As much as we'd like to believe what Braveheart and Return of the Jedi have told us, real-world battles are rarely won by the ragtag team of underdogs. Tanks beat horses, guns beat spears.
Yet, as we've found again and again here at Cracked, often history turns out to be more awesome than fiction.
6The Battle of Morgarten
The Swiss are truly a slippery breed. With their endless supply of clocks, pocketknives and chocolates, they have managed to outlast just about every dictator/emperor/Hitler in history. What gives? What makes them too good for our friendship?
The rest of us non-Swiss have a long memory when it comes to Switzerland's neutrality.
In 1315, Duke Leopold I of Austria decided to put Europe's mutual hatred of the Swiss to good use by invading the country with a force of anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 soldiers and cavalry. According to contemporary chronicler Johannes Vitoduranus, "The men of this army came together with one purpose, to utterly subdue and humiliate those peasants who were surrounded with mountains as with walls."
Because being a peasant wasn't humiliating enough.
Leopold's Austrian army was well-suited for battle, riding in with heavy mail and plate armor that could withstand all but the most piercing attacks. Along with heavily armored horses, the combined weight of these knights was expected to be enough to crush any pain in the ass innocent bystanders who got in their way ... which, of course, was exactly what they planned to do with them.
Their opponents were the Swiss.
The only thing the Swiss had going for them was the halberd, which was a bit of a mix between an ax, a spear and a meat hook that handled like all three weapons in one. You know ...
Like one of these.
But Austria was soon to learn exactly why nobody ever seems to want to fuck with the Swiss. On Nov. 15, 1315, Leopold's Uruk-hai army was greeted by a roadblock on a narrow point between Lake Aegeri and Morgarten, buttressed with a steep slope on one side and a swamp on the other. Before anyone figured out this might possibly be a trap, 1,500 Swiss confederates stationed in the cliffs above started hurling enough rocks, logs and Swiss army knives that the Austrians thought they were being assaulted by goddamned ewoks.
The Battle of Morgarten was not so much a battle as it was an absolute massacre. Whoever wasn't conked on the head with a boulder was forced off the road and into the swamp by Swiss footmen. For all the advances in armor plating during the Middle Ages, Leopold's army was undone by logs and rocks.
Also, by George Lucas running out of ideas.