7 Brutal Sieges

7 Brutal Sieges


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1. Siege of Megiddo

One of the first recorded military engagements in history, the Battle of Megiddo also resulted in a grueling, months-long siege. The standoff came in the 15th century B.C., when the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III led his forces into modern day Palestine to quell a rebellion by a coalition of Mesopotamian city-states. According to Egyptian military histories, the two armies faced off outside the city of Megiddo in a bloody clash of infantryman and charioteers, with the pharaoh himself supposedly fighting on the front lines. But while the Egyptians routed the coalition forces, they wasted time looting an enemy encampment and allowed the Asiatic army to fall back to the safety of the city’s fortifications.

Undeterred, Thutmose set up siege lines and cut off all traffic in and out of the city. The stranglehold lasted for seven brutal months until—reeling from starvation and disease—the town’s leaders sent out their young sons and daughters to beg for peace. Having pacified the surrounding region, Thutmose spared Megiddo in exchange for a vow of loyalty from the city’s survivors.

2. Siege of Vicksburg

Along with the Battle of Gettysburg, the Siege of Vicksburg stands as one of the major turning points in the Civil War. The deadlock began in May 1863, when Union General Ulysses S. Grant trapped Confederate forces under John C. Pemberton within the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. After probing the Confederate lines in a pair of unsuccessful assaults, Grant reluctantly ordered his men to dig trenches and lay siege to the city.

Desperate to avoid the carnage, many of the city’s civilians were forced to take refuge in a network of clay caves that became known as the “Prairie Dog Village.” In an effort to break the standoff, Grant’s forces eventually dug a tunnel and detonated mines under the city’s fortifications. While the outnumbered Southerners managed to hold their lines and seal the breach, their victory proved short-lived. Without reinforcements and with only meager supplies, Pemberton finally capitulated on July 4. With the fall of Vicksburg, Union forces took full control of the Mississippi River, effectively splitting the Confederacy in half for the rest of the war.

3. Siege of Tyre

In 332 B.C., the famed Greek conqueror Alexander the Great set his sights on the ancient city of Tyre, a Mediterranean island located a half-mile off the coast of Lebanon. While Alexander’s 35,000-strong army dwarfed the Tyrian military, the city had a strong navy and enough supplies to weather a long standoff. More importantly, the island boasted fortified walls that supposedly stood 150 feet high.

Unable to get close enough to take the city by traditional means, the Greeks chose to lay siege to the island. In one of history’s most audacious examples of military engineering, Alexander then ordered his men to use timber and stone to build a causeway connecting the island to the mainland. Once this artificial land bridge had gotten close enough to Tyre, his men were able to set up siege engines and bombard the city walls. After a seven-month standoff, the Greek forces finally breached the fortifications and took the island in a brutal onslaught. Amazingly, Alexander’s makeshift causeway later collected sand and silt, permanently changing the island of Tyre into a peninsula.

4. Siege of Candia

This two-decade siege began in the 17th century, when a band of the Knights of Malta raided a fleet of Ottoman ships and fled to the Venetian-controlled city of Candia, located on the island of Crete. The Venetians and the Ottomans were already locked in a precarious political situation, and the robbery provided the spark for an all-out war. By 1645, an army of 60,000 Turks had landed on Crete and begun ravaging the countryside. After conquering most of the island, the Ottomans descended on the metropolis of Candia in 1648 and set up an elaborate network of siege lines.

Despite launching repeated assaults and bombardments, the Turks were unable to strike a decisive blow. The citizens of Candia—many of whom spent their whole lives under the blockade—always managed to drive back the Ottoman army and seal the breach before their fortress could be compromised. A French fleet arrived in 1669 to reinforce the city and help lift the siege, but quickly withdrew after its flagship was destroyed in battle. With Candia in ruins and only a few thousand troops left, the defenders finally surrendered shortly thereafter. By the time the blockade finally lifted in September 1669, the city had been under siege for an astonishing 21 years and four months.

5. Siege of Carthage

This grisly standoff came as part of the Third Punic War, the last in a series of notoriously violent clashes between the ancient Romans and the Phoenician city of Carthage. In 149 B.C., a Roman army led by Scipio Aemilianus arrived in North Africa intent on destroying Carthage once and for all. Met by 60-foot walls, the Romans cordoned off the city, set up camp and laid siege.

The Carthaginians had prepared for the invasion by turning most of their city into an armory and enlisting slaves and civilians into the military. According to the ancient historian Appian, the women of Carthage even cut off their hair so it could be used as rope for makeshift catapults. Faced with this level of resistance, the Romans were held at bay for three long years. When they finally breached the walls in 146 B.C., Scipio’s forces had to fight their way through the city streets for six days and nights before defeating the Carthaginian resistance. By the time the battle had ended, the 700-year old city of Carthage lay in ruins and its remaining 50,000 inhabitants had been sold into slavery.

6. Siege of Leningrad

World War II’s Siege of Leningrad stands as a chilling reminder of the toll a military blockade can take on a civilian population. German forces first reached the city in 1941 as part of Operation Barbarossa, a massive surprise attack on the Soviet Union. Eager to avoid the carnage of urban warfare, the Nazis made no serious attempts to take Leningrad by force. Instead, Adolf Hitler opted for a brutal alternative—laying siege and starving the city into submission.

The 3 million inhabitants of Leningrad had been caught unprepared, and lacked sufficient supplies for a prolonged standoff. In addition to daily bombardments by the Luftwaffe, they were soon forced to contend with extreme hunger, freezing temperatures and disease. People ate everything from wallpaper paste to shoe leather to supplement their meager bread rations, and some even resorted to cannibalism. Despite these horrific circumstances, the citizens of Leningrad managed to endure life under siege for 872 days from September 1941 until January 1944. Even in victory, the siege proved tragic: By the time the city was finally freed by the Red Army, an estimated 1 million Soviets—most of them civilians—had perished.

7. The Great Siege of Gibraltar

At the same time that it was embroiled in combat with American colonists during the Revolutionary War, Great Britain was also locked in one of the great sieges in European history. The standoff began in 1779, after Spain and France officially entered the Revolution on the side of the Continentals. Eager to strike a blow against England, the two nations soon joined forces in an attempt to reclaim Gibraltar, a small, rocky outcropping on the Iberian Peninsula that played a key role in British naval operations in the Mediterranean.

In June 1779 a fleet of French and Spanish ships blockaded Gibraltar from the sea, while a large infantry force constructed redoubts and other fortifications on land. The two nations hoped they could force Gibraltar’s small garrison of 5,000 troops into a war of attrition, but their siege lines ultimately proved no match for the British Navy, which ran the blockade twice—first in 1780 and then again in 1781. In between these vital resupply operations, the defenders of Gibraltar kept the besiegers at bay with sharpshooters, cannon fire and surprise nighttime attacks. Realizing they could not starve out the garrison, the French and Spanish launched a massive offensive in September 1782, only to be thwarted by the British artillery’s use of “red-hot shot”—heated cannonballs that set fire to whole ships and batteries. Defeated, the French and Spanish finally lifted their blockade in February 1783. By that time, the British forces on Gibraltar had been under siege for three years and seven months.


8 Most Brutal World War II Battles

After the rapid advance into the Soviet Union by the Wehrmacht following the (then) overwhelmingly successful Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, the Germans set their sights on three main targets which they believed would demoralise and defeat their prime enemy, Communist Russia. These were the capital, Moscow the resource-rich Ukraine and Southern Russian regions and the 'birthplace of the USSR', Leningrad, which was originally St. Petersburg. By September 1941, Army Group North, under the leadership of Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, had reached their target of Leningrad and began to besiege the city. Not necessarily a battle, the Siege lasted for almost 3 years, finally ending on the 27th January 1944 when it was relieved by the forces of the Red Army. Although the city was kept supplied and reinforced by a frozen route over Lake Ladoga opened in January 1943, the losses suffered during the almost three-year long defence of the city were astronomical. Almost one third of the population of the city, one million Soviet citizens, lost their life as a result of the German siege. This was not a direct result of warfare, either - disease, malnutrition, exposure and suicide all gripped the people who were trapped inside, however this somehow not managed to break the spirit of the citizens. The Red Army, too, lost one million dead and two million injured or sick as a result of the city's defence. The German casualties, whilst disputed, number almost certainly in the hundreds of thousands. In total, 2 and a half million people lost their lives. This has been named as not only one of the worst episodes in the entire Second World War, but also one of the most brutal sieges in human history €“ and will most likely remain the most costly in terms of casualties. It highlights the tremendous loss of life which set the war apart from all other conflicts.

Me? I'm 17 years old, from Dawlish, Devon and studying (tirelessly) at Exeter College. I love pretty much anything, am a fan of numerous TV programmes and films, countless books and topics, from Sherlock to the Cold War, Doctor Who to Muse and my ambition is to become a journalist in any field which I have an interest in, and I hope to show my opinions (although varied) to the full.


The 14 Most Brutal Battles Fought In History

Battles are fought to invade a country, to show strength, to get hold of land and the like. But, then battles are always associated with bloodshed, loss of life and killing of innocent people.

Here is an account of the 13 most ferocious battle fought in history:

1. Battle of Borodino – (1812)

The fighting involved around 250,000 troops and left at least 70,000 casualties, making Borodino the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars.

The single bloodiest day of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars up to that point, this battle saw hundreds of thousands of soldiers of France and Russia face off deep in the heartland of Imperial Russia. It was a long day filled with gunfire, artillery, and above all, massed bayonet charges as was the preferred tactic of both militaries at the time. Both sides suffered heavy casualties but the French eventually broke their enemy and killed their general, securing victory.

2. The Battle of Stalingrad (1942, World War II)

This battle resulted as the plan of the Nazis to take over the city, in order to avail precious oil. However, it resulted in death of 850,000 soldiers, 1,000,000 Soviet people missing, dead or drowned. In fact, many numbers of the city civilian died too in the battle.

3. The Gallipoli campaign (1916, World War I)

This battle was fought between 455,000 British soldiers, 79,000 French, 50,000 Australians and ANZAC. However, 315,000 soldiers were with the Ottomans. The battle continued for a year. The Ottoman were victorious, however, the casualties were almost 500,000 from each side, and 250,000 soldiers died.

4. Battle of the Kalka River – (1223)

One of the first tastes Europe had of the power of the Mongol war machine (yes they were more than a rabid horde of horse archers – their level of military organization and discipline would not be seen for centuries afterwards). About 80,000 combined forces of various Russian princes fought the Mongols but surrendered and were all executed including their leaders.

5. The Battle of Cannae (216 BC, Second Punic War)

Hannibal’s greatest triumph and one of Rome’s worst defeats, this battle saw the Carthaginian army surround and totally destroy a Roman force of close to 100,000 soldiers. Supposedly the Romans were encircled and pushed together so tightly that they could not even raise their swords to defend themselves as they were slaughtered in the tens of thousands.

6. Third Battle of Panipat – (1761)

The powerful Maratha Confederacy clashed with the Durrani Empire based in Afghanistan. However, the Durrani forces were victorious, killing many in the Maratha army after a bloody day of fighting, including many camp followers and then proceeding to massacre tens of thousands of more civilians soon after.

7. Battle of Verdun (1916, World War I)

This was fought between the German Empire and France. Almost 300,000 to 1,000,000 died in this battle. In fact, every month almost 80,000 soldiers died from both the sides.

8. Battle of Tumu – (1449)

A young Ming Emperor under control of palace Eunuchs decided that it was a good idea to take a massive and unruly force of half a million into the Mongolian steppes. This force included huge amounts of camp followers (cooks, washerwomen, families, assorted civilians) and bureaucrats which caused chaos when unseasoned civilians saw the Mongol horde for the first time, leading to the slaughter of possibly hundreds of thousands as the “army’s” morale collapsed.

9. Battle of the Somme (1916, World War I)

The battle was fought between France, Britain and the German empire. 1,000,000 casualties with the central powers and 300,000 German casualties were there.

10. The Brusilov Offensive (1916, World War I)

This was a high push against the Central power of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empire. Here, the total casualty was only 1, 600, 00 million soldiers. Austro-Hungary had to bear with 567,000 losses and 480,000 prisoners.

11. The Huaihai Campaign (1948-1949, Chinese Civil War)

This battle was fought between the ROC (Republic of China) and CCP (Chinese Communist Party). The ROC had 800,000 fighters. The CCP had 6,500,000 fighters. It led to a landslide Communist victory. However, each side had almost 225,000 soldiers wounded. Since, the ROC had a smaller army it meant more casualties for them.

12. Operation Ichi-Go (1994, Sino-Japanese War)

The ROC (Republic of China) and the Japanese Empire fought in this battle. The battle inculcated 1, 500, 00 soldiers. The wounded soldier count with the ROC went up to 750,000. The Japanese losses included 100,000.

13. Operation Barbarossa (1941, World War II)

This battle included 3,800,000 axis soldiers and almost 2.8 million soviets. A total of 4,800,000 soldiers were wounded. The Soviets were able to push out the axis out of Moscow, but had to bear immense damage arising due to the severe losses.

14. The Siege of Leningrad (1942 – 1944, World War II)

This battle was fought between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. This battle continued for a course of 2 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and 5 days. The worst aspect of this battle other than the heavy number of casualties was the rampant cannibalism which was awful. It resulted in an immense loss of lives, killing and brutality.


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

The Operation Ichi-Go, which resulted in almost 1.3 million casualties, was launched by the Japanese forces on April 19, 1944. The objectives of this operation were to take control of the railroad between Beiping and Hong Kong, as well as of the Allied airfields in southern China, from where US forces were launching the planes that were bombing the Japanese homeland and its shipping ports. The other objective was the destruction of food supplies and crops in order to worsen the already bad food crisis in China. The success of the Japanese forces at the end of the operation was, however, marginal, as the US forces still remained able to bomb Japan from Saipan and other Pacific bases.


The Siege of Candia

In 1644, a group of Knights of Malta attacked an Ottoman convoy and took their money and women to the fortress city of Candia on Crete. It didn't exactly start the war between the Ottomans and the Venetians, but here, let me try to explain. Imagine you're having an argument with the police over an expired zoning permit, a mugger runs into your home, and the police surround the building and try to kill you for 21 years.

The Ottomans swarmed the island of Crete with 60,000 soldiers and surrounded Candia with troops and ships, starting the second longest siege in history. They cut off the city's water supply and spent the better part of two decades shooting at it with cannons. The siege lasted longer than Kareem Abdul Jabbar's NBA career. It got dragged out 33 times longer than the show

The besieged city asked everyone they knew for help, including the Knights of the Malta, so Candia was either very desperate or everyone who remembered that those guys were the ones who started everything had died of old age. No one made much of a difference until 1669, when the French sent them a fleet of ships that included the war-ending superboat, La Therese. The 1000-ton floating fortress with 58 cannons was going to blow the Ottomans off the planet. Unfortunately, right before it could do that, it demolished itself without any Ottoman help in what must have been the sweetest gunpowder accident of all time.

By this point, 70 percent of Crete's population had been killed, there were only about 3600 soldiers left, no supplies and their own boats were committing suicide. After 21 fucking years of eating artillery and rats, Candia surrendered without even waiting for authorization from the Venitian Senate. The news was so sad that everyone still blames it for the death of Pope Clement IX. I don't know what everyone did as they fled from Candia, but I imagine it was tough for 20-something Venetians to get a job when their only education and job experience was "trying not to die."

Related: Stop Informing The Green Day Dude September Has Ended


10 Bloodiest Battles In History

What were the bloodiest battles in history? If you seek the answer to that question, keep reading. I won’t be ranking this list based on overall impact of the battle, or on the number of soldiers involved, but on the actual death toll of each battle – how many people actually died. Many on the list are part of the second world war due to the scale on which that war was fought. It was the biggest war of all time and military technology was used more effectively than ever before, giving birth to a deadly combination. Some will be of other conflicts though and have equally interesting back stories. Here are the ten bloodiest battles in history.

Battle of Shanghai – 1937


Before the second world war began, Japan was attempting to invade China. With Shanghai being among China’s largest and most important cities, this battle was a big deal from a strategic point of view. So both sides were willing to lose huge numbers of soldiers to control it. The Japanese eventually captured the city as the military might of Imperial Japan was simply too much for the Chinese forces to withstand. But they were only able to claim victory after 3 months of fighting in urban environments, meaning they had to clear and secure almost every building within Shanghai.

Death Toll: 400 thousand

Siege of Budapest – 1945


This was part of the Soviet offensive to take control of Hungary. Being it’s capital, Budapest was a massively important city, and capturing it would see the Germans lose all control within Hungary. The siege lasted 50 days as Nazis within Budapest were ill prepared for defending against the Soviet offensive. Defenses were easily broken through and urban fighting began within the city. Harsh weather conditions prevented aid from reaching Budapest during the siege and constant artillery fire ground out any chance the Nazis had of keeping their Hungarian stronghold.

Death Toll: 420 thousand

Siege of Changchun – 1948


This was part of the Chinese civil war, in which communist rebels were battling the government for control of China. The reason China is still a ‘communist’ dictatorship to this day can be traced back to their victory in that war. The siege of Changchun was one of the most significant turning point of the war. The communists captured Changchun after 5 months of massacring nationalists inside. They had the city surrounded and the nationalists stood no chance from a tactical perspective. The communists decided to allow nationalist soldiers to leave the city at any time, but refused to allow civilians to do so. Civilians were blockaded within Changchun and deliberately starved as a ay of pressuring enemy generals to surrender. Ninety percent of civilians died in some parts of the city.

Death Toll: 425 thousand

Battle of Wuhan – 1938


The battle of Wuhan was part of the second war between China and Imperial Japan. The Chinese were defending the city of Wuhan from a Japanese attempt to capture it. Over one million Chinese soldiers were called in against a force of 350 thousand Japanese. Bombings, artillery strikes, and chemical weapons attacks weakened the Chinese defenses enough for the Japanese to capture Wuhan after 4 months of fighting. This was a big victory for Japan on paper, but they lost so many soldiers and resources capturing Wuhan that it was almost not worth it. The Chinese-Japanese war was soon drawn into the second world war, with the Japanese empire collapsing by the end of it.

Death Toll: 540 thousand

Battle of Kiev – 1941

Not all German efforts in the Soviet Union were complete failures. This battle saw Germany capture the major Ukrainian city of Kiev. Despite having fewer numbers the German offensive was just too strong for the Soviets to withstand. This was in the early stages of the largest invasion in human history so you can imagine German morale was above that of their Soviet opponents. Their victory in Kiev smashed through the South-Eastern front the Soviets were desperate to maintain, leaving them with a soft underbelly. At that point it was the biggest and most devastating defeat the Red Army had ever endured.

Death Toll: 700 thousand

Battle of Verdun – 1916


The most bloody battle of the first world war, Verdun saw the French military suppress a significant offensive by the German military in 1916. Despite having an initial tactical advantage, bad weather delayed German efforts. The French military ate away at the German forces during this period, weakening the German side by the time their offensive was back on track. It was a battle of attrition, with the Germany hoping to keep going for long enough for France to give up. But the French determination saw the Germans give up. The weather conditions were a major factor in making things worse for the ordinary soldiers fighting in Verdun.

Death Toll: 714 thousand

Siege of Baghdad (1258)


In the mid 13th century, the Mongols were looking to expand their vast empire by capturing new land in the middle-east. Due to their reputation as efficient and brutal warriors their opponents would often submit to them without a battle. But when Baghdad refused to surrender, the Mongols decided to make an example of them. The city fell after just 12 days. The Mongols then proceeded to destroy as much of the city and massacre as many locals as possible. This one siege was so brutal it put a swift end to the ‘Islamic Golden Age’. The Islamic golden age saw a huge empire founded by Muslims and Islamic society flourished when it comes to science and culture. But they really never recovered from the siege of Baghdad.

Death Toll: 0.2 to 2.2 million

Siege of Leningrad – 1941 to 1944

It was the German failure to capture Leningrad which drove them to besiege Stalingrad. In almost nine hundred days of intense battle, the Nazis came quite close to taking hold of the city. It wasn’t just the Nazis participating in the offensive, but Italy and Finland also. Several hundred thousand Soviets were killed in the early days of the siege of Leningrad, many of which being civilians. The city was blockaded by axis forces during the siege the plan was to starve locals into surrender. It is said that some civilians within Leningrad were desperate enough to engage in cannibalism. It’s unclear if that’s rumor or reality. At this point you understand why I noted that so many of the bloodiest battles in history were part of WW2.

Death Toll: 1 to 4.5 million

Battle of Stalingrad – 1942

Just the name Stalingrad creates mental images of massive devastation. It was a last-ditch attempt by Nazi Germany to capture any significant stronghold in Russia. Hitler lost the second world war the moment Russia was able to declare victory at the battle of Stalingrad. The Soviets knew this would be the case, and so they put up a huge struggle against Nazi invasion in Stalingrad. Much of the fighting was within urban areas of the city, and the Germans were known to have used flamethrowers to kill Soviet sharp-shooters hiding within buildings. It was only after a million people died that the Nazis gave up and went home in defeat.

Death Toll: 1.25 to 1.8 million

Battle of Berlin – 1945

This was the last stage of the Soviet Union’s operation to capture the German capital. It was the last great offensive operation of the second world war, the last Nazi attempt to stop advancing allied forces. The Nazis had nothing left though, so they called in the Hitler Youth and civilian military units to fight against the Soviets. But they had no chance. The Soviets had completely encircled Berlin at the beginning of the battle, allowing them to bomb the remaining Nazis into surrender. Two of Berlin’s four most senior military leaders actually surrendered. It was so bleak from their point of view that Adolf Hitler actually commit suicide before the battle was over. Soviet bombs were the cause of massive civilian casualties.


8. Attackers built wooden siege towers

Wooden siege towers were tall constructions that could fit many men inside. They could provide crossbowmen and archers with a higher (and therefore better) position to shoot from, or could be wheeled up against castle walls to allow attacking soldiers to climb onto the battlements and storm the fortress.

However, as they were made of wood they were susceptible to fire, and defenders would try their best to set fire to the towers before they could be put to use.


4. Carlisle Castle, Cumbria

In July 1315 Carlisle Castle came under attack from the King of Scotland, Robert Bruce. The Scots had smashed the English army at Bannockburn the year before, and now they turned their attention to Carlisle, a key border stronghold.

The Chronicle of Lanercost records that ‘on every day of the siege they assaulted one of the three gates of the city, sometimes all three at once but never without loss, because there were discharged upon them from the walls such dense volleys of darts and arrows, likewise stones, that they asked one another whether stones bred and multiplied within the walls.’

The Scots had their siege weapons, but so did the defenders, which the Chronicle says ‘caused great fear and damage to those outside’. The Scottish engines ‘did little or no injury to those within’, and seem to have been much less advanced than those of the English.

Heavy rains didn’t help either – Europe was in the middle of a run of three bad summers that caused devastating famines across the continent. A huge Scottish siege tower got stuck in the mud before it could get into position. The attackers threw bundles of grain and hay into the moat to try to fill it up, but they got swept away. They built bridges on wheels to cross the moat, but they sank.

On the ninth day the Scots mounted an assault on all three gates. When that failed they advanced on the eastern wall to provide cover for a stealth attack from the west, which seemed to have some success – according to the Chronicle, ‘there they set up long ladders which they climbed, and the bowmen, whereof they had a great number, shot their arrows thickly to prevent anyone showing his head above the wall.’

But the English regained control of the wall, apparently suffering only a few casualties. The next day Robert, perhaps after hearing of rumours that the English army was approaching, ordered his men to retreat.

An engraving of Carlisle Castle, dated 1739. © Historic England.


Sieges were way more common, but less cool looking.

Why scale the walls when you can poison their food and water

Did you mean: yeet a rotting cow corpse inside their castle?

Wait, so soldiers weren’t launched by catapults over the walls in a shield ball that would break on impact, followed by immediate engagement?

Doubt you could poison the food that is mostly bread and soup which already in the city, but you kill the animals and dam the rivers, in order to ensure drought. Which would destroy the crops.

Pay someone inside so they tell you when the commander is on the toilet and then just shoot the toilet.

And or chip away at their walls if you in a hurry to capture more

Lord Shimura would like to know your location

Just starve em out, you run the countryside now

Why poison when you can get a bunch of serfs to dig under the walls

I recommend reading up on the siege of Antioch in the first crusade. Now that was a very intense siege. But you are right regarding medieval movies in hollywood. And even the battles they depict are bad, usually a lot of random duels and no tactics anywhere in sight.

Run at the other side and battle the first dude you see, let the enemy pass you so there's a battle everywhere. Sounds safe. And the battle is only over when you lost 70% of your men and the other side is completely dead while annihilation normally is 30% of an army, depending on the size. (Just heard the last bit somewhere)

And even the battles they depict are bad usually a lot of randem duels and no tactics anywhere in sight.

Special shoutout for Game of Thrones S8 when both sides meet in the decisive battle in King's Landing with nothing but one-handed swords. No shields, no polearms, nothing. Anyone who would've brought proper equipment would have easily rolled over the other side.


Survivors Mark 70th Anniversary of Leningrad Siege’s End

Survivors of one of the most brutal sieges in history shared memories of air raids, bombings and starvation at an event in the Northeast.

Boris Vershvovsky was 16 when German soldiers surrounded his hometown of Leningrad on Sept. 8, 1941, to begin one of the most brutal sieges in history. Known as the Leningrad Blockade or the Siege of Leningrad, the Germans blocked off the entire city from the outside world for 900 days. Vershvovsky, now 88, vividly remembers the air raids, bombings, sirens and starvation.

&ldquoThere was no electricity, no water, no heat, no plumbing you can&rsquot imagine what it was like,&rdquo he recalled on Monday evening at the Jewish Federation of Greater Phila­delphia&rsquos Tabas House in the Northeast. He and other survivors who had been children at the time gathered there with friends and family members to mark the 70th anniversary of the lifting of the blockade.

The Nazis had intended the siege to be the linchpin to conquering the rest of the Soviet Union. Even for a populace that had grown accustomed to the privations of war, severing the city&rsquos contact with the rest of the country resulted in unprecedented, life-threatening hardship. There were precious few deliveries of food, medicine, clothing or supplies of any kind. As many as 1.5 million people were estimated to have died before the Russian army finally ended the siege on Jan. 27, 1944.

&ldquoThose who survived were very strong, disciplined, special people,&rdquo said Vershvovsky, whose father died in a battle with German soldiers. &ldquoPeople were starving, everything was freezing, food was limited.&rdquo

Vershvovsky, who emigrated from St. Petersburg (as Leningrad is known today) in 1992, recalled that his daily food ration was 125 grams, or about 4 ounces, of bread. To prevent starvation, his mother, a factory worker, gave him skin from animals that was used to make glue.

Without toilets, he continued, people had to get rid of their waste in their backyards. His job, like many teenagers, was to stand guard under the roof of a building.

Although seven decades have passed since this grim chapter of history ended, Vershvovsky says that it is still important to gather with survivors to remember the past and acknowledge their survival. Celebrations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the blockade took place around the globe on Monday, including a parade in St. Petersburg. Vershvovsky has been attending the Philadelphia memorial every year since it began a decade ago.

Another blockade survivor, 98-year-old Rachel-Lyudmila Merlina, is the driving force behind the celebration at Tabas House, where she also lives. An electrical engineer who worked as a nurse during the siege to aid wounded soldiers, the 5-foot tall Merlina suffered from dystrophy, scurvy, frostbite, bleeding gums and hunger.

&ldquoHitler was hoping he would destroy the city in 10 days, but it didn&rsquot happen,&rdquo she said, addressing the group in Russian.

Several survivors, including Alexandr Pernavskiy, 87, who served in the Baltic Sea Navy, shared memories and read poetry. Pernavskiy, who was 14 at the time of the siege, says his father died from starvation in March 1942.

&ldquoIt is important for us to remember what happened,&rdquo said Pernavskiy, who also volunteers as the local president of the Alliance of Veterans of War and Labor, Inc. &ldquoWe are a family of survivors it was a fight for freedom against fascists.&rdquo

Rabbi Lev Furman, a former dissident born in Leningrad after World War II, shared the story of his parents&rsquo survival and led the group in the Kaddish. He recalled those who perished during the siege and those who died in the past year.

Like many from the former Soviet Union, Merlina and her family left St. Petersburg in 1992. She settled in Northeast Philadelphia where she now leads an active social life, takes yoga at the Klein JCC and writes for the Russian-language newspaper, Jewish Life.

Her daughter, HIAS Pennsylvania&rsquos special projects coordinator Marina Merlin (who dropped the &ldquoa&rdquo in her last name when she immigrated), said the annual blockade commemoration is always emotional for her mom, but she continues organizing it &ldquoto remember the people who didn&rsquot survive, to pray to God that they were saved and to bring this memory to their children and grandchildren.

&ldquoYou cannot find a family in Russia that doesn&rsquot have someone missed, killed, or wounded during World War II. This was the tragic piece of history that can be compared to the Holocaust.

&ldquoThere are very few people left on this earth who survived the blockade,&rdquo she continued. &ldquoAs January 27th approaches, it always hurts the wounds never heal.&rdquo


Siege Warfare

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