Weird History

Modern Photos Of The Deadliest Battles In History 

Gordon Cameron
Updated August 12, 2020 1.5k votes 318 voters 24.6k views 30 items

List Rules Vote up the images that help you see famous battles in a new light.

Whether you want to walk the route of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg or visit the spot where Leonidas and his Spartans made their last stand against the Persians, these legendary battlefields are still there to be visited. And some are not much changed from when their names passed into history - whether because of active preservation efforts, or because nobody had much reason to build anything there.

If you don't feel like hoofing it to Greece or Pennsylvania or Tunisia or Japan, you're just a few clicks away from satellite images of these timeless fields. Join us for a survey of 30 of history's most famous battlefields, in a bird's-eye view of how they look today.

Battle of Thermopylae is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Modern Photos Of The Deadliest Battles In History
Photo: Google Maps

The most famous "last stand" in military history occurred when several thousand Greek hoplites - stiffened by a core of 300 professional Spartan soldiers led by King Leonidas - chose the narrow "hot gates" of Thermopylae as the place to stop a massive invasion of Greece by overwhelming Persian forces under King Xerxes I.

The Spartans lost their lives to a man, but not before severely bloodying the Persians' nose. The battle inspired further resistance by the Greeks, who would soon turn back the Persians altogether, and it has echoed in history ever since.

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Battle of Gettysburg is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Modern Photos Of The Deadliest Battles In History
Photo: Google Maps

The greatest battle of the Civil War was a three-day slugfest between Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and George Meade's Army of the Potomac, fought just outside a small town in Southern Pennsylvania. After a terrible struggle in which more than 7,000 men lost their lives, and thousands more were wounded, Lee's invasion of the North was blunted. Today, the battlefield is well-preserved, dotted with monuments to regiments and officers, and is an essential part of any Civil War buff's education.

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Battle of Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Modern Photos Of The Deadliest Battles In History
Photo: Google Maps

The end game of the Pacific War kicked into high gear with the American invasion of this tiny island 750 miles south of Tokyo. Japanese defenders, unable to evacuate or be reinforced, put up an incredibly tenacious fight, leading to heavy casualties on both sides.

Mount Suribachi, where the historically remembered photo of the Iwo Jima flag-raising was taken, is on the island's southwest corner. 

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Battle of Cannae (216 BCE)
Battle of Cannae is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Modern Photos Of The Deadliest Battles In History
Photo: Google Maps

The Carthaginian general Hannibal, universally regarded as one of the greatest military geniuses of all time, smashed a force of over 80,000 Roman soldiers at this battlefield in southern Italy. Hannibal's brilliant tactics - achieving a double envelopment which totally surrounded the Romans and allowed them to be essentially slaughtered like cattle - are studied to this day.

His brilliance wasn't enough in the end; Rome would prevail in the Second Punic War and destroy Carthage in the Third.

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