Rank #1: Episode 5 - The Battle of Gettysburg - 1-3 July 1863
Rank #2: Episode 1 - The Battle of Tannenberg - 26 August 1914
Rank #3: Episode 8 - The Six Day War - 1967
Rank #4: Episode 2 - The Battle of Moscow - 1941
Rank #5: Episode 13 - The Battle of the Marne - 1914
On August 27, 1914, a bare three weeks into the First World War, the hopes and dreams of the French to liberate their lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine by beating the German Army were in ashes. Hard and costly defeats had been inflicted on their army by a seemingly relentless grey tide of German soldiers backed by heavy artillery, the likes of which the world had never seen. Worse still, an incoming tide of a million German soldiers cutting through Belgium seemed unstoppable and that Paris would fall in a matter of a week or so. This is the story of how the French army rose from its knees and managed to inflict a stunning and decisive defeat on the German invaders that saved their country from disaster. This is the story of the Miracle of the Marne.
Rank #6: Episode 16 - The Battle of Stalingrad
A disastrous offensive launched by the Red Army in May, 1942 around Kharkov ended in a rout that paved the way for a renewed German offensive deep into southern Russia and the Ukraine beginning on June 23, 1942. The goal was to break Soviet resistance by capturing the oilfields of the Caucasus and the River Volga at Stalingrad. The Red Army was once again put on the defensive and soon their backs were against the Volga River, desperately trying to hang on in the face of an implacable and ruthless enemy bent on the annhilation of the Slavic people. This battle, fought in subhuman conditions between August 1942 and January 1943 cost nearly 2 million casualties and unspeakable suffering for those who fought and died there. This is the story of the battle many consider the turning point of World War II in Europe.
Rank #7: Episode 4 - The Battle of Waterloo - 18 June 1815
Rank #8: Episode 10 - Trafalgar
Rank #9: Episode 7 - The Battle of France 1940
As Winston Churchill watched the French army march past on Bastille Day, 1939, amid the tensions of Europe, he exclaimed "Thank God for the French army ..." and with good reason. France had the best equipped and largest army on the continent. Further bolstered by the virtually impregnable Maginot Line on its eastern border with Germany, a fleet second only to Britain's and a mighty air force, conventional thinking was that the Franco-British forces could and would defeat Germany's Wehrmacht if need be, or starve Germany to death by blockade. In this episode, we learn how a German general came up with the one plan that might succeed in winning the war and how the Battle of France was lost by the Allies, dooming the continent to five years of slaughter and destruction.
Rank #10: Episode 14 - Midway
The United States was caught unprepared for a surprise Japanese air attack on December 7, 1941 and suffered its worst naval defeat in history. With successive invasions and defeats in Guam and the Philippines, including the surrender of its remaining army at Corregidor, the United States was losing the war in the Pacificto Japan in June, 1942. Yet there remained a flicker of hope, because the American aircraft carriers had not been caught at Pearl Harbor and could still roam the seas, threatening the Japanese home islands and further conquests abroad. Japanese supreme commander Yamamoto was determined to ambush the four American carriers and end the threat once and for all. Newly appointed Pacific Fleet commander Chester Nimitz took over a demoralized fleet at Pearl Harbor knowing he could not allow the loss of his carriers or his island base in Hawaii. When he learned of an impending attack on Midway Island, he risked everything in a desperate gamble to outfox the Japanese fleet and ambush their carriers. This is the story of a miraculous and pivotal victory at sea that ranks with the greatest in history.