A History of War in 100 Battles by Richard Overy

By Richard Overy

Their very names--Gettysburg, Waterloo, Stalingrad--evoke photographs of significant triumph and both nice ache, moments while heritage looked as if it would cling within the stability. thought of with regards to one another, such battles--and others of much less speedy renown--offer perception into the altering nature of armed wrestle, advances in know-how, shifts in process and suggestion, in addition to altered geopolitical landscapes. the main major army engagements in background outline the very nature of battle.

In his most modern e-book, Richard Overy plumbs over 3,000 years of background, from the autumn of Troy in 1200 BC to the autumn of Baghdad in 2003, to find the a hundred battles that he believes the main momentous. prepared by way of topics similar to management, innovation, deception, and braveness lower than fireplace, Overy provides attractive essays on each one conflict that jointly supply a wealthy photo of the way strive against has replaced during the a while, in addition to highlighting what has remained constant regardless of advances in know-how.

The battles coated right here provide a large geographic sweep, from old Greece to China, Constantinople to Moscow, North to South the United States, supplying an image of the dominant empires throughout time and context for comparability among a variety of army cultures. From typical engagements like Thermopylae (480 BC), Verdun (1916), and the Tet Offensive (1968) to lesser-studied battles similar to Zama (202 BC), Arsuf (1191), and Navarino Bay (1827), Overy offers the major actors, offerings, and contingencies, targeting these details--sometimes overlooked--that made up our minds the conflict. the yankee victory on the conflict of halfway, for instance, was firm via purely ten bombs. It was once, as Wellington acknowledged of Waterloo, a "near run thing."

Rather than concentrating on the query of victory or defeat, Overy examines what an engagement can let us know on a bigger point in regards to the historical past of struggle itself. New guns and strategies could have a surprising impression at the final result of a battle--but so can also management, or the results of a smart deception, or uncooked braveness. Overy deals a deft and visually desirable examine the engagements that experience formed the process human historical past, and adjusted the face of warfare.

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Earl of Wessex (in southwest England), who had no direct blood ties to the royal line, but was a tough and successful warrior. In the space of less than a year, he faced two separate invasions by claimants who did have royal blood, and believed that the throne belonged to them. In September 1066, the king of Norway, Harald Hardrada (‘hard ruler’), invaded northeast England with a large Viking army, determined to wrest control of the kingdom; less than a month later, a Norman army under William landed in the south, driven by the same ambition.

To hold up Constantine’s advance, he ordered the destruction of the wide stone Milvian Bridge across the Tiber, which lay on the path of his enemy’s army. But at the last moment he changed his mind and decided that his forces were large enough to secure a land victory. A new pontoon bridge was constructed, and Maxentius led his large army across it to Saxa Rubra. At the core were the famous Praetorian Guards (the elite imperial bodyguard), and on the flanks were the new heavy cavalry modelled on the Persian example.

In so doing, he became, it has been estimated, the richest man in the known world. C HAPTER 1 32 NO. 2 BATTLE OF CANNAE 2 August 216 T bce he Battle of Cannae is one of the most famous battles of all time. The catastrophic defeat of the Roman army by Hannibal’s smaller force has been regularly invoked to describe a particularly dramatic or heavy defeat. The myth that surrounded Hannibal as a general who carried victory with him wherever he went has lived down the ages. Hannibal’s own presence at Cannae and his operational genius explain an outcome that might well have gone another way.

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