In the sixth century, the Muslim armies were a powerful force, overthrowing large armies and claiming large tracts of land. In the early sixth century, the Berbers of Libya sailed to Spain claiming land for the Ummayad dynasty. They took most of southern Spain, moving towards France. This was a serious attempt by Muslims to take Western Europe and had it not been for Charles Martel, they would probably have succeeded.
Martel had led his armies to meet the Muslims. At first, they did not have a good start and suffered several defeats. But when the Muslims became careless, abandoned their posts and began looting local villages, Martel organized one last attempt and was able to push back the Muslims in southern Spain. If Martel’s army had been defeated, there would have been no other character to prevent Muslims from invading Western Europe.
2. The Battle of Tsushima, 1905
While not widely known, Japan and Russia had fought in an intense war before the First World War over power in the region. This war, which saw a Japanese victory, would make Japan a key player during World War II. The Russians had wanted control of Manchuria, as did the Japanese.
Consequently, both met in Tsushima. This naval battle was also the first time that electronic communication was used, which resulted in an almost complete destruction of the Russian Navy, as well as Japanese control over Manchuria.
3. The battle of Metaurus, 207 BC
The Punic Wars were a series of wars between the major superpowers of the time, Rome and Carthage. In total, there were three wars, all won by Rome, although by little.
The Battle of Metaurus was the smallest battle of the Second Punic War. The brother of Aníbal, Asdrúbal, faced the Roman consul, Nero.
Hasdrubal brought reinforcements so large that if Hannibal had been found, Rome would have fallen. When Hasdrubal lost the battle, Nero had him beheaded and his head thrown into Hannibal’s camp. The Romans would defeat Hannibal later.
4. The Battle of Blenheim, 1704
Louis XIV wanted regional peace. But to achieve peace, he needed to eliminate the capital of the Habsburgs. So he recruited a massive army and invaded the superpower.
Concerned about losing, the Austrians allied themselves with England, Rome and Prussia, forming a Grand Alliance. The armies met in the city of Blenheim, where the English siege began. The French were able to stop many repeated attempts to invade the city, but eventually, the English broke through. As a result, the French suffered great losses, destroying their “invincible” reputation and preventing them from conquering all of Europe.
5. The Battle of Hastings, 1066
During the 8th and 9th centuries, England had been isolated. Staying isolated on their island meant that they could sit and watch the rest of Europe war against each other.
All this changed when the Normans decided they did not like England hiding in a corner.
They pressed to invade England with a large army, and at the Battle of Hastings, they succeeded. This victory placed a foreign ruler on the English throne for the first time, and opened England to influence many other countries.
However, this was the last time an army would invade England successfully.
6. The Battle of Lechfeld, 955
Throughout the 8th century, the Hungarian Empire was increasing, wanting more and more territories. When they settled in the east, they made a move towards Western Europe. At the Battle of Lechfeld, the Germans fought against the invasion, successfully defeating the Hungarian invaders, preventing them from moving to Western Europe and effectively destroying any possibility of the Hungarian Empire acquiring more power.This battle was also the first time that the cavalry won an important battle, setting the precedent for the rest of Western Europe to use cavalry instead of archers.
7. The Battle of Emmaus, 166 BC
This battle took place when the Jewish forces fought for control of Jerusalem. But this time, it was the Greeks who tried to invade Jerusalem. The Jewish forces deceived the invaders into believing that they had fled to the mountains, when in fact they were waiting for the Greeks to leave their camp. As soon as they did, the Judea soldiers ransacked their base camp.
When the Greeks returned, all their supplies and weapons were taken. This victory ensured peace for Jerusalem and kept the foreign invaders out of their territory.
8. The Battle of Poltava, 1709
Sweden and Russia had fought in the sixteenth century to determine who would become the next great player on the map of power. At that time, it was Sweden that controlled most of northern Europe and was looking to expand into Russia. But the Swedes did not have the benefit of the retrospective and tried to attack during the winter. While they were entering Russia, the Russians took a long time to get serious and take their game to Poltava. The battle was quite bloody and both sides suffered massive losses.
When the dust settled, the Russians were victorious. The loss led the Swedes to lose their place of power and Russia took over.
9. The Battle of Valmy, 1782
After the French Revolution, there was a series of revolutionary battles in French territory. Prussia tried shamelessly to defeat a weakened France, but they met with the French forces in Valmy. Despite coming out of a revolution with an unstable governance structure and being outnumbered and outgunned, they defeated their opponents and forced the Prussians to retreat. As the country had just recovered from a revolution, the army was composed of volunteers.
Many see it as the first victory of an army inspired by freedom. The victory made the world take this new France seriously.
10. The Battle of Yarmuk, 636
The success that the Muslims achieved in the Middle East through which they took territories and overthrew superpowers would not have been possible if they had lost Yarmuk. Yarmuk is a small city outside the Sea of Galilee, between Syria and Palestine.
At that time, the Arabs had controlled the east, while the Byzantine emperor had control over the Levant, including Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
With the tactical genius of Muslim leader Khalid bin Waleed, they retreated to camps outside the city and waited for the Byzantines to approach them. Although provoking the Byzantine army to confront in the open field, Waleed was able to be more cunning than the Byzantines and destroy them. The attack left the entire area, including the Emperor’s stronghold in Antioch, open to Arab attack.
In the months that followed, the Arabs took the Middle East and weakened the Byzantine Empire.