Imagine this scenario. You, the battlefield, enemies surrounding you, blood everywhere. You are about to lose the war. You are fighting with your last strength. Brothers, friends, sons, everyone you know is fighting for their lives, fighting for the family, for the country. All of this so you can be free. You are trying to help everyone you know, but most of all you are trying to finish the war, the battle, victoriously. You don’t want that blood to be spilled for nothing, so you keep battling. Although you are out of energy and thought that the battle is lost, something odd happens. You either somehow get all of the strength that you need and you keep fighting till the very last victorious end or you get some unexpected help from another side.
This happened very often during the battles in the past and we have a few examples of some of the greatest comebacks in war history.
- Prussia in the Seven Years’ War – disastrous war for the Prussians from the beginning. Frederick the Great, Prussian king, attacked first but, his military superiority was nothing against the alliance of the Austrian empress Maria Theresa with France, Sweden, Russia, Saxonia. Frederick’s and the British military superiority was not enough to overcome the advantage in numbers that Maria and her allies had. Most of the commanders and half of Frederick’s army was dead or captured and the Austro-Russian army was in front of Berlin, Frederick was about to suicide himself when the Miracle of the House of Brandenburg happened. The Austro-Russian forces retired, Russian Empress Elizabeth died in 1762. Her nephew Peter was a great admirer of Frederick, became Tsar, and retired from the war. Prussia recovered and the Austrians negotiated a peace. Prussia emerged from the war as one of the European Great Powers.
- The Second Punic War – in all of history of Rome there has never been a greater sense of defeat and desperation like there was after losing three major battles and nearly hundred thousand men. 1) Battle of Trebia “26,000–28,000, up to 32,000. 2) Battle of Lake Trasimene “30,000”. 3) Battle of Cannae practically wiped the entire army of 86k men. The disaster was even bigger when both Consuls died, the government was leaderless. But, there was still no talk of negotiation or surrender. Rome came back under Scipio Africanus and beat Hannibal Barka at the Battle of Zama.
- Battle of Thermopylae – fought between Greek city-states led by King Leonidas of Sparta and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I, during the second Persian invasion of Greece 480 BC. Themistocles was the commander of the Greek Navy when he received news that the Persian had taken the pass at Thermopylae. Since the Greek strategy required both Thermopylae and Artemisium to be held, and since they both were lost, it was decided to withdraw to Salamis. The Persians occupy Boeotia. The Greek fleet attacked and defeated the Persians at the Battle of Salamis. Xerxes was trapped in Europe, withdrew most of his army to Asia (losing half of it to starvation and disease) leaving Mardonius to complete the conquering of Greece. But, the following year the Greeks definitely defeated the Persians at the Battle of Plataea, ending the Persian invasion. The Battle of Thermopylae was used as an example of a powerful patriotic army defending his native ground using the advantages of equipment, training, and the terrain.