20 important battles that shaped Britain (2022)

The battle was also a victory for the discipline that Oliver Cromwell instilled in his cavalry. Initially triumphant on the left, Prince Rupert’s royalist horsemen charged wildly off the battlefield in pursuit of their opponents. In contrast, Cromwell’s ‘Ironsides’, victorious on the opposite flank, rallied immediately and attacked the royalist infantry from behind. Although these had been getting the better of the parliamentarian foot soldiers, they now surrendered.

The resulting defeat of King Charles I’s army was total, while Cromwell’s victory set the seal on his personal ascendancy.

2

Redcoats smash the French

The battle of Blenheim, Bavaria, 13 August 1704
Combatants: Britain and Austria against France and Bavaria
Outcome: British and Austrian victory

Blenheim was the turning point of the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–13), fought by a coalition of European states to contain French expansion.

In 1704, French and Bavarian forces threatened Vienna, capital of Britain’s ally Austria. To counter this, the Duke of Marlborough marched his army of British, German and Danish troops 250 miles from the Low Countries to the river Danube, joining Austrian forces commanded by Prince Eugene. They faced the Franco-Bavarian army near the village of Blenheim.

Although outnumbered, Marlborough and Eugene attacked the French on both flanks. When the cautious French weakened their centre to deal with these threats, Marlborough smashed through it with his cavalry, splitting the enemy line in two. The French army suffered its first major defeat in 60 years, suffering 38,000 casualties.

Blenheim did not end the war, but it destroyed the myth of French invincibility and earned the British Army an enduring reputation for courage and discipline on the battlefield.

3

The Jacobites’ last stand

The battle of Culloden, northern Scotland, 16 April 1746
Combatants: Britain against Scottish Highlanders
Outcome: Decisive victory for the British Army

Culloden was the last battle fought on British soil. Prince Charles Edward, grandson of the deposed Roman Catholic Stuart king, James II and VII, raised the standard of rebellion in 1745. Supported by clansmen from the Scottish Highlands, he marched on London to regain the British throne. At Derby, he was forced to retreat to avoid being caught between two armies.

In April 1746, overtaken by a British army twice their strength, the Highlanders gave battle on Culloden Moor near Inverness. Mercilessly cannonaded, they charged headlong, but met resolute British infantry and were then routed by cavalry. They lost 1,000 men killed; the British 50.

Cumberland’s brutality after the battle earned him the nickname of ‘The Butcher’, but the legend that has grown up around ‘Bonnie’ Prince Charlie cannot disguise the fact that even in Scotland there were more in arms against him than for him.

4

Clive kick-starts the Raj

The battle of Plassey, Bengal, 23 June 1757
Combatants: Britain and the East India Company against the Nawab of Bengal and France
Outcome: British victory

Robert Clive’s victory at Plassey during the Seven Years’ War gave the East India Company control of Bengal, India’s richest province, paving the way for British rule over much of the subcontinent.

In 1756 the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah, a French ally, attacked the Company’s Bengal settlements, seizing Calcutta. Yet Clive soon retook the city, and marched on Siraj.

They met on 23 June 1757 near the Bhagirathi-Hooghly river. Clive was heavily outnumbered and outgunned. The early skirmishes were inconclusive and the battle evolved into an artillery duel. The British won after heavy rain soaked Siraj’s gunpowder – Clive’s gunners having covered theirs with tarpaulins. Mir Jafar, commanding the Nawab’s cavalry, then refused to fight, having been secretly bribed by the British. When Siraj was assassinated, Mir Jafar became Nawab and later ceded control of Bengal to the British.

5

Wolfe dies in his moment of triumph

The battle of Quebec, Canada 13 September 1759
Combatants: Britain against France
Outcome: British victory

General Wolfe’s daring victory over the French at Quebec temporarily united Canada and the 13 American colonies under the British crown, but also paved the way for American independence. It was a pivotal event in the Seven Years’ War, and of the 18th century – all the more celebrated for Wolfe’s heroic death at the moment of victory.

Wolfe used flat-bottomed landing craft to take 4,500 troops up the St Lawrence river at night. Landing south-west of Quebec, they scaled the precipitous cliffs up to the Plains of Abraham, surprising the French and drawing them out of the city and into battle.

The British soldiers were experienced, well led and highly disciplined. Innovatively, they fought in two ranks rather than the usual three, spreading themselves across the battlefield. Each soldier loaded his firearm with two musket balls to deliver a ferocious initial volley. The French, their commander General Montcalm mortally wounded, were comprehensively defeated.

6

(Video) Top 20 Battles That Changed History

Americans bloody Britain’s nose

The battle of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, 19 April 1775
Combatants: Britain against American colonial rebels
Outcome: Short-lived British victory, then defeat

Described by the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson as the “shot heard ‘round the world”, the actions at Lexington and Concord gave American rebels the confidence to take on the British Army.

Resentment at British rule of the 13 American colonies led to increasing unrest, countered by repressive measures. In April 1775 Massachusetts’s governor, General Thomas Gage, sent a force from Boston to Concord to seize arms being stockpiled by American colonists. Forewarned of this, local ‘minutemen’ (called out at a minute’s notice) stood their ground against the advance guard on Lexington Common. After an exchange of gunfire, the colonists fell back to Concord.

When the British force arrived, they found most of the weapons had gone. A pitched battle ensued at North Bridge, and the now heavily outnumbered redcoats had to withdraw. The rebels harried the British all the way back to Boston and laid siege to the garrison.

In June George Washington was given command of the Continental (American) army and full-scale conflict ensued.

7

Wellington shows his attacking genius

The battle of Salamanca, Castile, 22 July 1812
Combatants: An alliance of Britain, Spain and Portugal against France
Outcome: Substantial allied victory

Salamanca established Wellington’s reputation as a brilliant attacking general.

During the Napoleonic Wars (1803–15), Spain was the ideal battleground for the British Army. In an often-arid land where large armies starved, the French found it difficult to concentrate superior numbers against Wellington’s forces. And so it proved at Salamanca, where the allied army (consisting of British, Spanish and Portuguese troops) was just as large as its French adversary.

French marshal Marmont, observing dust rising behind high ground – Wellington habitually occupied a reverse slope – believed the allies were retiring. He hurried to cut off Wellington’s retreat. In fact, only the allied baggage train was on the move, while the allied troops remained hidden from view.

Seeing the French strung out in their flanking movement, Wellington ordered a whirlwind attack: his army crested the ridge and shattered the enemy. French losses were twice those of the allies. Three weeks later, Wellington liberated Madrid.

8

Napoleon’s last roll of the dice

The battle of Waterloo, Belgium, 18 June 1815

Combatants: A coalition of the armies of Britain, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, Hanover, Brunswick, Nassau and Prussia against France

Outcome: Coalition victory

Waterloo brought down the final curtain on a war that had raged for 25 years. It was Napoleon’s last gamble for victory. Against him was an allied coalition that included Dutch, Belgian, Hanoverian and British regiments, led by the Duke of Wellington, whom Napoleon publicly derided as a commander.

Napoleon waited for the ground to dry before attacking, but the initial assaults of Reille and D’Erlon’s corps were repulsed. Repeated charges by French cavalry then failed to break the defensive squares of allied infantry. Only the capture of the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte threatened Wellington’s position.

By late afternoon, the army of Prussian marshal Blucher started arriving to reinforce Wellington. Desperately, Bonaparte made a last throw to win the day. Across a field littered with dead and dying men, he launched the Imperial Guard. France’s elite stormed towards the British but were overwhelmed by shattering musket fire. A general retreat began, and the French army was routed. A few days later the emperor abdicated.

9

Brilliant leadership thwarts the Sikhs

The battle of Aliwal, Punjab, 28 January 1846

Combatants: Britain and the East India Company against the Sikh empire

Outcome: British victory

Friction over territory in the Punjab resulted in a Sikh army invading British-held land. At Aliwal, a Punjabi village on the southern bank of the river Sutlej, the British and Sikh armies met in a fierce and bloody battle. The Sikh army was trained, run and equipped like a European force. British veterans of Waterloo who also fought at Aliwal described the fighting as being as tough as that with the French in 1815.

As a prelude, the Sikh cavalry captured most of the British baggage animals. The British commander, Sir Harry Smith, was praised for his exemplary leadership and textbook use of artillery, cavalry and infantry in the battle that followed. It began with an artillery duel in which the British softened the Sikh defences. This was followed up with infantry and cavalry attacks, leading to ferocious hand-to-hand fighting to secure victory.

Famously, the 16th Lancers repeatedly charged strong Sikh artillery, cavalry and infantry positions, covering themselves in glory but taking significant losses.

10

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The Charge of the Light Brigade

The battle of Balaklava, Crimean peninsula, 25 October 1854

Combatants: Britain, France and the Ottoman empire against Russia

Outcome: Indecisive

In October 1854, anxious to prevent Russia gaining access to the Mediterranean, Britain and its allies sent an expedition to the Crimea, where they laid siege to the important naval base of Sevastopol. Meanwhile, a relieving Russian army attacked the British supply port of Balaklava.

Although the Russians captured some British guns, their horsemen were turned back from Balaklava by the 93rd Highlanders and roughly handled by the British cavalry’s Heavy Brigade. Victory beckoned. Lord Raglan wanted the lost guns recaptured but repeated orders sent to Lord Lucan, his cavalry commander, were ignored.

Eventually the impetuous Captain Nolan conveyed a fourth order. After a heated exchange, Lucan, unable to see what Raglan could from the heights above, ordered the Light Brigade to attack in the wrong direction.

Aware of the danger, Lord Cardigan nevertheless led his brigade in charging the entire Russian army. It was cut to pieces. Lord Tennyson’s famous poem on this epic of heroism and incompetence ensures that it has never been forgotten.

  • What was the Thin Red Line, and what does it have to do with the British Empire?

11

A heroic stand in the Zulu War

The defence of Rorke’s Drift, Natal, 22-23 January 1879

Combatants: Britain and the Colony of Natal against the Zulu Kingdom

Outcome: British victory against great odds, a positive counterpart to the disaster at Isandlwana

The heroic defence of Rorke’s Drift was one of the few redeeming features of the Zulu War.

Having invaded Zululand in January 1879 to enforce a British ultimatum, Lieutenant-General Lord Chelmsford split his forces into three columns. At Isandlwana a large force of Zulus annihilated the camp of his centre column. They then turned to the nearby trading post at Rorke’s Drift, on the Natal side of the Buffalo (Mzinyathi) river. It was garrisoned by a small force of British troops with some African and colonial soldiers, commanded by a junior Royal Engineers officer. For 12 hours the Zulus mounted assaults on the makeshift barricades, but were kept at bay. Finally they retired. Eleven Victoria Crosses and four Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded to surviving soldiers for their bravery.

With such terrible losses, Chelmsford’s initiative collapsed. He was forced to regroup, but the Zulus missed the opportunity to expel the invaders. The British finally defeated them at the battle of Ulundi on 4 July 1879.

12

Nations are forged on the battlefield

The battle of Gallipoli, Gallipoli peninsula (now Turkey), 25 April 1915–9 January 1916

Combatants: an alliance of the British empire and France against the Ottoman empire, Germany and Austria-Hungary

Outcome: Turkish victory

Gallipoli marked the birth of national consciousness for Australia and New Zealand.

When Russia appealed for their help in 1915, Allied planners proposed an offensive to force a route through the Dardanelles, to allow the Royal Navy into the Black Sea. It would capture the Gallipoli peninsula, knock Turkey out of the First World War and stretch German resources. The plan was accepted and so, commanded by British general Sir Ian Hamilton, the Allies staged the first major amphibious operation in modern warfare.

Ottoman forces held the ridge above Anzac Cove. Despite gallant actions by Australian and New Zealand forces – as well as by British, French and Indian troops across the peninsula – the Allies made little headway. After months of bitter fighting, taking heavy casualties for little gain, they decided to evacuate.

The withdrawal was hugely successful: between December 1915 and January 1916 not a man was lost to the Turks. Gallipoli proved a defeat for the Allies, and Turkey continued the war on other fronts.

13

The bloodiest day in British history

The battle of the Somme, Picardy, 1 July, 18 November 1916

Combatants: an alliance of the British empire and France against Germany

Outcome: Indecisive

The allies launched the 1916 Somme offensive in a concerted plan to attack on all fronts. It took on greater urgency with the need to relieve German pressure on the French at Verdun. The opening day of the attack, 1 July 1916, saw the British Army sustain 57,000 casualties, the bloodiest day in its history. The campaign included 12 battles, ending after a five-month struggle that failed to secure a breakthrough. For an advance of some seven miles, the Allies suffered over 600,000 casualties.

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For many, the offensive exemplified futile slaughter and military incompetence. While General Haig’s tactics remain controversial, such views ignore the fact that the Somme was a tough lesson in how to fight a large-scale war. The tactics developed there, including the use of tanks and creeping barrage, laid some of the foundations of the Allies’ successful attacks in 1918.

And the campaign did give the French some breathing space at Verdun. Enemy casualties were equally heavy and, with a smaller pool of manpower, Germany was less able to sustain such losses.

14

Ottomans are crushed at Armageddon

The battle of Megiddo (Armageddon), Palestine (now Israel), 19–25 September 1918

Combatants: An alliance of the British empire, France and the Hejaz Kingdom against Germany and the Ottoman empire

Outcome: Decisive Allied victory

The summer of 1918 saw the Ottoman army on the defensive against the Allies. A charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba had stunned them, opening the road to Jerusalem. The Ottomans regrouped at biblical Megiddo (Armageddon) hoping to counterattack.

The British Egyptian Expeditionary Force’s commander, General Allenby, planned their destruction using his mobile warfare experience, skilfully deploying his forces to launch a surprise attack. British and Indian divisions battered the Ottomans at Sharon and Nablus before the Desert Mounted Corps used deception to encircle them and prevent escape.

Then at Megiddo, Allenby launched a co-ordinated attack with cavalry, infantry, artillery, armour and aircraft. Over 25,000 Ottomans were killed, wounded or captured. Damascus, Beirut and Aleppo soon fell, and the Ottoman army capitulated. Megiddo saw the end of the 600-year-old Ottoman empire and Allied victory in the Middle East.

15

Salvation in the desert

The second battle of El Alamein, Egypt, 23 October–4 November 1942

Combatants: the British empire and allies against Germany and Italy

Outcome: Decisive allied victory

El Alamein is one of the most celebrated British victories of the Second World War. After years of disasters, the multinational British 8th Army, under General Montgomery, finally succeeded in inflicting a decisive defeat upon Field Marshal Rommel’s Axis forces in north Africa.

Unlike other battles of the desert war, El Alamein was fought on a narrow front, which offered no possibility of flanking manoeuvres. Instead the 8th Army had to fight a bloody pitched battle in which they advanced slowly through dense minefields under a massive artillery bombardment in the teeth of ferocious enemy resistance. In a grinding battle of attrition, Montgomery used his superior resources to wear down the enemy before unleashing an armoured onslaught to effect a breakthrough that forced the Axis forces into full retreat.

While the strategic importance of the battle may have been overstated, the victory at El Alamein was a hugely important boost for British morale at this otherwise low point in the war.

16

Allies storm France

D-Day and the battle for Normandy, northern France, 6 June–25 August 1944

Combatants: an alliance of USA, Canada and the British empire against Germany

Outcome: Allied victory

D-Day marked the start of the Allied invasion of Normandy, the long-awaited ‘second front’.

The greatest amphibious operation in history began with overnight parachute and glider landings, air attacks and naval bombardments – all aimed at disrupting German defences and transport. Over 5,000 ships and landing craft crossed the Channel and, early in the morning, American, British and Canadian troops landed on five beaches. The Allies achieved complete surprise and, although several beaches witnessed bloody fighting, by the end of the day 130,000 troops had made it ashore.

Despite being outnumbered and facing a better-resourced enemy, the Germans skilfully delayed Allied breakout attempts in the thick ‘bocage’ countryside. But, following the Anglo-Canadian capture of Caen in July, the Americans were able to extend their bridgehead and break out around Avranches. German counter-attacks failed and, following their victory at Falaise in late August, the Allies rapidly advanced on a broad front towards Belgium and Germany.

17

Japanese hopes are dashed in the jungle

The battles of Imphal and Kohima, Manipur and Nagaland states (now India), 7 March–18 July 1944

Combatants: Britain and British India against Japan and the Indian National Army (INA)

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Outcome: British and British Indian victory

Imphal and Kohima were the turning point of one of the most gruelling campaigns of the Second World War. In an attempt to forestall an Allied invasion of Burma, the Japanese launched an offensive into north-east India, aiming to capture Britain’s strategic base at Imphal.

Moving swiftly through dense jungle, the Japanese converged upon Imphal from three sides. At the same time, they isolated the city by striking at the village of Kohima to the north. Hoping that their opponents would collapse in the face of such bold thrusts, Japanese plans began to unravel when, instead, the Allies held fast. The battle degenerated into a series of vicious close-quarter engagements, in which both sides displayed great tenacity.

Critically short of supplies, the Japanese could not sustain the battle in the pitiless conditions of jungle warfare during the monsoon, and against such a resolute defence. The decisive Japanese defeat became the springboard for the 14th Army’s reconquest of Burma.

18

Defensive grit holds up the Chinese

Battle of the Imjin river, Imjin river (now South Korea), 22–25 April 1951

Combatants: United Nations (UN) against North Korea and China

Outcome: Chinese offensive to capture the South Korean capital Seoul halted, leading ultimately to UN-brokered ceasefire

The Battle of the Imjin river was one of the most decisive defensive battles ever fought by the British Army.

In April 1951, the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) launched their spring offensive. In their path was the 29th British Independent Infantry Brigade Group, comprising the Northumberland Fusiliers, the Gloucestershire Regiment and the Royal Ulster Rifles. These battalions were situated on hilltop positions over a wide front. Facing them was the CCF 63rd Army.

Supported by the Royal Artillery and a squadron of tanks, 29 Brigade fought off waves of Chinese infantry for three long nights. Eventually the order was given to withdraw. Both the Fusiliers and the Rifles fell back successfully under the covering guns of the tanks, but the Glosters were by now completely surrounded on Hill 235. Outnumbered ten to one, the ‘Glorious Glosters’ fought on until overwhelmed. But the Chinese attack was broken. Hill 235 is known as ‘Gloster Hill’ to this day.

19

2 Para seize the initiative

The battle of Goose Green, the Falkland Islands, 28–29 May 1982

Combatants: Britain against Argentina

Outcome: British victory

After many years of disputed sovereignty, the Falklands War erupted in 1982 when Argentina invaded ‘Las Islas Malvinas’.

On 21 May, British forces landed on East Falkland and established a firm bridgehead. With mounting losses at sea, the high command sought to gain the initiative with a quick victory on land. The 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment was tasked with capturing the isolated settlements of Darwin and Goose Green. After an arduous night battle, they launched a frontal attack in daylight over open ground with virtually no cover and inadequate fire support. When the assault stalled in the face of heavy Argentine defensive fire, the commanding officer of 2 Para, Lieutenant Colonel Jones, led a daring attack against an Argentine machine gun position, during which he was killed.

Despite his death, the Paras continued the assault with renewed ferocity. Using classic fire and movement tactics, they fought their way into the heart of the Argentine positions. The enemy garrison surrendered at dawn on 29 May.

20

Surviving a siege

Battle of Musa Qala, Northern Helmand Province, July 2006–February 2007

Combatants: International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghanistan against Afghan insurgents

Outcome: Inconclusive

The British Army returned to Afghanistan in December 2001 as part of the UN-authorised International Security Assistance Force, in an attempt to eradicate Al Qaeda and the Taliban. By 2006 insurgency was increasing and in Helmand Province the British Army met ferocious resistance from the Taliban.

In June 2006, the Pathfinder Platoon of 16 Air Assault Brigade was deployed to Musa Qala to assist the local Afghan police. Based in a compound in the town centre, from July the Pathfinders were attacked by insurgents on an almost daily basis. They were effectively besieged, and resupply was only possible by helicopters flying in hazardous conditions. After 52 days, the Pathfinders were relieved following a full-scale battle group operation, having inflicted around 200 casualties on the enemy without incurring any losses themselves.

Despite withdrawing in 2007, ISAF retook Musa Qala when the Taliban resumed activity. Operations continue there today.
The 20 battles listed here were shortlisted as part of a 2013 poll run by the National Army Museum to find out what the public viewed as Britain's greatest battle

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This article was first published in the February 2013 issue of BBC History Magazine

FAQs

What battles have the British won? ›

British Allied victory
  • Third Carnatic War.
  • French and Indian War.
  • Pomeranian War.
  • Third Silesian War.
  • Anglo-Spanish War.

How many battles have the British fought? ›

by Ben Johnson. Since the Act of Union in 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain has fought in over 120 wars across a total of 170 countries.

What is Britain's greatest battle? ›

LONDON (Reuters) - The Battle of Imphal/Kohima, when British troops fighting in horrendous jungle conditions turned the tide against the Japanese army in World War II, has been chosen as Britain's greatest battle.

What wars has Britain fought in? ›

Contents
  • 1 Roman Invasion & Conquest (55 BC-96 AD)
  • 2 Viking & Anglo-Saxon Invasions (5th-10th Centuries)
  • 3 Norman Conquest & Subsequent Conflicts (1066-1071; 12th century)
  • 4 Barons' Wars (1215-1217; 1264-1267)
  • 5 Hundred Years' War(1337-1453)
  • 6 War of the Roses (1455-1487)
  • 7 Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604)
3 Aug 2021

Who won ww1 and who lost? ›

The war pitted the Central Powers—mainly Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey—against the Allies—mainly France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and, from 1917, the United States. It ended with the defeat of the Central Powers.

Has Britain lost a war? ›

Battle of the Somme, 1916

They were so confident that they told their troops to simply walk across no man's land instead of dashing from cover to cover. The British lost around 20,000 soldiers on the first day of the battle. Over the next three months, both the Brits and the Germans lost around half a million men each.

Who won the 100 Years war? ›

Yes, the French eventually won the Hundred Years' War. Following their defeat at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French soon recovered and won several battles and finally fully defeated the English at the Battle of Castillon in 1453.

Has the UK ever won a war? ›

British victory in the Battle of Britain was decisive, but ultimately defensive in nature – in avoiding defeat, Britain secured one of its most significant victories of the Second World War. It was able to stay in the war and lived to fight another day.

What wars did Britain lose? ›

DEFEAT: Five Times Great Britain Lost Terribly in War
  • Key point: Every country experiences bitter defeats. Here are some of London's less glorious moments.
  • Saratoga:
  • Isandlwana:
  • Battle of the Denmark Straits:
  • Singapore:
6 Sept 2020

What was the last battle fought in Britain? ›

Battle of Fishguard, Wales, 22–24 February 1797. The most recent intentional landing on British soil by a hostile foreign force, and thus is often referred to as the "last invasion of Britain".

Did the British defeat Japan? ›

The British Empire waged ceaseless war against Japan between December 1941 and August 1945, in defeat and retreat at first, stabilizing in 1943 as the Allies hit back and the Japanese tide abated, and turning to the offensive in 1944.

How many countries Britain invaded? ›

Britain has invaded almost 90 per cent of the world's countries in its history, barring only 22 nations, a new study has found. LONDON: Britain, which held sway over India for around 200 years, has invaded almost 90 per cent of the world's countries in its history, barring only 22 nations, a new study has found.

What do the British call the War of 1812? ›

For roughly a century, the conflict didn't merit so much as a capital W in its name and was often called “the war of 1812.” The British were even more dismissive. They termed it “the American War of 1812,” to distinguish the conflict from the much great Napoleonic War in progress at the same time.

How long did the Battle of Britain last? ›

3 months and 3 weeks

Who won 1st World war? ›

The first World War was won by the Allies consisting of the United Kingdom, France, United States, Japan, Italy. They defeated the Central Powers consisting of Imperial Germany, Austro-Hungary Empire and the Ottoman Empire. It lasted from 1914 and lasted until the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty in 1919.

Who won the 1812 war? ›

Britain effectively won the War of 1812 by successfully defending its North American colonies. But for the British, the war with America had been a mere sideshow compared to its life-or-death struggle with Napoleon in Europe.

What is the longest war in history? ›

The longest war in history is believed to be the Reconquista (Spanish for Reconquest), with a duration of 781 years.

Was ww1 or ww2 worse? ›

World War II was the most destructive war in history. Estimates of those killed vary from 35 million to 60 million. The total for Europe alone was 15 million to 20 million—more than twice as many as in World War I.

Which war had the most deaths? ›

By far the most costly war in terms of human life was World War II (1939–45), in which the total number of fatalities, including battle deaths and civilians of all countries, is estimated to have been 56.4 million, assuming 26.6 million Soviet fatalities and 7.8 million Chinese civilians were killed.

What are the 8 Central Powers? ›

Member states
Population (millions)
Germany (1914)Total77.7
Austria-Hungary (1914)50.6
Ottoman Empire (1914)23.0
Bulgaria (1915)4.8
3 more rows

What country has Britain not invaded? ›

Countries Britain Has Never Invaded
  • Andorra.
  • Belarus.
  • Bolivia.
  • Burundi.
  • Central African Republic.
  • Chad.
  • Congo, Republic of.
  • Guatemala.
19 Sept 2022

Did Britain ever invade Russia? ›

A century ago a British led intervention force landed in the far north of Russia. For 18 gruelling months, thousands of foreign troops under British command fought Russians on Russian soil.

Has France ever won a war? ›

The Wars of Religion crippled France in the late 16th century, but a major victory over Spain in the Thirty Years' War made France the most powerful nation on the continent once more.

Has France ever beaten England in war? ›

The Anglo-French War, also known as the War of 1778 or the Bourbon War in Britain, was a military conflict fought between France and Great Britain, sometimes with their respective allies, between 1778 and 1783.
...
Anglo-French War (1778–1783)
France Spain United StatesGreat Britain
Commanders and leaders
5 more rows

Did France ever rule England? ›

Henry VI, son of Henry V, became king of both England and France and was recognized only by the English and Burgundians until 1435 as King Henry II of France. He was crowned King of France on 16 December 1431.
...
Dual monarchy of England and France.
Preceded bySucceeded by
Kingdom of England Kingdom of FranceKingdom of England Kingdom of France

Who defeated British? ›

The correct answer is option 3 i.e Hyder Ali. Hyder Ali is an Indian Ruler who defeated the British in their early stage of the rule in India.

What is Britain's longest war? ›

Some historians consider England's Scilly conflict to be the longest war in known history, dragging on for a staggering 335 years.

Why is 15 September a Battle day? ›

The 15 September 1940 was officially named Battle of Britain Day as it was the day when RAF Fighter Command claimed what proved to be a decisive victory over the German Luftwaffe. On this site you can learn more about the Battle and find out about the defining moments of the conflict on our Battle timeline.

How many Indian were killed by British? ›

However, the Bengal famine of 1943, which affected the Bengal region during wartime, was one of the major South Asian famines in which anywhere between 1.5 million and 3 million people died.
...
Timeline of major famines in India during British rule
Period1765–1947
2 more rows

What made British to leave India? ›

World War II had severely damaged the British Empire in terms of economy. To cut their losses they were forced to relinquish many of their colonies.

How long did British rule America? ›

British America comprised the colonial territories of the English Empire, which after the 1707 union of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain became the British Empire, in the Americas from 1607 to 1783.

What battle did England beat Scotland? ›

In what would later be known as the Auld Alliance, a treaty was agreed that the Scots would invade England if the English invaded France, and in return the French would support the Scots. Learning of the secret Franco-Scottish treaty, Edward invaded Scotland and defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar on 27th April.

When did Scotland defeat England? ›

Battle of Bannockburn
Date23–24 June 1314
LocationBannockburn, south of Stirling, Scotland 56°05′36″N 03°56′16″W
ResultScottish victory

What was the largest battle on English soil? ›

The Battle of Towton took place on 29 March 1461 during the Wars of the Roses, near Towton in North Yorkshire, and "has the dubious distinction of being probably the largest and bloodiest battle on English soil".

Who was the best British soldier in ww2? ›

John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, DSO & Bar, MC & Bar (16 September 1906 – 8 March 1996) was a British Army officer who fought in the Second World War with a longbow, bagpipes, and a Scottish broadsword.
...
Jack Churchill
Years of service1926–1936 1939–1959
RankLieutenant Colonel
10 more rows

When did the UK invade Brazil? ›

British invasions of the River Plate
Date 1806–1807 Location Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Colonia del Sacramento, Maldonado (present-day Argentina and Uruguay) Result Spanish victory
Belligerents
Spain Viceroyalty of the Río de la PlataUnited Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
7 more rows

Did Britain fight in Vietnam? ›

Were there any British soldiers in Vietnam? Believe it or not, British troops actually fought in the Vietnam War. However, they only had a small number of soldiers participate due to their government's decision that committing too many resources would be ill-advised.

When was the last battle in England? ›

The final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745, this was the last large scale pitched battle fought on British soil, and in many sources the last battle of any sort fought in Great Britain. Battle of Fishguard, Wales, 22–24 February 1797.

What battles did Britain fight in ww1? ›

British Battles at Arras
  • the First Battle of the Scarpe (9 to 14 April 1917)
  • the Battle of Vimy Ridge (9 to 12 April 1917)
  • the First Battle of Bullecourt (10 to 11 April 1917)
  • the Battle of Lagnicourt (15 April 1917)
  • the Second Battle of the Scarpe (23 to 24 April 1917)
  • the Battle of Arleux (28 to 29 April 1917)

How many died in the Wars of the Roses? ›

It's believed over 50,000 men engaged in brutal fighting and around 28,000 died. The Battle of Towton was the bloodiest one-day battle in England's history.

What happened at the Battle of Bennington? ›

Battle of Bennington, (August 16, 1777), in the American Revolution, victory by American militiamen defending colonial military stores in Bennington, Vermont, against a British raiding party.

What was the biggest battle in history? ›

The Most Deadly Battle In History: Stalingrad

Running from August 23, 1942 to February 2, 1943, Stalingrad led to 633,000 battle deaths.

Did Scotland ever defeat England? ›

Battle of Bannockburn, (June 23–24, 1314), decisive battle in Scottish history whereby the Scots under Robert I (the Bruce) defeated the English under Edward II, expanding Robert's territory and influence.

Did England beat Scotland in war? ›

At the Battle of Byland the English were routed by the Scots. Edward II agreed a 13-year truce.

Has Britain lost a war? ›

Battle of the Somme, 1916

They were so confident that they told their troops to simply walk across no man's land instead of dashing from cover to cover. The British lost around 20,000 soldiers on the first day of the battle. Over the next three months, both the Brits and the Germans lost around half a million men each.

What are British soldiers called? ›

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Tommy Atkins (often just Tommy) is slang for a common soldier in the British Army. It was certainly well established during the nineteenth century, but is particularly associated with the First World War. It can be used as a term of reference, or as a form of address.

Are there any York's left? ›

The House of York was a cadet branch of the English royal House of Plantagenet. Three of its members became kings of England in the late 15th century.
...
House of York
FounderEdmund of Langley
Current headExtinct (In the Male Line)
Final rulerRichard III of England
7 more rows

Who was White Queen? ›

Elizabeth Woodville, The White Queen.

Who won war Roses? ›

The Wars of the Roses, if understood as the dynastic conflict between the rival royal houses of Lancaster and York, were won by Edward IV. He was twice the comeback kid, in 1461 and 1471. His military achievement was remarkable. He won every battle he fought – six in total.

What is the 76 flag? ›

The Bennington flag is a version of the American flag associated with the American Revolution Battle of Bennington, from which it derives its name. Its distinguishing feature is the inclusion of a large '76' in the canton, a reference to the year 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Who won the battle of Monmouth? ›

While the British had escaped, the Americans claimed victory in the Battle of Monmouth and Washington was lauded for his bravery.

Who won the Battle of Brandywine? ›

The Battle of Brandywine, fought just outside of Philadelphia on September 11, 1777, resulted in an overarching British victory and the conquest of the rebel seat of government.

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