Napoleon at Jena. Vietnamese in Dien Bien Phu. Washington's withdrawal from Long Island. What makes a military operation so perfectly complete that you can almost hear Shang Tsung himself saying "Flawless Victory" in the back of your mind? A few criteria for the title of "successful" come to mind.
On the one hand, it cannot be a landslide victory between two countries, one being vastly superior to the other. Of course, the United States completely crushed Grenada, but who cares? The odds must therefore be close to equality.
Second, a Pyrrhic victory isn't exactly what anyone would call a "success." Yes, the British won at Bunker Hill, but they lost half their men. Also, if luck was essential to the outcome, it's not intended. The British at Dunkirk only planned to remove a tenth of these men from the beaches.
Finally, there must be some sort of military necessity, so Putin's "little green men" don't count.
1. The Six Day War: Israel against everyone.
Alright, so maybe not everyone, just his aggressive Arab neighbors.
In 1967, Israel was still largely the outsider in the Middle East. But living in a tough neighborhood means you need to grow thicker skin and maybe learn how to fight dirt. Few events went into the creation of modern Israel as we know it like the Six Day War.
In the days before the war, as tensions rose, Israel warned Egypt not to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships. Egypt did it anyway. Israel therefore launched a massive air campaign, destroying the Egyptian Air Force on the ground. When Jordan and Syria went to war, they got their asses handed by the IDF with unchallenged air supremacy.
As its name suggests, the war lasted six days, with Israel taking the West Bank from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt.
2. Operation August Storm: USSR vs. Imperial Japan
Of course, it took almost all of World War II for virtual neighbors Japan and Russia to start fighting, but once they did, Stalin stood out as the greatest number. of players.
Having curbed the Nazi war machine, the Red Army was ready to take revenge for the Russo-Japanese War that had so hampered them before World War I. In order to bring the Pacific War to a speedy end, the United States had to ensure that Japanese forces outside the home islands surrendered with the rest of Japan - and there were some 800,000 Japanese troops on the Chinese mainland, just waiting to kill the allied forces. What to do?
How about sending 1.5 million Red Army joint force troops after mopping the ground with the Wehrmacht to surround them with 28,000 artillery pieces, 5,000 tanks and 3,700 aircraft? This is what happened on August 9, 1945, when the Soviets split the Japanese army in two and dismantled it in a matter of days. On August 22, the deed was done and World War II was over.
4. Desert Storm: Iraq Against Everyone
It is quite easy to understand how Iraq came to invade tiny Kuwait. Miscommunication between Saddam Hussein and US Ambassador April Glaspie left the Iraqi dictator believing the US had given him the green light to invade his neighbor. Boy was he wrong.
In a logistical miracle that would make Eisenhower proud, in just a few weeks the United States and its coalition partners somehow moved all the manpower and materiel needed to defend the Saudi Arabia while liberating Kuwait and defeating the Iraqi army while suffering minimal casualties.
Like the biblical story of the flood, the United States flooded Iraq with smart bombs for 40 days and 40 nights. After taking a punch that might as well have been scored by Brazzers, the Iraqi army retreated in a ground war that lasted around 100 hours.
5. Operation Overlord: D-Day
Everyone knew that an invasion of Western Europe was coming, especially the Nazis. But Hitler's problem was how to prepare for it.
What's so amazing about Overlord's planning wasn't just the logistical mastery needed - Ike had to think of everything from balls to food to temporary ports to move that gear onto the beach, not to mention of planning a supply line when he didn't know how long it would take from day to day.
What's so wonderful about D-Day is all the preparation and planning that also went into fooling the Nazis about where the invasion would strike.
Operation Quicksilver, the plan to build the phantom army of inflatable tanks and other equipment, all commanded by the legendary General George S. Patton. The plan to fool the Nazis using a corpse thrown from an airplane with "secret plans" on its person, called Operation Mincemeat.
Everything came together so that on June 6, 1944, the largest amphibious landing to date, as well as the largest airborne operation to date, could combine with resistance movements and covert intelligence operations to liberate the Europe from the evil grip of a mad dictator and save an entire race of people.