What was the worst battle of the First World War

The main battles

The First World War went down in history as the first mass slaughter. Around ten million soldiers lost their lives, a large number of them fell in a few bloody battles. Places like Verdun, Somme, Isonzo or Gallipoli are representative of the cruelty and senselessness of war. An overview of the most important battle sites.

Brusilov Offensive (June 4 to September 20, 1916)

The successful Russian breakthrough into Austro-Hungarian Galicia was the greatest success of the Russian army, but it was bought with enormous losses. About a million Russian soldiers were killed, wounded or captured. It was a Pyrrhic victory, which experts say contributed significantly to the overthrow of the tsar a few months later. The consequences for the Central Powers were also devastating. The Austro-Hungarian army lost around half of its total forces on the Eastern Front. 600,000 soldiers were killed or wounded and 400,000 soldiers were captured.

Flanders (1914-1918)

The bright red flowers of the poppies that grow in the vast fields of Flanders are still the symbol of the memory of fallen soldiers in the English-speaking world. According to the poem "In Flanders Fields" it was the poppy that first began to bloom on the fresh burial mounds of fallen soldiers. Major battles took place around the city of Ypres in 1914 (October / November), 1915 (April / May), 1917 (July-November) and 1918 (March / April). The front was created in the autumn of 1914 during the Germans and British races to the sea. In the second battle in April 1915, the Germans used poison gas for the first time. The third battle from June 1917 was the most casualty with 600,000 soldiers. However, the attacking British were only able to record small gains in terrain. In the last year of the war, the Germans finally failed with their "spring offensive".

Gallipoli (February 1915 - January 1916)

After a failed naval operation in the Dardanelles, the British army wanted to land on the Gallipoli peninsula. The Australian and New Zealand soldiers sent into battle were able to gain a foothold on Gallipoli in April, but only kept themselves in the steep coastal area with enormous losses. In the summer they held out under the most adverse conditions (water and supply shortages, heat, disease); another attack ordered in August failed. The Allies lost 180,000 men, the Turks suffered twice as many casualties. The victims of Gallipoli accelerated the struggle for independence in Australia and New Zealand, where April 25 - the day the invasion began - is still celebrated as a national holiday (ANZAC Day).

Isonzo (1915-1917)

For three years Austria-Hungary and Italy fought bitterly in a total of twelve battles over the mountainous karst area around the river Soca (Isonzo) in the far west of today's Slovenia. The total losses amounted to 1.1 million soldiers. The beginning marked an Italian attack on June 23, 1915, exactly one month after the declaration of war on Austria-Hungary. The hoped-for breakthrough did not succeed. In the following three years the front solidified until the Central Powers succeeded in breaking through into the Piave plain in the twelfth and final battle in autumn 1917. The "miracle of Good Freit", afflicted with the significant stigma of the use of poison gas, brought Italy to the brink of military defeat. Around 300,000 Italians became prisoners of war, and Rome was only able to hold on thanks to Allied emergency aid. The tenth and eleventh battles in 1917 were particularly bloody, with a total of over 100,000 dead.

Carpathian battles (January to April 1915)

At the beginning of the second year of the war, the k.u.k. Army on the Eastern Front with their backs to the wall. The Russian army besieged the strategically important fortified town of Przemysl, and a breakthrough into the agrarian Hungarian basin threatened. In this case the military fate of Austria-Hungary would have been sealed. The Russians were to be pushed back with an offensive over the Carpathian Mountains, but in the end it was not even possible to hold Przemysl. The fortress city fell on March 22nd, after which the Central Powers were on the verge of defeat several times. In a total of four battles, the k.u.k. Army 793,000 soldiers (dead, wounded and prisoners).

Marne (September 1914)

On the river east of Paris, the German advance came to a standstill after the outbreak of war; it was the first turning point of the war. 1.7 million soldiers were involved in the battle, the losses reached half a million soldiers. The French army, taken by surprise, used hundreds of Parisian taxis to bring recruits to the front. In this way it was possible to avert the threatened capture of the capital by the German army.

Somme (July - November 1916)

The battle of the river of the same name in northern France is considered to be the worst of the First World War. Over a million soldiers were killed or wounded in fighting sparked by an Allied offensive. The German losses amounted to 465,000 men, the British 420,000 men and the French 204,000 men. On the first day of the battle alone, July 1, 1916, 19,420 British soldiers were killed. With a total of 57,470 casualties, it was the bloodiest day in British military history.

Verdun (February - December 1916)

The area around the French fortress city was fiercely fought for almost a year and is a symbol of the senselessness of the First World War. The German attack, launched in February 1916, froze into a positional war within a few weeks. Ultimately, the Germans were able to gain 15 kilometers of ground, around 300,000 soldiers lost their lives on the battlefields around the eastern French city. The total losses on both sides amounted to 700,000 soldiers.

Tannenberg (August 26-30, 1914)

Almost four weeks after the outbreak of war, this battle founded a myth. The fighting with Russian troops in East Prussia went down in history as the first victory of the German army in World War I. The Russians were lured into a trap that had existed for decades and encircled. 140,000 Russian soldiers died or were captured.

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topplerreport replies

The "most important" battles?
As if a war was ever important!