Fastest conquest of territory?

Oct 2014
145
In an ultimate "Spirt of the Game" (SOTG) state of
#1
I recently saw a documentary, and believe it said in the
1st month after Germany invaded the USSR in WW2,
Germany captured 500,000 sq. miles (~ 1.3 million sq. km.)

Does that sound right? Would that be the fastest
conquest of territory in history? (By my math, that
is ~ 15,000 sq. miles / day or ~ 39,000 sq. km. / day)
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,106
#3
I recently saw a documentary, and believe it said in the
1st month after Germany invaded the USSR in WW2,
Germany captured 500,000 sq. miles (~ 1.3 million sq. km.)

Does that sound right? Would that be the fastest
conquest of territory in history? (By my math, that
is ~ 15,000 sq. miles / day or ~ 39,000 sq. km. / day)
There are many ways to compute these things...... Obviously with increased mobility it is easier to move faster.... Also it is easier to capture more territory with larger armies (and the force assembled for Barbarossa was the largest to date)....

Also if you pick and choose a time window you'd be able to show impressive results...For example one could select just one or a few days of impressive advance..... But if the time window is June 41 to May 45 then the german performance is not so impressive since they would be negative territory wise (i.e. they lost territory to the soviets).....

Depending on the time window one selects, its possible that the mongol conquests would qualify as the "fastest" within a time window of several years...
 
Oct 2014
145
In an ultimate "Spirt of the Game" (SOTG) state of
#4
There are many ways to compute these things...... Obviously with increased mobility it is easier to move faster.... Also it is easier to capture more territory with larger armies (and the force assembled for Barbarossa was the largest to date)....

Also if you pick and choose a time window you'd be able to show impressive results...For example one could select just one or a few days of impressive advance..... But if the time window is June 41 to May 45 then the german performance is not so impressive since they would be negative territory wise (i.e. they lost territory to the soviets).....

Depending on the time window one selects, its possible that the mongol conquests would qualify as the "fastest" within a time window of several years...
Good point about the time window.

As far as increased mobility - I seem to recall reading somewhere
that the German invasion of Belgium & N. France in 1st part of
WWI and May 1940 moved roughly the same speed.

No idea if that is true. I think the point might be that
logistically it is harder to support the armored forces
of May 1940, than the foot soldiers of 1914.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
4,984
Canary Islands-Spain
#5
There are many ways to compute these things...... Obviously with increased mobility it is easier to move faster.... Also it is easier to capture more territory with larger armies (and the force assembled for Barbarossa was the largest to date)....

Also if you pick and choose a time window you'd be able to show impressive results...For example one could select just one or a few days of impressive advance..... But if the time window is June 41 to May 45 then the german performance is not so impressive since they would be negative territory wise (i.e. they lost territory to the soviets).....

Depending on the time window one selects, its possible that the mongol conquests would qualify as the "fastest" within a time window of several years...
Good points.

Ancient armies have the advantage of controlling large territories with little forces: less demography, less resilient states etc

The Mongol armies might overperformed the Germans:

-Invasion of Europe: January 1241-April 1241, 2.5 million km2

Of course no way all this territory was conquered, but the same is true for Germany in 1941
 
Oct 2015
5,089
Matosinhos Portugal
#6
The discoverers of the fifteenth century conquered continents. The twentieth century with more heavily armed weapons only conquered only a few square kilometers, there is a great difference.
 
Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
#8
The Oda-Tokugawa's conquest of Takeda. It was pretty fast. Just little more than a month, the entire province of Shinano, Kai, Suruga and Kozuke had fallen into the invaders' hand !

Takato Castle, where the Oda-Tokugawa armies met the only tenacious resistance in the entire campaign, fell in just one day ! Just a day after, Takeda Katsuyori abandoned Shinpu Castle ; 10 days later, he fought to the death and commited seppuku...

It was probably the fastest military conquest in the Sengoku history !
 
Aug 2018
5
Ipswich
#9
Depends how you measure. If the measure is just militarily gaining control of the most amount of territory in the least amount of time, the winner is almost certainly going to be one of the many civil wars in which control over a large empire was settled in one battle. Large ancient empires such as the Romans had many such quick wars in which the whole empire changed hands.

OTOH this generally involved either just defeating the previous ruler or capturing the capital so that people acknowledged a change of regime, rather than having to reconquer every inch of land.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2015
35
???
#10
The fastest conquest of largest amount of territory should go to the early Tang Dynasty. If i remember correctly Li Jing overran and conquered Eastern Turks in two battles that happened within the time span of 1 month and Su Dingfang conquest of Western Turks in a single campaign that barely last for few weeks(probably less than a month). And if i'm not mistaken, Xue Rengui campaign and conquered many Oghuz tribes and Proto-Mongolians tribes also within a very short time.

Li Jing march from Northern China and fought the Eastern Turks all the way to the border of Siberia, Su Dingfang fought the Western Turks from around Ob-Irtysh in Siberia all the way to Western Central Asia, While Xue Rengui campaign were more scattered but still most of his campaigns were in the North or North East, and so was Li Shiji campaigns.

So most of those territory that stretch from Amur-Ussuri Region towards the Caspian Sea and from Siberia in the north towards Southern Central Asia/border or parts of Northern South Asia were all conquered within a short time span, and many of the early Tang conquest were very fast within a short time span. For now i really can't think of any other faster conquest, even including all the mongol campaigns.

This should be the largest total of territories that were conquered within the shortest time span. (Remember i only talk about the total time for Tang to defeat, subjugated and conquered other entities, not counting the time when there were no rivalries or hostilities (in other words peaceful times) between the Tang and other entities)
 

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