Test Your Knowledge: Military Defeats Quiz


By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Not everyone gets a hero's ending. How much do you know about the worst military defeats in history? Take this quiz to find out.

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu effectively forced which country to withdraw from Vietnam?

It took a two-month siege and many casualties, but the Vietnamese overwhelmed heavily armed and well-defended French positions.


At the 1914 Battle of Kolubara, how many Serbians did it take to defeat the Austria-Hungarian force of 450,000?

The Serbians were in terrible shape but they managed to kill, wound or capture more than 200,000 of the invaders.


The army of the Mughal Empire lost the Battle of Plassey and allowed which country to invade India?

The Empire had more men but lost anyway; for the next century the British expanded their presence in India.


The Battle of Carrhae was a painful defeat for which army?

The Parthian Empire fought off 40,000 Romans with fewer than 10,000 soldiers.


How did Caesar plan to avenge the Roman loss to the Parthians?

Fortunately for the Parthians, Caesar was assassinated before he could follow through on his plan.


Which army was humiliated at the Battles of Saratoga?

The British surrendered an entire army and worse, it brought France into the American Revolution.


During World War I, how many British soldiers died on the first day of the Battle of Somme?

By some estimates, 8 soldiers died every second, many from German machine gun fire.


How many artillery shells did the British launch at German trenches before advancing during the Battle of Somme?

Many didn't explode or simply couldn't touch deep trenches; the British had no idea that so many Germans had survived.


Why were 15,000 Scottish soldiers defeated by only 3,000 English at the Battle of Solway Moss?

Hundreds may have drowned as their confused ranks failed to fend off the English.


In what war was the Battle of Sterling Bridge?

Scottish soldiers waited for better-armed English horsemen to cross a narrow bridge … and then they ambushed them.


Why did the English have reason to fear the Scottish after the disaster at Sterling Bridge?

Before this battle, the cavalry was often considered a machine that could crush Scottish defenses.


Compared to 11 Texians, the Mexican army lost how many men at the Battle of San Jacinto?

The Mexicans had better numbers but made horrible tactical errors resulting in a slaughter.


At the Battle of San Jacinto, why did the Texians keep killing Mexicans in spite of orders to cease fire?

Earlier in the conflict, a Mexican commander had unnecessarily killed almost everyone at the Alamo.


The Battle of Marathon featured Athenians versus what army?

The Greeks were outnumbered at least 2 to 1 but managed to cause the Persians a ruinous defeat.


At the Battle of Narva, with how many men did Russia attack a Swedish army numbering about 12,000?

The Russians lost even though their army was much larger, in part due to their inferior technology.


In 1504, the perhaps 80,000- strong Calicut army lost to a group of Portuguese men numbering what?

The five-month battle ended in withdrawal; most men died from disease, but thousands more were killed in battle, too.


Why did the Calicut forces lose against such a small opposing army?

Portuguese spies were relaying specific battle plans, making it impossible for the Calicut to effectively attack.


The Battle of Yellow Ford helped inflame a rebellion against which country?

Irish defenders mowed down English soldiers, and the rebellion escalated into an all-out war.


So many men were slaughtered by the Bulgarians at the Battle of Achelous that Roman bones were supposedly seen in piles how many years later?

The Bulgarians destroyed a much larger Roman force and left them to rot.


In the 1920 Battle of Warsaw found Polish soldiers defeating a much larger army from which country?

The Russians lost perhaps 130,000 men; the Polish, fewer than 40,000.


What did Vladimir Lenin say about the Battle of Warsaw?

Lenin admitted that that the Polish had inflicted a huge blow to the Red Army.


When did the Battle of Trenton occur?

The day after Christmas, George Washington defeated a Hessian force that was nearly twice the size of his.


Why did the Hessians lose the Battle of Trenton in spite of their superior numbers?

They hadn't even bothered to send out scouts, leaving them clueless to an imminent attack.


American James Madison was nearly captured after a terrible defeat in which battle?

American soldiers were sent scurrying through Washington streets in a desperate attempt to evade the British.


What did the British do following the Battle of Bladensburg?

It was (and is) still considered one of the most humbling defeats in American history


Which army suffered a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Longewala?

Nearly 3,000 soldiers attacked an Indian outpost of 120 men … and lost.


How many tanks did the Pakistanis have during the Battle of Longewala?

The Indians, on the other hand, didn't have any.


How many soldiers did the Indians lose at the Battle of Longewala?

The Indian defenders killed 200 men and destroyed 34 tanks and lost only two men.


How many carriers did Japan lose at the Battle of Midway?

The Japanese also lost nearly 250 aircraft; the battle was a horrific defeat for the Japanese that helped to turn the Pacific War in favor of the Allies.


How did the Americans defeat the Japanese at Midway even though the latter had stronger forces?

The American commanders knew exactly what odds they faced and coordinated an effective attack plan.


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