Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A last stand is a loose military term used to describe a body of troops holding a defensive position in the face of overwhelming odds. The defensive force usually takes very heavy casualties and on occasion is completely destroyed.
The situation can arise in one of two ways. Sometimes, the troops in question cannot retreat from their position without being destroyed by the enemy. At other times, the troops in question are following orders and refuse to retreat even though the option is open to them. In both cases, surrender is an option but the group as a whole decides instead to go down fighting.
Famous examples of last stands include:
- 480 BC: The Spartan's defence at Thermopylae.
- 14 October 1066: The housecarls around the body of King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings.
- 18 June 1815: Napoleon's Imperial Guard at the Battle of Waterloo "The Guard dies, it does not surrender!"
- 30 April 1863: The French Foreign Legion's stand at Camerone .
- 25 June, 1876: Custer's last stand at Battle of the Little Bighorn.
- 22 January, 1879: The last survivors of the British Army's 1st battalion of the 24th Regiment, the South Wales Borderers, who were defeated at the Battle of Isandlwana by the Zulus.
- 20 September – 30 September 1944: The Japanese defence of Angaur.
- 22 April – 25 April 1951: The Gloucestershire Regiment at the Battle of the Imjin River.
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