Bloodiest hand-to-hand battle in history?

Jun 2012
I was reading about the Battle of Towton during the Wars of the Roses in 1461, which is labelled the 'bloodiest battle in English history'. Out of a combined c.50,000 men, c.28,000 were slaughtered in the bitter and merciless ten-hour battle and rout.

But in world history, which could be termed the bloodiest hand-to-hand battle in history, before gunpowder?

Classically, the battle of Cannae (studied by generals and academies ever since, and today) in 216bc is described such? The bloodiest battle ''until WWI'', Carthage general Hannibal's men wiped out over 50,000 Romans, a third of the Roman Senate.


Forum Staff
Apr 2010
T'Republic of Yorkshire
The battle of Sekigahara left over 30,000 dead by some estimates, out of some 160,000.
[ame=]Battle of Sekigahara - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

The winter seige of Osaka had nearly 300,000 participants, not sure how many were killed though. The summer seige left tens of thousands dead on the Toyotomi side.

At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
[ame=]List of battles by casualties - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

Enjoy! No one can't beat the chinese, of coarse.


Ad Honorem
May 2012
Casualty figures in ancient sources tend to suffer from mild to very serious cases of inflation, making them very unreliable for this kind of thing.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
Battle of Baghdad - Mongol conquests- 2,100,000+ including civilians.
What the ****?
A large city for that time, and the center of Islam, was taken and most of the population massacred. 2 million is probably way too high, but probably 90+% of the casualties were civilians. The Mongol army included Christian allies, as well as Chinese, Turks, and Persians.

The great library was destroyed, as was the irrigation system. This was perhaps the end of Iraqi civilization dating back 3000 years from that time.
Mar 2012
This cant be measured for sure as the records of past gunpowder-era are either limited or highly biased

But i will give it to the tamerlanes india campaign( said to be wiped %5 of worlx's population)