We have all already found ourselves in a funny situation where we think internally “this story seems rather bad to me” and where finally we manage to get out against all odds of a strange hornet’s nest. Historically there are also a few examples of battles or wars that were “losing in advance” but where the outsiders still won (which does not mean that they are the good guys in the story, but at the same time the concept of good guy and bad guy is pretty subjective when it comes to war (except for Nazis who are really bad guys).
1. The Battle of Longewala
This battle which opposed the Pakistani and Indian armed forces between December 4 and 7, 1971 gave the winning Pakistani army since 2000 to 3000 soldiers were on the battlefield accompanied by about forty tanks against 120 Indian soldiers accompanied ten camels and a jeep (as well as air support from four planes which arrived six hours after the start of hostilities).
It was on the one hand the ingenuity of the Indians to secure the perimeter which tipped the victory (mining of the perimeter, laying of barbed wire to hinder the advance of the enemy forces, tactical knowledge of the terrain, advantageous geographical position, uniforms which went very well to the soldiers and gave them the mega class…) but also certain decisions of the Pakistani army: no reconnaissance of the terrain which led the tanks to get bogged down, the absence of aerial verification which left the field open to Indian planes to surprise them and several other negligence which caused the defeat of the Pakistanis.
2. The Siege of Alesia
Before being a horrible film with Christophe Lambert, the defeat of Vercingetorix was above all real. Entrenched in the fortification of Alesia, the army of the Gallic warlord was blocked by the legions of Julius Caesar who had decided to surround the entire perimeter and erect other fortifications to protect themselves from the reinforcing armies.
Even though the Roman army of 60,000 men was largely dominated by Vercingetorix’s 80,000 soldiers and Gallic reinforcements who arrived later (240,000), Julius Caesar still managed to bounce back in the right way and maintain the morale of his troops. The supporting Gallic armies eventually dispersed and the encircled armies accepted surrender by throwing their leader at the Roman Emperor, marking one of the biggest unexpected knockdowns in history.
3. The Battle of Gate Pa
Several notable clashes took place during the Tauranga campaign in New Zealand but the most astonishing is probably the battle of Gate Pa (1864) which opposed the British forces and the Maoris. The British armed forces of 1,700 heavily armed soldiers faced some 200 Maori warriors. But the latter had the advantage of knowing the terrain and led the enemy troops into a marshy place conducive to ambushes.
While the British forces had the advantage and the conflict had been going on for a few days, the tide was completely reversed in just five minutes that still seem a blur today: the invading soldiers began to turn back in panic by giving up the fight. Among the theories that try to explain this reversal of the situation, this one dominates: the Maori soldiers would have camouflaged themselves while waiting for the approach of their enemies and would have waited for the perfect moment to quickly attack a big blow. Seeing many soldiers fall under the fire in a few seconds the regiment would have turned around in panic by abandoning the fight.
4. The Battle of Rorke’s Drift
A few hours after the battle of Isandhlwana (South Africa – 1879) where the British army had been violently repulsed and beaten by Zulu warriors, some 139 defeated soldiers had taken refuge in a farm, counting in their ranks more than 30 wounded. It was therefore a hundred able-bodied men who found themselves defending the farm for nearly twelve hours against endless waves of Zulu warriors (nearly 4,000 soldiers in all).
The fierce fight against the enemy waves began to change direction as the hours passed, with the Zulu soldiers finally refusing to continue sending men into battle seeing the tenacity of the British. In the end, 17 soldiers of the crown died during the confrontation against 350 Zulus. This battle is the one where the most Victoria Crosses have been awarded in the whole history of England: eleven soldiers received it as decoration. This is the most prestigious medal in the British army, it tells you how much they were considered heroes.
5. Capture of Qashliq Fortress
The Cossack Yermak Timofeyevic is credited today with being the one who paved the way for Yvan the Terrible in 1582 by venturing into Siberia to retake the capital Sibir from the Khan’s hands. Many gray areas surround his journey, as do his true origins: some sources say he was a pirate and that a wanted poster was hanging over him, others that he came from a wealthy family of merchants. .
Anyway Yermak Timofeyevic went to Siberia with 1000 Cossack soldiers and managed to take the fortress of Qashliq and the capital Sibir by dislodging the Khan while facing an army three times larger which also had the advantage of the strategic position and a better armament, all in one day according to the legend. The Cossack army would have lost nearly 100 soldiers while the Siberian army would have seen its 3000 men fall, leaving only one survivor according to legend. Well, it’s to be taken with a grain of salt, but historically Timofeyevic has taken the capital well.
6. The capture of Belgrade by the SS
SS Commander Fritz Klingenberg had advanced towards Belgrade accompanied by a regiment to cross the Danube and march on the city. Except that on arriving on the other side of the bank, the boat on which he had crossed sank and Klingenberg found himself with six men at the gates of Belgrade without ammunition. The commander decided to enter the city discreetly and to bring down the flag to replace it with the Nazi flag.
The mayor then arrived at them and Fritz Klingenberg chose to bluff by telling him that the German army had just taken the city and that the inhabitants had to surrender, which the latter decided to accept. This is how six German soldiers without ammunition took a town of 200,000 inhabitants, including a few thousand soldiers, in one night without firing a single shot. For once it was rather well played, too bad they were big stupid Nazis.
7. The Battle of Lacolle Mills
This battle, which took place in Canada and opposed British and American soldiers, was off to a rather bad start for the soldiers of the crown: 80 soldiers with very little ammunition against 4,000 American soldiers with a much greater strike force for a confrontation in the mud. and snow. Their commander, Richard Hancock decided to go all out and charge into the crowd with bayonets, probably sending his men to certain death but the charge was quickly repelled.
Against all expectations, Canadian reinforcements came to lend a hand to the British, increasing the ranks to 500 men against 4000. Hancock then decided to attempt his heroic charge with the bayonet again and finally, the maneuver bore fruit: shortly after 4000 American soldiers are rejected and flee in the face of an unexpected attack.
8. The Battle of Okehazama
While lord Imagawa Yoshimoto marched on the Kyoto region at the head of 40,000 soldiers, his opposing clan led by Oda Nobunaga had only 3000 men. Despite this obvious imbalance of forces, Oda tries a rather reckless approach: bet everything on the offensive, even if the army opposite had ten times more soldiers.
The warlord then took advantage of a storm to furiously enter Yoshimoto’s camp, taking care to enter from the back of his base to kill him quickly and avoid all his soldiers, thus getting rid of the mastermind. of an army henceforth without a leader. This lightning victory literally forged the legend of Oda, which we have already told you about in a completely different anecdote and which concerned the asses that changed history, a top that I recommend to you.
9. The Battle of Agincourt
We could summarize the Battle of Agincourt in one rule: the choice of weapons is more than decisive in wartime. The English army of Henry V was clearly understaffed against the French army since it had only 5,000-8,000 archers against 15,000-30,000 heavily armed soldiers and cavalry. After playing the offensive for a while Henry V understood that his men were running to their loss and decided to take refuge by erecting barricades to rain down arrows on his enemies.
His strategy more than paid off as almost 6,000 French were killed during the battle against 600 on the English side. The muddy ground and the heavy armor did not help the French soldiers to advance to the barricades, the retreat was quickly sounded and the English victory proclaimed, becoming in the process one of the most famous examples of a battle cleverly lost in advance. conducted.
10. The Battle of Carrhes
The Battle of Carrhes, or the fall of General Crassus remains one of the finest defeats of the Roman army. The aptly named Crassus (I don’t really know if he was filthy) was probably one of the most despicable Roman personalities of his time and he had decided to leave with his army to conquer Parthia (Iran), which brought to fight on the outskirts of Carrhes in present-day Turkey on May 6, 53 BC.
At the head of 52,000 soldiers (up to 70,000 according to some estimates), Crassus probably had in mind that he would make short work of the 12,000 Parthian cavalry, but the project did not really go as planned. The mobility of the mounted archers was the real asset of the opposing army compared to the slow and grouped movements of the Romans quickly overwhelmed by arrows and unable to respond to offensives. In the end between 20,000 and 40,000 Roman soldiers would have died against 38 in the opposing camp, which can be described as a good shake.