Question: What do Naseby, Quebec City and the Imjin River have in common?
Answer: Each one was the setting for a landmark battle from British history. These three famous dust-ups are included in a recently published list of 20 decisive battles compiled by the U.K.’s National Army Museum. The complete countdown, which was published in The Telegraph on Sunday, is part of a competition the museum is running to identify which of these big 20 stands as the single most decisive engagement in British military history. The roster includes brief descriptions of the various events, which span the 17th and 21st centuries. It begins with the English Civil War’s battle of Naseby and ends with a comparatively recent 50-day siege in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. And just as interesting as the 20 battles included are the omissions, as pointed out by readers in the comments section at the footer of the article. Check out the full story here.
But why stop with a list of British battles? Here are some other groups and publications and their respective run downs of the pivotal moments of military history. Enjoy!
Earlier this year, the U.S.-based Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) hosted a conference on the various battles that changed American history. The results were presented at a conference in April at the First Division Museum in Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois. Accompanying the two-day event was this list of the four battles the institute identified along with a full article on each. To check out the list and find links to the articles, click here.
For those who measure the greatness of a battle by its sheer awfulness, check out Military History Monthly’s 2010 wrap up of The Bloodiest Battles in History. Everything from Hannibal’s famous encirclement and annihilation of the Romans at Cannae, which left 60,000 dead (a staggering body count for the ancient world) to the epic 2 million death toll of Stalingrad makes the list. To check it out, click here.
Top Ten of All Time
Finally, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel writing for the website The History Place offers us this comprehensive wrap up of history’s most important battles of all time. The list includes those you’d expect to see like Hastings, Antietam and Stalingrad, but gladly, as well as a number most might not have considered. But if you plan to give this piece a look, you might want to clear your schedule first – with each of the ten profiles coming in at more than 1000 words, it could take a while. That said, it’s certainly worth the look.