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town, East Sussex, SE England. The town grew up on the site (then a moorland) of the battle of HastingsHastings,
city (1991 pop. 74,979) and district, East Sussex, SE England. A resort and residential city, Hastings is backed by cliffs and has a 3-mi (4.8-km) marine esplanade, parks, and bathing beaches. The site was occupied in Roman times.
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 (1066). The victorious William the Conqueror built

Battle Abbey to commemorate the event. The abbey has been converted into a girls' school, but ruins can be seen.



a clash of masses of troops in combat to achieve large-scale military and political results. In the past (until the 19th century), armies were numerically small in comparison with modern armies, and decisive combat operations took place in limited areas; often the fate, not only of an army, but of a state as well, was decided as a result of one battle. Examples of this include the Battle on the Kalka in 1223, which foreordained the establishment of the Mongol-Tatar yoke in Rus’; the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380, which contributed to the liberation of Rus’ from the Mongol-Tatar invaders; and the Battle of Poltava in 1709, which predetermined the outcome of the Northern War of 1700–21 in favor of Russia.

Today the word “battle” is used as a collective concept to signify a series of engagements and encounters (Battle of the Nations near Leipzig in 1813). The largest military events that have decided the fate of campaigns, sometimes of wars, are called general encounters (Austerlitz, 1805; Jena, 1806; and others). In the mid-19th century the word “operation” came into use. The concepts “battle,” “encounter,” and “operation” began to be used synonymously (for example, the encounter at Sedan and the Sedan operation, 1870; the encounter at Mukden and the Mukden operation, 1905; the encounter at the Marne and the Battle of the Marne, 1914; the Galician encounter and the Battle of Galicia, 1914).

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) “battle” implied a struggle between large strategic groupings on the most important strategic axes. The deciding forces of these battles were the frontline units (the adversary’s groups of armies). The biggest battles of the Great Patriotic War were the Battle of Moscow, 1941–42; the Battle of Stalingrad, 1942–43; the Battle of Kursk, 1943; the Battle for Leningrad, 1941–14; the Battle for the Caucasus, 1942–43; and the Battle for the Dnieper, 1943. Each of these battles consisted of a series of defensive and offensive operations. The length of the battles varied from one and a half (the Battle of Kursk) to six months (the Battle of Stalingrad) and even to three years (the Battle for Leningrad).




(srazhenie), the aggregate of strikes and combat actions having a common purpose and conducted by units of various sizes in the course of an operation in order to achieve the operation’s objectives or the objectives of a specific stage. A battle may take place on land, in the air, or at sea. Various branches of armed forces and arms or services usually participate in ground battles. Battles may also involve only one branch, as in air or naval battles, or only one arm or service, as in a tank battle. They may be either operational or strategic, depending on the number and type of forces involved and the size of the territory to be taken—whether on land, in the air, or at sea. Operational battles are a series of unit actions; strategic battles are a series of combat actions by operational units. An operation involves several battles of varying durations. A battle may develop over an entire front or in several directions at once, either simultaneously or by stages; it may also be carried great distances from the front. Battles may be defensive or counteroffensive.

Until the 19th century, there was no clear distinction in Russian between the words boi (“combat action”) and srazhenie, and the terms were often used interchangeably. In the 18th and 19th centuries, a distinction was made between decisive (generalnye) and local (chastnye) battles. A decisive battle, which was often referred to as a bitva in Russian, had a decisive effect on the outcome of military campaigns or, occasionally, of wars, for example, at Austerlitz in 1805 and Jena in 1806. In the mid-19th century, the terms boi, bitva, and operatsiia (“operation”) came to be used synonymously in Russian, for example, in describing the battle of Galicia (1914) and the battle of the Marne (1914). In the military historical literature on the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), the term srazhenie is occasionally used to denote an aggregate of operations, as in the battle of Smolensk (1941).



See also War.
Octavian’s naval defeat of Antony and Cleopatra (31 B.C.). [Rom. Hist.: NCE, 15]
longbow helps British defeat French (1415). [Br. Lit.: Henry V; Br. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 5]
fort at San Antonio that was site of Mexican massacre of Texans (1836). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 8]
indecisive battle of the Civil War (1862). [Am. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 15]
Alexander’s rout of Darius (331 B.C.). [Classical Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 17]
final battle between forces of good and evil. [N.T.: Revelation 16:16]
Napoleon’s brilliant success over Austro-Russian coalition (1805). [Fr. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 23–24]
fought between Russians and British during Crimean War (1854). [Russ. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 25–26]
Battle of the Bulge
unsuccessful attempt by Germans to push Allies back from German territory (1944–1945). [Ger. Hist.: EB, II: 360–361]
Belleau Wood
locale of significant American triumph in WWI (1918). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 47]
Sanskrit epic relates the great fratricidal battle between two noble families. [Hindu Lit.: Bhagavad-Gita in Benét, 103]
Bull Run
site of two important battles of the Civil War (1861) (1862). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 68]
Bunker Hill
“Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes”; American Revolutionary battle (1775). [Am. Hist.: Worth, 22]
perhaps Hannibal’s greatest victory (216 B.C.). [Rom. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 48]
Coral Sea
first naval engagement exclusively involving planes versus ships (1942). [Am. Hist.: Van Doren, 488]
English over French; preeminence of longbow established (1346). [Fr. Hist.: Bishop, 382–385]
Fort Sumter
site of opening blow of Civil War (1861). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 486–487]
site of Pyrrhic victory for North in Civil War (1863). [Am. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 97]
Marines triumphed in first major U.S. offensive of WWII (1942–1943). [Am. Hist.: Van Doren, 490]
battle that determined the Norman Conquest of England (1066). [Br. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 107]
Iwo Jima
inspiring American triumph in the Pacific (1945). [Am. Hist.: Leonard, 472–480]
established British WWI naval supremacy (1916). [Br. Hist.: EB, 19: 954–955]
opening engagement of the American Revolution (1775). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 283]
object of first major Viking raid in Britain (792). [Br. Hist.: Grun, 86]
Indian mutiny put down by British (1858). [Ind. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 143]
plain near Athens where Greeks defeated Persians in 490 B.C. [Gk. Hist.: Benét, 633]
site of decisive battle between Japanese and Americans in WWII (1942). [Am. Hist.: EB, VI: 877–878]
Mount Badon
here Arthur soundly defeated the Saxons (c. 520). [Arthurian Legend: Benét, 72]
New Orléans
end of War of 1812; fought after treaty had been signed (1815). [Am. Hist.: Worth, 22]
Normandy Invasion
Allied invasion of Europe during WWII; D-Day (June 6, 1944). [Eur. Hist.: EB, VII: 391]
scene of American amphibian operations during WWII (1945). [Am. Hist.: EB, VII: 505]
Joan of Arc’s inspired triumph over English (1429). [Fr. Hist.: Bishop, 392]
Pearl Harbor
site of Japanese surprise attack (December 7, 1941). [Am. Hist.: EB, VII: 822]
Plains of Abraham
English victory decided last of French and Indian wars (1759). [Br. Hist.: NCE, 7]
site of battle between Byzantines and an Italian force under Pope Gregory II. Byzantines were routed (729). [Gk. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 207]
Xerxes’ horde repulsed by numerically inferior Greek navy (480 B.C.). [Class. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 219]
Arabs defeated Chinese (751); adopted some of Chinese technology and culture. [Chinese Hist.: Grun, 78]
(Stillwater) fought between Americans and British during Revolution (1777). [Am. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 237–238]
decisive battle of the Franco-German War (1870). [Fr. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 225]
unsuccessful German assault on Stalingrad, Russia (1942–1943). [Ger. Hist.: EB, IX: 517]
300 Spartans hold off Xerxes’ horde (480 B.C.). [Classical Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 248]
defeat of French and Spanish; zenith of British naval history (1805). [Br. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 252–253]
Washington’s brilliant surprise attack galvanized American morale (1776). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 508]
battle fought between French and Prussians (1792). [Eur. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 259]
site of numerous battles. [Fr. Hist.: EB, X: 395]
city held by Confederates; besieged several times (1862, 1863). [Am. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 261–262]
site of Napoleon’s defeat (1815). [Fr. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 266]
site of American victory over British, ending Revolutionary War (1781). [Am. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 271]


Kathleen. born 1948, US opera singer: a coloratura soprano, she made her professional debut in 1972 and sang with New York City's Metropolitan Opera (1977--94)


a town in SE England, in East Sussex: site of the Battle of Hastings (1066); medieval abbey. Pop.: 5190 (2001)