The 6 Craziest Sieges in History

The Siege of Candia

May 1648 - September 1669

In 1644, a group of Knights of Malta attacked an Ottoman convoy and took their money and women to the fortress city of Candia on Crete. It didn't exactly start the war between the Ottomans and the Venetians, but here, let me try to explain. Imagine you're having an argument with the police over an expired zoning permit, a mugger runs into your home, and the police surround the building and try to kill you for 21 years.

The Ottomans swarmed the island of Crete with 60,000 soldiers and surrounded Candia with troops and ships, starting the second longest siege in history. They cut off the city's water supply and spent the better part of two decades shooting at it with cannons. The siege lasted longer than Kareem Abdul Jabbar's NBA career. It got dragged out 33 times longer than the show Outsourced and was nearly as culturally intolerant.

The besieged city asked everyone they knew for help, including the Knights of the Malta, so Candia was either very desperate or everyone who remembered that those guys were the ones who started everything had died of old age. No one made much of a difference until 1669, when the French sent them a fleet of ships that included the war-ending superboat, La Therese. The 1000-ton floating fortress with 58 cannons was going to blow the Ottomans off the planet. Unfortunately, right before it could do that, it demolished itself without any Ottoman help in what must have been the sweetest gunpowder accident of all time.

By this point, 70 percent of Crete's population had been killed, there were only about 3600 soldiers left, no supplies and their own boats were committing suicide. After 21 fucking years of eating artillery and rats, Candia surrendered without even waiting for authorization from the Venitian Senate. The news was so sad that everyone still blames it for the death of Pope Clement IX. I don't know what everyone did as they fled from Candia, but I imagine it was tough for 20-something Venetians to get a job when their only education and job experience was "trying not to die."

The Siege of Tyre

January to July, 332 BC

Educated by his tactical genius father, Phillip, and the regular genius Aristotle, Alexander the Great became one of the greatest military minds to ever live, and in 333 BC he took his army into Persia to conquer the known world. Things went well at first. At Issus, he defeated a group of Persian soldiers that was anywhere from three to eight times his army's size while losing less than 10 percent of this men. No historians can ever come together on how big these ancient armies were, but they all agree that Alexander the Great beat the shit out of them. The Washington Generals put up better statistics than the Persians.

For a year, Alexander ran through the country beating people by impossible margins or having armies surrender to him when he got there. Most people were happy to fight for him -- in 332 BC going to war under Alexander the Great had a higher life expectancy than staying home and being nice to people. The world was practically begging him to unite it like the front guy in a human centipede. And then Alexander of Macedonia got to Tyre.

Tyre was a fortress a half mile offshore, and Alexander didn't have any ships. So he did what any pragmatic genius would do: He told his men to rip apart a nearby city, cut down every tree for miles, and start work on a 200-foot wide bridge. For the Hellenistic Period, this type of engineering feat might as well have been an Optimus Prime, and when the people inside Tyre saw what those maniacs were trying to do they laughed their asses off, until it started working.

The Tyrians sent out boats to attack the bridge builders, and Alexander fought them back by constructing huge catapult-armed siege towers. As the bridge got closer to their city, the Tyrians came up with some genius of their own. They filled a ship with oil, lit it on fire and rammed it into Alexander's towers. It turned months of hard work into a bonfire, and a pissed off Alexander knew he'd need boats.

Luckily, all the cities he conquered on the way there had boats, so once he had those all he had to do was fit them with ramps, cranes and battering rams and invent the very concept of amphibious warfare. He did, because he was Great, but unfortunately the six months he spent building a pointless bridge under constant harassment made him bitter. Instead of welcoming the conquered Tyrians into his army he crucified them and sold tens of thousands of the rest into slavery. And he didn't seem to cheer up at all after his victory in Gaza which turned into a post-apocalyptic rapefest. By the next year, Alexander was killing prisoners and naming cities after himself all across Asia and became convinced he was directly descended from Apollo. I hope the Tyrians are happy -- that stupid little unconquerable island city of theirs managed to turn a guy from Alexander the Great into Alexander the Douchebag.

Waco, Texas

February 28th - April 19th, 1993

Cult leader David Koresh claimed to be the second coming of Jesus, but that's a tough thing to scientifically confirm. Putting a lab technician and God's DNA in the same room always leads to a fist fight. The only real way to tell if someone is Jesus is to put them in a box for 1900 years and see if Nazi faces melt when you open it. However, rival nutjob George Rodan, thought of a different way. He exhumed a body and challenged Koresh to a resurrection contest. A fucking resurrection contest. In theology, this is commonly known as "Calling the second-coming-of-Jesus' bluff."

Instead of bringing the lady back to life, David Koresh ran to the police. Check and mate, David Koresh. Jesus would never be so unsportsmanlike. Plus, when you go to the police and tell them you just came from a resurrection contest, they know two things: 1) You're fucking nuts and 2) they should make a special note of this.

Being on the nutbag watchlist came back to haunt Koresh a few years later when he started stockpiling assault rifles and women. It's not hard to get a search warrant for a place that has M16 parts and breast pumps delivered by the case. And when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showed up to search his compound, David Koresh did what Jesus would do: he started a gunfight with the government. To be fair, there's some historical conflict on who shot first. The Davidians say the ATF opened fire without warning or maybe only on accident, while other reports say the first shots were fired by a squad of dog murderers that had snuck in to shoot the Branch Davidian dogs. It makes no sense that there are conflicting reports since you don't normally see dishonesty from the government and people who say they're Jesus.

Shooting at the ATF showed a surprising lack of foresight from the man whose goal in life was having 140 wives. Oh, if only women had qualities that would make being married to 140 of them seem like an absurd idea! It would really help me write a joke if that many women syncing their cycles together caused every wolf for 50 miles to run straight for their house. Man, I really think I'd have something to go on if the sex life of a man with 140 wives was getting halfway in before 139 people needed jars opened.

After the initial shooting, the FBI started their 50-day siege. They set up loud speakers and blasted bad pop music and the sounds of dying rabbits to fuck with the cultists. David Koresh was himself a musician and he turned the siege into the world's worst battle of the bands when he played his own songs right back at the FBI. His music, coincidentally, was exactly like a mix of bad pop and dying rabbits. David Koresh's songs are less tough than dildo chafing. After hearing him sing, I think the only reason he wanted 140 wives was so he lived in a house with a handbag for any outfit.

The siege of Waco dragged on and on. The FBI had 25 fucking negotiators, and none of them spoke Crazy. Every day, the news told us how many hundreds of thousands of dollars it was costing taxpayers to stand outside a lunatic's home and play Nancy Sinatra songs at him. It was the perfect example of how we'll never see another classic siege. Never again will someone build a tower and roll it up to a parapat to brain a man dropping burning pitch on a battering ram. We have thermal imaging, bunker buster missiles and Seal Team Six (© Disney 2011). The only thing keeping Waco from being wiped off the map was the fact that it was filled with pregnant women and children, because neither of those things can be held responsible for their actions.

Finally, on April 19, 1993, tanks smashed holes in the walls and filled the place with tear gas. The FBI did this for six hours and still nobody came out. This was impressive because six hours in tear gas time is like seven, maybe eight hours in regular time. No one knows exactly what went on inside, only that it was insane and everything started catching on fire. I take back some of the things I said about David Koresh. This wasn't just a guy that managed to deal with multiple wives, he managed to deal with multiple women stubborn enough to burn alive in tear gas rather than admit they were wrong. The fact that his nuts survived one day into that relationship is the craziest part of this whole story.

Seanbaby draws Nintendo graphics and writes jokes. You can enjoy him on Twitter, Facebook, and

For more Seanbaby, check out The 10 Most Butt References Per Second in Music History and 7 Super Powers That Steven Seagal Actually Believes He Has.

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