The 70 Greatest Battles of All Time

A meta-list (combination of 15 “Best Battles” lists). Presented in chronological order.

  • Battle of Megiddo (on 3 lists)
    Date: 1457, 1479 or 1482 BCE
    War/Conflict: Canaanite Rebellion
    Location: Canaan (now Israel, near the city of Haifa) [Asia]
    Description: Egyptian forces under Pharaoh Thutmose III defeat a coalition of rebellious Canaanite tribes, led by the king of Kadesh. The defeat forced the Canaanites back into the city of Megiddo, leading to a seven-month successful Egyptian siege.  Canaan had been a conquered province of the Egyptian Empire, but the rebellion threatened to remove the area from Egyptian control.  The victory at Megiddo allowed the Egyptians to reestablish dominance in the province and expand on its empire.  Although all information about the battle is from Egyptian sources, it is considered to be relatively accurate. The battle is the first recorded use of the composite bow, which was made from horn, wood, and sinew laminated together and permitted the use of shorter bows to achieve the same energy as a much larger wooden bow.
  • Battle of Kadesh (on 4 lists)
    Date: 1274 or 1285 BCE
    War/Conflict: Egyptian-Hittite War
    Location: Kadesh, Orontes River (current border of Lebanon and Syria) [Asia]
    Description: The Egyptian army under the leadership of New Kingdom Pharaoh Ramesses II takes on the Hittites, led by Muwatalli II. The result is mixed: the Hittites retreat, but the Egyptians fail to capture the walled city of Kadesh. The Hittite Empire dominated Anatolia (modern day Turkey) and much of what is now Syria and was encroaching on Egyptian-controlled territory in the Levant, pushing back the border of the Egyptian Empire. Ramesses II was the third pharaoh (like Ramesses I and Seti I before him) to undertake to gain back some of the lost territory.  When Ramesees II recaptured the Amurru Kingdom (in present-day Syria and northern Lebanon), Muwatalli II marched south in an attempt to halt the Egyptian advance.  The result was a huge chariot battle, possible the largest in history, with an estimated 5,000-6,000 chariots engaged, but no clear outcome. The war continued for a number of years until the parties in c. 1259 BCE signed the earliest known international treaty.
  • Battle of Marathon (on 10 lists)
    Date: 490 BCE
    War/Conflict: Greco-Persian Wars
    Location: Marathon, Attica, Greece [Europe]
    Description: The city-state of Athens, with a little help from its neighbor Plataea, turns back the first Persian invasion of Greece on the Marathon plain. The Persian Empire under Darius the Great, sought to punish Athens for its assistance in the unsuccessful rebellion of the Ionians by invading Greece. A large Persian force led by Datis arrived by ship at Marathon but through skillful leadership (by Militiades and others), the Greeks drew the Persians onto the battlefield and then blocked all the exit routes, allowing the Greeks to defeat a Persian force more than twice its size.  The defeat at Marathon kept the Persian Empire away from Greece for 10 years.
  • Battle of Thermopylae (on 7 lists)
    Date: late August or early September, 480 BCE
    War/Conflict: Greco-Persian Wars
    Location: Thermopylae, near Lamia, Greece [Europe]
    Description: The Greek defeat at Thermopylae is one of the greatest “last stand” battles in history.  The Persians under Xerxes I had launched a second invasion of Greece.  This time, an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, mounted a united opposition. Athenian general Themistocles devised a two-part defense: the Greeks would stop the land invasion at the narrow pass of Thermopylae and the sea invasion at the Straits of Artemisium. An army of approximately 7,000 Greeks marched to the pass, a narrow strip of land between the coastline and the mountains, where they faced off against a much larger Persian force (modern estimates range from 100,000 to 150,000 soldiers). The Greeks withstood the onslaught for seven days, when the Persians, tipped off by a traitorous Greek, discovered a path through the mountains that would allow them to outflank the Greeks. Realizing the trap, Leonidas sent most of the Greeks away, but he and 1000 of his men remained to face certain death at the pass, while slowing down the Persian advance. As a result of the victory, Persia gained control of Phocis (including Delphi), Boeotia (including Thebes), and Attica (including Athens). But the war was not over.
  • Battle of Salamis (on 5 lists)
    Date: September, 480 BCE
    War/Conflict: Greco-Persian Wars
    Location: Saronic Gulf, near Salamis Island, Greece [Europe]
    Description: Having suffered a defeat at the Straits of Artemisium at the hands of the Persian navy, Athenian general Themistocles ordered the Greek fleet to retreat to the island of Salamis in the Saronic  Gulf, near Athens. He managed to draw the large Persian fleet into the narrow Straits of Salamis, where the ships found it difficult to maneuver and quickly became disorganized.  This gave the Greeks the opportunity to launch a frontal assault, resulting in a victory despite being outnumbered. Although the Persian war would persist for another year until Xerxes finally retreated, Salamis was the battle that turned the tide in the Greeks’ favor.
  • Sicilian Expedition and Siege of Syracuse (on 3 lists)
    Date: 415-413 BCE
    War/Conflict: Peloponnesian War
    Location: Syracuse, Sicily (now Italy) [Europe]
    Description: A devastating loss for the Greek city-state of Athens in Sicily in 415 BCE was a turning point in the Peloponnesian War between Athens and its allies, on one side, and Sparta and its allies on the other. The Greek colonies on the island of Sicily had been at war for years, with the Ionic colonies looking to Athens as an ally and the Doric colonies (particularly the city of Syracuse) allying themselves with Sparta.  Athens had intervened in those wars in 427 BCE at the request of Leontini, but retreated after the Congress of Gela in 424 BCE imposed a tenuous peace. The second Athenian intervention, known as the Sicilian Expedition, came in response to a cry for help from the city of Segesta in 415 BCE. After some initial success by the Athenians in Syracuse, Spartan general Gylippus arrived to shore up the defenses and mount a counter-offensive.  Arrival of reinforcing ships gave the Athenians a temporary advantage, but they squandered it with a disastrous land assault and several naval defeats. In 413 BCE, the Athenians, realizing that defeat was imminent, decided to retreat, but the maneuver failed, and nearly the entire army was killed or captured. Athens never quite recovered from the loss, and the war ended its final phase, with Sparta defeating Athens in 404 BCE.
  • Battle of Gaugamela (Battle of Arbela) (on 14 lists)
    Date: 1,331 BCE
    War/Conflict: Wars of Alexander the Great
    Location: Tel Gomel (near Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan) [Asia]
    Description: Macdeonian King Alexander III (Alexander the Great) successfully built a huge empire through an unprecedented series of military victories.  His most dangerous and powerful foe was the Persian Empire led by Achaemenid King Darius III. In 331 BCE, Alexander’s army (composed of soldiers from Macedonia and the Hellenic League of Greece) defeated Darius at the Battle of Issus, in what is now eastern Turkey, capturing Darius’s mother, wife and two daughters in the process. The defeat led to several attempts by Darius to negotiate a diplomatic solution, including an offer to be “co-rulers”, but Alexander was not willing to compromise. While negotiating, he continued to advance: turning south and taking the city of Tyre, then turning east towards Mesopotamia.  He crossed the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and turned south towards the Persian camp, which had been expecting Alexander to take the more direct (but much more difficult to supply) southern route.  At Gaugamela (near Erbil in what is now Iraqi Kurdistan), Alexander and the Persians faced off; the result was a resounding defeat for the Persians, although a Persian flanking action allowed Darius and a core of his army to retreat of Babylon. Soon after the loss, Darius was murdered by his own satraps, leading to internecine squabbles and the ultimate fall of the Achaemenid Empire. (Alexander gave Darius a royal funeral at Persepolis as a gesture of respect for a worthy adversary and married one of his daughters.) Soon after Gaugamela, Persia became another of Alexander’s vassal states.
  • Battle of Cannae (on 5 lists)
    Date: 216 BCE
    War/Conflict: Second Punic War
    Location: Apulia, Roman Republic (Italy) [Europe]
    Description: The Battle of Cannae was the single biggest defeat ever suffered by a Roman army and the high point of Hannibal Barca’s war against Rome.  Hannibal and his diverse armies from Numidia (now North Africa), Iberia (now Spain) and Gaul (now France) had made his way across the Mediterranean to Hispania, made his way across the Alps and into northern Italy, mostly winning along the way. He had bypassed Rome and travelled to southern Italy in the hopes of sparking an anti-Roman revolution among the vassal states of the Roman Republic. Fearing the tactical skills of Hannibal and the superior quality of his experienced fighters (particularly his cavalry), Rome had adopted the controversial Fabian strategy: attempting small rear guard actions against Carthage’s allies and avoiding large battles.  When Hannibal’s troops captured a major Roman storage center at Cannae and blocked access to the grain fields of the south, the Romans had no choice but to fight a face-to-face battle.  The Republic sent a huge army – larger than any Rome had ever put into battle – under the command of consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro. Due to an odd requirement of the constitution, Paullus and Varro were given command on alternate days. Varro, was in command on August 2, 216 BCE when the battle took place.  Hannibal’s strategy was to provoke a frontal assault in the center of the line, then strategically retreat slowly at the center, while his flanks spread out to enclose the Romans.  Once the Carthaginian cavalry defeated the Roman cavalry on the flanks, it returned to face the rear of the Roman army, which was now totally encircled.  The result was a massacre that humiliated and frightened Rome and led to the defection of a number of local Roman vassal states to the Carthaginian cause.  It also led the Romans to rethink their battle tactics. Unfortunately for Hannibal, after Cannae, there were fewer and fewer victories for Carthage in the Second Punic War.
  • Battle of the Metaurus (on 5 lists)
    Date: 207 BCE
    War/Conflict: Second Punic War
    Location: Metauro River, between Fano and Fossombrone, Roman Republic (Italy) [Europe]
    Description: After Hannibal’s triumph at Cannae in 216 CE, the Romans, with seemingly unlimited resources of materials and troops, mounted a comeback, highlighted by their victory at the Battle of the Metaurus River nine years later.  Far from his home base in North Africa, Hannibal’s reliance on scavenging for provisions and creating alliances with disaffected Roman allies was not sufficient to make up for the losses suffered from years of war on foreign soil. He needed reinforcements, and those fresh troops and equipment were on their way under the leadership of Hannibal’s brother Hasdrubal Barca, who followed Hannibal’s path up through what is now Spain and France and across the Alps into northern Italy in 208 and 207 BCE.  As he pushed south to hook up with his brother, Hasdrubal needed to confront the relatively small army of Marcus Livius, which was camped near the Metauro River in northwest Italy, blocking the route south. But when the armies lined up the next morning for battle, the Carthaginians were surprised to see a much larger Roman force than they had anticipated. During the night, Gaius Claudius Nero had marched his army, which had just fought Hannibal at Grumentum, hundreds of kilometers to the north without being noticed, to meet up with Marcus Livius. The Romans took advantage of their numerical superiority to outflank Hannibal’s troops, who suffered a major defeat. When it was clear that all was lost, Hasdrubal made a suicidal charge on his horse into the Roman front lines where he was killed, leaving his surviving troops leaderless. (Historians still debate whether Hasdrubal’s final act was heroic or foolish.) The Roman victory prevented Hannibal from getting his reinforcements and signaled the waning of the Carthaginian cause.
  • Battle of Zama (on 5 lists)
    Date: 202 BCE
    War/Conflict: Second Punic War
    Location: Zama, Carthage (now Tunisia) [Africa]
    Description: The Roman victory against Carthage at the Battle of Zama marked the end of the Second Punic War. The waning of the threat posed by Hannibal’s weakened and unreinforced army in Italy freed the Romans and their allies to bring the war closer to Hannibal’s core territory in North Africa. A Roman invasion of Africa became a realistic possibility in 212 BCE, after the successful Roman siege of Syracuse, which led to Roman control of the entire island of Sicily – an excellent base for an African invasion. First, however, the Romans chose to drive the Carthaginians out of the Iberian Peninsula, which was accomplished by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Ilipia in 206. Scipio’s army landed in North Africa in 204 BCE and won a series of victories against the Carthaginians and their allies the Numidians, first at the Battle of Utica and then at the Battle of the Great Plains (both in 203 BCE). These losses led Carthage to sue for peace and sign an armistice, but at the same time they called for Hannibal’s return.  Once Hannibal’s forces landed, Carthage broke the truce, setting the stage for Hannibal and Scipio Africanus to confront each other at Zama, some distance inland from Carthage. An important factor in the ultimate Roman victory was the decision of Numidian leader Masinissa, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, to switch sides and provide troops to Scipio Africanus. Hannibal first sent a wall of elephants charging at the Romans, but they were ineffective.  The ultimate result was a Roman victory. Hannibal himself fled and survived, but Carthage submitted to Roman vassalship for half a century, until the Third (and final) Punic War erupted.
  • Battle of Actium (on 5 lists)
    Date: 31 BCE
    War/Conflict: Roman Civil War; Final War of the Roman Republic
    Location: Ionian Sea, near Actium (now Aktio), Greece [Europe]
    Description: The naval victory of Octavian (later Augustus) over the combined forces of Mark Antony and Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII ended more than a dozen years of civil war within the Roman Republic.  After the assassination of Julius Caesar, Caesar’s adopted son Octavian joined with Mark Antony, Caesar’s best general, and Marcus Lepidus as the Second Triumvirate.  Together they defeated the forces of Caesar’s assassins, Brutus and Cassius. Relations between Octavian and Mark Antony became strained after the latter left his wife for Cleopatra and moved in with her in Alexandria.  Even more troubling to many in Rome was the joint declaration of Cleopatra and Mark Antony in 34 BCE that Cleopatra’s son Caesarion was the son and heir of Julius Caesar. Over the next three years, Octavian took political actions to weaken Mark Antony’s power as well as undertaking a public relations campaign to smear him as a would-be dictator. Despite Octavian’s efforts, Mark Antony still had a core base of supporters in Rome. In 32 BCE, Octavian convinced the Roman Senate to declare war on Cleopatra’s Egypt, which allowed him to confront Mark Antony indirectly. The war came to a head on September 2, 31 BCE when Antony and Cleopatra were encamped on the Ionian coast of Greece (then a Roman province) at Actium. Octavian’s general Agrippa drew Antony’s ships out into the open ocean and inflicted a fatal defeat on his fleet.  Instead of taking part in the battle, Cleopatra’s ships, perceiving the danger, fled.  Mark Antony himself fled soon afterwards, leaving his fleet to be destroyed. When the land army learned of their leader’s flight, they quickly capitulated to Octavian. Sporadic fighting continued for another year until the war finally concluded with the suicide of Mark Antony in July and Cleopatra in August, 30 BCE.  Octavian was now in position to become the first leader of the Roman Empire.
  • Battle of Teutoburg Forest (Varus Battle) (on 6 lists)
    Date: 9 CE
    War/Conflict: Roman Wars of Conquest; Imperial Germanic Campaigns
    Location: Kalkriese, Bramsche, Lower Saxony, Germania, Roman Empire (Germany) [Europe]
    Description: The Roman defeat at the Battle of Teotoburg Forest was a crucial event in the history of the German nation.  By halting the Roman advance into German territory at the Rhine River, an alliance of Germanic tribes preserved much of Germany from Roman domination for the duration of the Roman Empire. Publius Quinctilius Varus has been appointed governor of Germania, a Roman province that included a number of conquered German territories. In the fall of 9 CE, he decided to move his three Roman legions to winter quarters. Unbeknownst to Varus, one of his own auxiliary officers, the Roman-educated German Arminius, was planning an ambush of the Romans.  The Germans waited until the Roman line was stretched out and then attacked, surrounding the entire force. Later, when the Romans attempted to make a night escape, Arminius’s alliance (which included soldiers from the Cherusci, Marsi, Chatti, Bructeri, Chauci and Sicambri) blocked their retreat. After two days of fighting, the disaster was total, reportedly leading Emperor Augustus to cry out at the news, “Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!”  Despite occasional forays into Germany in later years and attempts to manipulate tribes through diplomatic means and support of friendly allies, Rome did not attempt military conquests of territories east of the Rhine after the defeat at Tuetoburg Forest.
  • Battle of the Milvian Bridge (on 3 lists)
    Date: 312 CE
    War/Conflict: Civil Wars of the Tetrarchy
    Location: near Rome, Roman Empire (Italy) [Europe]
    Description: The victory of Constantine I over Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge resolved the question of who would be emperor of the western portion of the Roman Empire and was a crucial step in the course of the eventual reunification of the Roman Empire under Constantine in the 4th Century CE. The underlying conflict arose from Emperor Diocletian’s decision in 293 BCE to divide the Empire into western and eastern halves and create a tetrarchy arrangement whereby two senior officials, each known as an Augustus, ruled with the assistance of a less senior ruler, or Caesar.  In 305 CE, Diocletian and his co-emperor Maximian abdicated and their Caesars (Galerius and Constantius) were both promoted to Augustus. Maximinus and Severus were appointed as new Caesars. When Constantius died in 306 CE, Galerius promoted Severus to Augustus in the west.  This displeased Maximian’s son Maxentius, who eventually intervened, forcing Severus to abdicate and later having him killed. At the same time that Severus was promoted to western Augustus, Constantius’ son Constantine also thought he was entitled to a position, and his own troops proclaimed him Augustus in 306 CE. To complicate matters further, Maximian decided to come back from retirement.  By 308 CE, four people (Galerius, Constantine, Maximian and Maxentius) all claimed the title of Augustus.  This led Diocletian, Galerius and Maximian to meet and attempt to settle the dispute: they confirmed Galerius as eastern Augustus, with Maximinus as his Caesar and appointed Licinius as western Augustus with Constantine as his Caesar. Maximian agreed to retire, and Maxentius was declared an illegitimate usurper. The settlement did not solve the problem, because Maxentius and his armies were now in physical control of Italy and North Africa, a fact that could not be erased by a declaration of illegitimacy. Furthermore, neither Constantine nor Maximinus liked the idea of answering to Licinius. Between 309 and 312, the playing field cleared somewhat: Constantine captured Maximian (who had renounced his retirement) in 310 CE and forced him to commit suicide, and Galerius died of natural causes in 311 CE. This left Constantine and Maxentius in the west, both claiming the title of Augustus, while in the east, Licinius was Augustus with Maximinus his Caesar. In 312 CE, Constantine began a military campaign against Maxentius in Italy. As Constantine’s troops approached Rome, Maxentius, instead of preparing for a siege (as he had in response to previous attacks by Galerius and Severus), decided to bring his troops out of Rome and across the Tiber to do battle.  This decision (perhaps prompted by a superstitious belief in inevitable victory) turned out to be a mistake, as it left Maxentius’ forces with only the narrow Milvian bridge and the powerful river as escape routes. When Constantine’s army advanced, the defenders had nowhere to regroup; retreat was hampered by the narrowness of the bridge and the difficulty of crossing the river, where many drowned, including Maxentius. A victorious Constantine advanced to take control of Rome. The result of the battle was that Constantine was now sole Augustus of the western Roman Empire.  The next day, Maxentius’ body was retrieved and decapitated and his severed head was paraded through Rome. Later, Constantine defeated Licinius to become emperor of east and west. NOTE: Since early Christian times, a persistent legend has it that Constantine had a dream before the battle in which he saw a Christian symbol (either a cross or a Chi Ro) with the words, “In this sign, you shall conquer”, but other evidence contradicts this theory.  For example, the Arch of Constantine, which was erected soon after the battle to celebrate the victory, contains no explicit references to Christianity. Constantine and his co-emperor Licinius did agree to make Christianity legal with the Edict of Milan in 313 CE and Constantine reportedly converted on his deathbed.
  • Battle of Adrianople (on 5 lists)
    Date: Aug. 9, 378 CE
    War/Conflict: Gothic War
    Location: Adrianople, Thrace (now Edirne in Turkey, near the borders with Greece and Bulgaria) [Europe/Asia]
    Description: The Goths soundly defeated the forces of the eastern Roman Empire under Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople, although it is not clear that the battle was the turning point that some early historians claimed it to be.  Various Gothic tribes had been pushed from their homelands by the invading Huns and by 376 CE, they found themselves at the edge of the Roman Empire, near the Danube River, seeking asylum and protection. The Romans agreed to allow the tribes to settle in Roman territory as refugees. The Roman governors treated the Goths harshly, however, leading them to take up arms in revolt.  The rebel army consisted of several Gothic tribes, especially the Thervingi and the Greuthungi, as well as Alans and even some Huns, under the leadership of Fritigern, a Thervingian Goth. After a series of inconclusive battles, the Romans began to win some victories in 378 CE, including an ambush of some Gothic troops by Sebastianus while marching from Constantinople to Adrianople and a victory over the Germanic tribe the Lentienses by western Roman Emperor Gratian (Valens’ nephew) at Argentaria.  Valens wanted a victory of his own, so he assembled an army at Adrianople (in the Roman province of Thrace, now Edirne, Turkey) in the summer of 378. Having learned that the rebels were in the vicinity, he marched his troops out from Adrianople into the countryside. Valens falsely believed that his troops outnumbered the Goths, based on Roman scouting reports that failed to count much of the rebel cavalry, which was out of the camp foraging for provisions.  After a seven-hour march over rough ground, the Romans came unexpectedly upon the rebel camp, which was set on a hill and surrounded by a “fortress” of wagons.  The Goths were well rested and provisioned, and battle tested; in addition, quite a number of Frithigern’s officers had fought in Roman armies. Fritigern, seeking time to allow his cavalry to return, send an emissary to Valens in a fruitless attempt to resolve the matter diplomatically. Valens’ own advisors urged him to wait for reinforcements from Gratian, which were on the way, but Valens wanted the glory for himself and disregarded the advice. When the Roman attack came, it was disorganized. The soldiers, already tired and thirsty, were distracted by smoke from fires lit by the Goths in the fields around their encampment. When the Gothic cavalry arrived soon after the battle began, they swooped down from the hilltop “like a thunderbolt”, according to an early historian, ensuring the Gothic victory.  In the course of battle, Valens himself went missing; there are conflicting stories about the manner of his death.  The Goths attempted to follow up on their victory with a siege of Adrianople soon afterwards, but failed, and the war dragged on for another four years. Although some have claimed that the battle highlighted the importance of cavalry over infantry, in fact, the bulk of the armies on both sides were foot soldiers, and the number of cavalry was about the same on each side. Others have claimed the battle was a turning point in the fall of the western Roman Empire, although that claim is also disputed. The near term result of the Gothic Wars was the peaceful settlement of the Goths within the bounds of the empire.
  • Battle of the Catalaunian Fields (Battle of Châlons; Battle of Maurica) (on 4 lists)
    Date: June 20 (?), 451 CE
    War/Conflict: Hunnic Wars
    Location: Near Châlons, Gaul (Châlons-en-Champagne, Grand Est, France) [Europe]
    Description: Historians dispute whether the result of the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields was a Roman victory over Attila the Hun or not, but no one questions the bloody carnage of the day’s events. From their home base north of the Danube, the Huns had already staged a series of successful plundering raids in the eastern Roman Empire in 440-443 CE and again in 447. In 451 CE (for reasons that are debated) Attila turned toward the western Roman Empire, specifically the province of Gaul.  His mounted warriors crossed the Rhine and worked their way through northern Gaul with ease until they reached Orleans, where they were forced to lay siege to the city, which was occupied by members of the Alan tribe under Sangiban. This delayed their usually rapid movements enough to allow a Roman army under Flavius Aetius to catch up with them. Unable to breach the walls of Orleans and disappointed in his inability to persuade the defenders to capitulate, Attila began a measured retreat back toward the Rhine, looking for an open place to stop and give battle. Somewhere between Troyes and Châlons, he set up camp and waited for the Romans.  Aetius, who had only a small band of soldiers, few of them Romans, had to convince the local Visigothic king Theodoric, not a friend of Rome, to join forces against the Huns.  Once Theodoric agreed, Aetius was able to face Attila (who had his own allies) with a substantial force, including Sangiban and his army of Alans from Orleans. The battle did not begin until mid-afternoon.  Each army set up along opposing flanks of a ridge and they both moved to gain control of the high ground between them.  After the Huns devastated the Alans in the center, and Aetius’ attempt at encirclement failed for lack of numbers, it looked as if Attila would win.  But then the Visigoths under Theodoric rallied and struck a hard blow against the Huns.  Theodoric himself was killed, but his son Thorismund took over.  As darkness fell, confusion took hold – Thorismund was almost killed when he accidentally found himself in the Hunnic camp – and the parties separated.  The next day, Aetius ruled out a follow-up attack and let Attila retreat back across the Rhine.  Aetius reasoned that without the Huns as a common enemy, the Visigoths would certainly rebel against Rome. The very next year, Attila launched a new attack against the western Roman Empire, this time into northern Italy.  A party of negotiators, including the Pope, agreed to pay off Attila to keep him away.  The Hunnic threat would not last long, however: Attila died in 453 CE and his empire splintered and faded soon afterwards. While the result of the battle may have been inconclusive, it is of historical significance for at least three reasons: the high number of casualties; the message it sent that Attila was not invincible; and the fact that it was the last major battle of the western Roman Empire, which would officially die less than 25 years later.
  • Battle of Yarmouk (on 4 lists)
    Date: 636 CE
    War/Conflict: Arab-Byzantine Wars; Wars of Muslim Conquest
    Location: near the Yarmouk River, east of the Sea of Galilee, Syria (near Syria’s borders with Jordan and Israel) [Asia]
    Description: The Battle of Yarmouk was a decisive victory of the Arab Muslim armies over the forces of the Byzantine Empire. Muhammad had united many disparate Arab tribes under the new Islamic religion. Following Muhammad’s death and a civil war to determine his successor, Caliph Abu Bakr of the Rashidun Caliphate began a series of wars to conquer territory in the name of the new faith. Under the expert leadership of general Khalid ibn al-Walid, Muslim armies attacked the Persian Sassanids in Mesopotamia and conquered most of what is now Iraq.  Then in 634 CE, Abu Bakr called for an invasion of Syria and the Levant, which were part of the Byzantine Empire. The Muslim armies proceeded north through Palestine, defeating the Byzantines at Ajnadayn and Fahl, and taking the city of Damascus. Abu Bakr died in 634, but his successor Umar continued the campaign. The Muslims took Tiberias, Baalbek and, in early 636, Emesa, which put them within striking distance of Byzantine strongholds at Aleppo and Antioch.  Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, who had been slow to counter the Muslim advance, now felt the threat, and pulled together a large army with the intent to picking off the divided Arab forces that were spread out through the Levant. Heraclius also made a treaty with his former foes, the Persians, against the common Muslim threat, and Persian Emperor Yazdegerd III agreed to launch an offensive in the east, forcing the Muslims to fight a two-front war.  But Yazdegerd never lived up to his promise, and Heraclius lost precious time waiting for the Persians to attack.  The Muslims took advantage of the Byzantine hesitation to implement a comprehensive defensive strategy.  Khalid ibn al-Walid had Muslim forces retreat from Emesa and Damascus, so that all the disparate armies unite near the Yarmouk River, deeper into Muslim territory. Heraclius was forced to march south, with inadequate supply lines, to the site of the battle that the Muslim commander had selected. The Byzantines arrived, led by Armenian general Vashan, but once again the Byzantines hesitated, waiting for Persia to act, while Arab reinforcements continued to arrive. Finally, the Byzantines realized they needed to seize the initiative while they still outnumbered their foes (by at least 2-1 according to most historians) and the two sides began a battle that lasted six days. The first four days, Vashan’s armies took the initiative.  Every time it looked as if the Byzantines were about to break through, Al-Walid used his secret weapon, his large cavalry reserves, or his own battle-tested core troops, to reinforce the weak spot and prevent destruction. On the second day, the Arabs were pushed all the way back to their camp, but managed to push back (according to legend, due to the vociferousness of their wives). On the fifth day, the parties rearranged their forces without a major clash. Al-Walid decided on a major offensive the next day.  In preparation, he sent a cavalry unit to guard the bridge that would be the probable Byzantine escape route.  On the sixth day of battle, the Muslim armies attacked and eventually flanked the much larger Byzantine force, driving them towards the trap set by the bridge, where many of the fleeing soldiers died either by sword or by falling over the steep cliff at the edge of the battlefield. The Byzantine loss of its army at Yarmouk left the rest of the Levant open to the Muslims, who advanced all the way to the borders of what is now Turkey.  They also eventually took over Egypt and the remains of the Persian Empire.  The shrunken Byzantine Empire based at Constantinople remained alive, withstanding a number of unsuccessful Arab sieges to the capital city in the following years.
  • Battle of Tours-Poitiers (on 10 lists)
    Date: October 10, 732 CE
    War/Conflict: Muslim Wars of Conquest, Ummayad Invasion of Gaul
    Location: between Tours and Poiters, Francia (Moussais-la-Bataille, Vouneuil-sur-Vienne, France) [Europe]
    Description: The Franks’ victory over the army of the Ummayad Caliphate at the Battle of Tours-Poitiers marked the farthest penetration of Muslim armies into Gaul (France). Some historians believe that a Muslim win here might have led to Muslim control of Western Europe.  Muslim armies had conquered Northern Africa, then crossed the Straits of Gibraltar in 711 into Hispania. Over the next few years, they took most of the Iberian Peninsula from the Visigoths, where they established the kingdom of al-Andalus. Umayyad troops continued to expand to the north, taking Septimania in southern France in 719 and establishing a base in the city of Narbonne on the Mediterranean coast, then setting their sights on Aquitania in the west. But Aquitanian Duke Odo surprised the Muslims during the siege of Toulouse, temporarily setting them back. Muslim armies continued to strike in the north, including a raid on Autun in Burgundy in 725 CE. Odo secured an an alliance with a Berber general to prevent further attacks on Aquitania, but the general (Uthman ibn Naissa) rebelled against the Ummayad’s, leading al-Andalus governor Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi to bring an army to crush both the Berber rebellion and Odo, who lost two crushing defeats at Bordeaux and then at the Battle of the River Garonne in early 732, where the Muslim cavalry was able to inflict serious damage on the Christian troops. Odo called for help to his one-time foe, Charles, leader of the Franks, whose kingdom covered most of what is today northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands and southwestern Germany. Charles was a skilled military leader with a large army of well-trained experienced infantry troops, a fact of which Abdul Rhaman, due to lack of sufficient reconnaissance, was not aware. The Muslims did not anticipate a forceful defense of Europe beyond Aquitania. Charles agreed to aid Odo in return for Aquitanian allegiance to the Franks. He then marched his army to a wooded hill between Poitiers and Tours and waited for the Ummayad troops.  By hiding his army in a wooded area, Charles made it much more difficult for the Ummayad cavalry to penetrate his infantry’s formation. Charles maintained a defensive position while Abdul Rahman attacked with his cavalry.  Despite some incursions, the Frankish line remained intact.  Charles then sent Odo in a rearguard action to attack the unoccupied Ummayad camp far behind the enemy lines. Odo’s disruption of the camp sent many of the Ummayad attackers in retreat to save their booty.  This gave Charles the opportunity to mount an offensive and the remaining Ummayads retreated in disarray as night fell. Charles set up his armies to wait for another attack, but the Muslim army had retreated in the night and fell back into al-Andalus. Charles went on to defeat the Ummayads at Agde, Béziers and Maguelonne, but he was unable to dislodge them from Narbonne, which was a base of future raids into Frankish territory – though the Muslims never again penetrated so far into Western Europe as at Tours-Poitier.  For his victory, Charles earned the sobriquet Martel (“the hammer”) and his reputation soared; his son was the first of the Carolingian Dynasty and his grandson was Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. Early historians claimed that Charles Martel’s victory at Tours-Poitiers was a turning point in history.  According to this theory, the Frankish army was the last obstacle to a complete Muslim takeover of Western Europe, such that Charles Martel “saved” Christianity. More recent historians have questioned this thesis; some see the Ummayad move toward Tours as merely one of many raids seeking plunder, in this case from St. Martin’s Abbey at Tours, and not an attempt to conquer and hold territory in France.
  • Battle of Lechfeld (Second Battle of Augsburg) (on 5 lists)
    Date: Aug. 10, 955 CE
    War/Conflict: Hungarian Invasions of Europe
    Location: Near Augsburg, Bavaria, East Francia (now Germany) [Europe]
    Description: The victory of East Francian King Otto I over Hungarian invaders at the Battle of Lechfield had important consequences for the future of Otto as well as the Hungarian people. The Hungarians (also known as the Maygars) had begun to conquer the Carpathian Basin in Eastern Europe in the 9th Century CE. By 900, they had established a home base in Pannonia and Moravia and began conducting plundering raids against the Byzantine Empire to the South and to the north and west into East and West Francia (and in one case as far as the Iberian Peninsula). The death of East Francian king Henry I (“the fowler”) in 936 CE led to internecine warfare among second son and chosen heir Otto and his three brothers, with various nobles within and around East Francia siding with one or the other of the brothers.  The Hungarians chose the instability of this civil war to send a plundering force into East Francia in 936-938 CE, after which they withdrew to their home base.  Then, when Otto’s son rose up against him in the 950s, bringing a number of princes with him, the Hungarians invaded again (possibly at the request of one of the rebelling princes) under Bulcsú and his chieftains Lél (Lehel) and Súr. This invasion eventually united the East Francians against their common enemy. Otto marched his troops, which included groups of Franconians, Saxons, Bavarians and Swabians, along a narrow Roman road in Bavaria to engage the Hungarians, who were in the process of besieging the walled city of Augsburg. The stretched-out line gave the Hungarian cavalry an opportunity to attack and capture the baggage train at the rear of the army.  But Otto sent back Duke Conrad of Lotharingia (who had allied himself with the Hungarians but recently switched sides to back Otto) to recapture the baggage train – Conrad’s forces surprised the Hungarians in the process of plundering, and he succeeded at driving them off.  Meanwhile, Otto marched the rest of his army to a plain between two rivers, where he attacked the Hungarians, who had come from the Augsburg siege to face Otto.  Otto formed his troops in a single line.  The Hungarians charged – a small force in the front and a larger group flanked the line to attack the camp in the rear. Despite the two-pronged attack, and a later feigned Hungarian retreat, Otto’s line held. The cramped nature of the field of battle made it impossible for the Hungarians to employ their successful “shoot and run” tactics, and once Conrad’s troops returned from their rearguard action, the combined forces under Otto eventually prevailed, capturing or killing most of the Hungarians (but not before Conrad was killed by an arrow in the neck). The retreat became a bloodbath when Hungarian horses were slowed by the pebbly bed of the river they had to cross. Otto’s success at the Battle of Lechfeld united the disparate princes and dukes of his kingdom behind him, setting the stage for the consolidation of his power, the expansion of his territories (particularly south into Italy) and his later crowning as Holy Roman Emperor – the first of the Ottonian Dynasty.  On the Hungarian side, the Battle of Lechfeld marked the last foray of these nomads into western Europe. By the end of the 10th Century, the Hungarians exchanged their nomadic lifestyle for agricultural settlement and declared the new nation of Hungary in their home base in the Carpathians.
  • Battle of Hastings (on 15 lists)
    Date: October 14, 1066
    War/Conflict: Norman Conquest of England
    Location: Hastings, East Sussex, England [Europe]
    Description: The Battle of Hastings was a decisive victory by the Normans, led by William, Duke of Normandy (William the Conqueror) over the English King Harold Godwinson and was the turning point in the Norman conquest of England. But the differences between the English and the Normans were not as distinct as the term “Norman conquest” implies. The Normans were former Vikings, who had been permitted to settle in the French coastal region of Normandy in 911 CE. In 1002, the Anglo-Saxon king of England married the sister of the Duke of Normandy. Their son, Edward the Confessor, spent many years in exile in Normandy before he became king of England in 1042.  Edward surrounded himself with Normans in his court, his army and the English church. During his reign, Edward’s chief rival was Godwin, Earl of Wessex. When Edward died without an heir in January 1066, there were four contenders who claimed the kingship: Godwin’s sons Harold and Tostig Godwinson, Norwegian king Harald III (Harald Hardrada) and William, Duke of Normandy.  The English council of nobles known as the Witenaġemot, or Witan, elected Harold Godwinson king, but that did not deter his three rivals. Tostig struck first with some raids, but was pushed back to Scotland; later in the year, he joined forces with Harald Hardrada’s invading Norwegians and the combined forces defeated the English at the Battle of Fulford on September 20. When he learned of the Norwegian invasion King Harold marched north and defeated the invaders at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on September 25. Both Tostig Godwinson and Harald Hardrada were killed in the battle, leaving only William to challenge Harold, whose armies were depleated and weakened after Stamford Bridge. William’s forces landed at Peavensey in Sussex on September 28 and quickly built a wooden fort at Hastings, which served as a base of operations.  Harold marched much of his army south to meet William. He lost the element of surprise when William’s scouts discovered him. Harold arrived  deployed his troops on high ground (probably Senlac Hill, near the current town of Battle) and waited for William to march out from the castle to meet him. The battle began at 9 a.m. on October 14 and lasted until dusk. Harold’s troops were mostly infantry, while William’s troops were much more diverse, with significant numbers of cavalry, archers and spearmen. In the initial phase, the Normans attacked, first with archers, then spearmen backed by cavalry, but could not break the English line and retreated in some disarray. The English broke their line and pursued the Normans, but William rallied his troops and mounted a counterattack, which forced the English back to their original position. After a lull, the Normans charged again, this time deliberately feigning flight in an attempt to tempt the English to break their line and pursue them. But the decisive event was the death of Harold himself, which led many of his troops to abandon the effort.  A core group stayed and fought to the end but they were eventually overwhelmed by the Normans. William’s victory was not complete, however, because it did not convince the Witan, which instead proclaimed Edgar the Ætheling their new king. William pressed on to London, where he defeated some remaining pockets of resistance. He was crowned king on December 25, 1066 in Westminster Abbey. He also needed to put down rebellions in 1068, 1069 and 1070. Later, William built Battle Abbey on the site of the Battle of Hastings.  The ruins of the abbey may still be seen and a reenactment of the battle is performed regularly.
  • Battle of Manzikert (on 6 lists)
    Date: Aug. 26, 1071
    War/Conflict: Byzantine-Seljuk Wars
    Location: near Manzikert, Armenia, Byzantine Empire (Malazgirt, Muş Province, Turkey) [Asia]
    Description: The defeat of the Byzantine Empire’s army and the capture of Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes by the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 was a significant turning point in the relations between the two empires. The Seljuks swept in from Central Asia in the 10th Century and conquered Persia and Iraq, converting to Islam and adopting much of Persian culture.  From their base in Baghdad, the Seljuks began to expand west, including conquests in Byzantine territory, particularly in the far eastern border territory of Armenia. There, the Seljuks under their leader Alp Arslan captured several key fortresses, including Ani, in the 1060s. Despite a winning record against the Byzantines, Alp Arslan readily agreed to a peace treaty with new Emperor Romanos in 1069, which allowed the Seljuks to focus on their plan to conquer the Fatimid Caliphate, which controlled Egypt and much of the Levant. In 1071, Alp Arslan agreed to renew the treaty. But Romanos violated the treaty soon thereafter by marching east from Constantinople with a large army (mostly consisting of mercenaries) in an effort to recapture the lost fortresses in Armenia.  Although Romanos hoped to make a surprise attack, Alp Arslan learned of the approaching army well in advance from his scouts.  As Romanos approached Manzikert, north of Lake Van, he sent half of his army under Joseph Tarchaniotes to Khliat to guard the southeastern approach to Manzikert. Romanos led the remainder of his army to Manzikert itself, where he quickly recaptured the fortress.  What happened to the southern portion of the Byzantine army is not clear: Alp Arslan may have defeated them or they may have simply returned to Constantinople.  What is clear is that they never returned to reinforce Romanos. Instead of taking the southwest approach, Arp Arslan led his army around the east coast of Lake Van to meet the Byzantines outside Manzikert on August 25, 1071. The actual battle began the next morning. Using the hit and run style common among steppe nomads, the Seljuk horse archers refused to meet the Byzantines head on, so the Byzantines marched forward to capture the Seljuk camp. This advance led to a separation in the line, which the Seljuks exploited, isolating and surrounding the Byzantine right flank. At this point, the reserve cavalry was to have come forward to counterattack, but the force, led by Romanos’ political rival Doukas, refused to join battle, and the right wing was destroyed.  The left wing also soon collapsed, leaving Romanos and his core, including the Varangian Guard, in the center, where they were eventually surrounded and Romanos captured. While in captivity, Romanos agreed to cede some Byzantine territory to the Seljuk Empire and pay reparations. He was released after about a week and escorted to Constantinople, where he was blinded and imprisoned by his political rivals. Alp Arlsan died in 1072, but over the next two decades, Seljuk forces penetrated far into Anatolia (Asia Minor), significantly reducing the eastern portion of the Byzantine Empire.  The near term result of this 11th Century Seljuk expansion was the Byzantine emperor’s call to Western Europe for mercenary soldiers to recapture the lost territory, a call that turned into the First Crusade.
  • Siege of Jerusalem (on 3 lists)
    Date: July 7-15, 1099
    War/Conflict: First Crusade
    Location: Jerusalem (Israel/Palestine) [Asia]
    Description: With the conquest of Jerusalem, holy city of three monotheistic religions, in July 1099, the participants in the First Crusade achieved their stated goal.  The First Crusade was the brainchild of Roman Catholic Pope Urban II.  When Byzantine Emperor _____ requested a band of mercenary knights to assist him in pushing back the Seljuk Turks from Anatolia (Asia Minor) and the Levant, Pope Urban decided to launch a Holy War against Islam in the Middle East.  He believed the Crusade would increase the power of the Church and reduce squabbling among western European nobles by uniting them in a common goal. The Pope promised that everyone who “took up the cross” and joined the Crusade for spiritual reasons, would be forgiven all his sins and guaranteed eternal life in heaven.  When a huge army arrived at Constantinople, ____ was skeptical, but he promised to support the Crusaders in return for their promise that they would not conquer the lands for themselves but would return them to the Byzantine Empire. Despite internal conflicts, and a double-crossing by the Byzantine Emperor at Nicea, the Crusaders eventually made it to Antioch in XXX, which they took after a long siege (and a bribe to a Turk to open the gates). After a long period of power struggles (and the defection of two knights, who set up small fiefdoms in Antioch and nearby ????), the remaining Crusaders marched on to Jerusalem.  When they arrived, they found the city well defended. In 1098, the Fatimid Caliphate (based in Egypt) had taken Jerusalem from the Seljuk Empire (based in Baghdad). In anticipation of the Crusaders, the Fatimids had stripped the land of trees, poisoned a number of wells and expelled Christians (who might aid the attackers).  Despite the lack of supplies to build siege weapons and the difficulty of obtaining food and water, the Christians set up camp outside the walls and prepared to lay siege to the city.  First, they performed a penitential rite: encircling the city in a prayer procession and then listening to the sermons of the accompanying priests.  The first assault was a failure, but then several Genoese ships arrived at Jaffa with supplies.  Fatimid ships prevented a sea escape, so the Genoans dismantled their ships and brought the wood and supplies to the Crusaders, who were now able to build two siege towers. In the second attack, the Crusaders brought the siege towers to the north and south walls; the north side, led by Godfrey, successfully breached the walls.  There followed a massacre of the Muslims and Jews inside the city.  Historians debate whether the carnage was typical for medieval warfare or more brutal than usual. After taking Jerusalem, many Crusaders returned home, but some needed to stay to fight the Fatimids, who sent an army to retake the city.  The Crusaders defeated that army at the Battle of Ascalon on August 12, 1099.
  • Battle of Hattin (on 4 lists)
    Date: July 4, 1187
    War/Conflict: Wars of the Crusader States
  • Battle of Ain Jalut (on 4 lists)
    Date: September 1260
    War/Conflict: Mongol Wars of Conquest
  • Battle of Crécy (on 4 lists)
    Date: Aug. 26, 1346
    War/Conflict: Hundred Years’ War
  • First Battle of Tannenberg (Battle of Grunwald) (on 3 lists)
    Date: July 15, 1410
    War/Conflict: Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War
  • Battle of Agincourt (on 5 lists)
    Date: Oct. 25, 1415
    War/Conflict: Hundred Years’ War
  • Siege of Orléans (on 6 lists)
    Date: 1428-1429
    War/Conflict: Hundred Years’ War
  • Fall of Constantinople (on 5 lists)
    Date: 1453
    War/Conflict: Byzantine-Ottoman Wars
  • Siege of Tenochtitlán (on 5 lists)
    Date: 1521
    War/Conflict: Spanish Conquest of Mexico
  • Siege of Vienna (on 5 lists)
    Date: 1529
    War/Conflict: Ottoman wars in Europe; Ottoman–Habsburg wars
  • Battle of Cajamarca (on 8 lists)
    Date: Nov. 6, 1532
    War/Conflict: Spanish Conquest of Peru
  • First Battle of Panipat (on 3 lists)
    Date: April 21, 1526
    War/Conflict: Mughal Wars of Conquest
  • Battle of Lepanto (on 4 lists)
    Date: Oct. 7, 1571
    War/Conflict: Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War; Ottoman-Habsburg wars
  • Battle of Gravelines and Defeat of the Spanish Armada (on 9 lists)
    Date: July-August 1588
    War/Conflict: Anglo-Spanish War
  • Battle of Sekigahara (on 4 lists)
    Date: Oct. 21, 1600
    War/Conflict: Shogun Wars
  • Battle of Breitenfeld (on 3 lists)
    Date: September 1631
    War/Conflict: Thirty Years’ War
  • Battle of Naseby (on 4 lists)
    Date: June 14, 1645
    War/Conflict: English Civil War
  • Battle of Vienna (on 3 lists)
    Date: Sept. 12, 1683
    War/Conflict: Great Turkish War; Ottoman–Habsburg wars; Polish–Ottoman War
  • Battle of Blenheim (on 7 lists)
    Date: Aug. 13, 1704
    War/Conflict: War of the Spanish Succession
  • Battle of Poltava (on 8 lists)
    Date: 1709
    War/Conflict: Great Northern War
  • Battle of Plassey (on 4 lists)
    Date: June 23, 1757
    War/Conflict: Seven Years’ War
  • Battle of the Plains of Abraham (Battle of Quebec) (on 7 lists)
    Date: September 1759
    War/Conflict: Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War)
  • Battles of Saratoga (on 5 lists)
    Date: September 19 & October 7, 1777
    War/Conflict: American Revolutionary War
  • Siege of Yorktown (on 12 lists)
    Date: 1781
    War/Conflict: American Revolutionary War
  • Battle of Valmy (on 6 lists)
    Date: 20, 1792
    War/Conflict: French Revolutionary Wars; War of the First Coalition
  • Battle of Trafalgar (on 6 lists)
    Date: 1805
    War/Conflict: War of the Third Coalition
  • Battle of Borodino (on 3 lists)
    Date: Sept. 7, 1812
    War/Conflict: Napoleonic Wars; French Invasion of Russia
  • Battle of Leipzig (Battle of the Nations) (on 6 lists)
    Date: Oct. 16-19, 1813
    War/Conflict: Napoleonic Wars
  • Battle of Waterloo (on 15 lists)
    Date: June 18, 1815
    War/Conflict: Napoleonic Wars
  • Battle of Ayacucho (Battle of La Quinua) (on 3 lists)
    Date: 1824
    War/Conflict: Peruvian War of Independence
  • Battle of San Jacinto (on 3 lists)
    Date: April 21, 1836
    War/Conflict: Texas Revolution
  • Battle of Antietam (Battle of Sharpsburg) (on 6 lists)
    Date: Sept. 17, 1862
    War/Conflict: American Civil War
  • Battle of Gettysburg (on 11 lists)
    Date: 1863
    War/Conflict: American Civil War
  • Battle of Königgrätz (Battle of Sadowa) (on 4 lists)
    Date: July 3, 1866
    War/Conflict: Austro-Prussian War
  • Battle of Sedan (on 4 lists)
    Date: Sept. 1-2, 1870
    War/Conflict: Franco-Prussian War
  • Battle of Manila Bay (on 3 lists)
    Date: May 1, 1898
    War/Conflict: Spanish–American War
  • Battle of Tsushima (on 9 lists)
    Date: May 1905
    War/Conflict: Russo-Japanese War
  • First Battle of the Marne (on 5 lists)
    Date: Sept. 6-10, 1914
    War/Conflict: World War I
  • Battle of Verdun (on 3 lists)
    Date: February-December, 1916
    War/Conflict: World War I
  • Battle of Warsaw (on 3 lists)
    Date: August, 1920
    War/Conflict: Polish–Soviet War
  • Battle of Britain and the Blitz (on 7 lists)
    Date: July-October, 1940 (July 1940-June 1941)
    War/Conflict: World War II
  • Attack on Pearl Harbor (on 3 lists)
    Date: Dec. 7, 1941
    War/Conflict: World War II
  • Battle of Midway (on 7 lists)
    Date: June 4-7, 1942
    War/Conflict: World War II
  • Battle of Guadalcanal (on 3 lists)
    Date: 1942-1943
    War/Conflict: World War II
  • Battle of Stalingrad (on 13 lists)
    Date: August 1942- February 1943
    War/Conflict: World War II
  • Normandy Landings (on 8 lists)
    Date: August 1942- February 1943
    War/Conflict: World War II
  • Atomic Bombing of Japan (on 4 lists)
    Date: August 6 and 9, 1945
    War/Conflict: World War II
  • Huaihai Campaign (Battle of Hsupeng; Battle of Suchow) (on 5 lists)
    Date: November 6, 1948 – January 10, 1949
    War/Conflict: Chinese Civil War
  • Battle of Dien Bien Phu (on 5 lists)
    Date: March-May, 1954
    War/Conflict: First Indochina War
  • Tet Offensive (on 9 lists)
    Date: 1968
    War/Conflict: Vietnam War