The 100 Worst Military Disasters in History

by John T. Kuehn with David W. Holden


Military disasters throughout history have often had three common elements: overconfidence, underestimation of one's opponent, and failure to balance risks against gains.

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Cover image for The 100 Worst Military Disasters in History

January 2020


Pages 389
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
  World History/Conflict

The 100 Worst Military Disasters in History is a fascinating collection that educators, students, and historians will all find useful in helping them understand the causes and consequences of the most infamous military failures in history.

The dynamics of military disaster are equally, if not more, important as understanding how to achieve success on the battlefield. This comprehensive book covers the complete gamut of human history as it tells the compelling stories of the worst military debacles of all time. It covers battles, campaigns, and wars, starting with the ancient Persians and Greeks and finishing with the U.S. conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not limited to land warfare, however, the book also includes a number of the most disastrous naval engagements and campaigns in world history.

The 100 Worst Military Disasters in History opens with a detailed introduction illuminating the role military strategy and politics played in some of the worst battlefield failures throughout history. The entries are augmented with several engaging sidebars related to various military disasters. This eclectic collection includes coverage of many lesser known military disasters such as the Taiping Rebellion, during which 20 times more Chinese died than the number of people killed in the American Civil War.


  • Provides readers with a global collection of the worst military disasters in history
  • Offers a broad chronological review of military disasters across multiple conflicts
  • Includes engaging sidebars that augment the entries
  • Provides readers with an extensive resource list for further reading
Author Info

John T. Kuehn, PhD, is professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC). He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 at the rank of commander after 23 years. He has taught a variety of subjects, including military history, at CGSC since 2000. Dr. Kuehn has authored several books including A Short History of the Rise and Fall of the General Board of the Navy, 1900–1950 (2017) and Napoleonic Warfare: The Operational Art of the Great Campaigns (2015).

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