Epic battles. Which do you think were the most decisive ones in your own or other nations' histories?
Here is my top 18 from the 20th century.
1. Tsushima (1905), when the Japanese Navy sank the Russian Baltic Fleet sent all the way out there to challenge them.
2. The Marne (1914) When the German plan to knock France out of the war by encircling Paris was defeated by French and British counter-attacks, signalling the failure of the Schlieffen Plan.
3. Tannenberg (1914) When German forces rounded upon and defeated the Russian invaders of East Prussia, thereby saving Germany from potentially early defeat.
4. Gallipoli (1915) When British, British Empire, and French forces were held in their invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsular in Turkey, and ultimately in consequence forced to abandon their attempt to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war early.
5. Jutland (1916) A naval battle between the main British and German fleets. Although the British losses were greater, mostly because the decks of many of their vessels were less well armoured, it was nevertheless a strategic victory for the British. The German fleet returned to port and never again dared set sail.
6. Amiens (1918) When mostly British forces, though forced to give ground, successfully resisted an overwhelming German attack, preventing a collapse of the front and ultimately allowing a counter-attack which - with others - drove the Germans into armistice talks.
7. Warsaw (1920). This is when during the Russo-Polish War, Bolshevik Russian armies invaded Poland and reached the gates of Warsaw. Had they prevailed they would have swept on into Germany and probably bolshevised it along with much of Eastern Europe, and possibly triggered a major war with the western powers. But they were defeated outside Warsaw by the Poles, receiving advice from a French general, and driven out of Poland altogether.
8. Khalkin Gol (1939) When Soviet and Japanese forces clashed on the borders of Mongolia. This decisive defeat for the Japanese deterred them from ever again picking a fight with the USSR, resulting in them looking further south for success, ultimately eventually leading to war with Britain and America. It also secured the Soviet eastern flank when the USSR was later attacked by the Germans.
9. Battle of Britain (1940). Surely the most decisive air battle in history. The British victory here guaranteed Britain's survival, and made her defeat impossible, whilst encouraging Hitler to turn east to seek victory there instead, leading to the invasion of Russia which eventually proved to be his undoing. The survival of Britain also ensured that it existed as a major base for the build up of British and American forces for the re-invasion of western Europe.
10. El Alamein. (1942) The North African battle which decisively turned the tide against the Axis forces here, ultimately paving the way - along with Operation Torch, the invasion of Northwest Africa - for their expulsion from Africa altogether, hastening the invasions of Sicily and then Italy, and bringing about the fall of Mussolini.
11. Midway. (1942). The most decisive carrier battle in history, between the Americans and Japanese. The sinking of the cream of the Japanese carrier force was a crushing defeat for them, and massive victory for the Americans. It was the point at which the tide of war turned decisively against Japan.
12. Stalingrad. (1942-43). The epic battle between the Germans and Soviets, leading ultimately to the destruction of the German 6th Army, and German military disaster.
13. Kursk (1943). The largest tank battle in history. The Soviet victory here destroyed the cream of the German Panzer forces, from which they never recovered, and doomed Germany to eventual defeat.
14. D-Day (1944). When British, Canadian, and US forces invaded German occupied Normandy in France. Their success in establishing and holding beach heads, and the German failure to either prevent this or drive them back into the sea, doomed their prospects in the west.
15. Leyte Gulf (1944) When the cream of the Japanese surface fleet was shattered by the Americans. There was no longer any significant Japanese naval opposition after this. They felt driven to the desperate measure of Kamikazi attacks after this as a way of challenging US naval dominance.
16. Inchon (1950) The US landings in Korea which led to the recapture of Seoul from the north Koreans, and preventing a North Korean victory.
17. Dien Bien Phu (1954) When French forces - besieged in Dien Bien Phu by Ho Ch Minh's Vietnamese communists - were forced to surrender. This decisive French defeat led to French withdrawal, and the establishment of a communist state in an independent North Vietnam. It's later attempts - eventually successful in 1975 - to re-unite the country by undermining and then conquering South Vietnam, led to the carnage that was the Vietnam War, and all that it entailed for both Vietnam itself and the USA.
18. The Six Day War (1967). A war short enough to also be considered a battle. In it, Israili forces launched massive pre-emptive strikes against some of their Arab neighbours gearing up for an attack, and decisively defeated them. During the course of this war they overran what had been the western part of Transjordan ( now the country is simply called Jordan), aka Palestine. In doing so they became an occupying force in an Arab land. This is the point in history where in the minds of much of world public opinion, Israel began to morph from victim into oppressor. Palestine has poisoned world perception of Israel.