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Old December 3rd, 2012, 02:04 PM   #1
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Dumb Invasions (and Attempts)


What invasions or invasion attempts throughout history would you describe as an 'epic fail', 'was obviously going to fail', or '...You seriously invaded/lost/won because of that?' Bonus if you have specific examples, like specific battles (if the invasion consisted of more than one) or reasons.

Starting off with my own list...

Napoleon's invasion of Russia-pretty much a given. There are never enough 'nevers' you can add to the advice of 'never invade Russia'. Among other reasons, Napoleon was unprepared, as the Russians burned down their own crops and poisoned their wells so invaders couldn't use them, and then winter set in. Ultimately: Napoleonic epic fail.

Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union/Russia-Same as Napoleon, and seriously, in the words of my history teacher, if you're going to try and invade Russia, at least pack some mittens. Not only were there blatant examples of failed invasions of Russia throughout history to serve as warning signs and models, but the attempt was handled with overconfident claims that it would be a quick victory and there wasn't much need to prep for the long term. Once again, the people burned their crops, poisoned their wells, and by the time winter set in, the Soviet troops are snug in their quilted uniforms while the Nazi troops are left with crap. And seriously? The Soviet Union was kinda, uh, big. That's kind of a lot of land and territory to take over. And in the end, it wound up pissing the Soviets off something major. Ultimately: Nazi epic fail.

Teutonic invasion of Novgorod-Again, failed invasion attempt at Russia (okay, granted, it was more so between Estonia and Russia, but still). Particularly? Battle of the Ice. After some fighting against the crusaders, Novgorod forces eventually managed to draw them out towards a frozen lake. As archers and fresh Russian cavalry came out to back them, the knights started making a disorganized retreat deeper and deeper into the ice. Heavy crusader armor+thin ice=bad. Ultimately: Teutonic epic fail.

British Conquest of Cyprus-An invasion of convenience. King Richard of Britain was originally on his way to join up with French and Austrian forces during the Third Crusade. While traveling by ship, the fleet got disbanded in a storm. In looking for the fleet, he found one of the ships that held his sister and fiancee anchored at Cyprus, as well as various other shipwrecked ships and a treasure ship, and survivors who had been taken prisoner. He could've left upon freeing the prisoners-but nah. He then proceeded to take over the entire island and take the treasure. In short, the invasion pretty much happened because "here's a place with treasure" and "huh, well, I've got an army, so might as well". Ultimately, it didn't turn out so well in the long run, seeing as not only did it set the king's arrival date in acre a month late, but it also made his return route dangerous. It should be noted, as a bonus, that he was kidnapped by Duke Leopold of Austria during said return trip, which started this whole affair of the duke being excommunicated, the Holy Roman Emperor being excommunicated, and ultimately sending Britain into near-bankruptcy from paying off the ransom. Ultimately: You seriously invaded because of that?...but hey, at least it sets the story for Robin Hood.

Swiss invasion of Liechtenstein (2007)-Swiss soldiers mistakenly got turned around in the darkness and ended up accidentally crossing the border into Liechtenstein. The troops turned back before really making it more than a of couple kilometers into the country, and were informed by the Swiss since the troops managed to leave before anyone in Liechtenstein really noticed. Liechtenstein's response was basically, "Eh, these things happen." Ultimately: ...I don't even have words for this, except that someone should remember to pack a compass next time.

Irish Invasion of Canada (1866)-As the Civil War was raging in the US, members of the Fenian Brotherhood decided to work together to form the Irish Republican Army on the side, regardless on if they were currently enlisted in Yankee or Confederate troops. By 1866, their numbers surged and they decided it was a reasonable idea to try and invade Canada. They would take it from the British, then sail over and free the actual island of Ireland. They originally planned to get support from Irish Canadians and French Canadians, and even thought they'd get support from the US. But the US started changing its mind, eventually deciding to settle for recognizing the Irish Republican Brotherhood as a government in exile if the invasion of Canada was successful. Due to Irish political issues, the lack of support, and other problems... Ultimately: Epic fail. While they did manage some raids and capturing some Canadian towns, it got to the point where they were being threatened by the US if they didn't quit their attempts.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 02:24 PM   #2

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The Mongol Invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281 spring to mind. Both times their fleet was destroyed by typhoons and the only battles that did occur went pretty decisively in Japan's favour.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 02:30 PM   #3
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Speaking of accidental invasions, I read that Mexico accidentally invaded the US last year when their soldiers got turned around near the border. The UK accidentally invaded Spain during military manoeuvers in Gibraltar, and I recall a Nicaragua commander accidentally invading Costa Rica and even replacing a Costa Rican flag with a Nicaraguan flag...apparently due to the border being off by a few thousand meters in Google Maps.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 02:55 PM   #4

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Ottoman invasion of Russia 1914 :

+ Invading Russia at Winter without winter equiment is a certain defeat. No matter if Russia's hand is full against fighting with Germany and Austria. Most of the Ottoman soldiers died before seeing a Russian soldier because of General Winter.

Nazi German invasion of Russia 1941 :

+ Nazi Germany had series of victories from 1939 to 1941. They were no doubt most dreadful nation on earth and one of the most powerful nation but invasion of Russia was a huge mistake. First mistake is if you invade a country like Russia(one of the most powerful country with huge size) you have at least have to fight with no one else. Invading Russia while having war with Great Britain is not a good idea. I agree with OP on this.

Arabic invasion of Constantinople (674-678) :

+ This one was dumb attempt. Invading one of the worlds best defended city from thousands of kilometers away from sea is not a good idea. At the end, Arabic Navy got defeated by new Byzantine invention, the greek fire and the Arabic land army got defeated by the Byzantine army.

Greek invasion of Anatolia (1919-1922) :

+ Ottoman Empire got nearly destroyed after WW1 and they accepted every single demand which Allies did. Some of the Turks got angry to attitude of Ottoman's and under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, they fought against foreign powers who is expanding on Anatolia. Greeks had great chance to capture all of the Western Anatolia but they got defeated by Turkish Rebels, and their dreams got destroyed as their army got destroyed.

Iraqi invasion of Iran (1980-1988) :

+ This one was another horrible attempt to conquer a country which is in under chaos. Iraq invaded Iran just after they had revolution. Iran had chaos at that time and Iraq wanted to have opportunity from it by they failed certainly... After war both of the countries economies got damaged badly. Iran managed to recover from it but Iraq couldn't recover and they had to pay their debts to other countries which Iraq got from. That's why Iraq invaded Kuwait and by that, Saddam Hussein made his relations with U.S bad which will lead to series of events and eventually he got executed by U.S.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 03:12 PM   #5
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The Argentine invasion of the Falklands Islands. My whole life I've always wondered if they really thought they'd defeat the British. C'mon Argentina really? The British didn't give into Napoleon but they're gonna surrender to Argentina?
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 03:22 PM   #6

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Marc anthony campaign against parthia.

Crassus invasion of parthia.

Napoleon invasion of russia.
Won't say operation barbarossa.It should have succeeded if not for unbeleivable soviet resistance.

Ottoman invasion russia 1914.

British invasion of afganisthan.First anglo afghan war.

Arab invasion of israel 1948.

Russian invasion of finland 1939.

Athenian invasion of syracuse. peloponessan war.

Seventh crusade louis IX.

Chinese invasion of vietnam 1979.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 03:30 PM   #7

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Bay of Pigs.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 03:55 PM   #8
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Peter the Hermit's ''invasion'' is dumb enough to be in the top 5 I think.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 04:42 PM   #9

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This one strikes my mind. French republicans forces attempting to reinforce Irish rebels during the Irish rebellion of 1798.

Expédition d'Irlande - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 04:51 PM   #10

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The Spanish Armada invasion of England.
Really, when you read about it, it was a disaster before it started.
And ends up with starving Spanish sailors on the beaches of Ireland, their ships literally falling apart, getting murdered by the locals.
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