Most humiliating military defeat in history.

Jul 2019
New Jersey
Battle of Pavia (1525). King Francis I of France's army was obliterated by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and Francis himself was taken prisoner. He later wrote to his mother, "I have lost all, except for my honor."
Oct 2016
surrender of Detroit by General Hull to the Brits in War of 1812

"Tecumseh's warriors, meanwhile, paraded several times past a gap in the forest where the Americans could see them, while making loud war cries. Militia cavalry leader William Hamilton Merritt noted that "Tecumseh extended his men, and marched them three times through an opening in the woods at the rear of the fort in full view of the garrison, which induced them to believe there were at least two or three thousand Indians." Merritt was not an eyewitness, however, and this claim has been disputed.

As the British prepared to attack, a shell exploded in the officers' mess inside the fort, causing casualties. Hull despaired of holding out against a force which seemingly consisted of thousands of British regulars, because he was lacking adequate gunpowder and ammunition to withstand a long siege. A surrender would also save his 2,500 soldiers and 700 civilians, including his own daughter, from "the horrors of an Indian massacre", he wrote.

Hull hoisted a white flag of surrender against the advice of his subordinates. He sent messengers to Brock asking for three days to agree on terms of surrender. Brock replied that he would allow him three hours. Hull surrendered his entire force, including Cass's and McArthur's detachment and Major Brush's supply convoy. There were rumours that he had been drinking heavily prior to the surrender. He is reported to have said that the Indians were "numerous beyond example" and "more greedy of violence… than the Vikings or Huns."
source: Siege of Detroit - Wikipedia


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Republika Srpska
Jingxing 205 BC. Han army led by Han Xin numbering 30,000 faced a Zhao army of 200,000. Han Xin led his army to victory and the Zhao forces suffered 150,000 casualties. Also the battle of Pengcheng that happened in the same year where Liu Bang's army of more than 500,000 got beaten by Xiang Yu's Chu army of 30,000.
Likes: Futurist


Ad Honoris
May 2014
I'm not sure if this has already been mentioned here (I'm too lazy to check all ten pages here), but what about the 1071 Battle of Manzikert--a battle that resulted in the Byzantines' almost complete expulsion from Anatolia and one that could have easily been avoided (since the Seljuk Turks didn't actually want to fight the Byzantines)?

Granted, some of the Byzantines' losses as a result of this battle were reversed in the early 12th century, but it was still a huge setback to the Byzantines.


Forum Staff
Apr 2010
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Battle of Okehazama.

Imagawa Yoshimoto (20,000) vs Oda Nobunaga (about 3000). Yoshimoto was taken completely by surprise, as Oda samurai conducted a surprise attack on his headquarters, and lost his head.
Likes: Gvelion

Similar History Discussions