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 BattlesWhereWhenAttackersOutcomeDefenders
Marathon, Battle of.Greece490 BCAthenians and Plataeans.VictoryPersian invaders.
Issus, Battle of.Turkey333 BCMacedonians under Alexander the Great.VictoryPersian minions under the command of Darius III.
Cannae, Battle of.Apulia216 BC40,000 Carthaginians (†8000) under Hannibal.Victory80,000 Romans († 70,000) under Lucius Paullus.
Teutoburg Forest, Battle of.Germany9 ADGermans under Arminius.Victory3 Roman legions under Varus (Varus Battle).
Lechfeld, Battle of.Germany955Hungarian troops attacked under Bulcsú.DefeatSaxony / Franconia / Bavaria under Otto I. / Red Konrad.
Hastings, Battle of.England10669000 Normans under Duke William II attacked.Victory10,000 Anglo-Saxons under King Harold II.
Blackbirds, Fields of.Kosovo1389An estimated 20,000 Christian Serbs and Bosnians, led by Prince Lazar and Vuk Brankovic, attacked the Turks.Defeat35,000 Turks (Ottoman Empire) under Sultan Murad I, Sultan Bayezid I and Yakub.
Tannenberg, Battle of.Poland141027,000 German troops, under Grand Master Jungingen, attacked.Defeat39,000 Poles and Lithuanians under Władysław II Jagiello.
Orléans, Battle of.France1428/29The French, under Joan of Arc, attacked the Burgundians and English.VictoryEnglish and Burgundians under the Earl of Salisbury.
Constantinople (Istanbul), Battle of.Turkey1453The Byzantines, under Emperor Constantine XI, attacked the Turks.Defeat50,000 Turks under Sultan Mehmed II.
Towton, War of the Roses.England1461The 40,000 strong House of York army, under Edward IV, attacked the House of Lancaster.Victory60,000 of the House of Lancaster under Henry Beaufort.
Hohenlinden, Battle of.Germany1800100,000 French, under Moreau and Ney, attacked the Austrians.Victory120,000 Austrians under John of Austria.
Austerlitz, Battle of.Czech Republic180573,000 French (139 guns), under Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte, attacked the Russian and Austrians (278 guns).Victory85,000 Russians and Austrians under Tsar Alexander I and Emperor Francis II.
Trafalgar, Battle of.England180527 British ships, under Nelson, attacked French and Spanish ships.Victory33 Spanish and French ships under Villeneuve.
Leipzig, Battle ofGermany1813210,000 Frenchmen, with 700 guns, under Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte, attacked the Prussians, Austrians and Russians.Defeat310,000 Prussians, Austrians and Russians under Prince Schwarzenberg and Alexander I.
Hanau, Battle ofGermany181360,000 French troops, under Napoleon I, attacked the Bavarian and Austrian troops.Victory45,000 Bavarians / Austrians under Carl von Wrede.
Waterloo, Battle of.Belgium181572,000 Frenchmen with 246 guns under Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte attacked.Defeat68,000 English / Dutch (156 guns) and 31,000 Prussians under Wellington and Blücher.
Fredericksburg, Battle of.USA186272,000 Confederate soldiers, under General Lee, attacked Union troops.Victory100,000 Union army soldiers under General Burnside.
Gettysburg, Battle of.USA186375,000 Confederates, under General Lee, attacked 88,000 Union soldiers.DefeatUnion Army (88,000) under General Meade.
Königgrätz, Battle of / Hradec Kralove, Battle of.Czech Republic1866278,000 Prussians, under Chief of Staff Moltke, attacked Austrian forces.Victory271,000 Austrians under Benedek.
Sedan, Battle of.France1870120,000 Frenchmen, with 564 guns, attacked German forces.Defeat200,000 Germans with 744 guns under Moltke.
Little Big Horn River, Battle of.USA1876Cheyenne, Dakota, and Arapaho, under chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, attacked.VictoryCavalry Regiment under General Custer.
Tannenberg, Battle ofPoland1914300,000 Germans, under General Hindenburg, attacked Russian army.Victory2nd Russian Army (300,000) under Samsonov.
Verdun, Battle of.France191675 French divisions (†167,000) under Joffre, Pétain and Nivelle attacked.Draw50 German divisions (†150,000) under Falkenhayn.
Skagerrak (at sea), Naval battle of.Skagerrak strait1916
  • 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.
Draw
  • 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.England1940
  • Aircraft: 2,550 German Luftwaffe.
  • Losses: 2,585 aircrew killed. 1,977 aircraft destroyed.
Defeat
  • Aircraft: 1,963 Royal Air Force.
  • Losses: 1,542 aircrew killed. 1,744 aircraft destroyed.
Pearl Harbor.Hawaii19414,000 American soldiers, on 10 ships and 261 aircraft were killed.DiedSurprise attack by 360 Japanese aircraft under Nagumo.
Midway (at sea), Battle of.Pacific ocean1942
  • 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.
Victory
  • 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.Russia1942850,000 German, Italian and Romanian soldiers, under Paul and von Manstein, attacked a much larger Soviet army.Defeat1,700,000 Soviet soldiers under Zhukov, Timoshenko and Vasilevsky.
Ardennes, Battle of.Belgium1944250,000 German soldiers, under Rundstedt, attacked US army forces.Defeat1st and 3rd US Army (400,000) under Eisenhower.
Huế, Battle of.Vietnam196810,000 († 668) US Americans and South Vietnamese attacked.Victory10,000 († 2400[US] OR 5133[VN] North Vietnamese.
Kuwait and Iraq.Middle East1991490,000 UNO-soldiers, under General Schwarzkopf, attacked Iraqi forces.Victory550,000 Iraqi soldiers during the Gulf War.
Baghdad.Iraq200345,000 Iraqis under Saddam Hussein attacked American-led forces.Defeat300,000 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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