The bloodiest ONE DAY military disasters...

Aug 2006
583
Waltheofshire
Apart from such bloodbath campaigns as Verdun and Stalingrad, the horrors of which went on for months during WWI and WWII respectively, which military battles throughout history, fought in a single day, were the most bloody?

The criteria used to decide this could be

a) The most men slaughtered
b) The importance of the battle in a historical context
c) The ease/stubbornness of the victory
d) The tactics/weapons used
e) The ferocity, brutality and lack of mercy of the battle

Two, amongst others, I would name are;

Cannae (216bc) - Over 50,000 Romans were butchered by Hannibal's multi-national army in a notorious and inventive battle, due to the tactical genius of Hannibal, the third since he invaded. Not in the ensuing 12yrs did the Romans dare face him in pitched battle.

Stamford Bridge(1066) - King Harold II's mostly housecarl/thegn army fast-marched over 200m north, surprised a huge Norse Viking invasion army near York (led by famous and feared warrior-king, Harald Hardrada) and in a bitterly-fought and brutal all-day battle of attrition, he slaughtered over 90% of the Norsemen so that "only 24 out of 300 longboats sailed home..."

Or would you choose one of King Pyrrhus's battles in Italy (ie. a "pyrrhic" victory)?
 

CelticBard

Historum Emeritas
Aug 2006
758
Roving
Teutoburg Wald, 9 CE, Arminius leads the Germanic Cherusci led armies to ambush the three Roman legions he also led to the spot through deceiving Varus. Germans used throwing spears to weaken and divide the Romans before closing with sword, knife, or ax to assault them. Killed almost to a man in the bogs and forests, those that survived were nailed to trees and ritually drowned in bogs by their captors.

Battle of Lechfield, 955 CE, Otto I leads the united armies of Germany against the Magyars pillaging and attempting to besiege Augsburg. The Magyar horsemen have initial success in routing the Germans, but turn to looting the German baggage train as the rearguard, with Otto who has rallied the troops, returns to press the attack again. Otto's army was mostly infantry with a cavalry elite based on Charlemagne's cavalrymen. The Magyars fight like Turks, which is what they are called by Byzantines, but they are known as Huns to the West. They use cavalry archers and heavy cavalry to press the attack. The Magyars had created siege machines to aid in taking down Augsburg's walls, but had to abandon them. The Magyars are caught divided and off guard, many die, many die later in the Lech River when they try to ford it in their flight. The peasants in all the outlying villages are aware of the Magyar pressence and come out to kill any that wander past their abodes on their way home. Few Magyars return to Hungary, there are few raids into Western Europe after that. The Magyars convert to Christianity and begin living as the buffer for Western Europe from dangers on the steppe.

But I definitly agree with you on Cannae, also Lake Trasmene.
 
Jun 2006
309
Virginia, United States
The deadliest single-day battle in human history occurred on September 7, 1812. Anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 European and Russian soldiers became casualties at the Battle of Borodino, the largest single engagement in the French invasion of Russia. The first day on the Somme (July 1, 1916) is another famous one, with 60,000 British and 7,000 French casualties.
 
Jun 2006
257
UberCryxic said:
The deadliest single-day battle in human history occurred on September 7, 1812. Anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 European and Russian soldiers became casualties at the Battle of Borodino, the largest single engagement in the French invasion of Russia. The first day on the Somme (July 1, 1916) is another famous one, with 60,000 British and 7,000 French casualties.
Absolutely correct. Borodino was the bloodiest day in history and it is hard to know what the actual casualties were but many historians put the numbers even higher than the ones sited above.
 
Jun 2006
257
Cannae is up there as well but those numbers are hard to determine too. It depends on who you read but some put the number as high as 80,000. About 100 men per minute were cut down. But those ancient authors were not great at numbers and exagerated somewhat, sometimes.....like Herodotus...who didn't write about that battle but is an example of ancient historians playing with numbers for effect
 
Aug 2006
583
Waltheofshire
re

kahn said:
I;m not sure if this counts as a battle, but didn't 130,000 Japanese die from Hiroshima?
Kahn, I would call that more of a raid, or a mission, but terrible none the less.