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100

Although we know a great deal about the events surrounding Hitler's "Halt Order" at Dunkirk, the truth is that the reasons behind it are not completely understood by historians, even now. It is a mistake, however, to think that the German army just stood around, watching the British Expeditionary Force being evacuated. They were fighting to reach the ...


65

sides got locked into relatively short lines of heavily defended trench warfare with little prospect of gains for either side. The lines on the Western Front were not by any stretch of the imagination "short". The Western Front ran all the way from Switzerland to the Atlantic Ocean. Side attacks? Well the Race to the Sea (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...


62

It's easy to ask these questions after the fact, but a primary reason was that what we now know as the Miracle of Dunkirk was basically unthinkable. It is easy to forget that in reaching the coast, and cutting the Allied line in two, the Germans had already won a great, practically unthinkable victory. Their victorious divisions, particularly armored units, ...


61

It's actually quite difficult to point to a specific answer because, as your Boudica example shows, in many cases casualty estimates are not very reliable. The 80,000 figure given for Boudica's forces is considered to be a rhetorical device and not an actual factual number - a problem that plagues many pre-modern accounts. Another difficulty is measuring ...


61

First, you need to remember that the US was expecting to use Okinawa as a military, naval and air base for at least two years. None of the commanders involved knew about the Manhattan Project. They were invading Okinawa in April 1945, expecting the invasion of Japan to start in November with an invasion of Kyushu, and the invasion of the largest Japanese ...


52

Mistaking the Sims for a cruiser is easy: a Sims-class destroyer has the same number of turrets (3) as the majority of American cruisers, while most American destroyers of the time had two, four, or five turrets. Without anything to provide a sense of scale, it's easy to mistake one for the other, particularly if you're not getting close enough to count the ...


49

The battle caused mass casualties. The commemoration is part of the mourning. Example: Stalingrad from the German viewpoint. The battle showed outstanding heroism from the defeated side. The commemoration celebrates the heroes. Example: Camerone from the Foreign Legion viewpoint. The battle was perceived as perfidy from the winning side. The defeated side is ...


41

Battle of the Alamo is certainly remembered in Texas, and they certainly lost that battle. Pearl Harbor was a major loss to the United States, and is still commemorated annually. In these two cases the prior losses became rallying cries in future battles, which were victories. The Romans lost the Battle of the Caudine Forks, 321 BC, for which the ...


38

Battle of Mohi might be what you are looking for. It's not a perfect fit but that's the closest I could find. It was fought on 11th April 1241 between Kingdom of Hungary and Golden Horde. The Battle itself was in fact three sub-battles packed into one, all fought in one day. Fight at the Sajó bridge - Midnight Duke Coloman of Slavonia, brother to King Bela ...


30

We have essentially three references on this topic. Of these, only Caesar's could have had political motivations, as he was engaged in a campaign against the Britons. His account, however, is only marginal compared to the others, in that he does not clearly state that the Celts went to battle naked. On the other hand, both Polybius and Diodourus Siculus look ...


29

Pearl Harbor attack: Discarding the materiel lost, the USA had 2,335 killed and 1,143 wounded, while Japan had only 64 killed and 1 prisoner. That makes a ratio of 1:56. If one adds in the materiel probably the difference is quite bigger. Battle of Sidi Barrani: During operation Compass, the British had 624 losses, while Italy had 2,194 killed, 2,286 ...


28

There were no "sides" where one might perform a side-attack. After the initial German push was defeated at the First Battle of the Marne, the British and French attacked the Germans at the First Battle of the Aisne. There, both the Germans and the Entente found how effective entrenching was against attacking troops. Having failed the frontal attacks and ...


28

The basic circumstances of a battle depends on the readiness of the two sides to give battle at that time and place. When neither side is prepared, and both armies arrive piece-meal and assemble as the battle is under way, is termed a meeting engagement. Examples include the first day of Gettysburg, Auerstadt, and Teugn-Hausen. When only one side is ...


26

Chapter 16 - TELEGRAPH AT WAR 1854 - 1868 of Distant Writing by Steven Roberts outlines several battlefield usages of the telegraph prior to the American Civil War. The British, French and Spanish all employed telegraphs systems on the battlefield prior to the start of the American Civil War. British The Crimean War is the first time that the telegraph was ...


26

Misidentifying of ships from scout planes was a consistent problem for both sides in the Pacific Theater. In fact, it seems that getting a scouting report exactly right was more the exception rather than the rule. In particular, pilots appeared to have a distinct tendency to inflate the importance (or size) of the ships they were sighting. According to ...


23

There are some misconceptions in the question which need to be cleared up, and doing so will go some way towards answering the question as posed. The following is sourced from the official US military history of the operation which can be found online here:- Okinawa: The Last Battle (CMH 1993 ed.) Firstly, the specific purpose of the mission as ...


22

The question as it stands would require a book to answer it. Luckily for you, the book has been written: "Naval Warfare Under Oars, 4th to 16th Century" by Rodgers (1940). To quote from Chapter 8 on the Italian Naval Wars in the 13th century: Tactical Customs Ordinarily, squadrons moved in column with the admiral leading; in battle the fleet formed ...


20

In order to be strategically pointless, it must be the case that a victory the other way would have had a negligibly different effect on subsequent historical events. Consider the possibility that as the two British columns approach the French/Spanish line of battle a fluke shot explodes the magazine on Royal Sovereign at the head of the Lee Column (think H....


18

The last king to lead in battle is George II in the Battle of Dettingen. The last one to die in battle was Richard III at Bosworth.


18

The existing answers provide detail on why side attacks and real breakthroughs were impossible in practice. I want to add a theoretic level why strategists might also wouldn't want them. To answer your question with emphasis on the "accept" part, I would like to refer you to a military theorist who foresaw some developments and is thus still taught at many ...


16

In the Kronstadt Rebellion Soviet forces advanced over seasonal sea ice to attack a rebelling naval fortification. Once again, at the Battle of Ogdensburg, during the War of 1812, British forces attacked American forces over the frozen St Lawrence river. In this case coming under artillery fire whilst on the river, which must have been interesting.


16

Your question is underpinned by a key misunderstanding of the course of an ancient or medieval battle: the slaughter occurs in the pursuit (or endgame if you will), not what might be termed the battle proper (or midgame). Prior to the invention of artillery, and breech-loading and automatic rifles, very little death is dealt out during the main course of ...


16

It meant that at least one army, the first, but also quite probably the second, and maybe even endangering the severely weakened third army, faced the danger of encirclement and total defeat. Supply lines were already strained heavily, French resistance became more staunch, the 6th French army guarding Paris more or less a surprise, and the third army being ...


15

In a thread on his site's now-deleted forum, Dan cited: Donovan Webster, Aftermath: The Remnants of War: From Landmines to Chemical Warfare — The Devastating Effects of Modern Combat The other main source, whom I think Dan mentions in that show, is Walter Seledec, an Austrian TV editor/official (and apparently brigadier) who brought footage of the ...


15

Per your comment "I am interested in ... the conditions under which the loser comes to actively keep memories of the battle alive." Conditions for retaining a memorial of the defeat include the symbolism associated with the battle the larger cultural reasons/struggles behind the battle celebration of martyrs the sense of group identity it offers, ...


15

Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC between Alexander and Darius III's Persians. One of Alexande's great victories. Even if we take the highest estimate for Alexander's casualties (1,500) and the lowest for Darius III's army (40,000), it still gives a ratio of 26.67 to 1. Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC between the Romans and the Parthians. This is the famous battle ...


14

Yes. However, I don't think you are giving Napoleon enough credit here as the driver of events. It appears that the entire point of Ligny was to prevent exactly that. Here's what wikipedia (currently) has to say: The battle of Ligny is a prime example of a tactical win and a strategic loss. However, had the left wing of Napoleon´s army succeeded in ...


14

I think this may be a(nother) case of alleged American exceptionalism :) Is there any known intrinsic reason as to why American Civil War generals might have led their troops into multi-day battles as a result of new invention in warfare, or is it perhaps simply the case that this war consisted of a long string of battles, hence also of relatively many multi-...


13

Oh boy, this is the moment to speak of the most awesome battle ever. You see, in winter 1794, a French Hussard regiment was sent to prevent a Dutch fleet, stuck in Den Helder to rejoin british forces. The Dutch Republic was in a state close to civil war and the fealty of those ship was in question. And so, a cavalry regiment had the exceptionnal ...


13

WWI was a pivotal time in military tactics due to the number of technological advances in warfare that had been relatively unused until that point in time. Machine guns had developed to a point that isn't much different from modern designs; field artillery had gotten a lot bigger, was capable of indirect fire, and had many different munition options; ...


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