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About This Quiz
There are too many battles that occurred throughout the course of history to name them all. The Hundred Years' War, for example, consisted of thousands of battles over the course of 116 years. The Crusades, which were "Holy" wars, lasted for centuries. The American Civil War, which lasted only four years, consisted of more than 10,500 battles. That equates to about seven battles a day for four years. Sadly, with all this warring comes a lot of death and destruction. More than 30 million people were killed in battle during both World Wars, and countless more were wounded, and that isn't counting mental wounding like PTSD that affects many combat veterans.
With all that being said, somehow and some way, some battles live on in fame. We celebrate D-Day on June 6 every year to commemorate the Invasion of Normandy, which marked the end of WWII. Throughout several states in America, there are re-enactments of famous Civil War battles that participants take extremely seriously. Countless moments of the American Revolution have lived on due to poets and novelists inscribing them into history - Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride" and Emerson's "Concord Hymn" are two of the most famous ones. Here are 35 of the most famous battles and commanders in the world's long history of war. Do you think you can name them all?
Which battle did Napoleon lose in Belgium in 1815, marking the end of the Napoleonic Wars?
In June of 1815 Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two armies of the Seventh Coalition - British and Prussian forces - in the Battle of Waterloo. It marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars and led to Napoleon's exile to the island of Saint Helena.
In which battle did Major General George Meade command a winning effort, which was considered a turning point of the war?
As General Robert E. Lee planned to invade the North, Major General George Meade and his army was able to halt the offense and force Confederate forces to retreat. This battle caused the most casualties of the entire war and was considered a turning point.
William, the Duke of Normandy, was a commander in which of these battles?
The Duke of Normandy won a decisive victory in this battle that was fought between Normandy and English forces in 1066. This battle marked the beginning of the Norman Conquest of England and lasted from morning to dusk on Oct. 14. The Anglo-Saxon king, Harold Godwinson, was killed during this battle.
Which one of these commanders fought against the Roman Empire in the Battle of Vienna?
The battle of Vienna was the last effort of the Ottoman Empire to expand its territory after more than a century of war. Mustafa was on the verge of winning the battle until a flank attack by the Polish Army sent the Ottomans retreating into Hungary.
Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro led a successful ambush on Inca ruler Atahaulpa in which of these battles?
This battle wasn't so much of a battle as it was an ambush of Atahaulpa in 1532, who was the last Inca ruler. The takeover and capture by Pizarro and the Spaniards marked the beginning of the conquest of the Inca civilization.
Which of these generals was a commander during The Battle of Antietam, which was the bloodiest day in American history?
Abraham Lincoln originally wanted Robert E. Lee to command the Union forces during the war, but Lee couldn't cut his ties to the Confederacy and declined. It can be said the Union claimed a strategic victory in this battle, but 22,717 Americans were tallied dead, wounded or missing when all was said and done.
German commander Freidrich Paulus lost to Soviet forces in this battle, which was the largest confrontation of WWII.
To this day, the Battle of Stalingrad is the biggest (more than 2 million participants) and bloodiest (2 million killed, wounded or captured) battle in the history of warfare. Germany and its allies lost to the Soviet Union in a fight for control of the city of Stalingrad.
British general Lord Cornwallis surrendered to American troops in which famous moment?
On Oct. 19, 1781, British Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the Continental Army and French Army troops. His surrender and capture marked the end of the American Revolutionary War, as it prompted the British government to negotiate its end in battle.
In Greek mythology, Odysseus came up with the idea of the Trojan Horse for which battle?
Any fan of Greek mythology has probably read the ingenious military tactic of loading a Trojan horse with Greek warriors and sneaking them into the city of Troy under the guise of a gift. Whether it really happened, it remains one of the greatest military tactics of all time.
Which of these people led English forces in the Battle of Agincourt?
The Battle of Agincourt, where King Henry V of England faced off against King Charles VI of France, was one of the greatest English victories in the Hundred Years War. King Henry actually engaged in hand-to-hand combat in this battle, whereas King Charles did not command the French army himself.
Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell were victorious in which of these moments?
In June of 1645, the Royalist army of King Charles I was heading north to recover with Fairfax, Cromwell and the Parliamentarian New Model Army on their tail. When they finally engaged in battle, 7,000 of 7,400 Royalist soldiers were killed and Fairfax and Cromwell claimed victory.
Admiral Lord Nelson led the British Navy to victory in which of these battles?
The British Royal Navy, 27 ships led by Lord Nelson, defeated 33 French and Spanish ships under the command of the French admiral. Although the Royal Navy was victorious, Lord Nelson was shot and died before the battle ended.
Before defecting to Britain, Benedict Arnold led American forces to victory in which of these battles?
These two battles in September and October of 1777 were decisive victories for the Continental Army in the American Revolution. In the October battle, Benedict Arnold anticipated British strategy, which caused the Brits to suffer major casualties. Arnold was later stripped of his command because of disputes within his own camp.
The Siege of Orleans was led by which of these famous heroes?
The siege of Orleans lasted from October of 1428 to May of 1429 and was the French Royal Army's first major victory since its devastating loss in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Joan of Arc is credited with ending the siege just nine days after her arrival in the city. It was her first battle with the army.
Attila the Hun and his army was unsuccessful in achieving all of their goals in which of these historic battles against the Western Roman Empire?
The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains took place on June 20, 451 between the Western Roman Empire and the Hunnic Empire. Although Attila and the Huns were unsuccessful in capturing lands they wanted to, they did loot much of Roman Gaul.
The Greek Army, led by Miltiades, decisively defeated the Persians in which of these battles?
The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC and is most well-known for birthing the modern marathon race. When the Greeks won, a runner ran more than 25 miles from the site of Marathon to Athens to announce the victory. Today, we run 26.2-mile marathons to honor this feat.
Which of these battles is Alexander the Great most well-known for?
The Battle of Gaugamela was the battle that led to the fall of the Achaemenid Empire. It was this invasion in 331 BC, led by Alexander the Great, that scholars study today because of his army's superior tactics. It is considered by many as his greatest victory.
The Battle of Zama marked the end of the Second Punic War, where the Carthaginian Army was led by which historic leader?
Hannibal Barca is considered one of the greatest military leaders in the history of the world. The Battle of Zama, where Romans teamed up with Numidia to defeat the Carthaginians, marked the end of the Second Punic War. Hannibal's father, Hamilcar, led the Carthaginians in the First Punic War.
The Battle of the Metaurus, which solidified Rome's power of Italy, featured which of these great commanders?
The Roman victory at Metaurus in 207 BC is widely seen as Cladius Nero's greatest military achievement. In this battle, Nero (not to be confused with the Roman Emperor), led Roman forces against Carthaginian forces, which were led by Hannibal's brother, Hasdrubal.
The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, which was integral to the collapse of the Roman Empire, was led by which victorious commander?
Arminius, who had Roman citizenship and had received a Roman military education, was able to use that to his advantage to deceive the Roman commander as he led Germanic tribes into an ambush that destroyed three Roman legions.
Which famous military leader led the Battle of Stirling Bridge?
Mel Gibson made William Wallace a Hollywood legend in the movie Braveheart. In the Battle of Stirling Bridge, Wallace and Andrew Moray defeated English forces in the First War of Scottish Independence.
Which of these battles is widely considered the greatest military achievement of Julius Caesar?
The Battle of Alesia is studied today as Caesar's greatest military achievement and is a case study in siege warfare and investment, which is the military act of surrounding an enemy fort on all sides to prevent entrance or escape.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander in which of these battles?
On June 6, 1944 (D-Day) Allied Forces in WWII launched the largest water invasion in the history of warfare. The invasion consisted of parachute and glider landings, air attacks and naval bombings. It lasted until mid-July, when the Allied Forces were victorious.
Stonewall Jackson earned his nickname in which of these Civil War battles?
The First Battle of Bull Run was the first major battle of the American Civil War. Both sides had poorly trained soldiers and poorly led brigades. When Union forces charged southward, the unknown general, Thomas Jackson, stood his ground, earning him the name, Stonewall Jackson.
The Greek hero, Leonidis, is most well-known for his deafeat in which of these famous battles?
King Leonidas of Sparta is most well-known for his heroics in the Battle of Thermopylae. When it was clear the Persian Army and King Xerxes were winning the battle, Leonidas and 300 of his men stood their ground and fought to the death.
Ulysses S. Grant was commander of U.S. troops in which battle?
In the Battle of Shiloh, Union forces had moved west via the Tennessee River and were caught off guard by a surprise attack from Confederate forces. Grant and his forces received reinforcements overnight and were able to launch a successful counterattack.
William Prescott commanded American forces in which of these battles, which was an early battle of the American Revolution?
The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought in June of 1775, when British forces set out on their Siege of Boston. About 1,200 Colonial troops led by William Prescott fought back, and although British forces technically won, they suffered massive casualties.
Before being the first president of the United States, George Washington led troops to victory in which of these campaigns?
The Siege of Boston lasted for 11 months, where British and Continental forces split victories. It was the start of the American Revolution and George Washington was Commander in Chief. After 11 months, British forces retreated to Nova Scotia.
George S. Patton first fought in which of these battles?
The Pancho Villa Expedition lasted one year during the Mexican Revolution and was the first time the legendary commander saw combat. Today it is known as the Mexican Expedition and is the most remembered event of the war.
Norman Schwarzkopf was the commander of U.S. troops in what military operation?
Schwarzkopf Jr. graduated West Point and went on to fight in the Vietnam War, where he was awarded three Silver Star Medals, two Purple Hearts, and the Legion of Merit. He then went on to lead all coalition forces in the Gulf War, including Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
The Battle of Boju featured which one of these legendary military commanders?
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist and writer who lived in Ancient China and is considered one of the greatest military strategists to ever live. Aside from fighting, he is most well-known for writing the book, "The Art of War."
Before he was director of the CIA, David Petraeus was a commander of U.S. forces in which of these battles?
Petraeus graduated top of his class from the United States Military Academy before earning a Masters of Public Administration and Ph.D. degree. He joined the army in the 1970s but confirmed his military acumen in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
One of the leaders of the Lakota Tribe was Crazy Horse, who led fighters to a successful effort in which battle?
The Battle of Little Big Horn, aka Custer's Last Stand, took place in June of 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory. The Lakota Tribe, led by Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, defeated U.S. forces handily.
Who led American troops in the Battles of Lexington and Concord?
The "shot heard 'round the world" happened at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which kicked off the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775. In the beginning, the Colonial militia was outnumbered but picked up more soldiers as they marched between cities.
Which of these conquistadors was responsible for conquering the Aztec Empire in the Spanish-Mexican War?
For two years, Spaniards conspired with indigenous people of Mexico to take over the Aztec empire and capture its leader, Montezuma. Cortes led the expedition and was successful in doing so, ultimately ending the Aztec empire.
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