7 Small Armies That Devastated Larger Foes

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1526 – First Battle of Panipat

The First Battle of Panipat on 21 April 1526 would be fought between the invading forces of Babur, a descendant of Genghis Khan, and the Lodi Empire, an Afghan dynasty that ruled the Delhi Sultanate since 1451. It is widely believed to be the first battle in history where gunpowder firearms and field artillery were extensively used.

Babur wanted to take control of Punjab from Sultan Ibrahim Lodi, who had around 100,000 soldiers and 1,000 war elephants, while Babur only commanded an army of about 12,000 troops. To counter the vast numbers he faced, he erected a wall of carts, secured together by ropes, with gaps to allow horse riders to travel through the line of fortifications. The two forces would stare across the battlefield for a whole week before any fighting actually took place.

Once the fighting did commence, Babur’s superior military tactics won the day by flanking the Sultans forces. Eventually, his troops managed to kill the Sultan himself, causing his troops to flee, as well as some 40,000 of his soldiers. Although this battle was credited as the first battle to use gunpowder firearms, and field artillery, many historians believe Babur’s archers were the real turning point.

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