These five military failures happened for various reasons, such as poor coordination, overconfidence, underestimation of the enemy, inadequate tactics, and poor equipment.


  • Saratoga: Uncoordinated British forces and underused naval power led to defeat, garnering French and Spanish support for Americans.
  • Isandlwana: Poor decisions and overconfidence in British superiority showed Zulu troops could win despite less technology.
  • The Denmark Straits: The Royal Navy prematurely engaged the German Bismarck and Prinz Eugen with outdated and incomplete vessels.
  • Singapore: Racist underestimation of the Japanese and poor leadership led to defeat despite outnumbering the Japanese 3-1.
  • Gazala: Inadequate tactics and lack of infantry support caused the loss of Tobruk, which had withstood a 241-day siege the prior year.