Most Heroic Last Stand Ever

Discussions on other historical eras.
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Post by Gungnir » 26 Feb 2006 19:43

Battle of Saragarhi - 12 September 1897

21 Sikhs of the 36th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment defended an outpost against 10,000 Afghan and Orakazis warriors.

In Sikh martial tradition the 21 Sikhs decided to fight instead of surrender or flee.

All 21 died only after killing 180-200 of the enemy.

The 21 recieved the Indian Order of Merit, highest award for gallantry awarded to Indian soldiers by the British Crown. Queen Victoria and the British Parliament gave them a standing ovation.

From what i understand the battle is still discussed in military schools in a lesson of sacrifice, devotion and camaraderie

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Post by Tosun Saral » 27 Feb 2006 20:54

Turkish history is full of examples of "last Stands". After the defead at Vienna in 1683 Austrian captured Budin/Budapest after a long siege. Last commander of Budin was Abdurrahman Abdi Pasha. He defended the city until all were killed. After fall of Budapest Hungarians get into the jorke of Austrians. They revolted 4 times but bloodly punished. The grave of Abdurrahman Abdi Pasha is still in the garden of Budapest castle. Our Hungarian brothers honored him by carving on his tompstone "brave enemy"
Tamesvarli Gazi Asik Hasan, a soldier poet of XVII th Century wrote a very sad poem about the lost of Budapest. We Turks called Budapest as "Spoiled Girl of Danube"
I translated the "Legend of Budapest" of into English.

Legend of Budin

Don't sing Nightingale, don't sing, the summer returned to Spring
The laments of Nightingale pierced my breast
It is now no time buying and selling roses
Austrians captured our spoiled girl called Budapest.

Now muslims don't washing for prayers by her fountains
Nobody is praying in her mosques
The inhabited all ruined
Austrians captured our spoiled girl called Budapest

The long market of Budapest
And The mosque of Sultan Ahmet at the centre.
Looks like the Kaba of Mecca
Austrians captured our spoiled girl called Budapest.

I am the daughter of Pasha of Budapest
I am the dearest two eyes of my parents
I am a lamp in a cage
Austrians captured our spoiled girl called Budapest

Suddenly the arsenal exploded we all surprised
All the mosques with six minarets burned and fired
All the young innocent children fell into fire.
Austrians captured our spoiled girl called Budapest.

Budapest is the capital of all Turkish Frontiers
All her stones and earth created with blood
The Banner- bearer the Circassian leads the Martyrs
Austrians captured our spoiled girl called Budapest

From the South three guns shotted
It was thustday and solar eclipsed
On Friday Budapest falled
Austrians captured our spoiled girl called Budapest.

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Post by Musashi » 06 Mar 2006 23:11

Stanis³aw ¯ó³kiewski, a Polish hetman famous for battle of Klushin in 1610, where 7000 Polish and Lithuanian soldiers (6800 cavalry and 200 Cossack infantry) overcame a Russian-mercenary army at the strength of 35,000 (30,000 Russians and 5000 foreign mercenaries) and as the first European army entered Moscow made his heroic last stand after the battle of Cecora (Polish pronounciation; I don't know how it is spelled in Moldavian/Romanian) in October 6th/7th 1620 against superior Tatar-Turkish forces (10,000 Poles against 12,000 Tatars and 7000 Turks). After the battle was lost the Polish army was withdrawing towards the Polish border. Just a few kilometres before the Polish border a number of soldiers panicked and broke a train of wagons, a defensive formation, that could not been broken by the Tatar-Turkish attacks. Those soldiers who fled afraided of returning to the battle not to be punished by their commanders. ¯ó³kiewski (73 at that time) as the main commander tried to establish discipline and stop his soldiers from fleeing by killing his horse and stayed just with 13 other soldiers from his squad. His body was found next night by the Tatars. He lied among the bodies of his enemies and comrades with chopped off right arm and a big cut of head. His head was chopped off by the Tatars and brought to a Turkish Sultan's palace. His body and his captured son (the Tatars were not used to kill if it was not necessary, they preferred getting a big ransom) was bought off by his wife.
It is worth of mentioning that during that battle had been captured a little known Polish nobleman, Bohdan Chmielnicki, who became the commander of Ukrainian Cossacks in 1647.

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Allen Milcic
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Post by Allen Milcic » 06 Mar 2006 23:45

Gungnir wrote:Battle of Saragarhi - 12 September 1897

21 Sikhs of the 36th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment defended an outpost against 10,000 Afghan and Orakazis warriors.

In Sikh martial tradition the 21 Sikhs decided to fight instead of surrender or flee.

All 21 died only after killing 180-200 of the enemy.

The 21 recieved the Indian Order of Merit, highest award for gallantry awarded to Indian soldiers by the British Crown. Queen Victoria and the British Parliament gave them a standing ovation.

From what i understand the battle is still discussed in military schools in a lesson of sacrifice, devotion and camaraderie
There is an excellent description of this battle found here: ... garhi.html


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Post by Duckman » 22 Mar 2006 05:34

dragos03 wrote:Another impressive last stand: the actions of the mixed Dutch-British-US-Australian fleet led by the Dutch Admiral Karel Doorman. They knew from the start that they have no chance against the Japanese. Almost all the ships were sunk trying to stop the Japanese invasion of Dutch East Indies. Admiral Doorman was killed when a Japanese torpedo hit his flagship De Ruyter.

The actions of the ABDA fleet, culminating in the battle of the Java Sea, were a heroic stand against overwhelming odds.
Thanks for posting that Dragos, my uncle was KIA that day.

The end of the Yarra was a "last stand" in itself: "Yarra continued firing, despite listing heavily to port and drifting helplessly after shells destroyed the engine room and steering. Just minutes after Rankin gave the order to abandon ship he was killed when an 8-inch salvo destroyed the bridge. Blasted beyond recognition by constant shelling and bombing from the cruiser's aircraft, Yarra finally sank at 8.00am following a barrage of close-range fire from the destroyers. In a final act of defiance, Ronald Taylor ignored Rankin's final command, manned a 4-inch mount, and continued firing as the ship sank." ... /index.htm

I'm surprised we've got this far and nobody has mentioned the Shangani Patrol.

The victors reputedly said of them: "They were men of men and their fathers were men before them."

Article here:

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Last stand in 1920

Post by pseudomiles » 11 Aug 2006 03:56

One of the most heroic last stands was a battle, which was fought during soviet invasion on Poland in 1920.

At Zadworze, 17th August 1920, a small polish battalion, consisted of 330 soldiers was attacked by russian bolshevik cavalry division (several thousands cavalrymen). The polish mission was to defend important Lwow city.

After fierce fighting only 12 Poles survived, but russian casualties were also high. Russian commander, Budionny, decided to turn his cavalry army to the north, giving up from conquest of Lwow.

[sorry for my english, I hope the text is understandable]

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Post by TISO » 11 Aug 2006 12:35

How about battle for Taranovka station (Kharkov region) on march 2-nd 1943. 25 men platoon of 78. Guards infantry regiment defended station against determined german attack.

Battle started when Germans started determined attack on the villige defended by 78. Guards inf. reg. Only 25 men platoon under command of lt. Shironin defended the rail station. Platoon was cut of and on their own. Men found a 45mm gun whose crew was killed earlier ( in air strike). Germans attacked them with 35 tanks and armoured wheicles. Platoon had some artilery support from the village and engeneers mined some aproches to the area.

St.sgt (starshy sergant - senior sargent) Sergey Nechipurenko and pvt. Aleksandr Tjurin knocked out 3 enemy tanks with 45 mm gun, before they were knocked ot themselves by SP gun (Tjurin WIA, Nechiprenko KIA). As the same wheicle was to overrun their position pvt. Andrey Skvortsov sacrificed his life by jupming under the tracks and destroyed the wheicle with AT granade.
German attack was stoped and both sides became mired in ferocious fighting. Pvts. Piotr Shkodin, Vasili Tatsurenko and sgt.Ivan Sedih trew themselves under german tanks with AT granades thus destroying them.
After failing to capture rail station german finally pulled back. They lost 16 tanks and armored wheicles and suffered around 100 KIA and many more WIA.
Lt Shironin was badly wounded and only 5 of his men survived. All men under Shironin's command were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

Defenders of Taranovka station:
lt. Piotr Shironin (WIA died june 30 1968)

senior sergants:
Ivan G. Vernigorenko (survived , died january 26 1984)
Sergei G. Zimin (KIA)
Sergai V. Nechipurenko (KIA)

Vasili S. Grudinin (KIA)
Nikolai I. Kirayanov (KIA)
Ivan V. Sedih (KIA)
Aleksandr I. Suhin (KIA)

Vasili L. Isakov (survived, died of his wounds August 30 1943)
Ivan P. Bukayev (survived, died August 11. 1971)
Aleksandr F. Toropov (survived, died May 27. 1946)
Aleksandr N. Tjurin (WIA, survived, died June 18. 1980)
Aleksei I. Kraiko (KIA)
Pavel A. Gertman (KIA)
Ivan O. Vizgalin (KIA)
Yakov D. Zlobin (KIA)
Vasili D. Tantsurenko (KIA)
Ivan N. Silayev (KIA)
Nikolai I. Subbotin (KIA)
Stepan P. Fazdeyev (KIA)
Vasili M. Pavlov (KIA)
Ivan M. Chertenkov (KIA)
Anderi A. Skvortsov (KIA)
Piotr T. Shkodin (KIA)

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Post by Utrecht » 11 Aug 2006 23:26

Kim Sung wrote:I don't even the name of this guy. He was not a soldier, just an ordinary citizen. He was executed after some days later after this impressive and world famous one man stand.
''To this day, who he was and what became of him remains a mystery.''


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Post by Fallschirmjäger » 12 Aug 2006 00:41

One group of soldiers in WW2 who did just this in many a battle from all over russia,crete,tunisia,italy(cassino etc..),normandy,all along the reichs borders like the reichswald,hochwald and western and eastern banks of the rhine river and the eastern german frontier and berlin itself,was the fallschirmjäger my favourite troops.Many fought to the end or ran out of ammo,one during the reichswald battle where in a castle some FJ held out for awhile and they even brought in heavy bombers to drop some big bombs on them and only then did they take the castle and only 15 or so FJ where found alive,man wish i knew they book where i read this too,i thought i had it but its a big mess in my room realy to look.

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Post by David C. Clarke » 12 Aug 2006 02:18

It's been mentioned before, but the Battle of Tarawa deserves to be mentioned again. Out of 4,700 (numbers vary) Japanese defenders, only 17 survived the battle. That was a true "last stand".


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Post by sharpe14 » 08 Sep 2006 16:59

What about the battle of Muttah where 3000 muslims drew with 100,000 Byzentines

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Post by Epaminondas » 09 Sep 2006 16:23

sharpe14 wrote:What about the battle of Muttah where 3000 muslims drew with 100,000 Byzentines
lol- someone is reading old sources with a non critical eye. I seriously doubt the Byzantines could scrap up more then 5,000-8,000 men after the conflicts in the 6-7th century.

Read some byzantine primary sources that are translated; or Norwich's works.... better yet Hans Delbruck's military history works or Supplying War : Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton by Creveld.

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Kim Sung
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Post by Kim Sung » 09 Sep 2006 17:07

Utrecht wrote:
Kim Sung wrote:I don't even the name of this guy. He was not a soldier, just an ordinary citizen. He was executed after some days later after this impressive and world famous one man stand.
''To this day, who he was and what became of him remains a mystery.''


Thank you. I didn't know the young student climbed on top of the tank and speaks to the driver before jumping back down again. Just as dragos03 wrote, there were two heroes at the scene of that drama.

A Moment That Fascinated the World

By the morning of June 5, the army is in complete control of Beijing. But when all protest in the city seems silenced, the world witnessed one final act of defiance.

About midday, as a column of tanks slowly moves along Chang'an Boulevard toward Tiananmen Square, an unarmed young man carrying shopping bags suddenly steps out in front of the tanks. Instead of running over him, the first tank tries to go around, but the young man steps in front of it again. They repeat this maneuver several more times before the tank stops and turns off its motor. The young man climbs on top of the tank and speaks to the driver before jumping back down again. Soon, the young man is whisked to the side of the road by an unidentified group of people and disappears into the crowd.

To this day, who he was and what became of him remains a mystery.

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Post by gavmeister13 » 10 Sep 2006 14:41

I'm reading "The Indian Mutiny" by Saul David and although I'm not far in, found the story of how a few Brits under Lieutenant George Willoughby held the Delhi magazine which was the largest in upper India with guns, muskets ammunition &c. against the attacking sepoys until they ran out of ammunition and blew up the magazine.

"Willoughby, a shy, undistinhed man - short and fat with a penchant for side-partings and twin-moustaches - had barricaeded the gates of the magainze with the intention of holding out until evening when "the European troops would be certian to arrive from Meerut". His tiny garrison consisted of two veteren officers, Lieutenants Forrest and Raynor - 57 and 61 years old respectively - and six other British employees of the Ordinance Dept. Together they placed two 6-pounder guns louded with double charges of grape inside each gate, in case they were forced, and a further four guns near to the central office. They had also issued muskets to their reluctant Indian assistants, who were alreadsy showing signs of insubordination, and laid a powder-train between the main store and a tree in the centre of the yard so that, in extremis, the magazine could be blown up.

At about 10.30 a detachemtn of palace guards [the mutineering Indians] arrived and demanded possesion of the magazine in the name of the King. Willoughby ignored them. An hour later, recalled Forrest,

the subadar [senior Indian officer of an inf. company or cavalry group] of the guard on duty at the magazine informed Willoughby and me that the King of Delhi had sent down word to the mutineers that he would without delay send scaling ladders from the palace for the purpose of scaling the walls; and which shortly after arrivced. on the ladders being erected against the wall, the whole of our Native estalishment deserted us by climbing up the sloped sheds on the inside of the magazine and descending the ladders on the outside. After which the enemy appeared in great numbers on the top of the walls, and on whom we kept up an incessant firre of grape, every round of which told well, as long as a single round remained.

The attack continued for some time during which the enemy grew to hundreds in number, firing continously. The two gunners - Buckley and Forrest were hit [int he right arm and left hand] and the cannonfire stopped.

"It was at this critical moment that Lieutenant Willoughby gave the signal for firing the magazine. Conductor Sully, who from the first evinced gallantry by volunteering for this dangerous duty, now cooly and calmly, without hesitation, and yet without confusion, set fire to several trains. In an instant and with an explosion that shook the city and was heard distinctly in Meerut, the magazine blew up. The wall was thrown fdlat upon the ground, and it is said that some hundreds of the enemy were buried under the ruins or blown into the air."

While some the garrison did escape alive the European casualties included Scully and the pair who had been manning the guns covering the gates - Sergeant Edwards and Sub-Conductor Crow.

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Post by Gaijinaho » 30 Sep 2006 08:16

This gets my vote.
Later, Gaijinaho

A painting of HMS Li Wo in the action when she was sunk

HMS Li Wo was sunk on 14th February 1942 (77 died; 7 Prisoners of War; her Commanding Officer was awarded the VC)

The Times, Wednesday December 18,1946.
RNR Officer's Valour
The King has approved the award of the Victoria Cross to: The late Temporary Lieutenant Thomas Wilkinson, RNR.
On February 14, 1942, HMS Li Wo, a patrol vessel of 1,000 tons, formerly a passenger steamer on the Upper Yangtze River, was on passage from Singapore to Batavia. Her ships company consisted of 84 officers and men, including one civilian; they were mainly survivors from His Majesties Ships which had been sunk, and a few units of the Army and R.A.F. Her armament was only one 4in. gun, for which she had only 13 practice shells, and two machine guns.
Since leaving Singapore the previous day, the ship had beaten off 4 air attacks, in one of which 52 machines took part, and had suffered considerable damage. Late in the afternoon she sighted two enemy convoys, the larger of which was escorted by Japanese naval units, including a heavy cruiser and some destroyers. The commanding officer, Lieutenant T. Wilkinson, gathered his scratch ships company together and told them that, rather than try to escape, he had decided to engage the convoy and fight to the last, in the hope that he might inflict damage upon the enemy. In making this decision, which drew resolute support from the whole ships company, Lieutenant Wilkinson knew that his ship faced certain destruction, and that his own chances of survival were small.

Straight for the Enemy
HMS Li Wo hoisted her battle ensign and made straight for the enemy. In the action which followed the machine guns were used with effect upon the crews of the ships within range, and a volunteer gun's crew manned the 4in. gun, which they fought with such purpose that a Japanese transport was badly hit and set on fire.
After a little over an hour HMS Li Wo had been critically damaged and was sinking. Lieutenant Wilkinson then decided to ram his principal target, the large transport, which had been abandoned by her crew. It is known that this ship burnt fiercely throughout the night following the action and was probably sunk. HMS Li Wo's gallant fight ended when her shells spent and under heavy fire from the enemy cruiser, Lieutenant Wilkinson finally ordered abandon ship. He himself remained on board and went down with her. There were only about 10 survivors, who were later made prisoners of war.
Lieutenant Wilkinson's valour was equalled only by the skill with which he fought his ship. The Victoria Cross is bestowed upon him posthumously in recognition both of his own heroism and self sacrifice and of that of all who fought and died with him.
Lieutenant Wilkinson, who was 44, was the youngest of five sons of the late Captain William Wilkinson, of Widnes. His VC is the 181st awarded in the war, and the 22nd won by the Navy.

HMS Li Wo became the most decorated small ship in the Royal Navy, the awards were as follows:

His Majesty has approved the following awards to officers and men of HMS Li Wo:

Victoria Cross - Temporary Lieutenant Thomas Wilkinson, RNR

Distinguished Service Order - Temporary Sub Lieutenant Ronald George Gladstone Stanton RNR

Conspicuous Gallantry Medal - Acting Petty Officer Arthur William Thompson

Distinguished Service Medal - Leading Seaman Victor Spencer

Distinguished Service Medal - Able Seaman Albert Spendlove

Mentioned in Despatches (Posthumously) - Temporary Lieutenant Edgar Neil Derbridge, RNZNV

Mentioned in Despatches (Posthumously) - Temporary Sub Lieut. J. G. Petherbridge, Malaya RNVR

Mentioned in Despatches (Posthumously) - Able Seaman Desmond Palmer

Mentioned in Despatches - Acting Chief Petty Officer Charles Halme Rogers

Mentioned in Despatches - Leading Seaman William Dick Wilding

Mentioned in Despatches - Able Seaman John Smith

Other References
Illustrated London News 28/12/1946 p.750
For Valour. Naval Victoria Crosses WWll L J Lind
Naval Historical View, Dec 1974 pp.13-21

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