The Baedeker raids were a series of German air raids directed at British provincial towns and cities between April and October 1942 during the Second World War. They were so named because the targets were all places of cultural interest which appeared to have been selected from Baedeker's Guide to Britain.
The Bailey is the whole of the other buildings and courts of a castle as distinguished from the keep.
A Bailey bridge was a prefabricated bridge developed by the British Army in the Second World War. It was made from a set of standardised components so that bridges of varying lengths and load-carrying ability could be assembled to order. They were used in every theatre of the war and many remained in place for several years after the war until the civil authorities could replace them with more permanent structures.
Bainbergs are plate armour for the protection of the legs. They were introduced in the 13th century and worn over chain-mail.
The Baker rifle was the first rifle accepted for English military use. It was a muzzle loader with a calibre of 0.625 inch. It was produced from 1800 to 1838.
In weapon terminology, a ball was originally a spherical projectile, now generally a fully jacketed bullet of cylindrical profile with round or pointed nose. Most commonly used in military terminology.
In fortification, a banquette is a small bank at the foot of a parapet, from which the defenders can safely fire over the parapet.
The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was a .30 inch calibre gas operated automatic rifle designed by Browning and manufactured by Winchester, Colt and other companies from 1918 onwards. It had an effective range of 550m.
The Barons' War occurred following the signing of the Magna Carta from 1215 to 1217, with many barons still defying King John, and some offered the crown to Prince Louis of France. After the death of John, the barons' army supported by the French was routed at Lincoln in May 1217, and the war ended by the Treaty of Kingston-on-Thames signed in September 1217.
In warfare, a barrage is a linear concentration of artillery fire used to interpose a screen of bursting shells between attacking and defending troops. When fired by a defending force to prevent an attack reaching its lines, a barrage may be a simple line of fire in front of a position or shaped so as to surround the position – a 'box' barrage. Fired to assist an attack, a barrage may be stationary, to prevent reinforcements reaching the threatened area, or moving, to act as a continuous screen ahead of the advancing force. Normally using high explosive shells, in the Great War barrages often included gas and shrapnel projectiles so as to present a more complex threat to the target.
A barrage balloon is a captive balloon, of tear-drop shape and with fins to keep it headed into the wind, which can be positioned around likely bombing targets to interfere with the probable flight paths of enemy aircraft. Their prime function is to force enemy aircraft to stay high to avoid the balloons, so placing them at the optimum height for engagement by anti-aircraft guns.
Bashi-Bazouks were irregular Turkish troops, employed partially in the Crimean War and the Russo-Turkish War. They served without uniform or direct pay and were usually mounted. They became notorious for their pillaging and took part in the Bulgarian atrocities of 1876.
The basilisk was a type of cannon firing a 48 lb shot.
Battle of Aboukir Bay
The Battle of Aboukir Bay, also known as the Battle of the Nile, was a naval battle during the Napoleonic Wars between Great Britain and France, in which Admiral Horatio Nelson defeated Napoleon Bonaparte's fleet at the Egyptian seaport of Aboukir on the 1st of August 1798. The defeat put an end to French designs in the Middle East.
Battle of Abu Klea
The Battle of Abu Klea was an engagement between British forces and Dervishes in the Sudan on January 17th 1885 at Abu Klea, a group of wells on the track from Korti to Metemmeh. A camel corps with about 1800 troops under General Herbert Stewart, part of the British expedition to relieve General Charles Gordon in Khartoum, was attacked by 10000 Dervishes. The British force formed a square that was broken for a short time; it closed up again and beat off the attack, but Colonel Frederick Burnaby, a noted soldier and explorer, was killed in the battle.
Battle of Abu Tellul
The Battle of Abu Tellul occurred during the Great War between British and Turkish forces fighting for the village of Abu Tellul. The Turks lost the village on the 14th of July 1918. The Turkish army had advanced north and east of Jericho, capturing the village of Abu Tellul, but were then halted by British advanced posts. A counterattack by the Australian Light Horse trapped the Turks and the village was retaken.
Battle of Aegospotami
The Battle of Aegospotami was a Spartan naval victory over the Athenians at the end of the Peloponnesian War 405 BC off Aegospotami. Lysander's decisive victory over the Athenian fleet broke the until then unchallenged Athenian naval superiority and effectively ended the war. An Athenian fleet of some 180 triremes lay at Aegospotami and 170 Peloponnesian ships, under Lysander, lay at Lampsacus on the southern shore. On four successive days the Athenian fleet rowed across the strait, hoping to draw Lysander's force out to give battle, but without success. On the fifth day Lysander waited until the Athenians made their usual sortie and returned to their base; once they had anchored, Lysander's fleet made a sudden dash across the water, pounced on the anchored Athenians, captured 160 ships, and killed the crews.
Battle of Aisne
There were three battles of Aisne between Allied and German forces in northern France during the Great War. The first battle occurred in September 1914 and was inconclusive and left both sides entrenched along lines they held for most of the rest of the war. The second battle between April and May 1917 cost both the French and Germans heavy casualties and was one of the prime causes of the mutinies in the French army the following month. In the final battle in June 1918, the Germans nearly succeeded in breaking through to Paris.
Battle of Alam Halfa
The Battle of Alam Halfa occurred during the Second World War on the 30th of August 1942, when the Germans led by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel attacked the southern sector of the British defensive Alamein line in North Africa.
The British general Auchinleck had foreseen the possibility of such an attack and had made plans to deal with it; these were put into action by Montgomery, who had 700 tanks to meet Rommel's force of 446 tanks. A co-ordinated defence with artillery, tanks, and tactical air forces stopped Rommel and on the 2nd of September he called off the attack and retreated, having lost 3,000 troops, 49 tanks, 60 guns, and 400 trucks.
Battle of Albert
The Battle of Albert was an inconclusive battle between French and German forces on September the 20th to September the 30th 1914 during the Great War, in Somme department north-east of Amiens.
The French and Germans attempted to outflank each other, leading to a stalemate which was broken by the arrival of German reinforcements. The French were temporarily forced back until they too reinforced and both sides settled into entrenched lines from Albert to Noyon until the Germans fell back in 1917.
Battle of Albuera
The Battle of Albuera occurred on the 16th of May 1811, during the Peninsular War.
It was an Allied victory over the French at Albuera. A French army of about 23,000 troops under Marshal Nicolas Soult, marching to relieve the siege of Badajoz, was met by the siege force of 30,000 Allied (British, Spanish, and Portuguese) troops under General William Beresford outside Albuera. The French were able to retire in good order, taking about 500 prisoners with them, but the siege of Badajoz was not raised. Of the 6,000 British troops, only 1,500 were not wounded.
On the morning of the 16th, Soult launched a feint attack against the Allied left flank while directing his main force against the Allied right. Beresford had expected a frontal attack and was unable to wheel his troops before the French struck. The Spanish troops on the left were shattered by French musketry and a cavalry charge, and the British 2nd Division was brought from the other side of the field to stop the attack. The British 57th Foot lost 423 of their 575-strong contingent and earned themselves the nickname the 'Die-Hards'. There was little room to manoeuvre on the ridge, so the battle became a fierce hand-to-hand affair. Beresford narrowly escaped capture and was preparing to retreat when the British and Portuguese reserves were brought up and, charging up the hill into the face of the French, routed them.
Battle of Alford
The Battle of Alford was fought on July the 2nd 1645 when General Baillie with a large body of covenanters who was defeated by the marquis of Montrose.
Battle of Algiers
The Battle of Algiers was a bitter conflict in Algiers from 1954 to 1962 between the Algerian nationalist population and the French colonial army and French settlers. The conflict ended with Algerian independence 1962.
Battle of Angamos
The Battle of Angamos was a naval battle fought off Angamos Point, north of Antofagasta in Chile on October the 8th 1879 between the Peruvian ironclad Huascar and the Chilean ironclad Blanco Encalada and Almirante Cochrane, assisted by the corvette Covadonga. The battle lasted one and a half hours when the Peruvians were forced to surrender.
Battle of Anjou
The Battle of Anjou (Battle of Beauge) was fought between the English and French on the 22nd of March 1421. The English were defeated. This was the first battle that turned the tide of success against the English.
Battle of Antwerp
During the Great War a Battle of Antwerp occurred when the Germans laid siege of the Belgian port from the 27th of September to the 9th of October 1914. British and Belgian troops mounted a fierce resistance which failed to save the city but did delay the German advance enough to prevent a push straight through to the English Channel. Antwerp remained under German occupation until the end of the war.
During the Second World War a Battle of Antwerp occurred as a British operation in September 1944 to take the Belgian city of Antwerp in order to provide Allied forces with a supply port close to the front line. Although it was taken by the British 11th Armoured Division on the 4th of September 1944, the banks of the river Scheldt were still held by German troops who proved difficult to dislodge and it was not until the 28th of November that the first supply ships reached the port.
Battle of Anzio
The Battle of Anzio was the beachhead invasion of Italy from January the 22nd to May the 23rd 1944 by Allied troops during the Second World War. A failure to use information gained by deciphering German codes led to the Allied troops being stranded temporarily after German attacks. Allied troops were held on the beachhead for five months before the breakthrough after Monte Cassino allowed the US 5th Army to dislodge the Germans from the Alban Hills and allow the Anzio force to begin its advance on Rome.
Battle of Arnhem
The Battle of Arnhem was an airborne operation by the Allies, between the 17th and 26th of September 1944 during the Second World War, to secure a bridgehead over the Rhine, thereby opening the way for a thrust towards the Ruhr and a possible early end to the war. It was only partially successful, with 7,600 casualties. Arnhem itself was to be taken by the British while American troops were assigned bridges to the south of the city. Unfortunately, two divisions of the SS Panzer Corps were refitting in Arnhem when the British landed and penned the British troops in, while the American force captured the bridge at Nijmegen but were unable to secure the bridge at Elst. Despite the arrival of Polish reinforcements on the 21st of September, Montgomery ordered a withdrawal four days later.
Battle of Arras
The Battle of Aras was a battle of the Great War fought between April and May 1917. It was an effective but costly British attack on German forces in support of a French offensive, which was only partially successful, on the Siegfried Line. British casualties totalled 84,000 as compared to 75,000 German casualties.
Battle of Artois
The Battle of Artois was a French offensive north of Arras between May and July 1915 during the Great War. It was intended to hold German forces in France and prevent their movement to the Eastern Front. Although the French advance captured two major German positions and gave them a line from which Vimy Ridge could subsequently be attacked, the German line held and the battle died away into sporadic trench fighting.
Battle of Aspern
The Battle of Aspern was an Austrian victory over Napoleon Bonaparte on the 21st and 22nd of May 1809, his first defeat. The battle took place outside the village of Aspern, northwest of Vienna. Following the French occupation of Vienna, Archduke Charles gathered the Austrian Army across the river Danube and Napoleon sent 40,000 troops to confront him on the Marchfield Plain, between the villages of Aspern and Essling. A confused battle ensued, after which the Austrians held Essling and the French Aspern. On the following day Napoleon attacked again and broke the Austrian centre, but the Austrians held firm and sent a force to destroy the bridges behind the French. Napoleon ordered the attack to cease and the French then fell back, fighting a rearguard action, to the village of Lobau.
Battle of Aubers Ridge
The Battle of Aubers Ridge was an abortive British attack on German lines in May 1915 during the Great War in support of, and diversionary to, the French attack on Lens in the Battle of Artois. No gains were made and both sides sustained heavy casualties – the Allies lost over 6,000 killed and wounded, while German casualties were just over half that number.
Battle of Augustov
The Battle of Augustov was a successful Russian counterattack after the disaster at Tannenberg in October 1914, during the Great War to recapture Augustov, a town in western Poland about 60 km north of Bialystok, from the Germans. German losses were estimated at about 50,000, and the Russians were able to press their advantage to advance into East Prussia.
Battle of Balaclava
In the Crimean War, the Battle of Balaclava was a Russian attack on British positions on the 25th of October 1854, near a town in Ukraine, 10 km south-east of Sevastopol. It was the scene of the ill-timed Charge of the Light Brigade of British cavalry against the Russian entrenched artillery. Of the 673 soldiers who took part, there were 272 casualties. The Russian army broke through Turkish lines on the 25th of October and entered the valley of Balaklava, intending to attack the British supply base in the harbour and relieve the encirclement of Sevastopol by attacking British positions from the rear. The battlefield consisted of two valleys divided by low hills; the British cavalry's Heavy Brigade were positioned in the South Valley, while the Light Brigade were in the North Valley. The first Russian advance broke into the South Valley and was immediately driven back over the hill by the Heavy Brigade, forcing the Russians to fall back on their line of artillery. The Light Brigade were ordered to 'prevent the enemy carrying away the guns' – it seems that this was intended to direct them to the hills where the Russians had captured some Turkish guns, but the order was badly phrased, leading the Light Brigade's commander to assume his target was the Russian guns about a mile away up the North Valley. Erroneously obeying what he assumed to be his instructions, he led the infamous 'Charge of the Light Brigade' up the length of the valley between two rows of Russian artillery, sustaining heavy casualties. A charge by French cavalry saved the Light Brigade from total destruction, and the 93rd Highland Regiment broke up a Russian cavalry attack. The battle ended with the Russians retaining their guns and their position.
Battle of Bapaume
The Battle of Bapaume was fought between German and British forces during the Great War I and was the second phase of the successful British offensive of the 21st of August to the 2nd of September 1918. The British pushed the Germans back 8 km, capturing 34,250 prisoners and 270 guns as well as vital strategic positions, including the German strong point at Mont St Quentin. The battle was very similar to the Battle of the Somme in 1916, starting from more or less the same positions and following the same general plan.
Battle of Bautzen
The Battle of Bautzen was a French victory in the Napoleonic Wars over a combined Russian and Prussian force on the 20th and 21st of May 1813, at Bautzen, about 40 km northwest of Dresden. The victory was the result of Napoleon's insistence on punishing the Prussians for deserting his alliance. Napoleon led 115,000 troops against the 100,000-strong combined army under Marshal Gebhard von Blucher and Count Wittgenstein. He planned to make a frontal attack to fix the troops on his front, while sending Marshal Michel Ney, approaching with another body of troops, against the enemy's right flank. Three French corps crossed the river Spree on the 20th of May and took Bautzen and a ridge of hills. The combined armies counterattacked on the 21st of May and succeeded in pushing the French back some distance but were then struck by Ney. Although the Russians and Prussians put up a powerful fight, they were incapable of dealing simultaneously with both frontal and flank attacks and the frontal attack, led by Marshal Nicolas Soult, broke through the centre while Ney was steadily advancing from the flank. The combined force had no alternative but to retreat, which they were able to achieve in good order, largely because Napoleon had no cavalry to harry them.
Battle of Beachy Head
The Battle of Beachy Head was an English naval defeat in the Channel on the 30th of June 1690 by a French force sailing to London in support of a proposed Jacobite rebellion. The English army at the time under William of Orange was almost entirely occupied in Ireland where the exiled King James II was based. Taking advantage of this weakness, Louis XIV of France prepared a large fleet to attack London, raise a Jacobite rebellion in support of James II, and invade England. Despite this victory, James suffered a series of reverses and was forced to flee to France, so the proposed invasion never took place.
Battle of Beauge
see "Battle of Anjou"
Battle of Beda Fomm
The Battle of Beda Fomm was a catastrophic Italian defeat at the hands of the British during the North African Campaign on the 7th of February 1941. The battle took place just outside Beda Fomm, a small town about 190 km south of Benghazi on the Libyan coast road. Elements of the British 7th Armoured Division had cut across the desert and set up a road block in which the retreating 10th Italian Army was ambushed. Over 25,000 prisoners, 100 tanks, 216 guns, and 1,500 other vehicles were captured.
Battle of Beresina
The Battle of Beresina was a partial victory of Russian forces over the French army retreating from Napoleon Bonaparte's abortive attempt on Moscow in November 1812. Two Russian armies attacked the French as they crossed the Beresina river on the 28th of November: one army fell on Napoleon who had already crossed the river while the other attacked Marshal Claude Victor's force which formed the rearguard and was just approaching the river. Napoleon managed to beat off the attack on his force, but Victor's troops were less fortunate: the Russians extracted a heavy toll of mainly stragglers and camp-followers, claiming some 36,000 killed.
Battle of Biak
The Battle of Biak was a hard-fought Allied campaign during May and June 1944 to recapture the island of Biak, off the north coast of New Guinea, from the Japanese who were using it as an air base. American and Australian troops attacked the island on the 27th of May 1944. The Japanese garrison put up strong resistance and the island was not secured until the 29th of June, with 2,700 Allied casualties and 9,000 Japanese.
Battle of Blackwater
The Battle of Blackwater was fought in Ireland on August 14th 1598 when the Irish chief O'Neil defeated the English under Sir Henry Bagnall. Pope Clement VIII sent O'Neil a consecrated plume, and granted to his followers the same indulgence as to crusaders.
Battle of Bladensburg
The Battle of Bladensburg was an unsuccessful American attempt to check the British advance on Washington on the 24th of August 1814 during the American War. The British entered Washington later the same day.
Battle of Bolimov
The Battle of Bolimov was an inconclusive battle between German and Russian forces, part of the third German attack on Warsaw in February 1915 during the Great War. It is mainly significant as the first battle in which gas was used as a weapon of war. Although the Russians held the Germans off in this engagement, they decided shortly after to abandon Poland as too costly to defend and the Germans occupied Warsaw in August 1915. The German artillery fired several thousand shells filled with xylyl bromide, a tear gas, but the liquid failed to vaporise because of the extreme cold and so the gas had no effect whatever on the Russian defenders. The Russians discovered that gas had been used, and took steps to issue rudimentary masks to their troops thereafter, as well as alerting Britain and France to the new tactic. However, it was not immediately followed up and the incident was forgotten and so the use of gas at Ypres still came as a surprise.
Battle of Boomplaats
The Battle of Boomplaats was fought between the Boers and British in 1848 during which Sir Harry Smith defeated Pretorius .
Battle of Bosworth Field
The Battle of Bosworth Field was the last battle between the houses of York and Lancaster, and occurred on August 22nd 1485, when Richard III was defeated by the earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII, and slain through the desertion of Sir William Stanley.
Battle of Bougainville
The Battle of Bougainville was an Allied campaign during November 1943 to April 1944 to recover the most northerly of the Solomon Islands from the Japanese. Bougainville was taken by the Japanese in March 1942 and became an important refuelling and supply base for their operations against Guadalcanal and the other Solomon Islands. An estimated 8,500 Japanese were killed in fighting on the island and a further 9,000 died of illness and malnutrition. The island was garrisoned by about 35,000 Japanese troops, principally in the south end of the island. The US 3rd Marine Division landed at the northern end of the island on the 1st of November 1943 and established a secure beachhead, reinforced by the US 37th Infantry Division. Thereafter the Japanese, in spite of ferocious counterattacks, were largely neutralised and contained. In early 1944 the US troops were replaced by Australians who proceeded to hunt down the remaining Japanese and had secured the island by April 1944.
Battle of Bouvines
The Battle of Bouvines occurred on the 27th of July 1214 when Philip Augustus of France was victorious over the emperor Otho and his allies.
Battle of Breitenfeld
The Battle of Breitenfeld was a victory of a joint Swedish-Saxon force under King Gustavus Adolphus over Imperial forces under Count Tilly during the Thirty Years War on the 17th of September 1631 at Breitenfeld, about 10 km from Leipzig. While Gustavus was negotiating alliances with Brandenburg and Saxony, Tilly sacked Magdeburg, which he had promised to relieve. The Swedes were joined by the Saxons and Tilly driven back.
Battle of Briar's Creek
The Battle of Briar's Creek occurred on the 3rd of March 1779 when a 2000 strong American army under general Ashe was totally defeated by the English under general Prevost.
Battle of Brienne
The Battle of Brienne occurred on the 29th of January 1814 when the allied armies of Russia and Prussia under Blucher were defeated by the French.
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain was an air battle between German and British air forces over Britain from the 10th of July 1931 until October 1940 during the Second World War. At the outset the Germans had the advantage because they had seized airfields in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, which were basically safe from attack and from which south-east England was within easy range. On the 1st of August 1940 the Luftwaffe had about 4,500 aircraft of all kinds, compared to about 3,000 for the RAF. The Battle of Britain had been intended as a preliminary to the German invasion plan Sea Lion, which Hitler indefinitely postponed on the 17th of September and abandoned on the 10th of October, choosing instead to invade the USSR.
Battle of Bronker's Spruit
The Battle of Bronker's Spruit was an ambush by Boer forces, at Bronker's Spruit in the Transvaal in 1880 which shot down a detatchment of 250 British soldiers before anydeclaration of war had been made.
Battle of Brunanburh
The Battle of Brunanburh was fought between on one side Athelstan and his brother Eadmund and on the other Anlaf of Dublin, Constantine of Scotland, the Celtic king of Northumberland and the Northumbrian Danes in 937. Athelstan and his brother won a decisive victory which practically established the unity of England for many years.
Battle of Bunker Hill
The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought near Boston in the USA on the 17th of June 1775 between nearly 3000 British and 5000 Americans. The Americans were compelled to retreat after a fierce conflict. This was the first battle of the American War of Independence.
Battle of Busaco
The Battle of Busaco was fought between English and Portuguese armies under the Duke of Wellington and the French under Marshal Andre Massena on the 27th of September 1810 during the Peninsular War. Wellington bought the British a little more time in delaying the French invasion of Portugal and reduced the enemy's force.
Battle of Cadiz
The Battle of Cadiz was a naval battle which took place on July 21st 1640 when a French squadron under Armand de Breze defeated a Spanish convoy by employing a hitherto unknown tactic of attacking the Spanish convoy from both sides. The Spanish lost five vessels and about a thousand men, while the French losses were small.
Battle of Caldera Bay
The Battle of Caldera Bay occurred during the civil war in Chile in 1891 and was fought between the Congressionalist ironclad Blanco Encalada and the Balmacedist torpedo gunboats Almirante Lynch and Almirante Condell who torpedoed the ironclad amidships and sank her in two minutes.
Battle of Camden
The Battle of Camden was the greatest British victory in the American War of Independence. It took place on the 16th of August 1780, near Camden in South Carolina. The Americans had sent an army to South Carolina to attack the British headquarters at Camden. Lord Cornwallis collected his troops and attacked; though much inferior in strength, his force was of disciplined regulars, while the American force was largely composed of untrained militia, and the Americans were comprehensively defeated. They lost over 1,000 killed and wounded and about the same number of prisoners were taken, as well as a large quantity of stores, and at the time it seemed that the American cause was doomed. However, following the defeat by the French over the British fleet at Chesapeake Bay in 1781, Cornwallis was forced to surrender, effectively ending British hopes in the war.
Battle of Camperdown
The Battle of Camperdown took place on October the 11th 1797 when Admiral Adam Duncan bore down upon the Dutch under De Winter, broke through the Dutch line, and engaged closely from leeward. The action was bloody and determined on both sides, and resulted in a decisive victory for the British, who captured seven ships of the line (including both flagships), two 50's and two frigates.
Battle of Cape Matapan
The Battle of Cape Matapan was a British naval victory on the 28th of March 1941 over an Italian force sent to disrupt Allied shipping in the Mediterranean during the Second World War. The Italians were intercepted just south of Crete by a British fleet under Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham which sank the Italian cruiser Pola, along with six ships left to escort it after it had been crippled in an earlier attack.
Battle of Cape St Vincent
The Battle of Cape St Vincent was a British defeat of a Spanish fleet on the 14th of February 1797 off Cape St Vincent on the Portuguese coast; the British victory wrecked French plans to invade England, and the two British commanders were both honoured for this crucial victory: John Jervis became Lord St Vincent and Horatio Nelson gained his knighthood. A Spanish fleet of 27 ships was en route to join with the French fleet at Brest, to protect the invasion force, when it encountered a British fleet of 15 ships under Admiral John Jervis. The British were in tight line formation, whereas the Spanish were in two loose groups. Jervis headed for the gap between the two groups, intending to get to the windward side of one group and attack it, which would give him freedom of manoeuvre but would prevent the leeward Spanish group from coming close. Admiral Horatio Nelson, at the rear of the British line, saw that the leeward French could, in fact, circle around and come on Jervis from the rear, and in total disobedience of his orders, sailed on his own to attack the Spanish line which was already showing signs of the movement Nelson had foreseen. He engaged them single-handed for some time before other ships from Jervis' command, seeing the threat, came to support him. A fierce fight ensued, and four Spanish ships and 3,000 prisoners were taken. The remainder of the Spanish fleet turned back to Cadiz, but Jervis did not pursue.
Battle of Cape Ushant
The Battle of Cape Ushant was an indecisive encounter on July 27th 1778 between the British under Admiral Augustus Keppel and a French fleet under Comte d'Orvilliers.
A second Battle of Cape Ushant (The Glorious First of June) occurred in 1794 when a British fleet under Admiral Lord Howe claimed six prizes off a French fleet under Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse.
Battle of Caporetto
The Battle of Caporetto was a joint German-Austrian victory over the Italian Army in October 1917 at Caporetto, a village on the river Isonzo in northwest Slovenia. The German commander, General Karl von Bulow, broke through Italian lines on the Isonzo and forced an Italian retreat to fall back onto the Piave line.
Battle of Chancellorsville
The Battle of Chancellorsville was a comprehensive victory of General Robert E Lee's Confederate forces over Joseph Hooker's Union troops on the 1st of May 1863 during the American Civil War. Lee intercepted an intended Union attack on Richmond at Chancellorsville, Virginia, USA, and shattered the Union forces. Lee secured a remarkable victory, defeating a force three times the size of his own, but Thomas Jackson, perhaps his best general, was mortally wounded during the battle and his loss was a grave blow to the Confederate campaign.
Battle of Charleroi
The Battle of Charleroi was fought during the Great War between French and German forces on the 21st to the 24th of August 1914 as the French attempted to make an orderly retreat from Belgium under intense German pressure. The operation probably saved the French 5th Army and slowed the German advance into northern France considerably.
Battle of Chickahominy
see "Battle of Cold Harbor"
Battle of Chillianwallah
The Battle of Chillianwallah was fought between the Sikh forces in considerable strength, and the British commanded by lord Gough, on 13 January 1849. The Sikhs were completely routed, but the loss to the British was severe, with about 750 killed and 2000 wounded.
Battle of Cold Harbor
The Battle of Cold Harbor was a battle during the American Civil War. It took place on June 3rd 1864 and involved the defeat of the Federal army of the Potomac under General Grant by the Confederate army of Virginia under General Lee. The battle is also known as The Battle of Chickahominy.
Battle of Copenhagen
The Battle of Copenhagen was a naval victory on the 2nd of April 1801 by a British fleet under Sir Hyde Parker and Nelson over the Danish fleet. Nelson put his telescope to his blind eye and refused to see Parker's signal for withdrawal.
Battle of Coronel
The Battle of Coronel was fought on November 1st, 1914 between British and German naval squadrons under Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock and Vice-Admiral von Spee respectively. The British were defeated, losing the Good Hope and the Monmouth. The remaining British ships escaped in the night.
Battle of Corunna
The Battle of Corunna took place on January 16th 1809 during the Peninsular War. At the battle the British under Sir John Moore defeated the French at Soult. However, Sir John Moore was killed at the battle.
Battle of Crecy
The Battle of Crecy took place in 1346, during the Hundred Years' War, when the English under Edward III routed a largely superior French army under Philip VI. The French losses amounted to over 31,000 including the King of Bohemia, 10 other princes and some 1200 knights. It was the first English battle in which the cannon was used, but victory was the result of the shooting of the English long-bow men.
Battle of Culloden
The Battle of Culloden was a defeat in 1746 of the Jacobite rebel army of the British prince Charles Edward Stuart (the 'Young Pretender') by the Duke of Cumberland on a stretch of moorland in Inverness-shire, Scotland. This battle effectively ended the military challenge of the Jacobite rebellion.
Battle of Cunaxa
The Battle of Cunaxa took place in 401 BC between Cyrus the Younger with Orientals and Greek mercenaries against the Persians under his brother Artaxerxes. Cyrus was killed but the Greeks refused to surrender and were allowed to march to the coast.
Battle of Dettingen
The Battle of Dettingen took place on June 27th 1743 during the War of the Austrian Succession. The British and Hanoverians under George II with the Austrians, defeated the French under Marshal Noailles. This was the last occasion when a British monarch led his troops to battle.
Battle of Dienbienphu
The battle of Dienbienphu ended the first Indochina war, and with it any hope of French control in Indochina and paved the way for the heavy American involvement in the area from 1965 to 1975.
Late in 1953 the French occupied a small mountain outpost named Dienbienphu, located in the northern part of Vietnam near the Laotian border. The French hoped to cut Vietminh supply lines into Laos and to set up a base from which to attack.
The Vietnamese, in control of the countryside, quickly cut off all roads to Dienbienphu, so the French could only be supplied from the air. The French remained quite confident of their position, and they were thus completely taken by surprise when General Vo Nguyen Giap of North Vietnam surrounded their base with 40,000 troops and used heavy artillery to batter the French lines. In spite of massive infusions of American aid, the outpost was overrun on May 7, 1954.
By this time support in France for the war had virtually evaporated, and the American Congress refused any more aid to support a lost cause. The French government sought an end to the fighting, and an agreement was signed in Geneva on July 21, 1954. The agreement also divided Vietnam in half along the 17th parallel. The Vietminh controlled the north, and the stage was set for their eventually successful attempt to conquer the south. French dismay at the defeat, which was soon to be followed by a similar turn of events in Algeria, led to the end of the French Fourth Republic in 1958.
Battle of Dogger Bank
The Battle of Dogger Bank was a naval action of the Great War. It took place on January 24th 1915 off the Dogger Bank between a German force of four battle cruisers, four light cruisers, and 22 destroyers which had left Germany to attack the English coast and the British Grand Fleet of six battle cruisers, eight light cruisers, and 28 destroyers which had left Scapa Flow on the same day to carry out a sweep of the North Sea. The British put on speed to overhaul the German line, the first shots were fired at about 9 a.m., and the two fleets exchanged shots for about three hours. The German battle cruiser Blucher was sunk by gun and torpedo fire, while the British flagship Lion was hit in the engine-room and halted. Admiral David Beatty transferred his flag to a destroyer, but when the German fleet approached Heligoland the British disengaged due to the danger of attack by submarines and minefields.
Battle of Dresden
The Battle of Dresden was a French victory in battle for control of the German city of Dresden during the Napoleonic wars. It was fought on the 27th of August 1813 between 80,000 French troops and an Allied army of almost 200,000 Austrian, Prussian, and Russian troops. The Allies lost some 38,000 troops; the French about 10,000. The Allied army under Count Schwarzenburg of Austria advanced on Dresden which had been captured by the French, forcing Napoleon Bonaparte to hurry back from Silesia to take control. On the evening of the 26th of August the Allies began a heavy artillery bombardment of the city and then attacked with six columns of infantry. The French repulsed the attack at every point and as night fell, the Austrians withdrew. During the night more reinforcements reached Napoleon and in the morning he launched an attack against both wings of the Allied army: General Joachim Murat of Naples and his cavalry went against the left flank, while Marshal Michel Ney, with the guards infantry, attacked the Russians on the right. The fighting raged all day and as night began to fall, Schwarzenburg realised he could make no further progress and ordered a withdrawal.
Battle of Dunajetz
The Battle of Dunajetz occurred in April 1915, during the Great War when the Russians held a line on the Dunajetz river against a large German force assembled for an attack on Galicia. The Austrians broke the Russian line in the Gorlitz area to the south of the river in early May and although the Dunajetz sector initially held strong, they were eventually forced to fall back because of the Russian collapse in the south. The Austrians and Germans advanced along the entire front for the next two weeks until the Russians halted them at a line on the San river.
Battle of Dunbar
The Battle of Dunbar took place on April 27th 1296 when Edward I of England was defeated by the Scots under John Baliol. A second Battle of Dunbar occurred on September 3rd 1650 when the Parlimentarians under Cromwell routed the Scottish Royalists under David Leslie.
Battle of Duppel
The Battle of Duppel was fought during the Prusso-Danish War and comprised a successful German assault on a fortified position in Schleswig-Holstein during March 1868 , then occupied by the Danes, which opened the way for the invasion of Denmark.
A previous German attack in 1848 had been halted at Duppel. The principal fort was protected by a chain of ten earthwork redoubts which the Germans now besieged having learned from their earlier defeat. Artillery bombardments appeared to do little damage, since the earthworks simply absorbed shell-fire and no effective breaches were made in the defences.
After almost three weeks, an astute German observer noted that the Danish commander was in the habit of withdrawing his troops from the foremost redoubt at dawn, so as to protect the troops from the daily shell-fire, returning them in the evening. The Germans waited until they had left and then launched a sudden attack which turned into a race to occupy the redoubt first. The Germans won, breaching the line, and the Danish garrison surrendered.
Battle of Dupplin Moor
The Battle of Dupplin Moor took place on August 12th 1332 when Edward Baliol and the Scottish barons defeated a numerically superior force of King David of Scotland under the Earl of Mar.
Battle of Ebro
The Battle of Ebro was the principal battle of the Spanish Civil War. It took place between the 24th of July and the 18th of November 1938, in the vicinity of Gandesa. By the time the battle ended the Republicans had lost about 30,000 dead, 20,000 wounded, and 20,000 prisoners, while the Nationalists lost 33,000 killed and wounded. This defeat effectively destroyed the International Brigades and put an end to any hope of Republican victory. A Republican army under General Juan Modesto had advanced across the river Ebro against the Nationalists, hoping to force a way through and link Catalonia with the rest of Republican-held Spain. The advance carried them almost to Gandesa, where they were stopped by fresh Nationalist troops under General Francisco Franco. Franco counterattacked on the 1st of August and gradually drove the Republicans back. There was a pause while Franco strengthened his force and re-grouped, until the 30th of October when he launched a powerful attack which drove the Republicans back across the Ebro itself, leaving them in disarray.
Battle of Eckmuhl
The Battle of Eckmuhl was a French victory over 76,000 Austrians under the Archduke Charles, at Eckmuhl on the 22nd of April 1809 during the Napoleonic Wars. The Austrians occupied Ratisbon but found Napoleon had cut their line of communication with a force of some 90,000 troops. In the hope of restoring it, the Archduke led his army out of the town and occupied a position on a hill at Eckmuhl and prepared for battle. Napoleon attacked, cut the Austrian army in two and reduced it to a shambles, driving them across the river Danube and back to the safety of Ratisbon.
Battle of El Teb
The Battle of El Teb took place on February 4th 1884 during the Sudan Campaign. A force of Sudanese under Osman Digna practically annihilated an Egyptian column under Baker Pasha which was marching to relieve Sinkat.
Battle of Elandsaagte
The Battle of Elandsaagte took place on October 21st 1899 during the 2nd Boer War when the British under General French drove a strong force of Boers from their position, capturing the leader, General Koch.
Battle of Epehy
The Battle of Epehy was a successful British assault on outposts and advanced positions of the Hindenburg Line during September 1918. The objective consisted of a fortified zone some 5 km deep and almost 32 km long, together with various subsidiary trenches and strongpoints. British troops of the 3rd and 4th Armies and French troops of the 1st Army attacked elements of the 2nd and 18th German armies. Fighting was fierce, in difficult country, and was broken into a series of battles against limited objectives.
Battle of Ethandune
The Battle of Ethandune took place in 878 when the West Saxons under King Alfred inflicted a crushing defeat on the Danes under Guthrum.
Battle of Eutaw Springs
The Battle of Eutaw Springs took place on September 8th 1781 and was the last serious engagement of the American War of Independence. The British under General Stewart gained a victory over the Americans under Greene at Eutaw Springs, South Carolina.
Battle of Evesham
The Battle of Evesham took place on August 4th 1265 during the Barons' War. The Royalists in largely superior numbers under Prince Edward defeated the Barons under Simon de Montfort, who was slain at Evesham, Worcestershire, thus ending the war.
Battle of Falkirk
The first Battle of Falkirk took place on July 22nd 1298 when a superior force of English under Edward I routed the Scots under Sir William Wallace. The second Battle of Falkirk occurred on January 16th 1746 when the Highland rebels of '45 inch under the Young Pretender defeated the British under General Hawley.
Battle of Falkland Islands
The Battle of Falkland Islands was a naval battle of the Great War. It occurred on December 8th 1914 between the English and German squadrons. The Germans were lured to the Falkland Islands by a bogus cable sent to Berlin by a British spy, and there were ambushed and almost completely wiped out, only the light cruiser Dresden escaping.
Battle of Ferkeh
The Battle of Ferkeh occurred during the Sudan campaign when the army of the dervishes was surprised and wiped out by the British under Kitchener on June 7th 1896 when on his march toward Dongola. The battle lasted from 5 to 7 am and resulted in the death of 1000 dervishes and 20 Egyptians.
Battle of Ferozeshah
The Battle of Ferozeshah took place during the 1st Sikh War on December 22nd and 23rd 1845. The British and native troops under Lord Gough defeated 50,000 Sikhs.
Battle of Festubert
The Battle of Festubert occurred during the Great War between British and German forces in northern France in May 1915. The British launched a series of attacks on the Aubers Ridge to assist the French, who were attacking in Artois and Arras. The assaults met with little success until the 15th of May when they broke through the German lines in two places, linked the two breaches and gained about half a mile before the battle died out and fresh trench lines were dug. Total British losses in the operation amounted to 3,620 dead, 17,484 wounded, and 4,321 missing.
Battle of Fort Donelson
The Battle of Fort Donelson occurred during the American Civil War, and involved the capture by Union forces under General Ulysses S Grant on the 15th of February 1862 of two vital Confederate strongpoints: Fort Henry, on the Tennessee river, and Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland river, about 19 km away. Fort Henry fell to Grant's attack quite easily and he then moved overland to attack Donelson, to which most of Henry's garrison had fled. An initial attack by Union gunboats failed but the Confederate commander Brigadier-General Gideon Pillow was not confident of holding the fort and formed a striking column to breach the Union lines, so that the rest of the garrison could escape. The sally began well, taking one Union division by surprise and swinging it back on the rest of the Union line, but Grant sent a reserve corps under General Lew Wallace to deal with the Confederate column and ordered a frontal attack on the earthworks around the fort in order to draw defenders away from the attempted breakout. By the end of the day the Confederate column was back inside the fort, the Union lines were redrawn, and a renewed attack was planned for the following morning. Pillow decided to surrender but as no Confederate general had yet surrendered to a Union force, he was apprehensive of what might happen to him if he fell into Union hands. He fled, passing command to Brigadier John Floyd. Floyd also fled, in turn passing the command to General Simon Bolivar Buckner who surrendered the following morning.
Battle of Fort George
The Battle of Fort George was fought at Niagara on 27th May 1813 during the American War and resulted in a victory for the Americans.
Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought on December 13th, 1862 during the American Civil War. The Federals under General Burnside attacked the Confederates under General Lee, who were occupying a strong position on the hills; they were repulsed, but Lee was unable to follow up his advantage.
Battle of Friedland
The Battle of Friedland was fought on June 14th 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars. The Russians and Prussians under Bennigsen were routed by the French under Napoleon I and Lannes.
Battle of Froeschwiller
The Battle of Froeschwiller was the first major battle of the Franco-Prussian War. It took place on the 6th of August 1870 around the village of Froeschwiller in eastern France. The Prussian victory proved the potential of breech-loading artillery to dominate a battle and the futility of using cavalry against even breech-loading small arms. Bavarian and Prussian troops crossed the frontier into France on the 4th of August, taking the town of Wissembourg. The French withdrew, and for a time the two armies lost contact with each other. Marshal Marie MacMahon decided to prepare a strong defensive position on the Froeschwiller ridge with troops of the 1st and 7th Corps, and instructed 5th Corps, then further north, to join him. The 5th Corps could not assemble quickly enough as it was spread out along the frontier so MacMahon had only 48,000 troops instead of the 76,000 he had hoped for. On the evening of the 5th of August, Prussian patrols arrived on the river Sauerbach at Worth and opened fire on French patrols on the other side. Other advancing German units also came across the French positions the following morning and the battle began without any formal orders as these individual contacts began to spread and intensify. Prussian artillery was brought up and rapidly dominated the French artillery, while German commanders called for reinforcements. On the southern flank of the French position, the German 11th Corps made a major attack which swept all before it. In desperation the French commander launched a cavalry charge which found itself confined in farmyards, vineyards, and the village of Morsbronn, where the Prussians were able to shoot them down with impunity; nine French squadrons were totally destroyed for no Prussian loss. The German 5th Corps attacked further north and after desperate fighting managed to drive the French back. On the northern flank the Bavarian corps sustained severe losses as they came out of a forest into an open area well covered by the
French infantry, but overcame the initial setback and began pressing south, putting the French under pressure in three directions. After an unsuccessful counterattack with his reserves, MacMahon realised that further resistance was futile, as his regiments were melting away; at about 4 p.m. the Prussians stormed into the village of Froeschwiller while the surviving French made their escape as best they could, leaving 11,000 dead and wounded and 9,200 prisoners behind. German casualties were about 11,000 killed and wounded.
Battle of Fuentes d'Onoro
The Battle of Fuentes d'Onoro was fought on May 3rd to 5th 1811 during the Peninsular War, and was one of the most hotly contested battles of the war. Massena on his way to relieve Almeida, attacked Wellington, but failed to capture the position and retired in good order. Wellington's doubtful victory then secured the evacuation of Almeida.
Battle of Gaza
The Battle of Gaza was a series of unsuccessful British attacks on the Turkish-held town of Gaza during March and April 1917 during the Allied invasion of Palestine in the Great War. General Charles Dobell was relieved of his command as a result of the failure. In the first attack on the 26th of March 1917 Dobell advanced along the coast from Rafa and mounted a three-pronged assault: an infantry division attacked from the south while Anzac forces and cavalry attacked from the east and north. The attack was at first partially successful, and Anzac troops entered the town. However, the Turks put up a strong defence, the British force had no water for its horses, Turkish reinforcements were coming up in rear of the enveloping British forces, and General Dobell had to withdraw. He mounted a second assault on the 17th of April, but in the interval Gaza had been heavily reinforced and fortified, and in spite of support from tanks the British were beaten off with losses of about 7,000 troops. the battle was broken off when night fell.
Battle of Gazala
The Battle of Gazala was a German victory over British forces in North Africa during May and June 1942. It was the most severe defeat inflicted on the British during the entire desert campaign of the second World War. Field Marshal Rommel launched a powerful surprise attack on Gazala on the 26 th and 27th of May 1942, but the British fought back well and trapped him between a minefield and their own defensive 'box'. Rommel was contemplating surrender until the Italian Trieste Division managed to open a route through the minefield and get a supply column to him. Indecision and arguments in British headquarters also helped and he broke out of the Cauldron on the 1st of June and overwhelmed the British 'box'. He pushed on toward Tobruk, defeating several British units, and the British were forced to abandon their positions and fall back to the El Alamein line in Egypt.
Battle of Granson
The Battle of Granson was a Swiss victory over Charles the Bold in 1476 at Granson on the southeast end of Lake Neuchatel. The town was captured by the Swiss in 1475 but the Duke of Burgundy recaptured it in February 1476 and massacred the entire garrison. The Swiss advanced on the town with a force of 18,000 and Charles, at the head of a 36,000-strong Burgundian force, tried to lure them out of the mountains and into open country by retreating. The Swiss followed closely and attacked his rearguard, whereupon Charles panicked and fled with the rest of his army. The Swiss pursued, completely destroyed his camp, and scattered his army.
Battle of Gravelotte
The Battle of Gravelotte was a Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War on the 18th of August 1870; the battle took place on a ridge near Gravelotte and although the Prussians gained an important strategic victory, isolating General Francois Bazaine in Metz, it cost them over 20,000 casualties, compared to French losses of around 13,000. The victory left the bulk of the Prussian forces free to concentrate upon Marshal Marie MacMahon's army which they destroyed at Sedan.
Battle of Guadalcanal
The Battle of Guadalcanal was an important American operation during the Second World War in 1942 to 1943 on the largest of the Solomon Islands. The battle for control of the area began when the Americans discovered the Japanese were building an airfield and landed marines to take the site in August 1942. The Japanese sent reinforcements by sea to recapture the airfield and a series of bitter engagements took place on land for control of the airfield and at sea as each side attempted to reinforce their own troops and prevent the other from doing so. The naval operations began to dwarf those on the land they were supposedly supporting and both sides lost large amounts of ships and aircraft. The engagements on land and sea were inconclusive until the Japanese concluded such heavy naval losses could not be justified by one island and evacuated on the 7th of February 1943.
Battle of Guilford
The Battle of Guilford was a costly British victory in March 1781 during the American War of Independance over American forces at Guilford Court House in North Carolina.
Lord Cornwallis' force of 1300 British troops attacked a stronger American force under General Nathaneal Greene which was in a well-prepared defensive position. By a series of attacks on individual strongpoints the British eventually put the Americans to flight, leaving their guns, stores, and wounded behind. However, the British sustained 548 casualties, almost half Cornwallis' force, leaving him too weak to pursue the enemy or carry out further operations for some time.
Battle of Haarlem
The Battle of Haarlem occurred during the Netherlands War of Independence, and involved a siege of Haarlem, capital of the province of North Holland, by 30,000 Spanish troops from the 11th of December 1572 until the 12th of July 1753. Although severely outnumbered, the garrison put up a valiant resistance, inflicting a heavy toll on the Spanish who lost some 12,000 casualties. In revenge, the Spanish massacred the entire garrison and hundreds of civilians when the city eventually surrendered.
Battle of Hallue River
The Battle of Hallue River occurred during the Franco-Prussian War between the 23rd and the 24th of December 1870 on a bend of the Hallue river 8 km northeast of Amiens. Citizen armies had been raised all over France since the siege of Paris and the northern army, under the command of General Louis Faidherbe, clashed with a smaller regular Prussian force while attempting to take Amiens. Faidherbe held off the initial Prussian assault but did not trust his irregular force to see off a second attack and withdrew.
Battle of Hampton Roads
The Battle of Hampton Roads was the first battle between armoured warships. It was an inconclusive naval engagement during the American Civil War between the Confederate Virginia and the Union battleship Monitor on the 8th of March 1862 off the southeast coast of Virginia. Neither vessel made any impression on the other after several hours of exchanging fire and eventually both withdrew.
Battle of Haslach
The Battle of Haslach was a French victory over the Austrians on the 11th of October 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars at Haslach. A 6000-strong French force under General Pierre de L'Etang Dupont was marching on Ulm when he was stopped by an Austrian force of 60000 troops under the Archduke Ferdinand which commanded the heights around his route. He immediately occupied and fortified the village of Haslach, which was then attacked by about 25000 of the Austrians. Dupont managed to hold them off until nightfall, then disengaged and withdrew, taking 4000 Austrian prisoners with him.
Battle of Hattin
The Battle of Hattin was a major defeat for the Crusaders by Saladin on the 4th of July 1187 at a village in Palestine 8 km northwest of Tiberias. A force of Frankish crusaders was completely wiped out, destroying the military power of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. A column of Frankish Crusaders was marching to the relief of the citadel of Tiberias which was under siege by Saladin. The column was attacked by a Saracen army and brought to a halt at Hattin, a place with no water. Harassing attacks during the night ensured that the Crusaders had no rest, and the lack of water demoralized them. On the following morning they were in no condition to withstand attack; the Saracens swept around in two wings and completely annihilated the Crusader force.
Battle of Imphal
The Battle of Imphal was an Allied operation in 1944 during the Second World War to hold Japanese forces back from an important road junction in the Manipur district of northeast India, 600 km northwest of Calcutta. It was the turning point in the Burma campaign. Imphal was crucial to the Japanese plan for the invasion of India in 1944 and so the British Field Marshal Sir William Slim devoted three divisions and extensive air support to its defence. Imphal held out for three months, with air and commando attacks disrupting the Japanese lines of supplies and communication, until the British were able to break the siege. The Japanese, starving and diseased, had by now lost 53,000 troops and fell back to the Chindwin river, abandoning their artillery and transport.
Battle of Inchon
The Battle of Inchon was a successful American Marines amphibious operation on the 15th of September 1950 at Inchon during the Korean War. The Marines secured the city within two weeks and broke the North Korean forces' hold on the Pusan area.
Battle of Inkerman
The Battle of Inkerman was a battle of the Crimean War fought on the 5th of November 1854 when the Russians attacked the British forces besieging Sebastopol and were repulsed.
Battle of Iwo Jima
The Battle of Iwo Jima was intense fighting between Japanese and American forces between the 19th of February and the 17th of March 1945 during the Second World War. In Feb 1945, American marines landed on the island of Iwo Jima, a Japanese air base, intending to use it to prepare for a planned final assault on mainland Japan. The 22,000 Japanese troops put up a fanatical resistance but the island was finally secured on the 16th of March.
Battle of Jellalabad
The Battle of Jellalabad was an Afghan siege in 1841 of an isolated British outpost at Jellalabad (now Jalalabad). The siege was lifted after five months when a British counterattack routed the Afghans, driving them back to Kabul. The outpost was little more than a wide place in the road with a fort, held by about 2,000 troops under General Sir Robert Sale. After the massacre of the British force in Kabul, Jellallabad was surrounded by Afghan forces which launched a series of attacks on the force. The British managed to beat off the assaults, and even captured 300 sheep from the besieging force when rations ran short. Eventually, after five months under siege, Sale mounted an attack against the Afghan forces, captured their main camp, baggage, stores, guns, and horses and the Afghans fled to Kabul.
Battle of Jena
The Battle of Jena was a comprehensive French victory over the combined Prussian and Saxon armies on the 14th of October 1806 at Jena, Germany during the Napoleonic Wars. Prussian and Saxon losses amounted to some 40,000 troops and 200 guns, while French casualties were 14,000. Napoleon so broke the Prussian forces that they were unable to prevent him marching on Berlin, and this disaster led to the complete overhaul and re-organization of the Prussian Army which laid the foundations for its subsequent military prowess.
Battle of Jutland
The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle of the Great War. On May the 30th 1916, in response to low morale in Germany, the newly appointed commander-in-chief of the navy, Admiral von Scheer, ordered the High Seas Fleet to leave the Kiel canal in force with the objective of attacking British cruisers and merchant ships in and outside the Skager-Rack. The German fleet sailed in two divisions: in the van was von Hipper's battle-cruiser squadron of five ships with attendant cruisers and destroyers; and some sixty miles astern, the battle fleet of some nineteen or twenty battleships, twenty light cruisers.
The British were alerted by unusual radio traffic over the North Sea and Jellicoe's Grand Fleet and Beatty's battle-cruiser squadron sailed on the night of the 30th of May and took up position the next morning and engaged the enemy. Although the British losses were greater than the German, the German fleet retreated back to its harbours.
Battle of Khalkin Gol
The Battle of Khalkin Gol was a major Russian victory over the Japanese Kwangtung Army in August 1939 on the border of Manchuria and Outer Mongolia. It was the most disastrous defeat ever suffered by the Japanese Army.
Battle of Kolombangara
The Battle of Kolombangara was an inconclusive naval engagement between American and Japanese forces in July 1943 off Kolombangara, one of the Solomon Islands. Four Japanese transports escorted by a cruiser and four destroyers were attempting to resupply the Japanese garrison on Kolombangara when they were intercepted by three American cruisers and nine destroyers. The American vessels opened fire, sinking the Japanese cruiser; in reply the Japanese destroyers launched a torpedo attack which crippled one American cruiser. About two hours later the two forces met once more and the Japanese torpedoes crippled the two remaining American cruisers and sank one destroyer. By this time the Japanese had landed their troops and supplies and so they withdrew.
Battle of Kunersdorf
The Battle of Kunersdorf was a Russian victory over Frederick the Great on the 12th of August 1759 during the seven Years War. Frederick was attempting to save Dresden from the advancing Russian army. Having somewhat less than half the troops the Russians had, Frederick decided to make an encircling attack from the flanks, but his plans were ruined by his troops getting lost in the forests and failing to coordinate their attacks. He was decisively defeated by the Russians, losing half his army and almost all his artillery. Dresden fell three weeks later.
Battle of Kursk
The Battle of Kursk was an unsuccessful German offensive against a Russian salient in July 1943. Kursk was the greatest tank battle in history and proved to be a turning point in the Eastern Front campaign. With nearly 6,000 tanks and 2 million troops involved. The battle reached its climax with the pitched battle on the 12th of July between 700 German and 850 Soviet tanks. In the spring of 1943 the Soviet front line bulged out into the German front between Kharkov and Orel. The Germans planned an offensive to pinch off this salient and flatten the front but the Soviets were forewarned by their intelligence service and planned to absorb the German thrust and then counterattack. They prepared for the assault with 20,000 guns, millions of mines, 3,300 tanks, 2,560 aircraft, and 1,337,000 troops; the Germans massed 10,000 guns, 2,380 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 900,000 troops. The battle began on the 5th of July in pouring rain. The northern half of the German force reached a point about 16 km into the salient before being stopped; the southern thrust reached its climax on the 12th of July when 700 German tanks battled with 850 Soviet tanks. But the Allied landing in Sicily on the 10th of July led Hitler to demand the withdrawal of troops from the USSR to reinforce Italy; on the same day the Soviets opened a massive offensive north of the Kursk salient. Hitler terminated the Kursk battle on the 17th of July and the German forces in the area were left to extricate themselves as best they could.
Battle of Langensalza
The Battle of Langensalza in the Austro-Prussian War, was a Prussian victory on the 27th of June 1866 over a Hanoverian army fighting on the Austrian side. The Hanoverians initially beat off the Prussians, inflicting losses of about 1,400 killed and 900 taken prisoner, while themselves losing about 1,400. However, the Prussian army was deployed in strength in this area and reinforcements quickly arrived and surrounded the Hanoverians, forcing their surrender.
Battle of Ligny
The Battle of Ligny was a French victory over the Prussians on the 16th of June 1805 during Napoleon's 'Hundred Days', at Ligny, a Belgian village 14 km northeast of Charleroi. It was Napoleon Bonaparte's final attempt to overcome the Prussian army before he went on to Waterloo to meet the British alone.
Battle of Loos
The Battle of Loos took place during the Great War in September 1915 when six separate assaults were made on the German front between Lens and Ypres by the French and British. The assaults were successful, but as reserves did not arrive due to deplorable staff work German counter attacks reclaimed almost all the ground won.
Battle of Maracesti
Rge Battle of Maracesti was a defeat of Austro-German force by combined Russian and Romanian forces in August 1917 during the Great War. After defeating the Russians in Galicia in 1916, the German general von Mackensen advanced toward Maracesti, an important railway junction. He was stopped close to the town by a strong Russo-Romanian force and the battle continued for some days. Bolshevik agitators subverted the Russian troops who abandoned the defences and ran. However, by this time Romanian reinforcements were arriving and in spite of heavy fighting defeated Mackensen's force and prevented him from taking Moldavia.
Battle of Marsaglia
The Battle of Marsaglia took place in Piedmont, northern Italy on the 4th of October 1693 and saw the imperialists under prince Eugene and the duke of Savoy defeated by the French under Catinat.
Battle of Marston-Moor
The Battle of Marston-Moor occurred during the English Civil War when the Scots and Parliamentary army were besieging York when prince Rupert, joined by the marquis of Newcastle determined to raise the siege. Both sides drew up at Marston-moor on the 2nd of July 1644 and the contest was long undecided. Rupert, commanding the right wing of the Royalists, was opposed by Oliver Cromwell, at the head of the troops disciplined by himself. Cromwell was victorious, driving his opponents off the field and followed his opponents to a second victorious engagement taking the prince's artillery, a blow from which the Royalists never recovered.
Battle of Messines
The Battle of Messines was a British attack between the 7th and 15th of June 1917 during The Great War on the German-held Belgian village and ridge in West Flanders, 9.5 km south of Ypres. The village was occupied by the Germans in November 1914, enabling them to hold a dominant position overlooking the British lines. A significant factor in the battle was the unprecedented scale of mining operations by the British; some 20 mines were excavated and charged with 600 tons of explosive. Another innovation was the use of supply tanks to carry forward ammunition and fuel for the infantry and the 76 tanks which were deployed in the battle itself. The battle began with an exceptionally heavy artillery bombardment, lasting over a week, which did considerable damage to the German defences, followed by the detonation of the mines on the morning of the battle itself. By 10 a.m. the entire German front line was in British hands, and the second line had been secured by 8 p.m. Messines remained in British hands until the German Spring Offensive in 1918, but was re-taken in September 1918.
Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway was a decisive US naval victory over Japan in June 1942 off Midway island, northwest of Hawaii. The Midway victory was one of the most important battles of the Pacific war – Japanese naval air superiority was destroyed in one day, putting an end to Japanese expansion and placing them on the defensive thereafter. In May 1942 the Japanese planned to expand their conquests by landing troops in the Aleutian islands and on Midway. The Japanese attack involved two task forces; the Aleutian force was to draw the US fleet north, allowing the Midway force a free hand. The US forces deciphered Japanese naval codes and were able to intercept the mission. Both launched aircraft and the Americans sank one Japanese carrier and so damaged another two that they were abandoned. The sole remaining Japanese carrier managed to launch a strike which sank the USS Yorktown, but later in the day another US strike damaged it so badly that it had to be scuttled. With no aircraft carriers or aircraft left the Japanese abandoned their attack and retreated.
Battle of Mill Springs
The Battle of Mill Springs was a Union victory during the American Civil War on the 18th of January 1862 at Mill Springs, a village about 16 km west of Somerset, Kentucky. It was the first significant defeat suffered by the Confederates. The Confederate defensive line, intended to keep out the Union forces, was held at Mill Springs by about 4,500 troops under Major-General Thomas H Crittenden. At the start of the 1862 campaign, Union General George H Thomas advanced on Mill Springs with a force of about 4,000 troops and Crittenden decided to pre-empt matters by attacking first. After fierce fighting, the Confederates were driven back, losing 12 guns and a considerable number of troops, while Union casualties were fewer than 250.
Battle of Minden
The Battle of Minden took place on August 1st 1759 between the English, Hessians and Hanoverians (under prince Ferdinand of Brunswick), and the French (under marshal De Contades), who were beaten and driven to the ramparts of Minden.
Battle of Nashville
The Battle of Nashville was a Union victory over the Confederate army on the 15th and 16th of December 1864 at Nashville, Tennessee. The Confederates were driven out of Tennesee and never threatened the state again.
Battle of Navas de Tolosa
The Battle of Navas de Tolosa was fought in 1212 between Yakub Almansur of the Almohades and the kings of Aragon, Castile and Navarre. The Almonhades lost the battle and with it Spain.
Battle of Omdurman
The Battle of Omdurman was fought on September 2nd 1898 during the Sudan Campaign. 23,000 British and Egyptian troops under Kitchener defeated 50,000 Dervishes under the Khalifa with a great slaughter of the Dervishes.
Battle of Otterburn
The Battle of Otterburn was fought in August 1388 when a force of 2800 Scots under the Earls of Douglas, Dunbar and Moray routed a force of 8600 English under Henry Percy. The battle was fought at night by moonlight which prevented the English from employing their archers. The battle is also kniwn as Chevy Chase.
Battle of Prague
The Battle of Prague was fought during the Seven Years War on 6th May 1757 and resulted in the Allies being defeated by Frederick.
Battle of South Foreland
The Battle of South Foreland was a naval battle fought in 1217 between the French and English, when Eustace, a monk in the service of Louis of France attempted a landing at the mouth of the Thames. He was intercepted by Hubert de Burgh, the governor of Dover Castle, and the French fleet was destroyed, 15 out of the original 80 escaping.
Battle of Spithead
The Battle of Spithead was a naval encounter fought in 1545 between the English fleet and the French fleet. The French were kept at bay and finally driven off.
Battle of St. Mathieu
The Battle of St. Mathieu was an indecisive naval battle outside of Brest harbour in 1512. A fleet under Lord Edward Howard with forty-five ships made the mouth of Camaret Bay on August the 10th just as a fleet of thirty-nine French ships were leaving Brest. The English blockaded Brest with the French fleet in it. A fleet of French galleys from the Mediterranean entered the neighbouring bay of Blanc Sablon, and the English tried to cut them out but were repulsed with heavy losses and the lord high admiral himself was driven overboard and drowned.
Battle of Stamford Bridge
The Battle of Stamford Bridge was fought in 1066 between the English under Harold and the Vikings under Hardraada of Norway. Hardraada was slain, but the battle weakened Harold's force for the ensuing Battle of Hastings which occurred later the same year.
Battle of Stoney Creek
The Battle of Stoney Creek was fought on 6th June 1813 during the American War and resulted in the Americans being routed.
Battle of Suvla Bay
The Battle of Suvla Bay took place on August 8th 1915 during the Great War, when a landing was made by British troops on the Gallipoli Peninsular with the object of capturing the hills dominating the Dardanelles. The attack failed.
Battle of Talana Hill
The Battle of Talana Hill was fought on the 20th October 1899 and resulted in a Boer defeat.
Battle of Tannenberg
The Battle of Tannenberg took place from August 26th to August 30th 1914 during the Great War, between the Germans and Russians near the village of Tannenberg. The battle virtually destroyed the Russian Second Army and relieved the danger of invasion in East Prussia.
Battle of the Admin Box
The Battle of the Admin Box was the first major victory over the Japanese for British and Indian troops during the Second World War. It happened at Sinzewa, Burma, in February 1944. The 'Admin Box' was the administrative and base area of 7th Indian Division, which was besieged by the Japanese 55th Division from the 5th to the 23rd of February 1944. The siege was lifted when the Japanese were taken from the rear by the 5th Indian Division advancing over the Ngakyedauk Pass.
Battle of the Ancre
The Battle of the Ancre was one of the last of the series of battles in the Somme area which took place between 1916 and 1917 during the Great War. In three days of fighting during November 1916, British forces attempted to capture a heavily fortified German salient based on the village of Beaumont-Hamel. They captured the village and advanced about a mile until difficult weather conditions made fighting impossible.
Battle of the Argenta Gap
The Battles of the Argenta Gap was an operation by British troops to breach German defences in northern Italy in April 1945 as part of the final Allied advance in Italy during the Second World War. The Gap was a heavily defended strip of dry land between Lake Comacchio and the Lombardy marshes blocking the route to the Lombardy plain and north-east Italy. The British 5th Corps used amphibious armoured vehicles to outflank the German positions and breach the Axis lines, allowing the British 6th Armoured Division to pass through the gap.
Battle of the Argesul
The Battle of the Argesul was fought between the 30th of November and the 3rd of December 1916 during the Great War on the line of the Argesul river. A joint Austro-German force defeated Romanian armies attempting to defend Bucharest with a pincer movement from the north and south. Romanian resistance was initially strong, but the failure of their reserves to arrive due to the treachery of General Sosescu followed by the arrival of German reinforcements led to their collapse, and Bucharest was occupied by the Germans on the 6th of December 1916.
Battle of the Barents Sea
The Battle of the Barents Sea was an important British naval victory over German forces north of Murmansk on the 30th of December 1942. The battle was a humiliating defeat for the German Navy, which so enraged Hitler that Admiral Erich Raeder was relieved of his post as commander in chief of the German Fleet and most of the German Navy was confined to training exercises in the Baltic, some ships having their guns removed to provide coastal defences for Norway.
Battle of the Boyne
The Battle of the Boyne occurred near the Boyne River in Ireland on the 1st of July 1690 when William III defeated his father-in-law, James II.
Battle of the Drina
The Battle of the Drina was an inconclusive battle between Austrian and Serbian forces on the line of the river Drina, running along the border between the two countries, in September 1914 during the Great War. The Austrians crossed the river Drina to invade Serbia on the 8th of September 1914. In the north the Serbs were gathered in strength and repulsed the attack, but in the south the Austrians had more success and made a considerable advance. The Serbs counterattacked on the 14th of September and after hard fighting drove the Austrians back to the river Drina. Both sides exhausted, the battle died out.
Battle of the Java Sea
The Battle of the Java Sea was a Japanese naval victory over Allied forces attempting to prevent the invasion of Java on the 27th of February 1942 during the Second World War. Their victory allowed the Japanese a free run in the waters around Java and they were able to complete their invasion without interference. A Japanese fleet escorting the Eastern Invasion Force was intercepted by a mixture of British, American, Australian, and Dutch warships intent upon preventing them reaching Java. The Allied force of five cruisers and ten destroyers was severely mauled by the Japanese and while attempting to escape they ran into a second Japanese invasion force and were almost totally destroyed. Only four American destroyers, all damaged, managed to escape to the safety of Australia.
Battle of the Nile
see "Battle of Aboukir Bay"
Battle of the Sound
The Battle of the Sound was fought on November the 8th 1658 between a Dutch fleet and a Swedish fleet under Wrangel. The Dutch completely defeated the Swedes and relieved Copenhagen.
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar took place on October 21st 1805, and was a victory for the British fleet under Nelson over the French and Spanish fleets under Villeneuve. The battle took place off Cape Trafalgar in south-west Spain. The British fleet consisted of 27 sail-of-the-line ships and the enemy fleet 33. The battle began around noon and ended about five. During the battle Nelson was shot and mortally wounded, but lived long enough to know the day was won. The victory destroyed the French and Spanish fleets and secured Britain from invasion.
Battle of Turin
The Battle of Turin took place on September 7th 1706 when Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, having joined the European league against Louis XIV, with the help of Prince Eugene and an imperial army defeated the French army that had invaded Piedmont and besieged Turin.
Battle of Verdun
During the Great War, Verdun was the pivot of France's eastern fortress line. It was defended by General Sarrail's forces against the advancing Germans in August 1914, and the victory of the Marne in September relieved the pressure on the fortress, although the Germans had gained and secured a foothold on the Meuse at St Mihiel.
Battle of Vigo Bay
The Battle of Vigo Bay occurred in 1702 and saw the French fleet under Admiral Chateau-Renault attacked and defeated by a combined English and Dutch force under Sir G Rooke and Admiral Van Almonde.
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo took place during the Napoleonic Wars, on June 18th 1815 when the allied British, Belgian and Hanoverian forces under the Duke of Wellington, with some 50,000 Prussians under Blucher, utterly routed the French army under Napoleon.
Battle of Yorktown
The Battle of Yorktown was a decisive British defeat in the American War of Independance from September to October 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia. The British commander Lord Cornwallis had withdrawn into Yorktown where he was besieged by 7,000 French and 8,850 American troops and could only wait for reinforcements to arrive by sea. However, the Royal Navy lost command of the sea at the Battle of Chesapeake and with no reinforcements or supplies forthcoming, Cornwallis was forced to surrender on the 19th of October, effectively ending the war.
The battle-axe is a military weapon based upon an axe, and first used popularly by the Celts.
The Battle-axe Guards (beaufetiers, or vulgarly called Beefeaters) are a military force which was raised by Henry VII in 1485 as attendants upon the king's buffet. They were armed with a sword and lance.
Battles of Arakan
The Battles of Arakana were a series of British offensives between 1942 and 1945 during the Second World War to dislodge the Japanese from Arakan, a coastal region of Burma offering an invasion route from India with access to central Burma. The British mounted three offensives in this area; the first in December 1942 had limited objectives and was largely in order to give British forces confidence in operating against the Japanese. It was halted by the Japanese at Donbailk and withdrew. The second in December 1943 advanced as far as Maungdaw before being halted. The third offensive was more a renewal of the second offensive which eventually captured Rangoon on the 3rd of May 1945.
Battles of Asiago Plateau
The Battles of Asiago Plateau were a series of battles between Austrian and Italian forces between November 1917 and November 1918 during the Great War in the mountainous country north of the Venetian plain between the Adige and Piave rivers. The Allies eventually broke the Austrian line in October 1918 and forced an armistice in November 1918.
Battles of the Dvina
The Battles of the Dvina were a series of inconclusive engagements during 1915 and 1916 during the Great War between German and Russian forces along the river Dvina, a natural barrier in front of the Latvian capital Riga. The first battle, during August and September 1915, swayed back and forth across the river but made little difference to either side's ultimate position. The second battle flared intermittently from January to August 1916 as a series of attacks by Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg were repulsed by the Russians under General Alexei Kuropatkin. Before either side could gain an advantage, the Galician front flared up and the Dvina front was left relatively quiet.
Battles of Ypres
The Battles of Ypres were three major battles between 1914 and 1917 during the Great War between German and Allied forces near Ypres. Neither side made much progress in any of the battles, despite heavy casualties, but the third battle in particular (also known as Passchendaele) from July to November 1917 stands out as an enormous waste of life for little return.
The Battye grenade was a simple hand grenade issued to British troops in 1915. It consisted of a cast-iron cylinder with an open end, filled with ammonia and closed with a wooden plug. A hole bored through the plug allowed the insertion of a length of time fuse and a detonator. At the outer end of the time fuse was a percussion cap which, when struck, ignited the fuse to give a delay of about four seconds before the grenade exploded.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
In 1961 1300 American troops and Cuban exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs on the south of the island. They were rapidly overwhelmed and defeated by Cuban forces commanded by Fidel Castro.
A bayonet is a short sword attached to the muzzle of a firearm. The bayonet was placed inside the barrel of the muzzle loading muskets of the late 17th century. The sock or ring bayonet, invented 1700, allowed a weapon to be fired without interruption, leading to the demise of the pike.
Since the 1700s, bayonets have evolved into a variety of types. During World War I, the French used a long needle bayonet, the British a sword bayonet, while the Germans adopted a 'pioneer' bayonet with the rear edge formed into a saw. As armies have become more mechanised, bayonets have tended to decrease in length.
Although many military leaders have advocated the use of the bayonet, in practice it has been rarely used.
The bazooka was an American infantry anti-tank missile used during the Second World War. It had a range of 90m.
BBC is an abbreviation for Bromo-benzyl-cyanide, a tear gas used during the Second World War. It had a smell faintly of watercress. It caused pain in the eyes, a copious flow of tears, spasms of the eyelids and irritation of shaved skin.
Bearer Companies were the forerunner of the modern medical Corps. They were introduced in the British army in 1873 for the removal of the wounded from the battle-field and to render first aid.
see "Battle-axe Guards"
The Becker gun was a German aircraft gun of the Great War. It was an automatic weapon firing a small high explosive shell of 19 mm calibre at about 300 rounds per minute. Some were fitted into Gotha bombers, while about 130 were issued to German air defence units.
see "Battle-axe Guards"
The Beholla was a Spanish pistol made by Becker and Hollander and supplied to the German army during the Great War. It took a 7.65 mm ACP cartridge from a 7 round magazine in the butt.
Bellite is a Swedish explosive invented by Carl Lamm in 1885.
The Benet-Mercie gun was an American light machine gun. A modified version of the French Hotchkiss light machine gun, it was adopted by the US Army in 1909. They were used in the 1916 expedition to Mexico and by the first units of the American Expeditionary Force sent to Europe in 1917. They were withdrawn and replaced by Hotchkiss and Lewis guns, which were more resistant to trench conditions and did not require a supply of spares only obtainable from the USA. The Benet-Marcie design was relegated to use as a training gun and made obsolete as soon as the war ended.
Benzyl bromide was a tear gas first used by the Germans at Verdun in March 1915. It is a powerful eye irritant, and high concentrations also effect the nose and throat. Its prime component was toluene, which being more urgently needed for the manufacture of explosives, benzyl bromide was not used for very long. It was also used by the French under the name Cyclite.
Beretta are an Italian gun manufacturer.
The Beretta 1915 was an Italian pistol produced from 1915 to 1945 in 9 mm Glisenti and 7.65 mm ACP calibres. It had a 7 round magazine and was issued to both the police and the military.
The Beretta 1915/19 was an Italian pistol based on the Beretta 1915 but with two thirds of the slide cut away, a simpler safety catch and sheet metal grip plates instead of wood. It was manufactured for the 9 mm Glisenti cartridge only.
The Beretta 1923 was a larger, 9 mm version of the Beretta 1915/19 with an 8 round magazine and external hammer.
The Beretta 1931 was an Italian pistol used mainly by the Italian Navy from 1931 to 1945 based upon the Beretta 1915. It took the 7.65 mm ACP cartridge from an 8 round capacity magazine and had wooden butt plates and an external hammer.
The Beretta 1934 was an Italian pistol issued to the Italian armed forces during the Second World War. It was manufactured in two calibres; 9 mm short and .380 inch Auto both taking a 7 round magazine.
The Beretta Centurion is an Italian pistol based upon the Beretta Model 92 and Beretta Model 96, depending upon calibre, with a reduced length of slide and barrel.
The Beretta M38a is an Italian sub-machine gun developed during the Second World War. It takes a 9 mm round from a 10/20/40-round box. Its cyclic rate is 600 rpm and it has a muzzle velocity of 420 m/s.
The Beretta M951 was an Italian made locked-breech pistol produced from 1953 to 1982 and used by the Italian, Egyptian, Israeli and Nigerian forces among others. It took a 9 mm Parabellum cartridge from an 8 round capacity magazine and had a barrel length of 114 mm.
The Beretta M951R is a modified version of the Beretta M951 which permits automatic fire. The barrel extends in front of the slide and a wooden front grip is attached to the front end of the frame to give better control in automatic fire. It was originally issued to Italian special forces and anti-terrorist units.
Beretta Model 92
The Beretta Model 92 is an Italian 9 mm parabellum pistol with a 15 round capacity magazine and a 125 mm barrel. It was first produced in 1976, and was adopted by the US military (who designate it the M9).
Beretta Model 93R
The Beretta Model 93R is a selective-fire Italian pistol allowing automatic fire at 1100 rounds per minute in three-round bursts for each pressure of the trigger. The Beretta Model 93R features a fold down grip in front of the trigger guard and an extendible steel shoulder stock which can be attached to the rear of the butt. The Beretta Model 93R is chambered for 9 mm parabellum and takes 15 and 20 round magazines. Production of the pistol started in 1986.
Beretta Model 96
The Beretta Model 96 is a .40 inch Smith and Wesson calibre version of the Beretta Model 92 pistol.
The Bergmann MP18 was a German sub-machine gun developed during the course of the Great War. It takes a 9 mm round from a 32-round snaildrum. It has a cyclic rate of 400 rpm and a muzzle velocity of 365 m/s.
The Bergmann MP28 was a German sub-machine gun developed from the Bergmann MP18. It takes a 9 mm round from a 20/30/50-round box. Its cyclic rate is 500 rpm and it has a muzzle velocity of 365 m/s. Unlike the MP18, it can fire single shots or bursts.
A berm is a level space about a meter wide between the outside slope of a rampart and the scarp of the ditch in a fortification.
The Bernardelli P-018 is a double-action semi-automatic Italian pistol. It was designed in 1986 for the police and military, but has had more success in the commercial market. It is chambered for the 9 mm parabellum cartridge and takes a 15 round magazine.
The Bernhard Line was a German defensive line established in Italy in 1943 running from the Garigliano River to Castel di Sangri in the Apennine Mountains. Its purpose was to delay the Allied advance as it approached the main Gustav Line defences. It was broken by the Allies in November 1943. It was also known by the Germans as the 'Reinhardt Line' and by the Allies simply as the 'Winter Line'.
The Bersaglieri were the sharpshooters of the former Sardinian army, first employed about 1848.
The Besa was a Czech designed British machine gun produced from 1939 to 1946 by the BSA factory. It was chambered for the 7.92 mm Mauser cartridge and was belt fed. It was adopted by Britain for use in armoured vehicles during the Second World War.
The BGM-71D is a 152 mm TOW ATGM. It has a maximum range of 4000m and a flight speed of 190m/s. It is mounted on various IFV, CFV and ITV. It has an armour penetration of 600 mm flat steel, 487 mm sloped steel and 237 mm composite armour.
Big Bertha was a name applied to any of four large German howitzer guns that were mounted on railway wagons during the Great War. Although the name is commonly applied to many large-calibre German guns it refers only to one, the 42 cm Krupp howitzer L/14, which was used to reduce the fortress of Liege and other strongpoints in 1914. The guns were scrapped after the Battle of Verdun in 1916, since by then they were out-ranged by most Allied heavy artillery. The guns were named after the wife of the manufacturer, Gustav Krupp.
In chemical warfare, a binary weapon is a weapon consisting of two substances that in isolation are harmless but when mixed together form a poisonous nerve gas. They are loaded into the delivery system separately and combine after launch.
A bird-bolt is a short, thick, blunt arrow fired from a cross-bow for shooting birds.
The Bismark was a German battleship of the Second World War. She was launched in February 1939, and was a constant threat to Allied convoys in the Atlantic until sunk by the British in May 1941. The Bismarck had a displacement of 50,153 tons and was armed with eight 38-cm guns, twelve 15-cm guns, and sixteen 105-mm and sixteen-37 mm anti-aircraft guns. She was protected by a 320-mm main armour belt and had a top speed of 29 knots.
Black and Tans
The Black and Tans was a name given to a force raised in 1920 by the British Government for service in Ireland. They were recruited from men who had served in the Great War, and were sent to Ireland to put down the disorders then prevalent. They caused more trouble and were recalled in 1922 when peace was made. The Black and Tans were a branch of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and wore khaki uniforms with a black hat and armband, from which they derived their popular name.
The Black Watch (Watch or Highland Watch) was a British army force raised in 1729 to keep peace in the Highlands during the times of the Jacobite intrigue. The regiment subsequently became renamed the Royal Highlanders and earned the nickname of the Black Watch from the black tartan they wear. The Regiment's first blooding occurred in Flanders in 1745, in the war of Jenkin's Ear at the Battle of Fontenoy, where the French dubbed them "Highland Furies". In 1751 the Regiment was numbered the 42nd, The Gallant Forty Two. Seven years later the title "Royal" was granted and it became the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment. The Regiment then saw action in the Americas, most notably in Ticonderoga and the Heights of Abraham, and acquired its present badge and motto "Nemo me impune lacessit" which refers to the Thistle and means "nobody provokes me without being hurt". In 1759 the red hackle, seen in the feather bonnets and worn by all ranks of the Black Watch, was first presented at Royston, in Hertfordshire. During the Napoleonic Wars the Regiment fought at the Battle of Alexandria (hence the Sphinx and the word Egypt on its colours), in the Peninsula, including Corruna, and finally at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. Its 19th century battle honours include Alma and Lucknow, and in the 1860s Queen Victoria authorised the addition of the name "The Black Watch" to the official title of the 42nd Royal Highlanders, a title which has become known throughout the world. In the Great War 11 Battalions of the Regiment fought in France and Flanders, Macedonia, Mesopotamia and Palestine. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, Colonel in Chief of the Black Watch since 1937, had two brothers and a first cousin in the 5th Battalion, another brother killed in 1915 with the 8th and a cousin killed serving with 4/5th. Armistice Day found the Regiment advancing across the very field at Fontenoy where the Watch had fought 173 years before. The French commemorated the stalwart assistance given
o them in Champagne in 1918 by erecting a cairn on the spot where fell the body of The Black Watch soldier who advanced the furthest - "Here shall flourish for ever the glorious thistle of Scotland among the roses of France". In the Second World War the Regiment was present at Dunkirk and fought at Crete, Tobruk, El Alamein, Sicily, Normandy, Ardennes and Burma. Indeed, its five Battalions saw service in every major theatre of war except Norway and Malaya. Its long association with Perth, Scotland, is retained by maintaining at Balhousie Castle its Headquarters and Regimental Museum. More recently the Battalion served in Hong Kong between January 1993 and August 1994 before returning to the United Kingdom and undertaking a tour of West Belfast in Northern Ireland. In July 1996 the Battalion returned home to Scotland and is currently stationed in Fort George in Inverness. In February 1997 they became the last UK Infantry Battalion to serve in Hong Kong.
Blackpowder was the earliest type of firearms propellant that has generally been replaced by smokeless powder except for use in muzzleloaders and older breech loading guns that demand its lower pressure levels.
A blank cartridge is a round loaded with blackpowder or a special smokeless powder but lacking a projectile. Used mainly in starting races, theatrical productions, troop exercises and in training dogs.
Blasting gelatine was a violent explosive prepared by Alfred Noble, and modified by Abel in 1879. It was a mixture of nitro-glycerine and gun-cotton.
A blockhouse is a defensible post, usually rectangular, constructed to give shelter and protection to its garrison, consisting of possibly thirty men. Blockhouses were generally constructed from locally available materials, and provided with loop holes for all-round fire. They proved very useful during the South African wars.
A blowpipe is a tubular weapon through which a missile is blown.
Blues and Royals
The Blues and Royals are a British cavalry regiment which were formed in 1969 from an amalgamation of The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) and The Royal Dragoons (The Royals).
The blunderbuss was usually a short carbine or pistol intended as a defensive weapon which fired a large load of heavy shot at close ranges. It was of a very wide bore with a bell-shaped muzzle capable of holding a number of slugs or bullets. Although now obsolete, the principal of the blunderbuss is today used in the sawn-off shotgun which inflicts heavy wounding at close range without the need to aim more than approximately.
The Boer War or South African War was fought between the British and the Outlander populations in South Africa who wanted a degree of political equality and independence from Britain. The war lasted from 1899 to 1902. The first conflict occurred when the Boers attacked a column of 4000 men under General Penn Symons guarding the railway at Dundee. The Boers eventually surrendered at Pretoria on 31st of May 1902.
The Bofors Gun was a light 40-mm anti-aircraft gun designed by the Bofors company of Sweden in 1929 and used by almost all combatants in the Second World War. They were highly effective against low-flying ground attack aircraft. The original models were entirely hand operated and visually sighted, but in the latter part of the war radar predictors and power control were added, improving the chance of hitting the target. It fired from four-round clips at a rate of 120 rpm and had an effective ceiling of 1,520 m.
A bokken is a Japanese wooden imitation samurai sword used by kendoka when demonstrating or practising standard kendo movements.
Bolas is a form of missile used by South American Indians. It is a length of rope with a stone or ball of metal at each end. When used it is swung round the head by one hand and then hurled at an animal so as to entangle it by twisting round its legs.
Bolt-action is a gun mechanism activated by manual operation of the breechblock that resembles a common door bolt.
A bomb is a hollow shell filled with an explosive. The bomb was invented in the 15th century for use with a mortar. Early bombs were a hollow iron ball filled with explosive and fitted with a fuse which was ignited as the bomb left the mortar.
A bombard was a type of cannon or mortar generally loaded with stone instead of iron balls.
A bombardier an artillery soldier, originally a bombardier was an artillery soldier whose duties were connected with mortars and howitzers, but now is the lowest non-commissioned officer of artillery.
A boomerang is a curved wooden weapon of Australian aborigines.
The bouncing bomb was a rotating bomb used by the British in the Second World War to attack the Ruhr dams. It was designed by Dr Barnes Wallis and derived its name from the way it 'bounced' along the surface of the water in front of the dam. The cylindrical bomb was slung beneath a Lancaster bomber and rotated prior to dropping from a carefully calculated height. It then rolled or 'bounced' along the surface of the water as far as the dam and then sank when it came into contact with the dam wall. A depth-sensitive fuse detonated the bomb at the point calculated to make the most effective breach, the water in the reservoir acting as a tamping device to direct the full force of the explosion at the dam.
A bow is a weapon for propelling arrows. It is made of a strip of flexible wood and a cord.
The Bowie knife is an American, heavy, single edged sheaf knife popular in the western states. It is named after its inventor, Colonel James Bowie who wrought the blade from a file with which he had already killed his man. The blade is roughly twelve inches long.
The Boyne was a man-of-war of 98 guns which was destroyed by fire at Portsmouth on the 4th of May 1795.
Boys Anti-Tank Rifle
The Boys Anti-Tank Rifle was designed by Captain Boys at Enfield in 1935 as an anti-armour weapon. It was a .55 inch calibre short bipod mounted rifle with a bolt action and fed from a 5 round box magazine.
Bradley is a nickname for the M2 and M3 range of American IFV and CFV. See M2A1 and M3A1.
see "109th Regiment of Foot"
Brassarts were pieces of ancient plate armour which united the armour-plates on the shoulder and the elbow.
Breaching Towers were structures used in the sieges of mediaeval castles. They consisted of a long wooden shed fixed to a wheeled framework, with a very strong roof. From the roof hung a battering-ram which could be swung against the castle while the attackers were protected from the fire from the battlements above by the shed.
The breech is the portion of the barrel with chamber into which a cartridge or projectile is loaded.
The Bren is a British light machine gun adopted from the Czech VZ-26. The Bren version is different in that the old British .303 inch round was rimmed, whereas the VZ-26 was designed for the 7.92 mm Mauser rimless round, hence the curved magazine. The Bren is a reliable, accurate, slow-firing gun first produced in 1936 and still in use today in 7.62 mm NATO calibre. It has a rate of fire of 500 rounds per minute and takes a 30 round box magazine.
The Brennus was a French Battleship of the Great War. She was 114.5 meters long, 20.4 meters wide and had a displacement of 11370 tons. Her steam engines provided 14000psi of power and a maximum speed of 17 knots and a range of 4000 nautical miles. She was armed with three 340 mm guns, ten 164 mm guns, fourteen 47 mm rapid fire guns, seventeen machine guns and four torpedo tubes.
The Breslau was a German light-cruiser of the Great War. She had a displacement of 4281 tons, and was armed with twelve 4 inch guns and had a top speed of 25 knots. On August the 4th 1914 she, along with the Goeben, bombarded Philippeville and Bona on the French African coast. On August the 13th she was sold to the Turkish Navy and was renamed Midilli.
A brigade is a body of troops formed for convenience of administration, supply and tactical control, and in war accompanied by its own supply and medical units so that if necessary it can act as an independent force.
A brigandine was a medieval coat of mail composed of light thin jointed scales or a coat of thin pliant plate armour. The term was later applied to the jacket quilted with iron worn by archers during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I.
British Expeditionary Force
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British army serving in France during the Great War and also the 1939 to 1940 army in Europe during the Second World War, which was evacuated from Dunkirk, France. In the Great War the BEF was first commanded by General J French and then General D Haig. It consisted of five infantry and one cavalry division, numbering about 100,000 men. A sixth infantry division joined this force in September. The term 'BEF' strictly referred only to the forces initially sent to France in 1914, but it continued to be commonly applied to the British forces operating in France and Flanders. During the Second World War General Gort commanded the BEF sent to France in 1939. By May 1940 it consisted of 10 infantry divisions, one tank brigade, and an RAF element of about 500 fighters and light bombers. After sustaining heavy losses during the French and Belgian campaigns of 1940 the remains were evacuated from Dunkirk in June, leaving much of their equipment behind.
A broadsword is a sword with a broad blade designed chiefly for cutting. They were used by some British cavalry and Highland infantry. The claymore was a broadsword.
Broadway was the codename given to a British base formed by the British Chindit forces East of Mohnyin, Burma in March 1944. A supply dump and airstrip were set up inside a defended perimeter, and although frequently attacked from both ground and air, it remained in use until evacuated at the completion of the Chindit expedition in May 1944.
Bromacetone was the most widely used tear gas during the Great War and one of the most effective. It produces intolerable irritation of the eyes in concentrations of 0.01 mg/l and in heavy concentrations can be lethal while the liquid form produces extremely painful blisters on the skin. It was first used by the Germans in artillery shells and mortar bombs under the name 'B-Stoff' in 1916, it was then adopted by the French as 'Martonite' and British and American forces as 'BA'. It was abandoned by the Germans and British by the end of 1916 since its manufacture required acetone, which was required for other purposes considered more vital. The French and American armies mixed it with chloracetone and continued to use it throughout the war.
Bronke's Spruit Ambush
In 1880 a detachment of 250 British soldiers were ambushed and shot down by the Boers at Bronke's Spruit before war had been declared.
Brown bess is a family of English flint-lock muskets introduced into the British army towards the end of the 17th century and used at the battle of waterloo.
The Browning 1900 was the first successful blowback pocket pistol. Invented in 1900, by 1912 over a million had been produced. It is a Belgian pistol manufactured by FN in 7.65 mm Browning calibre and takes a 7 round magazine.
The Browning 1903 was a Belgian pistol invented by John Browning in 1903 who sold the rights to Colt to produce it in the USA and to FN to market in the rest of the world. It was produced as a home defence pistol in 7.65 mm calibre and in 9 mm for the military. The 7.65 mm model taking an 8 round magazine and the 9 mm model a 7 round magazine.
The Browning 1910 was a Belgian pistol based on the Browning 1903, but putting the recoil spring around the barrel instead of beneath it. It was first produced in 1910 in 7.65 mm calibre taking a 7 round magazine.
Browning High Power Pistol
The Browning High Power Pistol is a 9 mm automatic pistol manufactured by FN of Belgium to the Browning design of 1926. It is a recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol which takes a 13-round magazine.
The Brunswick Rifle was a .704 inch calibre muzzle loading, percussion cap rifle issued to the British army from 1838 until 1851. It was manufactured by Enfield, and was sighted to 270 m.
The Brusilov Offensive was a major Russian assault led by General Alexei Brusilov against the southern sector of the Eastern Front in June 1916 during the Great War in order to relieve pressure on the Western and Italian Fronts by drawing German forces east. The offensive met this immediate objective but also had far broader effects: it cost the Russians almost one million casualties, which demoralized the army and aided the revolutionary cause; it brought Romania into the war on the Allied side, resulting in the eventual conquest of Romania by German forces; and the decimation of Austro-Hungarian forces made the German Army the dominant partner among the Central Powers thereafter.
The BT-5 was a Russian fast tank of the Second World War. It was based upon Walter Christie's tank design and was armed with a 45 mm gun and 13 mm armour plate. The BT-5 had a top speed of 111 kmph, and a range of 300 km. It was manned by a crew of three.
The BT-7 was a Russian fast tank of the Second World War. It was based upon Walter Christie's tank design and was armed with a 76.2 mm gun and 22 mm armour plate. The BT-7 had a top speed of 74 kmph, and a range of 300 km. It was manned by a crew of three.
The BT-7-2 was a Soviet tank used during the Second World War. It was armed with 1 45 mm gun and 2 7.62 mm machine guns. It had a top speed of 45mph on road wheels, and 30mph tracked. It had a range of 220 miles tracked and carried a crew of 3.
A buckler was a small shield worn on the left arm
see "Shropshire Light Infantry"
A bullet is the projectile expelled from a gun. It is not synonymous with cartridge. Bullets can be of many materials, shapes, weights and constructions such as solid lead, lead with a jacket of harder metal, round-nosed, flat-nosed, hollow-pointed, etc.
A burh was a Saxon timber palisade encircling the top of a mound as a form of fortification.
A byrnie was a ringed coat of mail worn by the ancient Scandinavian warriors.
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