10 Military Invasions That Were Huge Disasters

10 Military Invasions That Were Huge Failures 10 Operation Barbarossa Let’s start with a World War II classic

In 1941, Operation Barbarossa – named after Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who sought to establish German predominance in Europe – marked a crucial turning point in the war The operation was launched by Adolf Hitler on June 22nd with the intent of invading the Soviet Union However, the mission got off on the wrong foot The invasion was initially scheduled for mid-May, but the unforeseen necessity of invading Yugoslavia and Greece in April brought some delays Consequently, the Nazis had to face a second unexpected event: the arrival of early winter

Within the first month, three great army groups with over three million German soldiers and three thousand tanks encircled Minsk and Smolensk However, the Germans began to unravel when a series of Soviet counterattacks stalled the advance Then, in September, the German troops recovered ground with two wins, in Kiev and in Bryansk-Vyazma They headed to Moscow, but there, Russian weather intervened In such desperate conditions, with their supply lines stretched and no winter clothes, they could only retreat

In the end, Operation Barbarossa had failed 9 British Invasion Of Zululand During the second half of the 19th century, Britain became interested in Zululand for several reasons, such as a source of labour for the diamond fields of Southern Africa This brought to a decisive six-month war in 1879 which, in short, the British won However, even if they claimed victory, in the end, it doesn’t mean they did it without paying any prize

Less than two weeks into the Anglo-Zulu war the British side suffered a major setback Lord Chelmsford led most of his men from his camp to attack what he believed to be the main Zulu force It turned out it wasn’t, and actually, the Zulus surrounded the other, unguarded British camp at Isandlwana, killing 800 British soldiers and taking nearly 1,000 rifles and ammunition The few survivors were forced to withdraw and reached Chelmsford at Rorke's Drift where, later that same day, the Zulus attacked again This time the British were prepared and won what’s been remembered as a heroic deed, rewarded by Queen Victoria herself, in a celebration that seemed more like a cover-up for the other failure of the same day

8 The Japanese Invasion Of The Pacific The battle of Midway of June 1942 saw the Japanese military invasion of the US Midway Islands, in the Pacific The attack was part of a much bigger plan, aimed to establish the Japanese's naval and air superiority in the western Pacific In fact, the commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Isoroku Yamamoto, hoped to replicate the success of Pearl Harbor in Midway

What Yamamoto had in mind was a three-pronged approach, with a first air attack on the island launched from four first-line Japanese aircraft carriers and a second invasion by ships and soldiers Ultimately, following expected US reinforcements, a final attack by both fighters and a secret fleet, waiting at 600 miles to the west However, thanks to cryptanalysts, the U

S Navy intercepted the Japanese plans They knew for weeks that Japan was planning an attack in the Pacific at a location they called “AF” Suspecting it was Midway, the Navy decided to send out a false message from the base, that Japan’s radio operators reported referring to “AF” This allowed the US to lead their own ambush

For example, the Americans had the time to commit about 115 land-based Navy, Marine Corps, and Army Air Forces planes from Midway and Hawaii On the contrary, the Japanese had no land-based air support and had just lost their element of surprise 7 The Battle of Tsushima Same country – Japan – but different time – 1905 – and counterpart – Russia We're in Tsushima Island, during the Russo-Japanese War for the domain of Manchuria and Korea

A settlement was almost reached, only one year before the decisive battle on the island Japan had proposed to divide the two areas into spheres of influence But Russia refused, so things escalated quickly and here we are During the Battle of Tsushima, in 1905, Russian Czar Nicholas II sent his Russian Baltic fleet – of about 45 warships – to Tsushima to settle things once and for all He had hoped Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky would be able to challenge Japanese Admiral Heihachiro Togo

But, the Czar’s hopes were shattered – so as his ships – when it was soon clear the Japanese Navy was much better prepared for the battle Admiral Togo strategically manoeuvred his ships to capitalise on Russian mistakes and led his country to victory More than 30 Russian ships were sunk and at least 6000 Russian sailors were taken as prisoners The crush of their fleet convinced Russian leaders that further resistance against Japan’s imperial designs for East Asia was hopeless

6 Italian Invasion Of Egypt Okay, let’s take a step back and have a look at the political background of the time, first Italy had been established in North Africa since 1912, with the occupation of Libya, obtained from Turkey to gain colonies, at the end of the Italo-Turkish war After Mussolini took power, in 1935, he pursued the process of colonization, sending tens of thousands of Italians – mostly farmers and other rural workers – to the colony Then, with the outbreak of World War II, Mussolini began dreaming of regaining the territories of the old Roman Empire, by expanding to Egypt

There was a teeny-tiny problem, though When Mussolini's forces finally crossed the Libyan border into Egypt, in 1940, they had to face the British troops in the country since 1936 to protect the Suez Canal and Royal Navy bases As soon as the battle began, the Italian forces realised the Royal army was less vulnerable than they expected – Because, you know, a world war was on – One after another, the Italian camps fell to a force of 36,000 British soldiers, who killed about 5,000 and captured over 125,000 Italian soldiers

5 The Accidental Invasion Of Luxembourg We all know what event triggered the beginning of World War I: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand on June 28th 1914 Not everyone knows that Germany’s first steps into the war were made accidentally in the small town of Troisvierges in Luxembourg In fact, with the Austro-Hungarian Empire declaring war on Serbia, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II supported the Serbians and, consequently, Austria-Hungary’s ally Germany declared war on Russia What does Luxembourg have to do with it? Germany’s initial plan was to quickly knock Russia’s ally France out of the war and, as historian David Heal has recounted, Luxembourg lay directly in the path of it

So, on August 1st of that same year, the German troops were primed to attack BUT, since the Kaiser wanted to secure Britain’s neutrality in the upcoming conflict first, the attack was delayed Apparently, not everyone got the memo though The German 69th Infantry Regiment invaded the country only to go back over the border a few hours later, once they were informed about their embarrassing mistake 4

US Invasion Of Puerto Rico And The Philippines The Spanish-American war of 1898 began right after Cuba’s struggling efforts to get independence from Spain The war set the end of Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in US acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America Which brings us to our main stories

Cuba was, of course, the primary goal However, together with the invasion of the island, the US Army launched two other expeditionary forces to Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands In the end, Puerto Rico would prove to be a cooperative possession The Philippines, on the contrary, would not

Only after six months from the capture of Manila, the US found themselves fighting against those same guerrilla forces who had fought against Spanish rule In fact, now they were against their new occupiers and gave the Americans a lot of trouble In fact, even if the end of the conflict is officially acknowledged in 1902 with 4,300 American casualties, further attacks from the Filippino guerrillas never really stopped At least not until the country’s independence of 1946

3 Bay Of Pigs From the end of the 19th century straight to the 1960s Cold War, in which Cuba still played a big role The initial plan of invasion of the Bay Of Pigs – in fact, in Cuba – saw the CIA financing and training groups of Cuban refugees lands in Cuba with the ultimate goal of toppling the communist government of Fidel Castro The last part of the mission consisted of around 1,200 exiles, armed with American weapons at the Bay Of Pigs, in 1961 However, the invasion turned out to be a failure from the very beginning

As soon as they landed the US force was met with unexpectedly rapid counterattacks from Castro’s military The small Cuban air force sank most of their ships, while the US refrained from providing necessary air support, due to a misunderstanding over time zones that let the bombers arrive an hour before planned escort cover arrived from a US

Navy aircraft carrier And so, the expected uprising never happened Over 100 of the attackers were killed, and more than 1,100 were captured The Bay of Pigs mission cost the United States a lot – and not only economically Castro used their failed attack to solidify his power in Cuba and he requested additional Soviet military aid

2 The Winter War We’re back to World War II, during the Winter War of 1939-1940 that saw the Soviet Union invading Finland to – spoiler alert – fail miserably But let’s start from the beginning Russia’s feud with Finland began when Soviet leader Joseph Stalin looked to expand his influence over Eastern Europe Claiming as a primary concern, a potential attack by the Germans, Stalin demanded the country to cross its border to create a buffer zone around the city of Leningrad

However, the Finns turned him down And so the invasion began 450,000 Soviets with approximately 4,000 planes and 6,000 tanks crossed the borders of Finland However, despite being outnumbered and outgunned, the Finns managed to stop the invaders They hunkered down behind a network of trenches, concrete bunkers and field fortifications, beating back Soviet tank assaults

On the frontier, the highly mobile ski troops of Finland used effective camouflage and careful tactics to cut apart the Soviet formations dressed in dark uniforms that stood out against the snow The Soviets eventually won but the war cost them nearly 130,000 lives and 270,000 troops wounded and captured, so was it really worth it? 1 The US Invasion Of Canada Here we are, with the oldest military invasion failure of this video It’s 1775, in the middle of the American Revolutionary War, Patriot forces attempted to capture the British-occupied city of Quebec It wouldn’t be the last U

S invasion of Canada but, the Battle Of Quebec would go down in history as the first major defeat of the Revolutionary War for the Americans The American forces advanced on Quebec under Colonel Benedict Arnold and General Richard Montgomery, in the early morning of December 31 But, the British were expecting them so, when Montgomery’s forces approached the fortified city, the British opened fire, killing Montgomery in the first assault Without a General to lead them, his men were forced to retreat – HAPPY NEW YEAR

Arnold’s assault, on the northern wall of the city, didn't go much better A two-gun battery opened fire on the advancing Americans, wounding the Colonel in the leg Patriot Daniel Morgan assumed command and made some progress against the defenders However, by the time the American reinforcements finally arrived, the British had reorganized, forcing the Patriots to call off their attack

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