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    Posted: 05-Feb-2008 at 16:38
I want to know what the largest battle ever in history was in terms of the sizes of both armies, the casualties sustained and the size of the area in which the battle took place.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2008 at 13:47
The problem here is the lack of a 'tight' definition of a 'battle'.  In previous eras, this was more clear cut.  Armies would line up, fight it out and one of them would retreat / rout all in the same day.  Perhaps there was the occasional exception where both side would stick around for a second day of 'slugging it out' if the first day wasn't sufficiently 'decisive'.  However, come the 'modern era', and now there might be continuous 'fighting' on a sector or front for days, weeks, even months.

If we consider the 'Battle of Stalingrad', when do you consider that to have begun, and ended?  Should one consider only the fighting for Stalingrad itself, from the time that the 6th Army reached the outskirts and started to fight its way into the city to the point where the surrounded remnants finally surrendered?  Should we only consider those forces actually fighting for the city itself?  Or should we include the entire 'sector' of the front, from start of Operation Blue through the Soviet counterattacks up to von Manstein's 'backhand blow' at Kharkov?  Should we include all of the forces, including those on the 'flanks' north and south of Stalingrad?  

How does one consider the so called 'Battle of the Atlantic', which lasted for the entire duration of the war?  The problem is that, with the modern era, the scope of 'battle' has tended to expand to the point that the distinction becomes blurred with what would have been considered an entire 'campaign' in earlier times.  No one has such difficulty with the distinction (for instance) between Napoleon's 1813 Campaign in Germany, vs. specific 'battles' such as Dresden, or Leipzig (the latter being the biggest, spanning 3 days).


Edited by deadkenny - 06-Feb-2008 at 13:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2008 at 16:53
Agreed with deadkenny. Today the fighting depends on sectors, which may blow hot or cold, take for example the period betweem  Jan and July 1916, the British suffered 110,000 casualties, but took part in no offensive or defensive. The Somme sector was quiet in 1915 and 1917, but very hot in 1916 and 1918, yet even in the quiet yeas there was fighting going on.
 
A better way would be to define a battle in modern parlance as occuring until stated objectives have been achieved or given up or denied to any enemy. This would have some battles/campaigns occuring in an almost start-stop-start again fashion. In WWII for example the Rhineland Campaign lasted from September '44 to March '45, but from December to Feb it was in cold storage (no pun intended) while the Ardennes-Alsace Campaign took place, the heated up again with the push to the Rhine and then eneded with the allies in control of the West bank. The Central Europe campaign began with the crossing of the Rhine at Ramegan and ended with the surrender of Germany.This is however all the big picture,to an infantryman, of Tanker, or indeed even a Comp or Battalion commander, "its just another day, another hill". Which is why modern day units/ formations are credited with "days of combat" along with the traditional "battle honour".
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dexippus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2008 at 17:07
The largest battle involving American troops was the Battle of the Bulge, or Ardennes offensive, which involved over 1 million GIs and over 35 divisions, from Dec. 16th 1944 to Jan 16th 1945. Roughly 16,000 GIs were killed during this period. 
 
Probably the entire Russian campaign of World War II might rank as one of the bitterest and most brutal contests ever waged, with over 25 million killed on both sides during four years of bitter fighting. A number of these battles, including Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin, may rank in the top ten in terms of number of troops deployed and number of casualties suffered. Kursk, fought in the summer of 1943, has the distinction of being the biggest tank battles of the war, with over 1500 tanks engaged in a single melee. 
 
The largest naval battle, by common consent, is the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1945.
 
The bloodiest day in military history is probably the Battle of Cannae, in 216 BC, in which upwards of 50,000 Romans were killed in a single day. 
 
The bloodiest day in American history remains the Battle of Antietem (Sharpsburg), in which 6000 men on both sides were killed.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacobtowne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2008 at 17:34
Originally posted by Sun Tzu Sun Tzu wrote:

I want to know what the largest battle ever in history was in terms of the sizes of both armies, the casualties sustained and the size of the area in which the battle took place.

By mentioning "armies," are you restricting this question to land battles alone?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2008 at 17:46
Originally posted by Sun Tzu Sun Tzu wrote:

I want to know what the largest battle ever in history was in terms of the sizes of both armies, the casualties sustained and the size of the area in which the battle took place.
 
Why?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2008 at 18:44
Originally posted by dexippus dexippus wrote:

Kursk, fought in the summer of 1943, has the distinction of being the biggest tank battles of the war, with over 1500 tanks engaged in a single melee.


this was already discussed in another thread. the actual numbers in the battle of Prokhorovka, as part of the Kursk salient was actually lower as in the battle of Gembloux in the French campaign 1940.
 
Quote The largest naval battle, by common consent, is the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1945.


only in tonnage but not number of ships. there's a topic over at the wiki about this
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sun Tzu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2008 at 13:01
I thought I remember hearing that in one battle 60,000 British died like in a couple of hours.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2008 at 13:22
Watling Steet, in 60 AD
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2008 at 13:54
That's a myth though. The Victorians could also invent fictions of 300 proportions. The Roman numbers for the battle make the army larger than the population for the whole region. So unless some serious cloning had been done by the locals in the weeks prior to the battle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2008 at 14:12

50,000 seems reasonable, considering the dead included women and children as well.

The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2008 at 14:48
Personally I doubt there were half that actually at the battle?

Edited by Paul - 07-Feb-2008 at 14:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sun Tzu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2008 at 19:08

Battle of Salsu

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Battle of Salsu
Part of the Goguryeo-Sui Wars
Date 612
Location Salsu River, present-day Chongchon River
Result Decisive Korean victory
Belligerents
Sui Chinese Goguryeo
Commanders
Yu Zhongwen
Yuwen Shu
Eulji Mundeok
Strength
100,000-305,000 About 10,000
Casualties and losses
Up to 302,300 Few
Korean name
Hangul 살수대첩
Hanja 薩水大捷
Revised Romanization Salsu Daecheop
McCune-Reischauer Salsu Taech'ŏp

The Battle of Salsu was an enormous battle that occurred in the year 612, during the second Goguryeo-Sui War, between Goguryeo (Korea) and Sui Dynasty (China). Goguryeo cavalry forces, although outnumbered, overwhelmed the Chinese troops in combat and eventually emerged victorious.

In 612, the Sui Emperor Yangdi invaded Goguryeo with a million men.[1][2] However, at this time, Goguryeo General Eulji Mundeok defended fortresses against the Sui army and navy for several months and destroyed the Sui troops in retreat. An ambush at Salsu (Chongchon River) caused massive Sui casualties, leading to an overall campaign loss of all but 2,700 Sui troops out of 305,000 men.[3]

When the Sui army had reached Salsu, the water level was shallow. Eulji Mundeok had already cut off the flow of water with a dam. When the Sui army had half crossed the river, Eulji opened the dam, and the onslaught of water left many thousands of Sui soldiers dead. The Goguryeo cavalry then charged the remaining Sui force. The surviving Sui forces were forced to retreat to Liaodong Peninsula to avoid being killed.

With the victory over Sui dynasty in Salsu, Goguryeo eventually became the victor of the war itself, while the Sui Dynasty started to crumble from within and was finally brought down by internal strife.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Kbs World
  2. ^ Goguryeo War - Kokuryo.com
  3. ^ Association for Asia Research- The forgotten glory of Koguryo
 This article related to the History of China is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AlexKhan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2008 at 04:36
I'm a Korean-American who grew up in Korea so I know very well about the Salsu Battle. It is a source of great Korean nationalistic pride, just like Yi Soon-Shin admiral who did a lot to repel the Japanese invasion in the 1590's with the armored Turtle Ship (Geo-buk-seon). But as far as the Salsu Battle in which supposedly 300,000+ Chinese soldiers were killed, I found that hard to believe even as a kid. But it does seem like an accepted fact, even by Chinese scholars and historians. It was really about the Goguryeo (northern Korean nation at the time) general Eulji Mundeok luring the huge Sui (Chinese) army into a major trap and completely catching them off guard - one of the biggest battle routs in history for sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2008 at 19:56
300,000 soldiers for the Sui Army isn't really hard to believe in my opinion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Aug-2008 at 23:47
Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

300,000 soldiers for the Sui Army isn't really hard to believe in my opinion.


And why would that be?
What is the officer problem?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Aug-2008 at 18:59
well because first, China has huge manpower pools, and armies with even larger numbers have been recorded and second, this particular battle was the main reason for the fall of the newly established Sui dynasty.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPARTAN KROUT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2008 at 20:59
DESPITE WHAT I AM READING HERE MY FRIEND I THINK IT IS A VERY EASY ANSWER.(ALTHOUGH IT HAS MORE THAN ONE)
THE SINGLE GREATEST BATTLE IN HISTORY IN SCOPE OF COMBATANTS,CIVILLIAN LOSSES,MILLITARY LOSSES,AND DEVASTATION, AND ACCORDING TO SOME HISTORIANS,NOT MY OPINION,IS THE OVER SIX MONTH BATTLE OF STALINGRAD.
THE BATTLE FOR BERLIN IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE SINGLE LARGEST BATTLE BY OTHER HISTORIANS,IN SCOPE OF OVER 2,000,000 RUSSIAN SOLDIERS,ALMOST 5000 TANKS,AROUND 14/15 THOUSAND ARTILLERY PIECES,12,000 PLANES(I THINK)
INCLUDING THE VASTLY OUTNUMBERED GERMAN DEFENDERS,DEATHS ON BOTH SIDES.AND LOSS OF MATERIEL,DESTRUCTION TO CITY ETC..
I WOULD HAVE TO SAY "THE BATTLE FOR BERLIN" IS THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION "WHAT IS THE LARGEST BATTLE IN HISTORY?"
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPARTAN KROUT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2008 at 21:03
WRONG.
THE LARGEST NAVAL BATTLE IN HISTORY WAS JUTLAND.
WW1 GERMAN NAVY VS.BRITISH NAVY.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IDonT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2008 at 21:53
Originally posted by SPARTAN KROUT SPARTAN KROUT wrote:

WRONG.
THE LARGEST NAVAL BATTLE IN HISTORY WAS JUTLAND.
WW1 GERMAN NAVY VS.BRITISH NAVY.
 
In tonnage involved, Leyte Gulf got you beat.
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