Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge.
It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle.
The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood.
George S. Patton
Battles are fought to invade a country, to show strength, to get hold of land and the like. But, then battles are always associated with bloodshed, loss of life and killing of innocent people.
Here is an account of the 13 most ferocious battle fought in history:
1. Battle of Borodino – (1812)
The fighting involved around 250,000 troops and left at least 70,000 casualties, making Borodino the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars.
The single bloodiest day of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars up to that point, this battle saw hundreds of thousands of soldiers of France and Russia face off deep in the heartland of Imperial Russia. It was a long day filled with gunfire, artillery, and above all, massed bayonet charges as was the preferred tactic of both militaries at the time. Both sides suffered heavy casualties but the French eventually broke their enemy and killed their general, securing victory.
2. The Battle of Stalingrad (1942, World War II)
This battle resulted as the plan of the Nazis to take over the city, in order to avail precious oil. However, it resulted in death of 850,000 soldiers, 1,000,000 Soviet people missing, dead or drowned. In fact, many numbers of the city civilian died too in the battle.
3. The Gallipoli campaign (1916, World War I)
This battle was fought between 455,000 British soldiers, 79,000 French, 50,000 Australians and ANZAC. However, 315,000 soldiers were with the Ottomans. The battle continued for a year. The Ottoman were victorious, however, the casualties were almost 500,000 from each side, and 250,000 soldiers died.
4. Battle of the Kalka River – (1223)
One of the first tastes Europe had of the power of the Mongol war machine (yes they were more than a rabid horde of horse archers – their level of military organization and discipline would not be seen for centuries afterwards). About 80,000 combined forces of various Russian princes fought the Mongols but surrendered and were all executed including their leaders.
5. The Battle of Cannae (216 BC, Second Punic War)
Hannibal’s greatest triumph and one of Rome’s worst defeats, this battle saw the Carthaginian army surround and totally destroy a Roman force of close to 100,000 soldiers. Supposedly the Romans were encircled and pushed together so tightly that they could not even raise their swords to defend themselves as they were slaughtered in the tens of thousands.
6. Third Battle of Panipat – (1761)
The powerful Maratha Confederacy clashed with the Durrani Empire based in Afghanistan. However, the Durrani forces were victorious, killing many in the Maratha army after a bloody day of fighting, including many camp followers and then proceeding to massacre tens of thousands of more civilians soon after.
7. Battle of Verdun (1916, World War I)
This was fought between the German Empire and France. Almost 300,000 to 1,000,000 died in this battle. In fact, every month almost 80,000 soldiers died from both the sides.
8. Battle of Tumu – (1449)
A young Ming Emperor under control of palace Eunuchs decided that it was a good idea to take a massive and unruly force of half a million into the Mongolian steppes. This force included huge amounts of camp followers (cooks, washerwomen, families, assorted civilians) and bureaucrats which caused chaos when unseasoned civilians saw the Mongol horde for the first time, leading to the slaughter of possibly hundreds of thousands as the “army’s” morale collapsed.
9. Battle of the Somme (1916, World War I)
The battle was fought between France, Britain and the German empire. 1,000,000 casualties with the central powers and 300,000 German casualties were there.
10. The Brusilov Offensive (1916, World War I)
This was a high push against the Central power of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empire. Here, the total casualty was only 1, 600, 00 million soldiers. Austro-Hungary had to bear with 567,000 losses and 480,000 prisoners.
11. The Huaihai Campaign (1948-1949, Chinese Civil War)
This battle was fought between the ROC (Republic of China) and CCP (Chinese Communist Party). The ROC had 800,000 fighters. The CCP had 6,500,000 fighters. It led to a landslide Communist victory. However, each side had almost 225,000 soldiers wounded. Since, the ROC had a smaller army it meant more casualties for them.
12. Operation Ichi-Go (1994, Sino-Japanese War)
The ROC (Republic of China) and the Japanese Empire fought in this battle. The battle inculcated 1, 500, 00 soldiers. The wounded soldier count with the ROC went up to 750,000. The Japanese losses included 100,000.
13. Operation Barbarossa (1941, World War II)
This battle included 3,800,000 axis soldiers and almost 2.8 million soviets. A total of 4,800,000 soldiers were wounded. The Soviets were able to push out the axis out of Moscow, but had to bear immense damage arising due to the severe losses.
14. The Siege of Leningrad (1942 – 1944, World War II)
This battle was fought between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. This battle continued for a course of 2 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and 5 days. The worst aspect of this battle other than the heavy number of casualties was the rampant cannibalism which was awful. It resulted in an immense loss of lives, killing and brutality.