10 Little Known Battles That Changed The Course Of History

10 Little Known Battles That Changed The Course Of History 10 Operation Iskra In 1942, things were looking pretty rough for the city of Leningrad The Nazis had been blockading the city for over a year, and supplies and morale were running low

That’s when the Soviets launched Operation Ishkra, a desperate attempt to keep the city from falling Between January 12th and the January 22nd, hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers forced a hole in the German blockade Targeting a specific small stretch of land, the Soviets were able to capture and hold a 10 kilometre-wide strip of land reaching the city The USSR lost 33,000 soldiers in the operation, and another 71,000 were wounded But only 8 days later the Soviets had built a full scale railway built, and were able to transport much needed supplies to the starving city

Leningrad never fell, and this major defeat helped tip the outcome of the invasion, and even the war, against the Nazis Sources: Warfare History Network, Frozen Tears: The Blockade and Battle of Leningrad 9 Battle of Metaurus If China and the US went to war tomorrow, you’d probably remember it At least until you were vaporized by 1,000 nukes landing on your head Well the Punic wars between Rome and Carthage were the equivalent of that US-China clash And the Battle of Metaurus was the battle that tipped the war

In 207BC, the African superpower of Carthage had marched right up into Rome’s backyard But their forces were divided into two armies One was led by Hannibal, you know the guy so desperate to destroy Rome he marched friggin elephants over the Alps, and one by his brother Hasdrubal The armies were due to link up and, had they done so, would certainly have had enough troops to pulverise the Romans and march on the city But Rome’s forces met Hasdrubal’s army before it could join Hannibal’s

There, 40,000 centurions pulverised the 30,000 Carthaginians This battle was instrumental in winning a war that dictated the course of history for hundred of years 8 Chosin Reservoir Sandwiched between the great victory that was World War Two, and the crushing defeat that was Vietnam, the Korean War often gets somewhat forgotten But the effects of THAT war, have continued to this day In particular, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir has had major effects in shaping the political world that we know

On the 27th November 1950, mere months into the Korean War, 120,000 Chinese troops came bearing down on the United Nations forces at the Chosin Reservoir With a mere 30,000 troops, the United Nations could only retreat Over 16 days, the largely American forces fought their way out of the reservoir and out of Northern Korea That loss would be the last time Western troops ever entered what would later become North Korea That’s right, had the Chinese lost the battle, they could well have lost the war and everyone’s favourite insane, nuke-toting dictatorship would never have been born

7 Battle of Cowpens On January 7th 1781, a British force of 1,100 marched through Cherokee County in South Carolina They were on a mission to wipe out a division of American rebels led by Daniel Morgan, something that would have helped the British keep control of the southern colonies But Morgan's militia used guerrilla warfare tactics to trick the British troops into charging too early 110 British soldiers died, but a whopping 829 were captured Only 25 of Morgan’s troops were killed

Despite the small casualty rate, the battle was enough to seriously hamper British ambitions in the South, directing all the fighting into the North Had the battle gone the other way, the British could well have held onto their southern powerbase, making them way harder to defeat Yep, if the British had won at Cowpens it would have prolonged, and could have changed the outcome of, the Revolutionary War 6 The Battle Of Syracuse The Peloponnesian war was a clash between the two most well-known cities of Ancient Greece, Athens and Sparta But a major reason for the eventual Athenian loss is a largely forgotten moment: the Battle of Syracuse

Midway through their intense war with Sparta, the Athenian Alcibiades decided it would be a great idea to start up a second war in Sicily That was a bad idea, with the local Syracusan army teaming up with Sparta to put up surprising effective resistance

The Athenians soon realised they’d failed, and were preparing to sail home relatively unscathed But their superstitious admiral didn’t want to sail during the eclipse, and decided to moor up in a harbour The Syracusans took advantage of this, surrounding the harbour and capturing or killing all 5,000 Athenian soldiers Athens’ ability to wage war was severely damaged, and they would end up losing the war that reshaped Greece 5 The Battle of Poltava Believe it or not, there once was a time when Sweden was a superpower

And the Battle of Poltava is the major reason they aren’t anymore In 1708, Sweden and Russia declared war, and Swedes launched a full scale winter invasion of Russia Which as Hitler and Napoleon will tell you, is never a great idea The invasion actually started pretty well But it all fell apart at the Battle of Poltava

At Poltava, now in central Ukraine, 16,000 of Sweden’s finest troops smashed into a wall of 24,000 Russian soldiers The 9 hour battle was bloody, with casualties on both sides reaching the thousands Eventually, Sweden retreated with 6,900 of their men dead That’s nearly 70% of the 10,000 they lost in the entire war Following the failed war, Sweden lost most of their power, with Russia solidifying theirs to become the superpower we know today

4 The Battle of Lechfeld Whether doing good stuff or… ur… not so good stuff, Germany has been a major player on the world stage for over a thousand years But had one battle in 955AD gone differently, there wouldn’t even BE a Germany Throughout the 19th century, Hungarian armies raided the nations of Western Europe But with a major Hungarian invasion on the way, six of the tribes that would one day make up Germany banded together for the first time The united Saxons, Bohemians, Thuringians, Swabians, Franks and Bavarians rallied a cavalry force of 8,000, and rode to fight the 17,000 Hungarians at Lechfeld,

Though thoroughly outmanned, the Hungarians were reliant on archers, who were torn apart by the swiftness of a cavalry attack 5,000 Hungarians were slain, and the army retreated Had the battle been lost, the Hungarian empire would have expanded into Western Europe and Germany may never had existed 3 Hansan-do By the end of the sixteenth century, the samurai lord Hideyoshi had finished unifying Japan under his rule And what better way to celebrate than immediately trying to conquer China and Korea? In July 1592 the Japanese navy sailed to Hansan Island, near modern day Pyongyang

There, they were met by a fleet of Korean ships led by Admiral Yi Sun-shin The Koreans were outnumbered 56 ships to 73 But Sun-shin had just finished designing a load of “turtle ships”, armour-clad battleships with a shell-like iron covering As the navies clashed, the new Korean ships proved invincible Though they sank 59 Japanese ships, none of Admiral Yi’s were harmed

The crippling Japanese defeat ended an invasion that, if successful, would have completely reshaped Asia The Japanese had to rebuilt their entire navy, giving Admiral Yi months to prepare for the next, similarly ill-fated, invasion 2 Battle of Valmy Three years after the French Revolution, France was in a vulnerable state So it’s no wonder that the powerful nation of Prussia decided to have a go at conquering it in 1792 After all, the Kingdom of Prussia wasn’t exactly thrilled at having a successful democracy in the middle of Europe might inspire revolution in the Kingdom of Prussia

Prussia marched through Northern France, capturing Longwy and Verdun before facing the French forces at Valmy Both had just over 30,000 troops, but while the Prussians were professional soldiers, only half the French troops were part of the regular French army After a barrage of cannonfire, the French troops surprised the Prussians by charging and breaking through their positions With French soldiers singing La Marseillaise, the Prussians retreated and ended up fleeing the country Though only 500 died in the battle, it was seen as a major win for the revolution

And it made clear that the new French government, and idea of democracy in European, weren’t going anywhere 1 The Battle of Tours You may not have heard of the Battle of Tours But had the Franks lost this one battle, Europe, and arguably the entire world, would be completely different In 732AD, Europe was the middle of The Dark Ages, one of its weakest periods in history Taking advantage of this weakness, the Islamic Umayyad caliphate unleashed its forces upon the West

The enormous Umayyad caliphate already stretched from Iran to Cordoba, Spain And only one thing stood in the way of them conquering the whole of mainland Europe: Charles Martel and the Franks Outnumbered 20,000 to 25,000, the Franks attacked the Umayyad at the city of Tours Martel lost 1,000 men, but succeeded in routing his enemy 12,000 Umayyad soldiers died, and they retreated, eventually being chased over the Pyrenees and out of France

Had Martel lost, the Caliphate would likely have conquered mainland Europe entirely, drastically altering the culture and traditions of the continent So, that was 10 Little Known Battles That Changed The Course Of History Which history-rewriting battle did you not know about? Did we leave any major, world-changing conflicts off the list? Let us know, in the comments below And while you’re at it, why not check out this great AllTime10s video playing onscreen now

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