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Most humiliating defeats in History

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Totenkopf, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Suppose what we class as a defeat..and if it was a military defeat.

    Suez was not a military defeat as such unless were talking the Egyptians, politically to Brits and French obviously.

    Goose Green at the time....The Argies did what they had to do and surrendered, the guys on the ground had no way of knowing what faced them thanks to their overall command.

    Spion Kop...now yes...theres one I would not think of straight away but yes a major humiliation. In fact the Boer war in general.

    Belgrano....I would think the Argies were on a mission to take out a major British surface vessel. The loss no matter what shouting by all and sundry later was acceptable in such a mission and no loss of face should be attached to it on their part. The silly shouting about exclusion zones afterwards is not worth the amount of words wasted and wrtiten on it.
     
  2. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Sorry- meant the Belgrano as an Argentinian defeat, and Suez as a political one for Britain and France.
     
  3. Herakles

    Herakles Member

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    These are unquestionably humiliating defeats, especially Spion Kop and Suez (I'll never forgive the Americans for that) but they are minor events for all that. Not like for instance the two infamous retreats from Moscow.

    Then of course there was the thrashing the British received in Afghanistan - 1841 if I recall properly - when all but one person was killed.
     
  4. Joe

    Joe Ace

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    I think the Italian advance in Egypt in 1940 was pretty humilating. Even more so for it's attack on Greece.

    Embarrasing for Hitler too, just his luck to be sided with Mussolini! :D
     
  5. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Ah, yes- Maiwand? Or am I thinking of the massacre of the 66th Foot there in 1880?
     
  6. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Tsushima for a naval battle. The Russians spend more than a year sailing half way around the world. They find the Japanese waiting for them and their fleet is promptly sunk or captured while the Japanese fleet is barely touched.
     
  7. macrusk

    macrusk Proud Daughter of a Canadian WWII Veteran

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    How about Khartoum?
     
  8. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    That was a defeat for the Egyptian army, not British, as General Gorden had been hired by them to command their army against the Sudenese rebels.
     
  9. dgmitchell

    dgmitchell Ace

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    Like the effort of the Spartans at Thermopylae, the effort of the colonists at Breed's Hill (Battle of Bunker Hill) during the American War of Independence was humiliating for the British.

    I suspect the quick victory of the Israeli army during the Six Days war was pretty humiliating for the losing side.
     
  10. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    what about the Battle of Carporetto in WWI ?
     
  11. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I think "humiliating" implies a reportedly inferior force winning over a force believed to be superior or at lest on a par up to then. The result is a shock for the loosing side that canges the attitude towards the war. I may cause them to "loose the will to fight" or to develop an "inferiority complex" that effectively blocks offensive military ops.

    My list for WW2 includes:
    France in 1940.
    Italy in Greece and Egypt.
    Singapore and the loss of PoW and Repulse.
    Stalingrad, but here the German Army was "superior" only in Hitler's dreams.

    A typical case is a superpower or colonial power defeated by a <deleted as politically incorrect :D> like:
    - Adua
    - Khartum
    - The British expeditions to Afghanistan
    - Tet (but the whole campaign was pretty humiliating for the USA).
    These battles brought the decision makers to write the whole thing off as a bad idea.

    On a larger scale I think Agincourt was one.

    Other "humiliating defeats" like Cannae, Ishlandwana, the russo-finnish war of 1939, First Bull Run, the Italian defeats in the wars of 1848 and 1866 or the Boer successes were humiliations only for the military but did not impact the national will so did not have far ranging consequences.
     
  12. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I'd add the unexpected aspect as well, if you have all the odds against you and yet win it's all the more humiliating for the enemy. Therefore I agree Agincourt could be part of the list.
     
  13. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    True, I think the thread is too far ranging.

    We could have seperate threads for individual battles and another for national defeats that would indeed be more lasting and humiliating.

    But still a good idea by the original thread originator.
     
  14. macrusk

    macrusk Proud Daughter of a Canadian WWII Veteran

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    It didn't specify that it had to be any particular country that was defeated. The defeat was not expected, the lack of reinforcements that were sent (including by the British), and the fact that the reverbrations of that defeat are still seen today.
     
  15. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Well, confining it to loss of will to fight, what about Culloden in 1746? Not only a catastrophic defeat for the Stuart's royal ambitions, but massive loss of life in the battle itself and afterwards, thanks to 'Butcher' Cumberland and what would now be called ethnic cleansing.
    Not only was there never another Jacobite attempt at rebellion, but the Scottish clan chiefs redoubled their efforts to clear clans off the land and onto boats for Canada, as much to prove their loyalty to the Crown as to use the land for sheep pasture.
     
  16. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    waterloo.cheers.
     
  17. Richard

    Richard Expert

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  18. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    Battle of the Trebia. Horrific losses by the Romans.
     
  19. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Cap Bon Africa 255 bc. The Romans thoroughly wax the floor of the Carthaginan navy in a battle there sinking no less than 114 galleys. On the way home, the Roman fleet ran into a storm off Camarina, Sicily and in turn lost most of the 350 ships in it along with over 100,000 sailors and soldiers making it the worst naval disaster in history right up to today!
     
  20. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

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    ..Goodwood wasn't a defeat. Certainly not humiliating. A costly victory perhaps ??

    by late on the 18th the armour strength of LXXXVI A.K. amounted to just nine serviceable Tigers (s.Pz.Abt. 503) and Hauptmann von Gottberg's twenty two Panzer IV tanks, from 94 tanks that had been on strength on the eve of Goodwood. The bombardment, its aftermath and the subsequent thrusts of the British VIII Corps inflicted 67% losses on the Germans. The atated aim of the operation was 'to write down' German armour...at great cost to the Allies admittedly, but what is the point of material superiority if not to use it..


    Von Rosen of s.Pz.Abt 503 wrote ".. 18 July ranks as the worst day of the war in my assessment - my company sustained its heaviest losses at any point of the conflict - even compared to our bloodiest engagements on the Russian Front where we were committed against large numbers of tanks and Pak fronts. We didn't fear the British armies ranged against us but the terrible bombardment of the early hours shattered our nerves and either disabled or crippled the majority of our Tigers..".
     

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