Most Heroic Last Stand Ever

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Fix bayonets and die
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Most Heroic Last Stand Ever

Post by Fix bayonets and die » 15 Mar 2005 18:35

Britain has always fought Last Stands mostly against Natives of a country, which we wish to claim and get beat. They are defeats, but occasionally in Last Stands of all countries they still maintain their country's honour. My top Last Stand throughout the world are

1. The Alamo-189 men fought to the death by their own free will so their country (Texas) could be free (only 9 of the defenders were actually from Texas).

2. Gandamak-The remnants of the 44th Regiment rallied on a hill in Afghanistan and managed to repulse six determined Afghan charges with bayonets and rifle butts before they were overwhelmed.

3. Maiwand-12 men led by two officers rushed out of their walled defensive position and were cut off by Aghan cavalry and fought with their remaining ammunition bayonets and rifle butts.

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Post by AAA » 15 Mar 2005 19:37

Ah, weren't the brits at Gandamak hopelessly surrounded, with no choice not to fight, with no hope to surrender or receive mercy on capture?
Sun Tzu wrote:When you surround an army, leave an outlet free.

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Post by waldorf » 15 Mar 2005 22:26

How about the Battle of Camerone? A battle where French Foreign Legion soldiers led by Capt. Danjou fought to the death against Mexican soldiers led by Gen. Milan. Another last stand battle would have to be the battle of Thermopolye where Spartan general Leonidas fought to the death against overwhelming Persian forces. ... aron0.html ... wtherm.htm


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Post by mars » 15 Mar 2005 23:16

Fix bayonets and die, there were around 250 defenders in the alamo, and although most of those defenders were new-comer, it was incorrect to say only 9 of them were Texians, at least those 32 volunteers from Gonzales who reached Alamon on Mar 1st, were mostly Texains. Almost every single of defenders were killed in the last herotic stand which last about 1 hour against about 2000 Mexicans, Mexicans losses were about 500, include may be 150-200 KIA

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Post by Wm. Harris » 16 Mar 2005 01:36

Younghusband's C company, 1/24th Foot at Isandhlwana. They were supposedly the last of the redcoats to die that day. Zulu oral history tells us that Captain Younghusband shook hands with his surviving men, then, sword in hand, he led them pell-mell in a bayonet charge down the slopes of Isandhlwana mountain. Naturally the charge was completely hopeless, but it shows the determination of those men to at least "die like English soldiers do" (as quoted from a period newspaper engraving in my collection).

Of course that battle was made up to a large extent of other "last stands" -- Durnford's, Wardell's, Shepstone's, Pope's and probably others, each one just as desperate. But I don't think any quite have the sentimental appeal of Younghusband's, if a pointless bloodbath like Isandhlwana can be do described.

Bill H.

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Post by ckleisch » 16 Mar 2005 20:01

My vote would go with the following little known event:

The French Foreign Legion at Camerone - 1863
In 1862, Spain, France, and Great Britain sent a combined expeditionary force to Mexico to protect their interests and collect international debts. Britain and Spain soon withdrew after it became obvious that try as they might, they could recover no debts from the near bankrupt country. With their withdrawal, Napoleon III decided to attempt to overthrow the ruling regime and establish a puppet Mexican Empire; he knew that the United States was too preoccupied with its Civil War to enforce its Monroe Doctrine. A contingent of the French Foreign Legion arrived in March, 1863, and was soon pressed into service securing inland convoy routes.
During a reconnaissance mission on April 30, the Third Company of the 1st Battalion encountered a much larger enemy force on the Vera Cruz Road. The company had an official strength of 120 men, but had been reduced to 62 men by disease. As the company's officers were as sick as its men, the Legion's contingent commander had appointed staff officers, Captain Jean Danjou and Second Lieutenants Villain and Maudet, to lead the mission. When the Mexicans attacked the patrol, Danjou led the force in a bayonet attack to gain relative safety in an abandoned homestead known as Camerone. There, for the next ten hours, the sixty-five men fought off repeated attacks by 2,000 Mexican soldiers. At one point during the battle a Mexican Lieutenant called on the legionnaires to surrender. Danjou assembled his men and asked all to swear that they would never surrender; they did. After the refusal was delivered, the Mexicans sounded the degueno, a drum and bugle call indicating that survivors would be given no quarter. Repeatedly, the Mexicans attacked until finally after a massive general assault they subdued all fires and overran the entire homestead except for its stable. There Maudet and five legionnaires, out of ammunition, launched a bayonet charge into the mass of Mexican infantry. One man was instantly killed, riddled with nineteen rounds as he tried to shield Maudet. Maudet and another were mortally wounded, and three legionnaires found themselves surrounded. A senior Mexican officer stepped forward and again asked them to surrender. "On the condition we keep our weapons and you look after our officer," replied Legionnaire Maine. The terms were accepted by the officer who stated, "To men such as you, one refuses nothing." Thirty-three legionnaires died in the battle and of the thirty-one who were captured, nineteen soon died of their wounds. Only one man, a drummer, was neither captured or killed. He was rescued by French troops the following day. He had been left for dead after receiving two bullet and seven lance wounds.

* When the final three defenders were brought to the Mexican commander, Colonel Milan, he initially could not believe that they were the only standing survivors. When he was finally convinced, he exclaimed, "Truly, these are not men, they are demons." One of the men, Legionnaire Berg received permission from Milan to write a short note to the Legion commander: "The Third Company of the 1st is dead, my Colonel, but it did enough to make those who speak of it say, 'It had nothing but good soldiers.'"

* In honor of the battle, Napoleon II ordered the names Camerone, Danjou, Maudet, and Vilain to be inscribed in gold letters on the walls of the Invalides in Paris

* Even today, in Mexico, formal military ceremonies are conducted annually at the site of the battle memorial which reads: "They were less than sixty here--Opposed to a whole army--Its mass crushed them--Life instead of courage--Abandoned these French soldiers."

For more information:
The French Foreign Legion in Mexico
Recommended reading:
Camerone: The French Foreign Legion's Greatest Battle by James W. Ryan
The French Foreign Legion: A Complete History of the Legendary Fighting Force by Douglas Porch

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Post by Victor » 16 Mar 2005 20:17

ckleisch wrote:* Even today, in Mexico, formal military ceremonies are conducted annually at the site of the battle memorial which reads: "They were less than sixty here--Opposed to a whole army--Its mass crushed them--Life instead of courage--Abandoned these French soldiers."
I would like to add that every year the Legion commemorates Camerone and it is one of its the most important celebrations. They even celebrated it during the siege of Dien Bien Phu. Captain Danjou's wooden arm, that has been recovered from the battlefield, is preserved in the Legion's Museum if I am not mistaking.

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Post by GE Longstreet » 16 Mar 2005 20:55

Remember one battle the ratio of killed, wounded and missinging of the armies (one spanish, the other one I don´t remember) was 1:2000, with the spaniards loosing 5 and the other loosing 10000. :D

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Post by David C. Clarke » 17 Mar 2005 01:18

Come on guys, the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae!!!!!

Best Regards,

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Post by Allen Milcic » 17 Mar 2005 02:20

1566 - The battle for Siget: Croats, "...two thousand and three hundred of them", under the command of Nikola Subic Zrinski (from 1561 the Siget fortress commander), held back a vast Ottoman army (more than 90,000 men and 300 cannons) in southern Hungary. After many days of exhausting and bloody struggle, the defenders had retreated into the Old City; with the majority of Croat soldiers already dead, here they made their last stand. The Turks had tried to lure Zrinski into surrender, offering him rule over entire Croatia (of course, under their suzerainty) - to no avail: "...nobody will point his finger at my children in contempt" was Zrinski's response. In the morning, September the 7th, an all-out attack by the Turks began: fireballs, "Greek fire", concentrated cannonade, fusillade. Soon, the last Croat stronghold within Siget was set ablaze. The entire Turkish army was swarming against the Old City, drumming and yelling, "..their flags darkening the skies." Zrinski prepared for a last charge, addressing his surviving brothers in arms: "..Let us go out from this burning place into the open and stand up to our enemies. Who dies - he will be with God; who dies not - his name will be honoured. I will go first, and as I do, you do. And as God is my witness- I will never leave you, my brothers and knights!" In the last charge, Zrinski was first wounded, then killed. Only seven defenders managed to get through the surrounding Turkish forces and escape. Once the last defenders were killed, the Turkish troops swarmed into the last bastion to pillage - only to be killed by an explosion of the gunpowder stocks, lit by the wives and daughters of the defenders that chose to die in the explosion rather than face captivity and slavery. The huge Ottoman army, the best Suleyman the Magnificent (who died during the siege) could gather, suffered such heavy losses and was detained for so long with the siege, that its planned advance towards Vienna was cancelled. Historians consider that Turks lost 18,000 cavalrymen and 7,000 elite Janissaries.
The Ottoman Turks under Suleiman the Magnificent had already extended their empire northwards through the Balkans and were on the point of making a final push to conquer Vienna. The Croats' defense of Siget under Nikola Zrinjski changed all that. While Vienna was saved and the Turks forced to retreat, the battle itself was a tragedy for both sides. Struck by the classical parallel, historians of the time compared Zrinjski to Leonidas, who led the Greeks against the Persians at Thermopylae.
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Post by Polynikes » 17 Mar 2005 04:42

David C. Clarke wrote:Come on guys, the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae!!!!!

Best Regards,
Hollywood has done a great dis-service to the 2,000 Thessilians who were also there.

Besides at Camerone, Little Big Horn, Alamo etc ...the defenders LOST!

The most heroic stands are when the defenders WIN.

So my top 3 would be:

1. Rorke's Drift, 23-23 January 1879.
2. Arakan Admin, Box 6-25 Feb 1944.
3. Imjin, 22-25 April 1951.

No coincidence that all three were fought by the best defensive soldiers in the history of the world - those wearing the uniform of the British army.

Cheers from Rich

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Allen Milcic
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Post by Allen Milcic » 17 Mar 2005 04:55

Polynikes wrote:The most heroic stands are when the defenders WIN.
Hm, I would say that those are the most SUCCESSFUL stands - winning doesn't make you more heroic, just like having the will do die in a losing cause does not make you any less heroic. Besides, losing battles like Thermopylae, the Alamo, Siget etc. helped WIN wars by gaining time and/or by causing casualties on the enemy force.


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Post by szopen » 17 Mar 2005 09:11

With Alamo there is one hting which puzzles me: i've spot few references to Polish artillery officers dying there, however noe anglophone soure i saw mentions it.. anyone has anything about it?

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Post by GE Longstreet » 17 Mar 2005 21:03

Polynikes wrote:Besides at Camerone, Little Big Horn, Alamo etc ...the defenders LOST!
Besides, the so called "defenders" at Little Big Horn, who were the attacking party, were idiots, assholes, nazis!

And the real defenders won the battle (not the war, but the battle)!

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Post by G. Trifkovic » 17 Mar 2005 21:11

In adittion to the classics most of which were listed earlier,I would like to add a few from the recent past ,like

that one battery in Sevastopol (could it be "Maxim Gorki",I admit I forgot the exact name) which fought so ferociously that,when Germans finaly took it,they found only 40 heavily wounded out of a complement of 1000 or

the famous stand made by Sergeant Yacob Pavlov and his fellow Guardsmen of the 42nd.59 days they held against overwhelming odds-"True grit",as they say...

You could find many,many more from the same period...



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