If you liked 300 then you’ll love the stories on this list because underdogs are loved by everyone. It gives us hope when a David defeats a Goliath that maybe we too can achieve big things despite our lack of talent and resources. We feel that maybe just our passion and willpower will be enough to carry us to victory. It’s not impossible as we have seen time and again in history. Here are some such stories where the smaller force won great wars.
Tigranes was an Armenian king who ruled the great land of Armenia in 69 BC. The Romans didn’t like him because he wasn’t Roman and wanted to defeat him so they sent a force of just 10,000 troops under the general Lucullus. He was very confident despite the fact that Tigranes had a force of about 300,000. He knew that most of Tigranes army was made up of peasants who were not trained in the art of war while his 10,000 troops were professional soldiers who had been trained to follow orders, kill and win wars. He went head on into the Armenian army and went for their strongest point, a hill, and captured it. The undisciplined Armenians had no chance and most of the soldiers just scattered and ran away in panic. Who were left on the field were slaughtered by the Romans.
5. Battle of Watling Street:
In 61 AD, the Roman Empire had just conquered Britain. The Britons got together and decided to fight back. The Roman Governor Gaius Paulinus only had two legions which totaled to 10,000 men while the local Britons were 80,000 strong. But the Romans knew war like no other and knew how strategy could help them win. So they assembled in a narrow field that had forests on either side. It created a funnel into which the unwise Britons went one after the other only to get slaughtered. Because of the funnel, the Britons had to wait for their chance to even get close to the Roman shields and as soon as they got there, they were hacked by spears and swords. In the end the Britons had to retreat but were blocked off by their own wagons that they had placed at the end of the field in a line. It was a slaughter.
In 1610, long before Poland got invaded by multiple forces, it decided to do some invading and land grabbing of its own. It decided to strike at the city of Smolensk in Sweden. 30,000 Swedish and Russian soldiers marched to save Smolensk and were faced with 5,500 Polish cavalry men in the village of Klushino. The Swedish/Russian cavalry had upgraded to guns instead of swords and their strategy was to charge up the enemy, fire their one shot and then turn back to reload their guns while the next wave came in. The Polish had swords and didn’t have to waste time reloading anything. What followed was a massacre in which the crazed Polish cavalry hacked its way through the Swedish/Russian army which was busy reloading and in the end they had to surrender.
In 1565, long after the crusades, the Knights Hospitaller occupied Malta and continued to attack Muslim ships that plied in the Mediterranean. Sick of this annoying little force of 10,000 men the Ottomans sent a force of 50,000 to besiege Malta. The Knights defended the castle till the Ottomans broke through. When the Ottomans entered through the tiny breach in the wall, they were met by a few hundred knights who had been waiting for this very opportunity. For the next four months the Ottomans tried to enter through the breach and each time just got hacked down at the bottleneck. In the end they lost 10,000 men and the Christians received reinforcements forcing the Ottomans to give up and go home.
Narva was the gateway to the Baltic under the Swedes and the Russians wanted it all costs. In 1703 the Russians decided to attack that area to get a port on the Baltic. Peter the Great from Russia sent 35,000 troops and surrounded Narva. Emperor Charles of Sweden sent just 8000 men but he had the weather on his side. A blizzard forced both forces to sit tight and wait till it blew over but in the afternoon the Swedes realized that the wind was blowing right into the Russians and that they were effectively blinded by the snow. The 8000 strong Swedish army surprised the Russian army which wasn’t expecting any attacks till the storm was over. They killed 15,000 men and captured the rest.
1. Myeongnyang Strait:
The Japanese navy was very strong and in 1590 they were causing havoc in Korea and China during the Imjin War. By 1597 they had destroyed all of Korean navy except for 13 badly wrecked ships. The Japanese arrived with 330 ships and tried to invade Korea once again. The admiral, Yi Sun-shin of Korea gathered his 13 ships and placed them strategically at Myeongnyand Strait which was very narrow. The Japanese fleet was of no use in this narrow strait. As they tried to enter the 13 Korean ships blew the hell out of them with their cannons. In the end the Japanese lost 33 ships and 8,000 men and 90 more ships were badly damaged and they had no choice but to retreat.