Top 10 Deadliest Battles in History

The remainder, with the exception of one huge siege from the Ilkhanate Mongol Era, are from World War 1 or World War 2. The total number of casualties in battles or offensives throughout history is listed below. The list includes civilian losses during battles as well as sieges (which are not technically battles but often result in equivalent combat-related or civilian deaths). Large battle casualty counts are notoriously difficult to calculate precisely, however a handful of the statistics on this list may be close. Many of these statistics, however, are approximations, and when feasible, a range of estimates is supplied. Where available, figures indicate the entire number of victims (dead, injured, missing, and sick), but may simply reflect the number of deceased due to a lack of overall information on the event. The list defines whether or not prisoners are counted when possible.This list excludes bombing campaigns/runs (such as the attack on Pearl Harbour and the bombing of Tokyo) and massacres such as the Rape of Nanjing, which, despite potentially massive casualties, are not typically classified as “battles” because they are usually one-sided engagements, or the attacked nation is not officially at war with the attackers.Tactical or strategic strikes, on the other hand, may be part of larger engagements that constitute battles, mini campaigns, or offensives in their own right. The following is a list of the Top 10 Deadliest Battles in History.

deadliest battles in history
deadliest battles in history ( Image Credit: Flickr )

10. Siege of Leningrad, 1941-1944 (1.12 million casualties)

The Siege of Leningrad was one of World War II’s worst episodes, with German and Finnish armed troops besieging the Soviet Union’s capital of Leningrad for 872 days, resulting in 1.12 million casualties. From September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944, the siege lasted. Despite the fact that Leningrad built its own fortifications in reaction to the invading German and Finnish forces, the city was nearly completely surrounded by enemy troops by November 194. The city’s crucial supplies were cut off, and the populace suffered severely, with 650,000 people dying in Leningrad alone in 1942. Starvation, sickness, and enemy shelling all contributed to the massive death tolls documented during the conflict. Only scant supplies obtained across Lake Ladoga kept the city’s remaining people alive (if only barely). In 1943, Soviet forces successfully breached the German encirclement, allowing more supplies to enter the city. Finally, in January 1944, the Soviet Army drove the Germans out of the city and pushed them west, bringing the siege to a conclusion.

9. The Somme, 1916 (1.12 million casualties)

The Somme Offensive, also known as the Somme Conflict, was a major World War I battle fought in Somme, France, between British, French, and German forces. It lasted from July 1st to November 18th, 1916. During the conflict, about 1.12 million civilians and military men were murdered. The first day of the Somme combat was one of the worst in British Army history, with about 57,470 British soldiers killed. On this day, the German Second Army was also crushed as the French Sixth Army pushed them out of their fortifications. The combat was notable for its emphasis on air power, and by the end, the Allied troops had penetrated 6 miles into German-occupied territory.

8. Stalingrad, 1942-1943 (1.25 million casualties)

The Battle of Stalingrad occurred during World War II, when German forces were assaulted and destroyed in Russia. The fight began when Hitler ordered his men on their route to the Caucasus to turn around and assault Stalingrad, Russia. His decision to attack the city was most likely inspired by his abhorrence for Russian despot Joseph Stalin. The Russian forces were as resolute, and because the city was named after Stalin, the conflict became an egotistic one between the two commanders. The repercussions were devastating as various soldiers fought violently, frequently engaging in hand-to-hand combat as they sought to seize and reclaim specific streets. The war ended with the German forces suffering a crushing defeat and being forced to depart the region. 1.25 million people were killed in the Battle of Stalingrad.

7. Ichi-Go, 1944 (1.3 million casualties)

On April 19, 1944, Japanese soldiers launched Operation Ichi-Go, which resulted in the deaths of roughly 1.3 million people. The objectives of this operation were to grab control of the railway between Beiping and Hong Kong, as well as the Allied airfields in southern China from which US forces launched planes against Japan and its commerce ports. The other purpose was to harm food supplies and farms, worsening China’s already desperate food situation. However, the Japanese troops’ victory at the end of the operation was limited since US forces could still strike Japan from Saipan and other Pacific locations.

6. Taking of Berlin, 1945 (1.3 million casualties)

This was the culmination of the last series of events that led to the demise of Hitler and the Nazi Germans. On April 16, 1945, Russian dictator Josef Stalin ordered the release of 20 army troop divisions, 8,500 aircraft, and 6,300 tanks. They were given the mission of eliminating the defending German army and taking Berlin. Despite strong opposition from Germany’s already depleted forces, they were no match for the tenacious Russian forces who had surrounded Berlin by April 24th. Street-to-street and house-to-house combat ensued, resulting in a massive slaughter that claimed the lives of almost 1.3 million people by the end of it all. Finally, the Russian army won, and the ‘Fuhrer,’ realising his end was near, married his long-time mistress in his subterranean bunker, after which both committed suicide. The Russian invasion and occupation of Berlin prior to the arrival of the Americans would have a huge geopolitical impact on the US-USSR Cold War in the decades that followed.

5. Operation Barbarossa, 1941 (1.4 million casualties)

Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, one of the largest military undertakings in human history. Over 3 million Axis troops and 3,500 tanks were sent into the Soviet Union with the intention of conquering the Baltic republics and Leningrad in the north, Moscow in the centre, and the Soviet Union’s economic resources in the south. Following Germany’s major victory over France, the Axis Forces were encouraged to plan the Barbarossa campaign. Despite the fact that superior German troops first defeated the unprepared Soviet soldiers, resulting in massive losses in Russian lives, territory, and battle supplies, the Soviets refused to surrender. As a result, after the conclusion of Operation Barbarossa, German forces were greeted with harsh retaliation by Soviet soldiers, resulting in considerable losses on the German side of the front lines. Approximately 1.4 million individuals were slain during this death-dealing campaign.

4. German Spring offensive, 1918 (1.55 milion casualties)

Beginning on March 21, 1918, the Germans launched the Spring Offensive on the Western Front during the last phases of World War I. Four German assault spearheads spearheaded this operation. The most important of the four offensives, ‘Michael,’ was meant to outflank British soldiers holding the Somme, while the other offensives were designed to divert Allied forces away from the main goal of the Somme. However, retribution by a stronger Allied army, difficulty transferring German supplies and reinforcements, and significant German casualties caused the German forces to retreat by late April 1918. This conflict took the lives of around 1.55 million individuals.

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3. Dnieper, 1943 (1.58 million casualties)

The Battle of the Dnieper, one of World War II’s most significant battles, commenced in 1943, involving up to 4,000,000 soldiers on both sides and spanning 1,400 km of the Eastern Front. The Red Army was able to recover the eastern bank of the Dnieper River from German forces during the fighting (as shown above crossing the Dnieper). The fight claimed 1.58 million lives, making it one of the bloodiest wars of World War II. This is the third most lethal battle in history.

2. Brusilov, 1916 (1.6 million casualties)

The Brusilov Offensive, which lasted from June to August 1916, was a huge victory for the Russians, who had previously suffered significant defeats at the hands of German and Central Power allies. In February 1916, as German forces surrounded the French city of Verdun, other Allied forces worked together to divert the Germans to other regions, allowing Verdun to recover. While the British started their own assault along the Somme, the Russians reacted quickly and attacked German troops at Lake Narocz. The Russians, on the other hand, were completely defeated in their attempt, culminating in the terrible massacre of Russian servicemen by German forces. A subsequent offensive was planned near Vilna, and while this was underway, General Alexei Brusilov, an experienced cavalryman and successful commander of the Southwestern Army, attempted to persuade his superiors to let his forces to attack the Germans. His wish was granted when Brusilov launched offensive strikes on the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army, completely eliminating them. With around 1.6 million casualties, German forces were forced to abandon their own plans for future operations in order to assist their newly created Central Powers allies, the Austro-Hungarians. Finally, when Russian resources ran out, the Brusilov Offensive was called off on September 20th, 1916. When everything was said and done, it became the bloodiest conflict in modern history in terms of human lives. This is the 2nd Deadliest Battles in History.

1. Mongol Sacking of Baghdad, 1258 (~2 million casualties)

Despite the fact that the previous nine deadliest battles all happened during World battles I and II, the most deadly known warfare in terms of mortality counts occurred much earlier in history. When the Mongol army besieged Baghdad in 1258, this is what happened. The event took place during a short period of time, from January 29 to February 10, 1258, yet it was violent enough to result in nearly 2 million casualties, both military and civilian. Hulagu Khan, Khagan (emperor) Möngke Khan’s brother, conducted the siege of Baghdad. Möngke Khan’s first orders were not to destroy the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad, but to induce the then-Caliph Al-Musta’sim to submit to the Mongol army in a gentle manner. However, because the Caliph refused, the city was sieged and subsequently utterly ravaged by the conquering Mongols. The blood-soaked city was forced to capitulate to the terrible Mongols within 12 days after the initial Mongol assaults. This struggle also signalled the end of the Islamic Golden Age, with all of its artistic, scientific, and architectural achievements.

What Was the Deadliest Battle in Human History?

In 1258, Mongol troops stormed Baghdad, resulting in the worst battle in recorded history. It is estimated that between January 29 and February 10, 1258, around 2 million people died.

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