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While it is a generalisation, the main aim in warfare is to organise situations where you can bring overwhelming force to bear and curbstomp your enemy. If you aim to fight fair, you are doing it wrong.
Gen. Fred Franks, Jr. (Ret.) "If you have to fight...then 100 to nothing is about the right score for the battlefield. Twenty-four to twenty-one may be okay in the NFL on a Sunday afternoon, but not on the battlefield...I want to get them on the ropes and keep them there. We're going to finish them. If we have to fight, then we're going to go for the jugular, not the capillaries."
We must of course mention battles where an entire well equipped army surrenders with a relatively small amount of fighting, even if they outnumber the forces they're fighting against. The most infamous example of this happening is in World War 2 with France (see below), but it was hardly limited to them. The Germans themselves even fell into this trap against the Americans at the Ruhr Pocket.
The Battle of Carrhae, fought between the late Roman Republic and the Parthian Empire, in which a force of 10,000 Parthian horsemen routed a Roman army more than four times their size. The Parthians killed about half of the Roman invasion force and took most of the survivors prisoner; Parthian losses came out to about 100. The Roman general, the fabulously rich and greedy Marcus Licinius Crassus, got a particularly nasty taste of defeat: His son was killed, and according to some accounts, his Parthian captors poured molten gold down his throat.
The NATO intervention in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. The Libyan government forces lost over 1,500 armored vehicles, thousands of soldiers, 550 anti-air batteries, 440 buildings, 369 ammo dumps, and nearly their entire airforce. NATO losses amounted to 1 American F-15E (to technical difficulties; no fatalities) and 1 British airman... who died in a traffic accident. In Italy. Needless to say, this was enormously helpful to the rebels.
Elphinstone's Defeat in the First Anglo-Afghan War was, and arguably remains to this day, the worst disaster in British military history. After abandoning a fortified position in Kabul, General William George Keith Elphinstone decided to march his 4,500 men to the garrison of Jalalabad. 90 miles away, across the mountains, in winter. With some 12,000 civilians in tow, and 30,000-odd Afghan tribesmen waiting in the passes. The outcome should surprise nobody.
To make the defeat even more shameful, Elphinstone abandoned his army to its fate during the battle and surrendered himself to the Afghan leader Akbar Khan. The Afghans, perhaps disgusted with the feeble, sickly old coward, left him to die in a dungeon. Eventually, his remains were sent to British India, where he was buried in an unmarked grave.
"For pure, vacillating stupidity, for superb incompetence to command, for ignorance combined with bad judgement - in short, for the true talent for catastrophe - Elphy Bey stood alone. Others abide our question, but Elphy outshines them all as the greatest military idiot of our own or any other day. Only he could have permitted the First Afghan War and let it develop to such a ruinous defeat. It was not easy: he started with a good army, a secure position,some excellent officers, a disorganised enemy, and repeated opportunities to save the situation. But Elphy, with the touch of true genius, swept aside these obstacles with unerring precision, and out of order wrought complete chaos. We shall not, with luck, look upon his like again."
The other contender for "worst disaster in British military history" was, of course, the Japanese capture of Singapore during World War 2; which, as fate would have it, occurred nearly a century to the day after Elphinstone's defeat. Despite being outnumbered three to one, having overextended its supply line, and going up against an entrenched enemy position, the Japanese utterly dominated the British and Australian forces, who surrendered the entire garrison. All in all, 85,000 British/Australian soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured, whereas the Japanese only suffered 4,500 killed and wounded. The Japanese proceeded to work the prisoners of war to death to build railways and terrorize the population of Singapore for the next four years. Winston Churchill himself called it "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history".
Winston Churchill: I put the telephone down. I was thankful to be alone. In all the war I never received a more direct shock.
For World War One, the Battle of the Somme, more specifically the very first day, is often considered the single worst day (casualty wise) in the history of the British military. The British had 57,470 casualties in which 19,240 were KIA. The Germans, on the other hand, had suffered around 10,000 casualties. All of that in one day.
Most of the British casualties were suffered in the first half-hour. Hardest hit was the 1st Newfoundland Regiment, which - unable to reach its own front line because the British communication trenches were jammed with casualties - went up and over the trenches in full view of a regiment's worth of machine guns. Most of them didn't even reach the jumping-off point. The unit took 90% casualties in twenty minutes. Most chillingly, the battle wasn't a curb-stomp in the end - the Allies "won" in the end. Thing is, in WWI, defenders were always going to suffer far fewer casualties than attackers, and the Somme was unique only when it comes to scale. The Allied commanders knew exactly what they were sending their men into - but nobody had any idea how to completely shift the paradigm of war to break the deadlock.
How about the 1st Gulf War? Western media played up the training and equipment of battle-hardened Republican Guard units ("We will need 10,000 body bags to bring back our dead"). Coalition forces braced for heavy casualties from chemical weapons and Saddam Hussein announced that his entire country was ready to fight to the death in the "Mother of All Battles." Today, military science classes teach that the majority of Iraq's 25,000 military casualties were unfortunate conscripts who simply couldn't find anyone to surrender to fast enough.
Bill Hicks lays it out:
"Remember when it started? They kept talking about the Elite Republican Guard in these hushed tones. "Yeah we're doing well, but we have yet to face...the Elite Republican Guard." Yeah, like these are ten-feet-tall desert warriors. <stomping noises> Never lost a battle! <more stomping noises> We shit bullets! <even more stomping noises> Well, after three weeks of continuous carpet bombing and not one reaction at all from these fuckers, they became simply, "the Republican Guard." Not nearly as elite as we have led you to believe. And after another week of continuous bombing and no response AT ALL, they changed from the Elite Republican Guard to The Republican guard to "The Republicans made this shit up about there being guards out there; we hope you enjoyed your fireworks show!"
A specific example was shown on the Discovery Channel in an episode of Extreme Machines, "Tanks". In one campaign of the ground wars, the allies' M1 Abrams battalion reduced the Iraqis' tank battalion (composed of Russian tanks) to mere piles of scrap in just a few days, with virtually no losses incurred at all.
To be fair to the Iraqis, they were fighting with vastly inferior weapons that were several decades out of date and poorly made by the standards of their original designers. The vast majority of the tanks that the Coalition forces encountered were T-54/55 tanks, mainly Chinese Type 69s that were rejected by their own military for inadequate performance. The much-vaunted T-72's were not the top-of-the-line ones fielded by the Soviets, but rather "Lion of Babylon" tanks that were locally assembled using knocked-down export kits and whatever other equipment they could acquire in their attempts to compensate for the lack of quality.
It didn't help that the tank crews were also pitifully incompetent. On one occasion, an Iraqi armored unit failed to react to receiving fire from the flank: their sole tactic was to point tanks towards the enemy and go full speed forward. This incompetence was far more important in keeping the Coalition's casualties low than the Coalition's technological advantage.
The Battle of 73 Easting was the biggest rout of the war. A single US Cavalry troop of 12 M 1 A 1 Abrams tanks and 12 M2 Bradleys stumbled upon a Republican Guard unit. The Iraqis lost multiple battalions' worth of vehicles and took hundreds of casualties by the end of the battle. The US lost a single Bradley and one of its crew was killed, along with a few wounded.
The second invasion of Iraq was just as bad. There are reports of entire armored divisions suffering a single airstrike. The survivors then immediately surrendered to the squad of troops that had called in the strike.
Troops nothing. Some of the Iraqis surrendered to journalists.
In some cases Iraqis surrendered to drones because they knew a naval bombardment was going to be coming.
Not that anyone can blame them, those RQ-2 Pioneers were being controlled by USS Wisconsin and USS Missouri, two of the still in active duty Iowa Class Battleships. Each of those battleships had nine16-inch guns that hurtled two-ton projectiles over 20 miles each. Needless to say, if your position is exposed, and you SURVIVE just one broadside of that... you're not fighting any more, you're wanting to call it quits.
Any pre-Waterloo (which was "a damn close run thing") battle that the Duke of Wellington commanded in became this. Aside from Vitoria, he was always outnumbered, usually vastly, had skilled but easily distracted cavalry (e.g. Britain's heavy cavalry obliterated everything they faced in their first charge at Waterloo, and were promptly destroyed by French reinforcing cavalry), was usually outgunned, and politicians in London tried to trip him up every step of the way, not to mention the ones in Spain. The only thing he really had on his side were the superbly trained redcoats and military nous, with which he obliterated French army after French army, eventually reaching France itself.
Apart from sieges, which he hated. Although he did win most of his siege operations (Burgos Castle being an exception), his tactics in all of them were straight out of the field manuals.
Special mention to the Battle of Assaye, which Wellington considered his finest victory: In the red corner, we have 4500 Sepoys and Redcoats, with 5000 irregular Indian cavalry. In the blue corner, we have 70,800 Indian troop...oh wait.
Operation Flash With both forces being roughly equal (7200 on Croatian side vs 8000 on Serbian) Croatian Army lost 204 men (42 killed, 162 wounded). Army of SAO Krajina lost at least 1700 (190 - 280 killed 1500 captured).
The Spartans had the reputation of being the best and toughest soldiers in Greece. Some armies preferred to flee in shame rather than risk a fight with them. Surprisingly, though, there are quite a few occasions in which the Spartans get utterly curbstomped.
On Sphacteria in 425 BC, a unit of professional Spartan heavy infantry surrenders to untrained Athenian rowers armed ad hoc with javelins.
At Lechaion in 390 BC, a column of Spartan hoplites is toyed with by Athenian light infantry mercenaries until the survivors break and run for the nearest allied city. The Athenian army does not suffer a single casualty.
The above two examples are textbook cases of why ancient Greek hoplites needed either cavalry or light infantry to protect them from skirmishes. Just because the Spartans were badass, that does not mean they were any exception.
At Tegyra in 375 BC, the Theban Sacred Band, 300-strong, suddenly encounters an army of 1,200 Spartan soldiers. The Thebans are undaunted and proceed to thoroughly kick Spartan ass.
This battle effectively dropped the Spartans from the position of badasses of the Aegean to a second-rate backwater overnight.
The Battle of Leuctra. The battle was featured on an episode of the BBC show "Time Commanders" which uses the Rome: Total War game engine and has normal people group in teams to re-play the battles. At the end, they'd show them how the actual battle played out, using blocks on a physical map. So smashing was the Theban smashing of the Spartans, that the guy used his foot to kick the Theban blocks into the Spartan blocks, making a real mess. The Spartans lost 400 Spartiates and their King.
The Battle of Watling Street. According to Tacitus, the grossly outnumbered Romans of 10,000 soldiers won against about 100,000 Britons, with the Roman casualties of only 400 while the Britons lost 80,000 fighters (including their leader, Iceni Queen Boudica). While modern historians regard those figures as exaggerations, it's certain that the Romans achieved a decisive victory despite being heavily outnumbered, thanks primarily to the Romans' superior battle planning and ability to act as a cohesive unit: much like how modern police are able to control riots today. They also selected their battle ground well - a narrow valley where the tribal forces couldn't bring their superior numbers to bear.
Hannibal Barca of Carthage delivered three of these in a row to Rome during the second Punic War, first at the Trebia, second at Lake Trasimene, and then finally at Cannae, where it's estimated that somewhere between 40 and 70 thousand Romans died in a single afternoon, while Hannibal only lost a few thousand.
The Battle of Cannae stands out in particular, as Hannibal accomplished something believed to be impossible: he successfully surrounded the Roman army, despite being heavily outnumbered.
After this three in a row loss to the Carthaginians, the Romans delivered a curbstomp on Hannibal in return; they had enough men to raise two whole new armies—one to keep Hannibal pinned in Italy, and another to invade Iberia and utterly destroy Hannibal's Spanish kingdom. And this was done without the survivors of the previous battle, as they were sent to garrison Sicily!
The Six Day War was a Curb Stomp War. During the tense buildup to the war, the Syrians and Egyptians were spouting rhetoric like "We will drive them into the sea," and (at one particularly tense moment) "This time next week, we will be having lunch in Tel Aviv." The Israelis launched a dawn sneak attack on the Arab air forces while their pilots were all at breakfast, virtually obliterating them. Without air support, the Arabs stood no chance against the Israeli ground strike, and surrendered within six days.
Technically, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Sudan were also involved, but of these really only the Jordanians had troops in significant numbers (after all, they held the West Bank, considering it an integral part of their territory and its residents Jordanian citizens), and they were dragged into the Syro-Egyptian assault kicking and screaming (having the most to lose from failure, and having an undeclared peace with Israel since almost the beginning). The other Arab states sent "moral support" and maybe a small unit or two. Casualties were 983 killed on the Israeli side and roughly 11,000 on the Arab side.
And it helped a TON that most of those Middle Eastern countries were actually arguing politics and fighting amongst THEMSELVES to really have concentrated all their attention on Israel (who also had a lot of Western foreign aid)
Averted with the subsequent 1973 War, however. While the Israelis managed to turn the tide of war, it did so at a great cost in men and machines, and without winning decisively. Victory proved hollow and the IDF was criticized for its mistakes in revealed in the postwar Agranat Commission.
Operation Mole Cricket 19, during the 1982 Lebanon War is another Curb Stomp battle in the Arab-Israeli conflicts. The Israeli Air Force managed to destroy much of Syria's air defense system and a significant portion of the Syrian Air Force in the Bekaa Valley, without losing a single plane in air-to-air combat. To be fair, the IAF underwent significant reforms after the 1973 war, while the SAF sat on their laurels and used (there were some exceptions) much of the same equipment that they used in 1973.
The Pacific War, the U.S. vs Japan subset of World War II, rapidly devolved to this as the war progressed as the battles below show. Justified, as it was primarily a naval and air war that favored the side with the greatest ability to outproduce the other; in this case, by far the largest industrialized economy in the world facing off against a resource-poor nation that had already been at war for 5 years.
The United States with the help of Britain had broken Japan's message encryption system and knew the majority of the Japanese fleet movements, troop movements, deployments, fleet strengths, and basically all communications. Japan would not have won even if they had the same industrial base. In addition to this Japan was operating under a traditional doctrine where battleships were the key and carriers were support for them. The Americans progressively saw Carriers as key and Battleships as support for them. Fundamentally this meant that Japan was throwing away tactically and strategically more valuable carriers to defend less important battleships. Bad video game analogy: The Pacific War was akin to a game of Starcraft 2 where the US side had a 5000 mineral and gas lead; a map hack; 250 APM; and had a perfect unit balance with carriers as their principal offense, while Japan had decided it would mass battleships. Curb stomp was the only possibility on the high seas.
The Japanese were actually on the cutting edge of naval theory and were one of the first navies to seriously use their carriers as their primary naval weapon and played central roles in Japanese naval operations. The US rapidly adapted to the new style of naval warfare but was more or less forced to by the attack on Pearl Harbor, which sunk or damaged most of the battleships but spared the carriers. It was the lack of resources and industrial base in Japan, coupled with their tendency towards fancy-looking but inefficient tactics and sinking their scarce resources into impractical projects like the Yamato, that ultimately lost the naval war for them since the US could easily replace even whole carriers sunk, whereas each one was a grievous loss to the Japanese who couldn't rebuild them fast enough.
Operation Ten-Go was the last real naval battle of the war, pitting the famed Yamato, a light cruiser, and 8 destroyers against 11 carriers, 6 battleships and dozens of supporting vessels on the US side. The battle lasted just under 2 hours and resulted in 12 US casualties. The Japanese lost their flagship, the cruiser, half the destroyers and thousands of seamen.
Note that the Yamato and her escorts didn't fight any US warship; they were sunk by a massive air attack long before they could reach the Allied fleet. The 12 casualties were the crewmen of the planes that were down. What caused more damage (and much less than what the Japanese lost) to the US fleet was a large wave of kamikaze attacks that took place during the same time.
Japanese land forces also had outdated equipment and tactics; while their light tanks were decent vehicles, they used them primarily to support infantry rather than vice versa. American Sherman Tanks, while inferior in the European theater,note the strategy against the overengineered German tanks was basically to outnumber them massively—same as the Soviet strategy easily outclassed Japanese tanks in every way, and they didn't use outdated tactics. The basic Japanese GI was also at a severe disadvantage compared to his American counterpart; infantrymen were almost always issued the Arisaka bolt action rifle, whereas American soldiers got semi automatic M1 Garand rifles, submachine guns, and flamethrowers. This, among other factors, meant that land battles usually had a ratio of about 5 Japanese soldiers to every 1 American killed, at best. Usually it was far worse.
The 1944 Battle of the Philippine Sea, or the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" - one of the most lopsided battles in the Pacific Theater. After losing 4 of its 6 large fleet carriers at the Battle of Midway, Japan spent two years rebuilding its "Mobile Force" and preparing for a drag-out fight with the US Navy. Vice Admiral Ozawa fielded a force of three large fleet carriers and six smaller carriers, plus a large number of surface ships for gunfire support - on paper, a force as strong as the pre-Midway Mobile Force. With the assistance of the Japanese air forces of the Marianas, where Vice Admiral Kakuta could command a thousand or more land-based aircraft, Ozawa has good reason to believe he could engage the US Navy as they supported the invasian of Saipan.
Unfortunately, in the week or so before the battle, US carrier forces had attacked all the bases Ozawa had counted on to support his Mobile Force. Over a hundred aircraft were destroyed at IJN bases on Saipan and Tinian, with negligible US losses. By the start of battle, Guam was the only airbase still functioning, with some 50 or so well-hidden aircraft that were nonetheless pinned down by near-constant USN fighter presence. All other land-based aircraft in the area were sent far from the battlezone, and Kakuta had no intention of bringing any other forces into the area to assist Ozawa. Ozawa was not told the full extent of the damage. As a result, Ozawa believed he had parity or better with US aircraft, and that coordinating his attacks with Kakuta would overwhelm the US fleet and allow him to shuttle aircraft between his carriers and Kakuta's air bases. In fact, his 450 carrier aircraft and Kakuta's 50 land-based aircraft were outnumbered almost two-to-one by a completely undamaged US fleet. Even worse, aircraft sent to the "safety" of Kakuta at Guam would be quickly destroyed by American fighters. The incredible lack of communication between Kakuta, Ozawa, and higher command meant Ozawa was essentially being led into a trap by his own navy.
USN submarines spotted the fleet sailing into the region several days before the battle, giving the USN ample time to prepare its forces.
The USN had taken lessons from its previous battles and from the command-and-control techniques the UK had developed in vectoring fighters during the Battle of Britain, coming up with a very efficient and effective battle zone communication and fighter command strategy. This was augmented by the use of picket destroyers, cruisers, and battleships using their guns to defend the carriers in depth. These guns sported advanced anti-aircraft directors and brand-new proximity fused shells. Moreover, the USN had finally developed a massed carrier force doctrine and utilized it to great effect.
During the past two years, most of the carrier pilots that survived Midway had been fighting and dying at Guadalcanal and other South Pacific campaigns, depriving the IJN combat squadrons and training programs the benefit of their experience. Training for new pilots was simply not adequate due to the emphasis of making a small number of elite pilots rather than a large number of competent pilots. As a result, the 1944 carrier squadrons were severely lacking in combat skill overall.
Japan's aircraft industry was stagnant; except for minor changes the IJN was flying the same model of aircraft it had at Pearl Harbor. While the A 5 M "Zero" fighter was a good match for the F 4 F Wildcat, the Zeroes were now facing the USN's next-generation carrier-borne fighter, the F 6 F Hellcat - an aircraft built for the specific task of defeating the more maneuverable Zero with bang-and-zoom tactics.
All in all, the USN had redefined what it meant to be a naval air power, and it meant a size of force and degree of command-and-control that was simply beyond the capability of Japan. Japan was pitting a 1942-era carrier force against a 1944-era carrier force, and the level of advancement in those two years were so large the USN might as well have been from outer space.
As a result, Ozawa launched hundreds of aircraft against the USN, which were savaged by US fighter squadrons and then radar-directed gunfire. The dozen or so aircraft that survived - mostly aircraft who abandoned their attack runs - fled to Guam and were blown out of they sky by yet another fighter squadron. Only about 1/4 of Ozawa's aircraft made it back to him, with their only achievement being a bomb hit on the battleship South Dakota that failed to take her out of action. US counter-attacks with submarines and dive bombers subsequently sank two of Ozawa's three fleet carriers and one light carrier, taking with them most of the aircraft that hadn't yet been shot down.
Final tally? The USN lost 123 of its 956 carrier aircraft, 80 of them due to fuel starvation (i.e. they ditched and most of their crews were rescued; the IJN shot down 43 aircraft over the entire battle) and took light damage to one battleship. The IJN lost three carriers and two oilers, took damage to three additional carriers and a few other ships, and lost 400 of its 430 carrier aircraft.
Savo Island, one of the few WW2 Pacific Theater examples of a curb stomp of the Allies by Japan after the opening months of the war. The cruiser fleets were about equal in main gunnery, and the Allies had a much larger destroyer screen, but Japan managed to sink 4 cruisers and crippled several other ships while suffering only minor damage (they did lose 1 cruiser to a sub attack after the battle had ended). It came as a big shock at the time, but in hindsight, it became obvious that Japan had won because IJN sailors were very well trained specifically for nighttime combat, and because their cruisers were armed with deadly long-range torpedoes that the American & Australian cruisers did not possess. The importance of these "long-lance" torpedoes was really made obvious 2 months later, when a similar-sized Allied fleet faced 2 Japanese battleships but no heavy cruisers, and the result was a much more even fight.
Subverted in the famed engagement between Task Force 77.3 (AKA "Taffy 3"), a small American force of escort carriers, destroyers, and destroyer escorts, and Admiral Kurita's Center Force, a large force of battleships and cruisers, during the Battle off Samar. What should have been one of the most brutal curb stomps in modern naval history (Taffy 3's carriers did not even carry armor-piercing bombs or torpedos for use against capital ships) ended in a Japanese retreat despite heavy American losses.
Essentially, the small force fought back so aggressively, with destroyers closing to point-blank range to launch torpedos and try to cause some damage to the enemy ships with their guns, and fighters and bombers harassing the ship's gunners with fragmentation bombs and strafing runs that the Japanese assumed that they were merely delaying Center Force while reinforcements rushed to the scene. In reality, this was merely a case of the task force commanders finding themselves backed into a wall.
The vision of huge battleships and cruisers charging down on little escort carriers and destroyers is so compelling that most people conveniently forget that Taffy 3 was supported by Taffies 1 and 2 and the three forces together wielded nearly twice as much total airpower as the entire U.S fleet had at the battle of Midway. Moreover, Center Force had been under nearly continuous air and submarine attacks for almost 48 hours and the constant U.S. air attacks made accurate gunnery nearly impossible. While all honor is due the brave men of Taffy 3 in reality it was Center Force that was outgunned, as the the results of the battle showed.
Despite this though, the airplanes on Taffys 1 through 3 were mostly equipped for surface bombing, and lacked the armor-piercing bombs needed to really damage the heavy armor on Kurita's gigantic ships. The only real weapons that Taffy 3 could bring to bear against Center force were its short range torpedoes.
The mere appearance of all those ships would be enough to warrant a psychological defeat. The question of whether the ships were carrying the right kind of ammunition would be merely academic to a commander in the field. A rule-of-thumb assessment would point to a single conclusion: "We're outnumbered, let's get the hell out of here..."
The U.S. forces were badly outnumbered. 21 to 13 in terms of actual ship engaging. What gets left out is that the three largest USN ships in the battle each weighed as much as one of the three main guns of the Japanese flagship,Yamato, which in terms of tonnage was as large as the entire U.S. force during the engagement.
The best example would be USS Kalinin Bay forcing the withdrawal of the Chokai in a gun battle. Yes, an Escort Carrier armed with a single 5" gun defeated a Heavy Cruiser with 10 8" guns in a gun battle. The Chokai was forced to withdraw after its number 2 turret was disabled by the Kalinin Bay. It was admittedly a lucky hit, while the 5" shells couldn't pierce the Chokai's armor they could set off the torpedoes in their launchers next to the turret, crippling the Chokai's #2 turret, steering and engines, forcing it out of formation and turning it into a sitting duck for aircraft.
The Battle of Surigao Strait, the Southern Force of Japan's Leyte strategy led by VA Shoji Nishimura (who later got KIA during this battle): two battleships, one cruiser and four destroyers, followed by a Second Striking Force of three cruisers and four destroyers, were sent through Surigao Strait to approach Leyte Gulf from the South, intending to support the Center Force which was to attack via Samar. Lurking in their path in the darkness were six American battleships, (all but one, Mississippi, were damaged or sunk at Pearl Harbor and subsequently repaired) eight cruisers, twenty-eight destroyers and thirty-nine PT boats. The Japanese ships lacked the radar and fire-direction capabilities of the American ships, and after an ineffectual PT boat attack their first warning of what was to come was the torpedoes of the American destroyer line tearing the battleship Fuso and two of her attending destroyers apart, as well as damaging a third destroyer to the point it retired (only to be destroyed by aircraft the next day). The remaining single battleship, single cruiser, and single destroyer pressed on, only for the US battleships to open radar-directed fire at a range of 28000 meters - well beyond the range of the Japanese fire directors. The battleship Yamashiro was sunk and the last ships of the Southern Force - a crippled cruiser and destroyer - fled. The Second Striking Force arrived around this time, already short a light cruiser which was crippled and out of formation due to a torpedo hit. Seeing the Southern Force had been reduced to two ships, the Second Striking Force turned tail, managing to accidentally hit the Southern Force's cruiser Mogami and damaging her to the point she was easily sunk by US aircraft the next morning. The Southern Force thus came to battle with seven ships and left with nothing but a badly damaged destroyer, succeeding in only sinking or damaging a couple PT boats.
The Battle of Cape Matapan in WWII. The British ran into a powerful Italian battle group off Gavdos and retreated, covered by aircraft and a smokescreen. The aircraft damaged the Italian cruiser Pola, so the Italians sent two cruisers (Zara and Fiume) to escort the stricken Pola whilst their battleship (Vittorio Veneto) continued on. Unfortunately, the Italian cruisers didn't have radar; the British, who had been biding their time, did. Night fell. A British battlegroup including the battleships Barham, Valiant, and Warspite ambushed the three Italian cruisers and two escorting destroyers, opening fire from 3.5 kilometres away (point-blank range in naval terms). In three minutes, the Italian warships were sunk. The only Italian response was some panicky and ineffectual AA-fire.
The Seven Weeks War (or Austro-Prussian War) of 1866. On the left, representing 600 years of Habsburg might and majesty, we have the Austrian Empire! On the right, we have the upstart Kingdom of Prussia, led by Otto Von Bismarck! This will be a lively, close battle and…oh, wait, Austria's already down for the count.
In 1866 Austria was generally tipped to win the war because the Austrian army had acquitted itself quite well against the French and Sardinian armies in Northern Italy in the 1840s and 1850s, i.e. against another major European power, while Prussia had not been in what was regarded as a "real" war since 1815, unless you count the German-Danish War of 1864, in which Prussia and Austria ganged up on a minor power.
In the meantime, Austria handed two to Prussia's ally, Italy (formerly the Kingdom of Sardinia, that has now taken over most of the peninsula): at Custoza (same place where the Austrians won the First Italian War of Independence) the outnumbered Austrian army kicked the bigger but demoralized and badly led Italian force back over the border, and at Lissa the Austrian fleet, inferior in numbers, firepower and technology (as the Italian had just commissioned the British-built Affondatore, meaning "The Sinker", as their flagship and the only ironclad in the battle), utterly defeated their Italian counterparts due the inexperience of the Italian commander (who didn't even want to command the fleet precisely because he knew this), infighting, and superior skills, damaging various Italian ships and sinking the armoured frigate Re d'Italia and the Affondatore herself.
The Battle of Austerlitz: the French lost 1,300 troops compared to the Russo-Austrian's loss of 15,000.
The Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. The British had 386 deaths, 1,521 wounded, and 552 missing, with a grand total of 2,459 casualties and losses. The Americans, on the other hand, had 55 deaths, 185 wounded, and 93 missing, with a grand total of 333 casualties and losses.
It's worth it to note that among those 386 KIA for the British Army were two general officers: the army commander, General Edward Pakenham, and his second-in-command, General Samuel Gibbs. A third British general, John Keane, was also wounded in the battle.
Also of note, the one who led them to "victory" was a certain officer named Andrew Jackson.
Any unsuccessful siege of the time period was one of these - Wellington suffered his only defeat besieging Burgos Castle during the Peninsular War. If the attacking forces broke through, however, the whole thing was reversed, and the defenders (and usually anyone else in the town) ended up on the receiving end of some Extreme Melee Revenge. Just look at the sack of Badajoz, where the Anglo-Portugese forces took out their fury on French POWs and Spanish inhabitants across three days of Rape, Pillage, and Burn.
Also during the War of 1812, one ship was able to defeat any ship she came across. While her first two victories were against single Opponents, the USS Constitution would get her last two victories in the same battle. To sum up, after the British Royal Navy lost both HMS Guerriere and HMS Java to the Constitution note Both of which were curb stomps since neither ship was able to penetrate Constitutions Southern Live Oak Hull, the British Admiralty issued an order to "Not engage American Heavy Frigates in single combat". And instead ordered them to engage with no less then two ships, or let a Ship of the Line to engage instead. This order did nothing to save HMS Cyane and HMS Levant when on 20th of February, 1815, the two ships entered combat with USS Constitution. After a lengthy battle, during which the Constitution had to pause to make some minor repairs to her rigging, both ships had struck their colors, and were claimed as prizes by the Constitutions captain.
The entire Spanish-American war was this - it was over in just 10 weeks, during which the Spanish lost every single battle. Over the course of the entire war, the US suffered about 360 casualties, compared to over 3,500 casualties for the Spanish!
During the Battle of Manila Bay, Dewey's squadron sank 8 Spanish ships and lost 1 man . . . to heat exhaustion.
Similarly, the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, during the same war, saw the destruction of 5 Spanish ships compared to 1 US sailor killed in action. The captain of a sixth Spanish ship decided to scuttle his ship rather than engage the US fleet.
The crew of the cruiser sent to seize Guam was disappointed not to find any Spanish ships present. So they briefly shelled a fort at the harbor — after which a Spanish official tried to find the resources to return the "salute", not realizing that there was a war on. Surrender soon followed.
Most U.S. casualties during that war were not from enemy action but from improperly-canned meat.
Many Spanish casualties were also actuallly the results of diseases and infections rather than being killed in battle.
"During which "the Spanish lost every single battle?!" LOL...NO. The "USA suffering about 360 casualties?!" LOL...Again...NO. Where are getting this rubbish from?! The Americans alone lost about 2,000 dead in battle or more (with probably more Cuban casualties as well). Research some actual objective history before spouting such nonsense. The Spanish actually gave some Curb-Stomp Battle to the allied Americans AND Cubans (Let's not conveniently forget about THEIR massive help as both regulars and as guerrillas). The Spanish won the Battles of 1st & 3rd Cárdenas, 1st & 2nd Cienfuegos, and 1st & 2nd Manzanillo (led to an American withdrawal). The Spanish only really lost because most of their soldiers were inexperienced and ill-equipped recruits and their military officers were usually receiving contradictory orders from their superiors back in Madrid who were still wrapped up in the political aftermath of three Carlist Wars. Plus, the Americans had lots of help from Cuban rebels who were accustomed to fighting the Spanish, knew the land, and were successful in cutting off communications between Spanish garrsions. There were a few times in the course of the war like the Battles of El Caney and Las Guasimas that if the Spanish had chosen to take advantage of their initial successes, we'd probably be living under different circumstances today.
The Battle of Las Guasimas (with 1,500 Spanish infantry and 2 field guns almost defeated 964 Americans with 3 Hotchkiss guns and 800 Cuban rebels had the Spanish not withdrawn to escort a convoy carrying wounded troops) was indecisive at best with both sides claiming victory since the Spanish initially halted the American/Cuban advance and inflicted higher casualties but then inexplicably withdrew towards Santiago instead of "profiting from the sharp reverse inflicted on the Americans" and the results were 7 Spanish casualties and 24 wounded compared to 16 American and Cuban casualties and 52 wounded.
Even the two famous American/Cuban "victories" of El Caney and San Juan Hill came at a heavy price for the allied Americans and Cubans and both battles saw heavily outnumbered Spanish deal higher casualties to the allies. The Battle of El Caney had 520 Spanish regulars and 100 irregulars nearly defeat 6,653 Americans and 3,000 Cubans with the results being 38 Spanish killed, 138 wounded and 160 captured compared to 81 Americans/Cubans killed and 360 wounded. The famous Battle of San Juan Hill was also almost a defeat for the allies and had 581-800 Spanish infantry with another 120-600 counter-attack almost beat 8,412 Americans and 3,000 Cubans with the results being either 114 or 658 Spanish killed, 366 wounded and 2 captured compared to 144 or 2,000 Americans/Cubans killed, 951-1,024 wounded and 72 missing!
While some Curb-Stomp Battle that the Spanish gave to the allied Americans and Cubans included: The Battle of Rio Tallabacoa (mispronounced: Tayacoba) which had 100 Spanish infantry beat 30 American/Cuban infantry and 1 gunboat with the Americans/Cubans suffering 1 casualty and 7 wounded compared to no Spanish losses, the Battle of Rio Manimani which had 1,000 Spanish cavalry beatdown 250 American/Cuban infantry and 12 cavalry with the Americans/Cubans suffering 3 casualties and 10 wounded compared to the Spanish suffering no casualties and 12 wounded, but perhaps the most impressive Curb-Stomp Battle the Spanish dealt was the Battle of the Aguadores in which the Spanish only 274 infantry beatdown 2,400 American/Cuban regulars, 300 guerrilleros, 1 cruiser and 2 gunboats with the Americans/Cubans suffering 2 dead and 10 wounded compared to NO Spanish losses. The Spanish kicked major ass, too!
The Battle of Agincourt in the Hundred Years War. 2/3 of the French were either captured or killed, with 1500 important French nobles among them. The English lost less than 100 men. This was mostly because the French had already used the same strategy two times, having been annihilated both times, only this time charging on foot instead of using their horses. Against a well-defended position with only one approach. With mud that sucked down the heavily-armored French knights.
It wasn't just arrows that did the French in, according to John Keegan. It was the French pressing themselves in a mass to the point their heavily armoured knights were encumbered by their own weight; and then it was the English Archers' spontaneous decision to charge in close hand-to-hand with these toppling-over knights, killing them (dispatching them, really) with daggers.
Charge on foot was a standard tactic in the Middle Ages against an enemy who relied heavily on archers. Archery is especially effective against horseflesh, but of little effect against plate armoured men-at-arms. So nothing astonishing on charging on foot.
And it wasn't the English archers who won the day, but English knights. They had far more better discipline and more flexible formation than the French, who attacked as a crowded rush with little to speak about formation. The battle line of the English knights held, allowing the archers to double envelope the French at flanks. The result was a refight of Cannae.
France finally get to curbstomp the English in the Battle of Patay from facing the English forces of 5000, 1500 French cavalry slaughtered half of the English while only losing 100 Frenchmen. Considering the French attacked the English from behind the wooden stakes, because one of the English soldiers foolishly revealed themselves to the French scouts when hunting a stag.
The Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson had 33 ships, while the French and the Spanish had 41. The British did not lose a single ship and only lost 458 men (including Nelson himself). The French and the Spanish lost 22 ships and had over 3000 dead and 7000 captured. He did this by playing to his strengths: forcing the battle into a maritime melee where superior English discipline would prevail. It was this up-close approach that allowed for the shot that ultimately killed him, but he died a winner.
Kasserine Pass. America's first confrontation with the Wehrmacht in WW2 proved to be a total rout, as the outnumbered Germans chased the Americans all the way back to British lines.
Made even worse by the fact that the troops that broke through the American lines were not the Africa Korps but Italians, the Butt Monkeys of the Axis. OK, they weren't normal Italian troops but the elite Bersaglieri (so elite that Rommel himself plainly admitted they were better than his own German soldiers), but they remained underequipped as any Italian soldier in the war.
During WWII in France, there was Operation Dragoon, launched mainly by the American forces. It ended with 140,000 German soldiers either dead or captured (this was especially crippling because Germany was running out of professional soldiers), and 20,000 wounded. American losses; 2,000 killed or captured, 7,000 wounded. Their French allies suffered about 10,000 killed, wounded, or captured, for a total of 19,000 allied casualties and 160,000 German ones.
The (First) Matabele War of 1893-1894 lasted roughly three months and involved two curbstomp battles (Bembezi and Bulawayo) against the Matabele by the BSAP and associates. The fate of the Shangani Patrol, hunting the fleeing Matabele army, is arguably yet another Curb-Stomp Battle by the British, despite losing in the end (42 men versus an estimated 3,000, managing to kill around 500 before running out of ammunition). At the end of the war, around 100 men on the British side had died—taking more than 10,000 Matabele with them.
Lasting only 12 days, the Italian invasion of France over the Alps in June 1940 did not go as planned, despite the Italians outnumbering the French 20:1. Keep in mind that the French were, at the same time, getting invaded by Germany and had effectively been defeated.
Apparently Mussolini really sucked at invading over mountains; he tried the same in Greece, and here is what happened: for every Greek who died, 10 Italians were killed and 20 were captured. (Sadly it didn't save Greece from occupation, because Germany did it more effectively, although it was a Pyrrhic Victory for them due to meeting unusually stiff resistance by the civilian population. Poor Greece got curbstomped in turn.)
The Battle of Diu in 1509. An Egyptian fleet of over 250 ships cornered an 18-strong Portuguese fleet in the Indian Ocean and...was annihilated.
The Battle of Tsushima. At the beginning of the battle, Japanese superiority didn't seem so overwhelming. In the end, Russia lost nearly the entire fleet, including all 8 of their battleships and all 3 of the smaller coastal battleships. Japanese losses; Three torpedo boats. To the present day, the word "Tsushima" in Russian is synonymous with utmost defeat.
The entire Russo-Japanese War was a series of curb stomp battles with varying victors, but no battle was more completely one-sided than this one, made all the worse by the fact that the Russian armada had sailed almost all the way around the eastern hemisphere only to be so thoroughly destroyed. The once-proud Russian navy was wiped out, not to return again until the Cold War, while the previously dismissed, resource-poor tiny island nation of Japan was left with no real naval rival in the Pacific for 36 years, when it made the strategic mistake of repeating another such feat against "a nation of shopkeepers" across the ocean.
The Mongol Invasions. The vast majority of battles fought by the Mongols fit into this category, with the exception of Vietnam and Egypt where they were defeated, although not without inflicting major losses.
Japanese tanks were completely outclassed during the Battles of Khalkin Gol. All of the tanks they could throw at the Soviets were simply outclassed by even Soviet light tanks. As one Japanese tank officer put it, "...no sooner did we see the flash, then there would be a hole in our tank! And the Russians were good shots too!
Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. Charging a mile over open ground in the teeth of the full force of the Union artillery and infantry (a massive rebel artillery barrage was supposed to clear out the defenders first, but due to overshooting and faulty ammo did almost nothing) led to the attackers taking four times the casualties as the defenders; roughly 6500 to 1500.
"You know what's gonna happen? I'll tell you what's gonna happen. Troops are now forming behind the line of trees. When they come out, they'll be under enemy long-range artillery fire. Solid shot. Percussion. Every gun they have. Troops will come out under fire with more than a mile to walk. And still, within the open field, among the range of aimed muskets. They'll be slowed by that fence out there, and the formation - what's left of it - will begin to come apart. When they cross that road, they'll be under short-range artillery. Canister fire. Thousands of little bits of shrapnel wiping the holes in the lines. If they get to the wall without breaking up, there won't be many left. A mathematical equation... But maybe, just maybe, our own artillery will break up their defenses. There's always that hope. That's Hancock out there, and he ain't gonna run. So it's mathematical after all. If they get to that road, or beyond it, we'll suffer over fifty percent casualties. But, Harrison, I don't believe my boys will reach that wall." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, CSA (attributed)
The Battle of Navarino. An Allied fleet of British, French, and Russian ships under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Codrington was sent to enforce an Armistice between the belligerents in the Greco-Turkish war. To that end they approached the harbour of Navarino where a Turko-Egyptian fleet of 89 ships carrying more than twice the heavy guns of the Allied fleet was docked. The Greek fleet (under the command of Lord Thomas Cochrane) broke the armistice and the Turko-Egyptian fleet tried to leave harbour but were prevented.
Days passed and the troops from the Turko-Egyptian fleet were put ashore where they began taking out their frustrations on the local Greek population. Codrington decided he would need to take his ships into the harbour to safeguard those civilians and supervise the behaviour of the Turko-Egyptian fleet. When Codringon was warned off he sent a reply saying, "I am come not to receive orders but to give them; and if any shot be fired at the Allied fleet the Turkish fleet shall be destroyed."
Warships from five nations crowded together in a smallish harbour? No surprise when a shot was fired, a boat from the frigate HMS Dartmouth was fired on with muskets and the men on the frigate returned fire with muskets. Then the Turks opened fire with cannons at the French flagship Sirene and firing became general. The Turko-Egyptian fleet lost 60 ships with 6000 dead and 4000 wounded. The Allies had some ships damaged and had 174 dead and 475 wounded.
The War of 1592 between Korea and Japan was interesting in that the war consisted largely of curbstomp battles that went two different ways in two different theaters.
On land, Japan was definitely the deliverer. Korea's Joseon dynasty was terribly unprepared for war, having become complacent by centuries of mostly peace. The country was run by an incompetent weak king and corrupt infighting aristocrats who ignored numerous warning signs of Japan's impending invasion and refused to spent more money on defense. There was little regular standing army and the scholar-class's dominance of Korean politics meant that military matters were largely belittled and ignored. Japan, on the other hand, was ruled by the samurai and it was recently united and was itching for some more war after centuries of civil war. Oh, and the Japanese had guns while many of the Korean army had barely ever seen them before in their lives. Needless to say, Japan managed to take over 3/4th of the Korean peninsula in matter of months after curb stomp battle after curb stomp battle.
On sea however, the story was a bit different. Korea had a small and outnumbered but competent navy trained by centuries of fighting against Japanese pirates. Korea had been one of the first adopters of naval artillery in the world and by the time of the war, their ships were bristling with cannons, to the tune of up to 50 cannons per ship. Japanese ships on the other hand, were designed for speed and boarding tactics and were too flimsy to carry many cannons. Needlessly say, it is difficult to board ships when you are being hit by cannons. Also, it helped that the Koreans had a few turtle ship which in addition to looking cool, happened to perfectly counter the Japanese boarding tactics, almost exactly like how those spiky turtles counter Mario jumping on their back. In addition, the leader of the Korean navy was Admiral Yi Soon-Shin, who was a badass to say the least. Using tactics taking advantage of the Korean Navy's technological superiority and greater knowledge of the local currents and terrain, he managed to win battle after battle without hardly losing any of his forces. However, a Japanese double agent managed to get him demoted to a common footsoldier, taking advantage of Korea's infighting ruling class. Yi's successor promptly managed to get lured into a trap, and lost 157 ships out of 169 ships of the entire Korean Navy. Yi was hurriedly reinstated. In an incredible Crowning Moment of Awesome of naval warfare, in the Battle of Myeongnyang, with 13 ships (the extra ship having been scrounged from somewhere), Yi went up against 133 Japanese warships and 200 support ships. By the end of the battle, 31 Japanese ships were sunk and over 90 were crippled. The Korean Navy lost 2 soldiers. Not 2 ships, 2 SOLDIERS. The difficulty of supplying through naval routes and the assistance of Ming China as an ally of Korea meant that the Japanese were forced to withdraw from the war.
The Battle of the Golden Spurs in Flanders (1302). 9000 Flemish infantry, mostly civilians and peasants, against 8000 French troops including some 2500 cavalry (mostly knights). The outcome seems obvious, right? Wrong, by the end of the battle some 100 Flemish had died as opposed to 1000 French while the remaining French fled the battlefield. July 11th is still the official celebration of the Flemish Community.
The French got a tardy revenge 80 years later at Roosebeke (1382). This time the French dismounted and pinned the Flemish phalanx at front, while the mounted knights charged its both flanks, enveloping the phalanx . The French were audacious enough to leave a gap on their enveloping troops - where the Flemings attempted to flee, and where they got killed in heaps. The result was a one-sided slaughter.
The Battle of Hallidon Hill towards the end of the Scottish War of Independence. The Scots reckon that they can avenge the old humiliation of losing Berwick-Upon-Tweed. They outnumber the English by 4,000 men. Then the English archers open up, just as sleet begins to fall on them. By the day's end, the English have lost a handful of men. The Scottish army has been annihilated.
Another example from the same time period: The Battle of Neville's Cross during the Hundred Years War. The Scots, urged on by the beleaguered French, invade England, initially walking unopposed through a country stripped of fighting men. However, the Archbishop of York manages to scrape some forces together, and heads to stop them. He steals a march on the Scots because their armies are too busy sacking Hexham to notice him. At Neville's Cross, the English finally meet the Scottish Army under King David II Bruce. Once again, the longbows do their deadly work - two of Bruce's nobles desert him and King David ends his great invasion as an English prisoner.
The Battle of Longewala. The Indian forces numbering in only 120 but have 4 jet Hawker Hunters, against the Pakistan forces of 2800 men, 65 tanks, and 138 military vehicles. The invading Pakistan forces lost 200 soldiers and 36 tanks and 100 other vehicles. Indian loses 2 men.
The Battle of Flodden Field, where an English army of 26000 men faced off against the Scottish army of 34000. The English fended off the Scottish forces, suffering 1500 casualties while the Scots lost 17000 men, among whom were several prominent nobles and King James IV of Scotland.
The Battle of Kapyong in The Korean War had the hastily put together brigade of Canadian and Australian soldiers to defend against an entire Chinese division. At one point, the Canadians even called down artillery fire on their own positions because they were so overwhelmed. And when an Australian major called a US general for backup, the general thought he was a spy, as he believed that all their soldiers there were wiped out. The battle ended with 31 Australians killed, 10 Canadians killed and over 1000 Chinese killed.
Battle of Chipyong-Ni is an even better example. 4,500 surrounded (mostly American) soldiers in extremely well prepared defenses against an entire Chinese division of 25,000. The result was 2,000 Chinese dead plus 3,000 wounded against a mere 51 killed and 250 wounded on the UN side. That's around a 40:1 kill to death ratio.
Battle of Yultong Bridge. 900 Filipino troops versus several thousand of Chinese soldiers. End result: 12 Filipino deaths, 500 Chinese ones. The position held.
The German 8th Panzer Division gets totally owned on August 14, 1941, by 5 Soviet KV-1 tanks, when the latter ambush the Germans near Krasnogvardeysk. For most of the battle, the Germans had no idea where the fire was coming from and were shooting in the general direction of the Soviet tanks, while tank commander Lieutenant Zivoniy Kolobanov specifically ordered his five tanks to attack one at a time and then retreat back into cover. Basically, Kolobanov set up his ambush near a road in a swampy area and then blew up the leading and the tailing German tanks before they even knew what hit them, trapping the entire column. Anyone who tried to move got stuck in the mud. The whole thing turned into a shooting gallery. In the end, the Germans lost 43 tanks with no casualties on the Soviet side (which is remarkable considering that the Soviets were very prone to casualties due to their indifferent and liberal We Have Reserves / Zerg Rush approach to warfare). Needless to say, Kolobanov got the Order of Lenin for this.
Previously, a single KV-2 tank held the entire 4th Panzer Army pinned near Raseiniai, Lithuania, for an entire day. The tank crew only bailed when they ran out of ammo.
It should be noted that the Germans were using vastly inferior tanks at the time, that couldn't punch through the armor of the KV tanks. Things turned for the worse for the Soviets when the Germans started putting FLaK-inspired 88mm guns on their tanks.
It should also be noted that the KV-2 was armed with a massive 152mm howitzer, which could be used to destroy concrete bunkers!
During his invasion of India in 1398, Timur (AKA Tamerlane) was faced with 120 war armorclad elephants with poisoned tusks. Knowing that elephants are easily frightened, he gathered all his camels and ordered them lit on fire and sent them towards the charging elephants. Seeing screaming, burning animals running towards them, the elephants turned tail and ran back, stampeding the Indian forces, leading to a Tatar victory in minutes, making this a literal Curb-Stomp Battle (minus the curb). Thinking that no one would use the same trick against him, Timur than had those elephants added to his army, first forcing them all to kneel before him.
During la Noche Triste (the Night of Sorrows), Cortés and his Tlaxcaltecan allies attempted to flee Tenochtitlan under cover of night after the death of Moctezuma II. A one week cease-fire was arranged, and the Spaniards had agreed to return the Aztec's gold in exchange for the Aztecs allowing them to withdraw peacefully. Instead, the Spaniards took as much gold as feasible and soldiers were permitted to carry as much as they were able. They were discovered while trying to flee, and were attacked by Aztec warriors. Sources disagree on the total casualties, with Cortés reporting more than 150 Spaniards and over 2,000 allies being killed. Many of those that had died were burdened by the gold they were trying to take out of the city.
Unfortunately for the natives, this came back to bite them in the ass. Historians think that one of the killed Spaniards had smallpox, so when his body was handled by the Aztecs, they inadvertently contracted the disease. Soon enough, the Aztecs and many other native nations were suffering from a smallpox epidemic, which ended up spreading throughout the North American continent. It's estimated that about 90% of the natives were killed by the epidemic, resulting in easy pickings for subsequent European colonists.
There were a lot of these in the Crusades, but the Battle of Hattin is one of the more notable ones. The Seljuk Turks had about 50,000 troops, and were commanded by Saladin, a man ahead of his time in military and political maneuvering. The Crusaders had about 32,000 troops, and were commanded by King Guy, a brave warrior who knew very little of the subtleties of strategy. Many of the crusading forces were knights, ie heavy cavalry. The lighter Seljuk forces simply ran circles around them and harassed them, prompting King Guy to lash out and attack. The Turks simply backed away and continued to harass his flanks, meanwhile Guy's forces were traipsing across the desert with no supply line and no water available during the hottest part of the year. They never made major contact with the main body of Saladin's forces until they were stuck at Hattin trying to hold the high ground on a pair of hills. By this time they were so exhausted from heat and dehydration that they could barely fight, at which point the Seljuk army surrounded them and annihilated virtually the entire force.
The German blitzkrieg in the early years of the Second World War.
Particularly Fall Gelb, the invasion of the Low Countries and opening move in the Battle of France. The French believed that the Ardennes Forest in Belgium was impassible for the Panzer divisions. In the north, Army Group B advanced slowly, drawing in nearly all the French and British forces. Then, Army Group A, consisting of nearly all the Panzer forces, plowed through the Ardennes and through the weak divisions the French had sent to defend that sector. Within days, the Allied armies were trapped at Dunkirk and forced to withdraw from the continent, giving the Germans free reign to maneuver in Western Europe until France finally surrendered.
The Battle of Fidonisi during the Russo–Turkish War of 1787–1792 was this, despite only one ship actually being destroyed. Russian Admirals Voynovitch and Ushakov (2 ships-of-the-line, 9 frigates, 22 support and fire ships) vs Turkish Kapudan Pasha (chief admiral) Hassan el Ghazi (17 ships-of-the-line, 8 frigates, 3 bomb ships, 21 support ships). The Turks had a numerical advantage in both cannons and manpower of over 2-to-1. Also, the Turkish ships-of-the-line featured heavier guns. While most of the Russian fleet formed a standard firing line, Ushakov took his ship-of-the-line and 2 frigates and closed in to the head Turkish ships, surrounding them and catching them in the crossfire until heavy damage forced the Turkish ships to retreat. Ushakov then moved on to the next ship, and so on. After the Turkish flagship suffered heavy damage and retreated, the rest of their fleet turned tail and ran. There were no casualties on the Russian side.
Ushakov proved himself a master of naval warfare, eschewing traditional line of battle tactics in favor of precise close-range combat involving focusing the fire of several ships on a single target. Most of his greatest battles against the Turks involved his forced being outnumbered and outgunned.
The reason it's my favourite war is that it was a range war, and what that means is that the Argentine guns could fire 9 kilometres. The British guns could fire 17 kilometres. So we just parked our ships 10 kilometres away and theirs were falling into the sea and we were shelling the shit out of them. It's the war equivalent of holding a midget at arm's length and he's flailing and you're just kicking him in the bollocks.
But the British also had help from the Americans who gave them supplies and Chilean spies.
The Battle of Cartagena de Indias, which was a naval invasion where the Spaniard Blas de Lezo defended with 4,000 men, 6 ship of the line and numerous shore batteries while the Birtish against the British who had 27,400 men 29 ships of the line, 22 frigate, 135 transports and other crafts. What should have been a curb stomp battle for the British the brilliance of Lezo lead to him losing 800 dead, 1,200 wounded,6 ships lost,5 forts,3 batteries and 395 cannons while the British lost 9,50011,500 dead,7,500 wounded and sick,1,500 guns lost, 6 Royal Navy ships lost, 17 Royal Navy ships of the line heavily damaged,4 frigates and 27 transports lost. And proof that the Spanish kicked British ass in sea battles too (and most definitely land battles) and not just the other way around!
In the 1791 Battle of the Wabash, 920 US Army soldiers and militia faced around 1,100 Native American warriors. By the end of the battle, nearly the entire Army force was wiped out, with 632 soldiers being killed, and 264 being wounded. (Which was more than a quarter of the entire army's strength at the time!) In contrast, only 21 Indians were killed.
The Battle of Lexington and Concord. Started as one for the colonists, and then their reinforcements arrived. The British lost over 250 men. The colonists lost around 90. More importantly, the colonists made the British Army run like scared schoolgirls- a feat that nobody believed was possible.
The battle of Narva (1700). Around 8000 Swedes all but annihilated a Russian army more than three times their size.
Thanks to taking on the enemy while they were resting, the Texan soldiers in the Texan Revolution killed 630 Mexican soldiers and captured another 730 Mexicans in eighteen minutes. Furthermore, there were only 9 Texan casualties, and the leader of the Mexican army (Antonio López de Santa Anna) was apprehended shortly thereafter, effectively ending the war and creating the Republic of Texas.
This was the Battle of San Jacinto, also the birthplace of the famous battle cry "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!"note refers to the infamous Goliad Massacre Santa Anna had grown overconfident due to his previous victories mentioned in the battle cry, believing he had crushed the majority of the Texas army. The Mexican army grew lax in their tactical decisions and, on the day of the battle, hadn't even bothered to set up sentries.
The Battle of Trenton during The American Revolution. Despite snafus in bringing their artillery over the Delaware River, and the fact that a Tory farmer saw them coming and reported them, the Hessian mercenaries in Trenton had no idea the Americans were coming because they were all dead drunk (it being Christmas Eve). The ensuing Dawn Attack was an overwhelmingly lopsided victory for the Continental Army: enlistments shot up, the Army got a crapload of fresh supplies, and a sizable section of the British forces in America were taken out of action.
This was all due in part to a platoon of roughly a dozen rebels coming out of the woods a few hours after Rahl (the Hessian commander) got his warning and put his troops on alert. In a three-minute skirmish, they killed one Hessian and wounded another before fleeing into the woods, taking no casualties themselves. This lead Rahl to making what would literally be the fatal mistake of deciding that this was Washington's big attack and telling the men to "Stand down and enjoy the holiday". And a few hours later the REAL Continental Army showed up, leading to the aforementioned battle and Rahl's own death.
The Battle of Camden was one of the most humiliating defeats for the Americans during The American Revolution. What was worse is that the American commander, Gates was the same commander who've won the Battle of Saratoga. Out of 3,700 Americans vs 2,100 British, a whopping 900 American lives were lost or wounded with a 1000 more captured. The British losses totaled a mere 69 deaths and 245 wounded.
The USSR subverted this in the Winter War against Finland (in 1939-1940), which was originally planned to last three weeks and fought just with forces stationed around Leningrad. In fact, Soviet soldiers were actually warned not to cross the Swedish border by mistake. It became a three month campaign with forces brought from the whole Soviet Union. In the end, the Soviet Union did gain some land, but at the cost of 125,000 soldiers and a crapload of tanks. The Finns lost a fifth of the men and nowhere near as many tanks. They destroyed almost 500 Soviet airplanes, losing themselves only a handful of planes, pilots and anti-aircraft guns. One Soviet General summed it up, saying "We have won just enough ground to bury our dead."
For bonus points about 1/100th of those deaths? All caused by one man: Simo Häyhä. The Russians set up entire missions and sniper teams to take him out. He took them all out.
The Battle of Culloden. Eight thousand drilled and well-equipped Hanoverian/Government soldiers decimated seven thousand Jacobites, with the Jacobites losing 1500 to 2000 men against the Government's 50 in around an hour of fighting. Notable reasons for this utter curbstomp included: bringing four-pound shot to fire from three-pound cannon; composing the Jacobite army of mostly poorly led, equipped, and supplied clan levies; ignoring the only experienced commander on the Jacobite side; and selecting a wide, open moor to fight the battle, even though the central tactic of the Highland Charge would be open to Hanoverian round and canister shot the entire time. In just one hour, the Jacobites lost twenty five men for every Hanoverian killed, at least - the Hanoverians, to add insult to injury, proceeded to massacre the wounded. They then proceeded to utterly destroy the Highland Clan system and society that produced much of the Jacobite levy in the first place.
The French Char B1-bis heavy tank in WWII were pretty damn formidable, despite being based on, by then, an outdated design paradigm. German tankers had a healthy respect for them. One tank named Eure took 140 hits without any real damage and single-handedly took out thirteen German Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs. Too bad the French had outdated tank tactics and insufficient logistics.
The shortest known war in history is the Anglo-Zanzibar war, which occurred on August 27, 1896. After the old Sultan died, the new Sultan of the island claimed the throne without asking the British for permission first. They demanded he step down, and when he refused, the Royal Navy started firing on his palace just after 9 AM. 38 minutes later the war was over, and that same afternoon the British installed a new, more cooperative Sultan on the throne. Zanzibar's casualties totaled 500 soldiers killed or wounded and three boats sunk; the only British casualty was one injured sailor, who later recovered.
The Battle of Molodi (40 miles south of Moscow) in 1572 between the combined forces of the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire versus the Russian Tsardom. The Crimean Tatars and the Ottoman Turks had about 120,000 soldiers, including a force of about 7000 janissaries (elite Ottoman troops), while the Russian forces were about half their number. The Russians were well-entrenched and made effective use of their "gulyay-gorod" mobile fortifications to sneak past the main enemy forces and strike the rear, while the Crimean Khan used human wave tactics to try to overcome the Russian defenses (he actually ordered his cavalry to dismount and attack the fortified enemy on foot and literally have them hack at the fortifications with sabers). After the attack on the rear, the Tatars and the Turks broke rank and ran, with the Russians giving chase. While the Russian losses were pretty heavy (about 6000), the enemy lost the vast majority of their forces, including all the janissaries. Actual battle casualties on the Tatar and Turk side were about 15,000. Nearly 12,000 drowned in the river during the retreat. The chasing Russians slaughtered most of the others, with only about 20,000 Tatars and Turks making it home. The Crimean Khan managed to escape, but his son, grandson, and son-in-law were killed. The Khan had lost most of his army and could no longer wage a war of conquest against Russia. The battle effectively put an end to the war, and Crimea would never seriously threaten Russia again.
The Penobscot Expedition, as detailed in The Fort is widely considered to be the worse naval defeat in American history until Pearl Harbor. The goal was to push out the English but the whole expedition was extremely poorly handled with the American Navy refusing to attack until Fort George was captured and the land forces refusing to take the fort until the Navy promised to support them. In the end this went on so long a massive fleet of British warships entered the harbour blocking off the escape. The American fleet fled upstream aiming to find a defendable position but in the panic a couple of Captains decided to burn their ships to prevent them from falling into British hands, this created a wave of ship burnings while the newly arrived British fleet barely fired a shot.
During World War 2, the Allies hired a couple thousand artists to create hundreds of blow up trucks, artillery pieces and tanks, to inflate the Allies numbers and confuse the Germans as to where the actual army was. This was so successful that entire German battalions surrendered without firing a shot to these balloon tank legions.
The Battle of Nagashino during Feudal Japan was this, The Oda Clan lead by Oda Nobunaga destroyed the Takeda Cavalry (Which was regarded as the most powerful force during the warring period) with the use of Firearms. Many skilled officers, generals, and horses where killed and The Takeda Clan never recovered as their loses where estimated to be between three to ten thousand.
Nobunaga's first real battle Okehazama was this as well. On one side we have the Imagawa clan, with a force numbering over thirty thousand, on the other The Oda can barely scrap together 2,500. Many expected the then tiny Oda clan would be destroyed or absorbed into the massive army of Yoshimoto who sought to claim the capital and Owari (Oda's territory) was in his path. Nobunaga's forces sneak out at and under the cover of a rainstorm ambushed the main camp killing several and making the others flee, Yoshimoto was said to not have a clue what was going on and thought his men had gotten drunk. When he emerged from his tent it was less than a second after he realized the men surrounding him weren't his own that he got beheaded. Nobunaga was victorious and shed the Fool of Owari nickname he had gotten and began his conquest of Japan.
The late Roman Republic/Early to middle Empire were very good at making these. It was mostly because they had much better trained and better armed soldiers, using actual tactics and formations, while they often went against enemies who's only tactic was charge.
All of these pale in comparison to the Battle of Omdurman, fought in 1898 between the British army supported by Sudanese and Eygptian soldiers, and the Sudanese Mahdists. British deaths; 47. Sudanese deaths; 10,000. The reason for this was the technology - the British had more modern weaponry, including machine guns.
The ENTIRE Russo-Japanese War of February 1904 - September 1905 was one of these for Russia. "The Russo-Japanese war at the early part of the 20th century had the distinction of being one of the worst ass-kickings the Russians would endure in their history, with the possible exception of when Rocky beat seven colors of hell out of Ivan Drago. The conflict was comprised of sixteen major combat actions, of which five were naval and not one of which could be considered a Russian victory."
For some context as to how poorly prepared, equipped and trained the Russian Navy was at the time, the second Russian fleet steaming around Europe to fight the Japanese navy after the first one sunk saw a mass of ships off the coast of England and promptly had a collective panic attack. The resultant Dodger Bank Incident was a battle between this heavily armed navy and a fleet of unarmed fishing vessels. Something of a subversion though. Thanks to Unfriendly Fire, the Russian Navy suffered nearly as many KIA as the unarmed fleet did. On top of that, the incident almost turned the Russo-Japanese war into the Russo-Anglo-Japanese War. The fleet would go on to see action at the decisive Battle of Tushshima. Decisive for the Japanese, of course.
The Battle Of Peking during the Boxer Rebellion saw 18,000 Eight-Nation Alliance soldiers fighting over 80,000 Qing Empire and Righteous Harmony Society fighters. As The Other Wiki describes it, "the assault on Peking had taken on the character of a race to see which national army achieved the glory of relieving the Legations". By the end of the day, 54 Alliance soldiers were killed. The majority of these were Russians, of which around 28 died. That number also includes about seven Americans, and one British soldier. Who died of sunstroke. The Chinese forces meanwhile...well, the casualties aren't really well known, but it is somewhere between "heavy" and "in the hundreds". All this without the help of a flying city full of ultranational racists.
The Pyrrhic War put the Roman Republic, then a small upstart nation, against Pyrrhus, the greatest general of the era leading an army following Alexander's model, had three of these battles:
Heraclea started with the Romans on the dishing side, having learned all the weaknesses of the phalanx (it helped the fact they had once used the phalanx themselves only to have the Samnites showing them one of these and crushing them in a previous war, prompting the Romans to start the study and crush the Samnites back). Then Pyrrhus sent out the War Elephants, scaring the Romans into helplessness (before that day they didn't even know something that big existed);
At Asculum the Romans believed they could fight the elephants. They were wrong (their secret weapons, anti-elephant chariots, could take on the elephants but were awfully vulnerable to skirmishers), but before Pyrrhus unleashed the elephants they handed Pyrrhus another curbstomp, and still inflicted enough losses to make this battle the Trope Namer for Pyrrhic Victory;
At Maleventum (meaning "Bad Wind" in Latin) Pyrrhus decided to cut the crap and opened with an elephant charge. On that day, the Romans started their long-standing tradition of ridiculing war elephants by scaring them into charging Pyrrhus' own troops. The battle was so one-sided the Romans renamed the city Beneventum ("Good Wind").
All of this was Justified by the Romans being at the receiving end of two during the Second Samnite War: they used to fight in a phalanx like the one used by Pyrrhus, but after the Samnites captured the entire Roman army at the Caudine Forks (using this to force an armistice) and then crushed the enemy at Latulae (the first battle after the end of the armistice), the Romans realized that a phalanx formation was extremely vulnerable and started adopting the Samnite tactics and improving them (the Second Samnite War ended after the Romans inflicted an even worse defeat to the Samnite at Bovianum, and would proceed to force their hegemony over the Samnites in the Third). By the time of the Pyrrhic War (in which the Samnites tried to get their payback only for the Romans to devastate their lands and force them into submission while Pyrrhus was busy with the Carthaginians in Sicily), the Romans knew exactly what to do to slaughter a phalanx, as they would proceeded to do against Pyrrhus and the other Hellenistic armies again and again.
This makes Hannibal's victories against them even more awesome, as the main force of the Carthaginian army was an infantry phalanx... Except that, differently from those of the Hellenistic armies and similarly to that of Alexander and his immediate successors, Hannibal's one had some manouvering ability and was supported by light infantry, archers and cavalry (Scipio's victory over Hannibal was owed that, differently from the other that faced Hannibal, he managed to neuter the Carthaginian cavarly before the battle and pin down the phalanx, enabling his veteran to finally destroy it).
Operation Compass during WWII. Empire forces in the Western Desert were outnumbered five to one by the Italians. They took over a hundred thousand Italian P Ws, having to count in terms of acres of prisoners.
The Battle of the Tenaru on Guadalcanal, the first major land encounter on the island, occurred when a thousand Japanese landed to drive off what they thought was an American commando raid. They launched a frontal attack on what turned out to be the entire First Marine Division, and almost all were killed.
The part of the Battle of Hampton Roads that everyone remembers is the bit where USS Monitor fought CSS Virginia to a draw. The part the naval experts of the time paid attention to took place the day before, when the 10-gun Virginia rammed and sank the 24-gun USS Cumberland and pounded the 52-gun USS Congress into flaming wreckage without taking significant damage.
The Battle of the Chernaya started out pretty even, with the allied forces of France, Turkey and Sardinia being in a superior position and the Russians outnumbering them. Then the Sardinian Bersaglieri (and if you've read their previous mention above you should already know how it's going to end) charged the Russian cavalry and routed it, at which point Russian commander-in-chief Gorchakov (who had already lost a division commander who had almost overwhelmed the French position but got killed when they counterattacked) called for a general retreat
The 1667 "Battle" of Medway which is also called The Raid of Medway/Chatham because it was just so one sided, considered the worst defeat by the British Royal Navy. During the Second Anglo-Dutch War the Dutch sailed up the river Medway, bombarding a town and capturing it before sailing up to Chatham where over 10 Royal Navy ships stood idle due to lack of funds. They destroyed 10 "lesser" ships, burned three Capital Ships and just to add insult to injury captured the HMS Unity and the HMS Royal Charles, the latter of which was the flagship of the English fleet. The Dutch lost ~50 marines and 8 fireships. This defeat forced England to sign up a peace treaty in the Dutch favour.
Every day, one of these takes place between an ant and a shoe. Sometimes literally on a curb. Unless...
The 2014 United States Midterm Elections. Heading into them, the Republicans were slated to wrest control of the Senate from the Democrats and take full control of Congress for the first time since the Clinton administration. No one expected it to be such an absolute bloodbath. Combined with the lowest voter turnout since World War II, in almost every election, even those originally slated to be neck and neck to the end, the Republicans trounced their opponents. In some it was expected. In others, such a massive margin was a laughable idea. Another big surprise came in governor's races. The Republicans were only expected to hold on to the 30 governorships they controlled. Instead, they ended up gaining three additional states, including governor's offices in Democrat strongholds in the likes of Illinois (a.k.a. Obama country) and Maryland. Finally, the biggest surprise came in the form of state legislatures, with Republicans winning so many that Democrat control of state legislatures hasn't been that low since 1860.
Army ants are an implacable swarm of thousands of ants that crawl along the forest floors of Africa and South America. Less insects, more a force of nature, these ants will construct bridges out of their own bodies to deliver a curbstomp battle to an entire forest. Army ants can swarm and overwhelm animals hundreds of times their size through acid, poison and sheer numbers. Anything smaller than, say, a dog that gets caught on the forest floor in the face of a swarm can do one of two things; run or die.
Killing insects in general. If you find a wasp nest on your property, you'll probably take some Raid and spray them all to death...while all the poor things can do is attempt to sting you.
Although, if you're allergic to wasps (or whatever thing you're "fighting"), it becomes a bit more difficult.
What happens when 30 hornets invade a colony of 30,000 honeybees?This trope...
"It's not even a battle. It's simply a massacre."
That's what happens when the Asian giant hornet invades a hive of European honeybees. But, when the scout comes to a hive of native Japanese honeybees... the bees do a curbstomping of their own, since they've learned to Zerg Rush the hornets.
When the controversial Westboro Baptist Church became known for its picketing of funerals and other events that labeled it a hate group, their protest events - which they always announced in advance, likely hoping someone would oppose them in a way they could take legal advantage of - started to be met by counter-protests consisting of hundreds or even thousands of students, activists, or even convention attendees, many of them trying their hardest to display the absurdity of the WBC's views with their own protest. Facing such overwhelming numbers on a regular basis (the WBC's group usually consisted of no more than twenty) their protests nowadays rarely last more than ten minutes if they show up at all.
They did show up in Moore, Oklahoma on the one-year anniversary of a deadly tornado, hoping the inclement would keep counter protests away. They were wrong.
The 1997 North Hollywood Shootout was (almost) a curb stomp battle between two gun men and the police. You'd think the police against two guys would be the ones stomping curb. Nope. The two robbers were wearing body armor and were wielding automatic weapons, forcing the police to stay behind cover as the two made their escape. For about half an hour, the two shooters fired as they pleased at the officers, impervious to whatever fire could be returned. But during the escape, the two were split up, allowing the police to flank them separately. After almost an hour of kicking ass, one robber shot himself in the head, and the other bled out after being shot in the legs and captured. Amazingly, the only two deaths were the gunmen themselves. The Los Angeles police actually started issuing armor-piercing bullets and assault weapons as standard equipment afterwards.
In 1998 at the Quake Delica tournament, Thresh (considered at that time to be the best Quake player) fought against Billox on q2dm1. It was Thresh's Quake 2 deathmatch debut and he just completely mopped the floor with his opponent. The match can be seen here and here. The final result: Thresh beat Billox 56 to -1.
At the fighting game tournament EVO (year 2002), USA (Whose team consisted of Alex Valle, Justin Wong, Mike Watson, JR Rodriguez and Gee-O) went head to head against Japan's best players (Nuki, KSK, Chiikyuu, Mester and Tokido) in a 5vs5 Street Fighter 3:Third Strike battle. The final score was 22-3 in Japan's favor.
Whenever a Summer Blockbuster is released, it will probably have one of these over every other movie out that week.
If you're a musician getting nominated for an award, and the winner is voted by the public, you better pray you're not up against One Direction. Justin Bieber, while still holding a strong record in such awards, hasn't had the same dominance his trans-Atlantic rivals have. If the United States are allowed to vote, then you're especially screwed. Particularly lopsided 1D victories include their two-to-one victory of Miley Cyrus at the 2013 VM As (ironically, this awards show would go on to be strongly associated with Cyrus.) Then came the 2014 Brits, when they finished with a whopping 93% of the vote for the Music Video award. Let's not get even started with all those Teen Choice and Kids' Choice Awards that they won....
Their rivalry with The Wanted. When the two bands first made waves in America, the rivalry went from relatively equal to completely lopsided in a matter of months. When the Wanted broke up in 2014, Perez Hilton compared their rivalry to that of the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals.
The original NintendoGame Boy also dominated in the handheld market over Sega and Atari, whose products were the Game Gear and Lynx respectively, despite both being in colour (...battery-draining color), as opposed to the Game Boy's monochromatic display.
Due to a lack of strong developer support, every competitor that tried to compete with the Game Boy family suffered this until Sony made the PlayStation Portable.