of. Belgium 1944 250,000 German soldiers, under Rundstedt, attacked US army forces. Defeat 1st and 3rd US Army (400,000) under Eisenhower.
Huế, Battle of. Vietnam 1968 10,000 († 668) US Americans and South Vietnamese attacked. Victory 10,000 († 2400[US] OR 5133[VN] North Vietnamese.
Kuwait and Iraq. Middle East 1991 490,000 UNO-soldiers, under General Schwarzkopf, attacked Iraqi forces. Victory 550,000 Iraqi soldiers during the Gulf War.
Baghdad. Iraq 2003 45,000 Iraqis under Saddam Hussein attacked American-led forces. Defeat 300,000 Americans under Commander Franks.
: Died. [US] MACV US Military Assistance Command figures. [VN] PAVN Vietnam People’s Army of Vietnam figures.

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