Battles That Changed the World
Welcome to Great Western War 2016!
This year we will be celebrating the battles which changed the world. Many of us have heard of the Battle of Hastings. How about Thermopylae where the Spartans and their allies made their final stand?
For the open field battle, let’s look at the Battle of Tours in the 6th century. The Muslims advancing through Spain were turned back here. thereby preventing Europe from becoming a Muslim caliphate. In a day-long battle, the Franks, as the French were known at this time, fought on foot, forming an impenetrable shield barrier. One contemporary reports it was “like a wall of ice.” The charges of the Muslim light cavalry could not break up the Frankish infantry and in the fighting, Abd al-Rahman was killed, precipitating a Muslim collapse.
Then there was Lechfeld in 910 AD where the Germans fought as one army and turned back the Hungarian army, crushing their ideas of empire as well as cementing a German nation for the first time. This battle is one of the greatest examples of the success of the famous feigned retreat tactic of the nomadic warriors, but also is a good example how the psychological warfare can cause important defeats on the enemy.
How about a castle siege? Consider the Siege of Orléans in France (1428-1429). It was the first victory in the Hundred-Years War, a contest between the ruling houses of France and England for supremacy over France. It is also noteworthy that this battle was led by Joan of Arc. The conflict began in 1337 when England’s King Edward III decided to press his claim to the French throne, a claim based on being the son of Isabella of France and thus of the contested French royal line.
Let’s not forget those grand battles at sea. The Battle of Svolder (Svold, Swold) was a naval battle fought in September 999 or 1000 in the western Baltic Sea between King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway and an alliance of his enemies. The backdrop of the battle was the unification of Norway into a single state, long-standing Danish efforts to gain control of the country, and the spread of Christianity in Scandinavia. Several factors combined to make the Battle of Svolder one of the most famous battles of the Viking Age. In Norwegian-Icelandic historiography, King Olaf Tryggvason’s colorful end in a battle against overwhelming odds makes a fitting narrative.
What about beach landings? One of the earliest ones—the Landing at Marathon by the ancient Persians on 9 September 490 BC—was the largest amphibious operation for 2,400 years until eclipsed by the landings at Gallipoli.
Thank You folks for all your hard work bringing together this event.
THLord Cormac Macleod of Ostaig