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Posted: 3/16/2006 5:22:49 PM EDT
What do you guys think? What are some of the major upset battles? Where the underdog came through with flying colours? I am trying to come up with a topic for my term paper on history of warfare.


-Ben
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:27:34 PM EDT
While complete routs are common in antiquity, upsets are rare. The Romans often destroyed larger armies, but they expected to do it through their technology and discipline.

In recent history, it the largest upset I can think of would be the Winter war of '39-40. Stalin most certainly didn't expect to lose 2,000,000 men to to a bunch of understrength and undersupplied Finns.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:28:39 PM EDT
Six day war
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:30:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
While complete routs are common in antiquity, upsets are rare. The Romans often destroyed larger armies, but they expected to do it through their technology and discipline.

In recent history, it the largest upset I can think of would be the Winter war of '39-40. Stalin most certainly didn't expect to lose 2,000,000 men to to a bunch of understrength and undersupplied Finns.



I actually asked about the winter war, a classmate is already spoken to the proffesor and is using that topic. He told me to find something else. He also said no to Cannae and Rorkes Drift.

-Ben
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:33:52 PM EDT
The Polish Russian war of 1921, the one that kept the Bolsheviks from taking over all of Europe, Poland (once again) saved western civilization.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:34:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/16/2006 5:43:26 PM EDT by drjarhead]
Alexander's victory over Darius at Granicus
Even more so at Issus, the same year.(that was actually the one I was thinking of)

Midway

Dien Bien Phu

Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:35:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/16/2006 5:37:42 PM EDT by DriftPunch]
How about Salamis? Without a Greek victory there, there would have been NO WESTERN CIVILIZATION. The Greek democratic expierment would have died, in favor of the autocracies present in all other 'nations' of the time.

No enlightenment for you!
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:36:22 PM EDT
Oh yes, Western Civilization has had its ass hauled out of the fire plenty of times.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:38:51 PM EDT
Another vote for the Six Day War. The Israeli's were huge under dogs, and came out on top.
MB
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:39:08 PM EDT


The battle of Rorke's Drift - the day after the battle of Isandlwana (in South Africa).

Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:41:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

The battle of Rorke's Drift - the day after the battle of Isandlwana (in South Africa).




Damn...! Just beat me to it.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:43:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RockHard13F:
What do you guys think? What are some of the major upset battles? Where the underdog came through with flying colours? I am trying to come up with a topic for my term paper on history of warfare.


-Ben



The Revolutionary war I guess could come up. IIRC, the Brits were the most powerful military in the world and they got owned (of course with a loss of some of our people).
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:43:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RockHard13F:

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
While complete routs are common in antiquity, upsets are rare. The Romans often destroyed larger armies, but they expected to do it through their technology and discipline.

In recent history, it the largest upset I can think of would be the Winter war of '39-40. Stalin most certainly didn't expect to lose 2,000,000 men to to a bunch of understrength and undersupplied Finns.



I actually asked about the winter war, a classmate is already spoken to the proffesor and is using that topic. He told me to find something else. He also said no to Cannae and Rorkes Drift.

-Ben



Why did your instructor say no to Rorke's Drift?
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:44:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/16/2006 5:46:22 PM EDT by DriftPunch]
How about Crecy in 1346, the defining battle for the longbow? A complete rout by medevial standards! Some highlights (from a search):


-French forces numbered approximately 36,000.
-English forces numbered approximately 12,000 of which 7,000 were archers.
-The battle line was approximately 2,000 yards wide
-The English army, occupying the top of a gentle ridge near the town, consisted of three groups of men-at-arms and spearmen, with archers placed on their sides. The archers formed ranks resembling an outward V.
-Each English archer carried 2 sheaves of arrows (48) into battle. Resupply was accomplished by going back thru the lines or having more brought forward.
-The bow draw weights were normally from 80 to 120 lbs.
-Arrows, depending on type and weight, could be shot 250 to 300 yards.
-The English archers could shoot an average of 10 arrows per minute.
-The total number of arrows shot during the battle is estimated at a half million.
-There were 14 to 16 charges made against the English lines from the start of the battle at 4:00 PM until the completion at midnight.
-Casulties were estimated from 5,000 (low) to 10,000 or more (high) for the French Knights and Genoese crossbowmen. English casulties were several hundred.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:44:51 PM EDT
Chosin Reservour (sp) Out numbered Marines fight off multiple Chinese divisions and avert disaster

Battle of San Jacinto....ragtag Texas army defeats larger Mexican force...creates Texas

Wake Island..........few Marines give the overconfident Japanese a bloody nose

Islandwana.........spear armed natives destroy a well trained, gun armed British army

There are lots to choose from!
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:45:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Penguin_101:

Originally Posted By RockHard13F:
What do you guys think? What are some of the major upset battles? Where the underdog came through with flying colours? I am trying to come up with a topic for my term paper on history of warfare.


-Ben



The Revolutionary war I guess could come up. IIRC, the Brits were the most powerful military in the world and they got owned (of course with a loss of some of our people).



Yeah, the crossing of the Delaware by GW could be considered a major upset

Also: Houston taking the forces of Santa Anna. Was that at Golead?
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:51:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LWilde:

Originally Posted By RockHard13F:

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
While complete routs are common in antiquity, upsets are rare. The Romans often destroyed larger armies, but they expected to do it through their technology and discipline.

In recent history, it the largest upset I can think of would be the Winter war of '39-40. Stalin most certainly didn't expect to lose 2,000,000 men to to a bunch of understrength and undersupplied Finns.



I actually asked about the winter war, a classmate is already spoken to the proffesor and is using that topic. He told me to find something else. He also said no to Cannae and Rorkes Drift.

-Ben





Why did your instructor say no to Rorke's Drift?



It was the focus of the class for almost two weeks...we dissected it every way possible, he doesn't think it would require enough work.

-Ben
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:52:01 PM EDT
Then theres also Sobieski at Vienna.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:52:22 PM EDT
How about Agincourt?
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:53:07 PM EDT
I was thinking of the Battle of New Orleans in Jan of 1815 when Andrew Jackson and a bunch of rag-tag citizens kicked the British army's ass. Over 2000 British casualties vs 71 for the Americans.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:53:14 PM EDT
Custer's last stand.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:54:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/16/2006 5:56:04 PM EDT by WayneG]
Turkish War of Independence, May 19, 1919-October 29, 1923. From the ruins of the defeated Ottoman Empire Mustapha Kemal leads the ragtag Turkish army to victory over Greece, Armenia, and the Triple Entente.

Then there's the First Boer War from December 16, 1880 until March 23, 1881. The Empire is defeated by the Boer farmers.

It you're just looking for a battle then Gallipoli in 1915 comes to mind.

That's a start.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:55:08 PM EDT
I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet:

Battle of Thermopolea (I think that is how it is spelled).
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:58:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/16/2006 6:02:23 PM EDT by happycynic]
Edited: Oops, silverc beat me to New Orleans.

But, add Hannibal's victory at Cannae to the list. One of the classic victories of all time.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 5:59:48 PM EDT
how about the british counter-offensive of 1940 in the western desert against the italians (ok , it was after all the italians - but there were a lot of them).
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:00:05 PM EDT
how many times did Lee beat a much larger Union force?
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:00:38 PM EDT
For pure numbers, check out the roman defeats Cannae or Arausio.

A passage about the losses at Cannae:

Although the true figure will probably never be known, Livy and Polybius variously claim that 47,000—70,000 Romans died with about 3,000—4,500 taken prisoner. Among the dead were Lucius Aemilius Paullus himself, as well two consuls for the preceding year, two quaestors, twenty-nine out of the forty-eight military tribunes, and an additional eighty senators (at a time when the Roman Senate was comprised of no more than 300 men, this constituted 25%—30% of the governing body). Another 10,000 from the two Roman camps and the neighboring villages surrendered on the following day (after further resistance cost even more fatalities). In all, perhaps more than 70,000 Romans of the original force of 87,000 were dead or captured —totaling more than 80% of the entire army. For their part, the Carthaginians suffered 16,700 casualties (with the Celts and Iberians accounting for the majority). The fatalities for the Carthaginians amounted to 6,000 men, of whom 4,000 were Celts, 1,500 Spaniards and Africans, and the remainder cavalry. The total casualty figure of the battle, therefore, exceeds 80,000 men.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:00:54 PM EDT
John J. Rambo versus the Washington State law enforcement community
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:18:06 PM EDT
Montana over Nevada 16 Mar 06.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:25:25 PM EDT
They had no real effect on history but Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862 as well as the defense of Richmond in the Penninsula Campaign in 1862 were both major upsets.

Bastagone was also an upset--six or seven German armored divisions against one American division.

GunLvr
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:31:40 PM EDT
I once beat up a guy twice my size when I was drunk.

You can write about that.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:48:03 PM EDT
In a way, the Alamo was a victory in that it bought time for Houston to get his shit together.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:57:13 PM EDT
The Yom Kippur war along with the Six Day War. Both times Isreal should have ceased to exist. Both times they increased the territory they held.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 7:13:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SkyCatII:
I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet:

Battle of Thermopolea (I think that is how it is spelled).



Because they lost?

I guess it's sort of an "upset" because they held out for so long, and inflicted so many casualties, but generally the term "upset" implies that the underdog actually won. At least that's my understanding.

Link Posted: 3/16/2006 10:42:15 PM EDT
Dien Bien Phu?

Midway?

Link Posted: 3/16/2006 10:51:45 PM EDT
The Natives over Dead Rabbits.

"No son, the blood stays on the blade."
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 11:09:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DirkericPitt:
how many times did Lee beat a much larger Union force?



Not enough.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 10:42:00 AM EDT
Invasion of France, 1940. The French were considered at the time to be about the best trained and equipped army in the world, followed closely by the also-present British. The Germans wiped the floor with them, sent shockwaves throughout the rest of the world's militaries.

Tsushima straits, 1905. The Russians sent a fleet to crush those really upstart Japanese people, and got totally wiped out. (Russians got their own back at Namkhin-Gol a few years later though. Not so much of an upset, unless you were the Japanese.) Brings us onto the next option, the Japanese admiral in charge at Tsushima said "You may wish to compare me with Lord Nelson but do not compare me with Korea's Admiral Yi Sun-Sin . . . he is too remarkable for anyone..."

This was a reference to the Korean/Japanese naval battles of 1592 onwards, and the Turtle Boats. Japan had invaded Korea, and was pretty much wiping the floor with them. Admiral Yi took the fight to the Japanese, and basically kicked ass. In one fight in 1597, he took 12 boats and attacked a force of 133 Japanese ships. He won. I don't think any naval battle in history was so remarkable.

Back to France, Battle of Tours. Up until then, the Armies of Islaam had been unstoppable. The French stopped them in 'The Battle that saved Europe"

NTM

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 10:47:23 AM EDT
Midway-Probably greatest naval upset of this century (Tsushima comes 2nd)
Falklands-25th year anniversary, so nice timing, but the forces were evenly matched
Battle of the Bulge-thinly deployed Americans vs. then-Cream of the Wehrmacht

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:04:01 AM EDT
Battle of New Orleans
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:07:38 AM EDT
The French Army....................................... Upsetting military historians for centuries!!!
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:09:31 AM EDT
David and Goliath?

Hmm.. Bay of Pigs? Or was that just a clusterfuck?

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:13:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bigdb1:
How about Agincourt?



It sure upset the French.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:14:25 AM EDT
Revolutionary War:
Battle of Cowpens

Civil War:
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Gettysburg
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:18:23 AM EDT
The English were pretty upset when 25.000 of England's finest got their asses well and truly kisked by 9.000 men in skirts at Bannockburn.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:19:17 AM EDT

Battle of Gettysburg


how so?
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:22:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sandman67:

Battle of Gettysburg


how so?



I was wondering about that too.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 1:00:53 PM EDT
Gettysburg? Maybe in that the Gettysburg Campaign was basically a feint to try to get the Union to pull forces away from Grant at Vicksburg and relieve the Vicksburg Campaign. The south realizing that if V'Burgh fell it was all over but the shouting and shooting. Nobody got pulled out of the Tennessee or V'burg forces. The South was never able to put together any kind of successful campaign after that

First Bull Run, Dewey's Battle of Manila, Rozdhevsrenskys(?) taking the Baltic Fleet to Japan, Battle of Britain air battles, Missionary Ridge, Baltimore Harbor War of 1812,
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