Most famous battles in history

Most famous

  • Battle of Waterloo

    Votes: 13 37.1%
  • Battle of Stalingrad

    Votes: 9 25.7%
  • Battle of Hastings

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Battle of Somme

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Battle of Gettysburg

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Battle of Midway

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Battle of Marathon

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Battle of Thermopylae

    Votes: 4 11.4%
  • Battle of Trafalgar

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • Other

    Votes: 4 11.4%

  • Total voters
    35
Feb 2019
1,178
Serbia
True, but Waterloo was not without relevance even to China:


It is the evening of June 18, 1815 and an exultant Napoleon Bonaparte surveys the field after winning the Battle of Waterloo, planning his next conquest.

Within years his empire will stretch as far as China, French will be spoken across the continent (...)

(...)

But if one imagines that Bonaparte had eventually defeated his European enemies in the long-term, his ambitions afterwards would have been demonstrably larger, historians said.

"If Napoleon followed his original plans for 1810, he would have invaded Russia again and potentially extended his empire as far as China," da Luz said.

(...)

An even more radical scenario was put forward in the 19th century by the French writer Louis Geoffroy. In his novel Napoleon and the Conquest of the World, 1812-1832, he described how Napoleon was able to overrun China, turning it into a mere "Asian province".
A wishful scenario that would need Alien Space Bats to work. Napoleon had more armies to face with the Austrians and the Russians converging on the banks of the Rhine, more Austrians in Italy, the Spanish armies across the Pyrenees, the pro-Bourbon royalists that revolted and took over western French provinces, more Prussian armies that could be sent and the very likely scenario of the armies at Waterloo surviving destruction even if defeated. All in all he faced over 1.000.000 coalition soldiers across multiple fronts, had dwindling popularity, revolts in his own territory, disloyal marshals and conspirators among his own ranks and an army only over 200.000 strong in all. His only ally was Murat in Naples, who was defeated before Waterloo and only by a secondary Austrian army.

The idea that Napoleon could win after Waterloo, let alone conquer as far as China is rather strange.
 
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Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,922
T'Republic of Yorkshire
I think among more military history interested people, the battle of Waterloo is more famous. Napoleon's last battle, etc. But I'll be honest and say that before I got into history, I had little idea what this battle actually was. Thermopolae is much more known among common-folk - and if not the name of the battle itself, then certainly the 300 spartans.
That's because of the comic book and film. Had you asked the same question in 1974, the answer would be different.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,990
Republika Srpska
True, but Waterloo was not without relevance even to China:
Napoleon didn't even control entire Europe at the peak of his Empire's power. The chances of him reaching China were zero.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,922
T'Republic of Yorkshire
True, but Waterloo was not without relevance even to China:

(South China Morning Post)

It is the evening of June 18, 1815 and an exultant Napoleon Bonaparte surveys the field after winning the Battle of Waterloo, planning his next conquest.

Within years his empire will stretch as far as China, French will be spoken across the continent (...)

(...)

But if one imagines that Bonaparte had eventually defeated his European enemies in the long-term, his ambitions afterwards would have been demonstrably larger, historians said.

"If Napoleon followed his original plans for 1810, he would have invaded Russia again and potentially extended his empire as far as China," da Luz said.

(...)

An even more radical scenario was put forward in the 19th century by the French writer Louis Geoffroy. In his novel Napoleon and the Conquest of the World, 1812-1832, he described how Napoleon was able to overrun China, turning it into a mere "Asian province".
Potential consequences does not make a famous battle. You could argue that if Russia had won the Battle of Tsushima, the entire history of the 20th century would be different - no Russian Revolution and no WW2.
 
Oct 2018
2,106
Sydney
This above all was the era when you did that (11th/12th/13th centuries) - you charged at the other side with a heavy cavalry charge, otherwise you were a coward! There's a long list of catastropes down to that and not just in Iberia - Hattin is probably the classic.

Anyone with any wit would beat it every time
Another classic would be Crecy.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,417
Welsh Marches
Napoleon didn't even control entire Europe at the peak of his Empire's power. The chances of him reaching China were zero.
Perhaps he should have gone on to China once he had reached Moscow.
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,743
Athens, Greece
Staring fate in the eye,
I see now my Thermopylae.
Thermopylae

Honour to those who in their life
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never swaying from their duty;
just and straight in all their deeds,
but also with pity and compassion;
generous when they are rich, and when
they are poor, still generous in small ways,
still helping as much as they can;
always speaking the truth,
yet without hatred for the liars.

And more honour is due to them
when they foresee (and many do foresee)
that Ephialtis will appear in the end,
and the Medes will finally break through.


And the original Greek text (poem by Constantine P. Cavafy):