England’s Biggest Battles
Because the Channel serves to protect the kingdom, with a little help from the Royal Navy, virtually all the battles that have been fought in England since the Norman Conquest have been in civil strife or as a result of a Scottish invasion. And of those battles, the greatest occurred during the civil wars of 1642-1651 between Parliament and the Crown. This can be seen from a list of the dozen biggest battles fought on English soil in terms of the combined number of combatants.
|Flodden (Sep 9, 1513) || c. 60,000|
|Towton (Mar 29, 1461) || c. 45,000-50,000|
|Worcester (Sep 3, 1651) || c. 45,000|
|Marston Moor (Jul 2, 1644)|| c. 40,000-45,000|
|Preston (Aug 17-19, 1648)|| c. 32,000|
|Turnham Green (Nov 13, 1642) ||c. 31,000-35,000|
|2nd Newbury (Oct 27, 1644) ||c. 28,000-30,000 |
|1st Newbury (Sep 20, 1643)|| c. 28,000|
|Edgehill (Oct 23, 1642)|| c. 27,500 |
|Dunbar (Sep 3, 1650) || c. 25,000|
|Naseby (Jun 14, 1645) || c. 21,000-22,000 |
|Stoke (Jun 16, 1487) || c. 20,000|
To give some idea of scale, at Hastings (Oct 14, 1066), where William the Bastard defeated Harold Godwinson to claim the throne of England, about 15,000 men were engaged, both sides together, and that was probably the biggest battle in Britain since Roman times. Some battles during the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages are reported as having much higher numbers engaged, but the documentation is very unreliable, especially when casualty figures are given in the tens of thousands; for example, tradition has it that at the Battle of Shrewsbury (July 21, 1403), some 40,000 men had at it, with 15,000 casualties, whereas modern estimates give the combined number of troops at under 10,000.
The HF-24 Marut: India's First "Home-Grown" Jet Fighter
Seeking to develop a domestic arms industry, in the late 1950s India decided to build its first jet fighter. The result was the Hindustan Aeronautics HF-24 Marut ("Spirit of the Storm"), which first flew in June of 1961.
The twin jet, single seat fighter-bomber weighed nearly 14,000 pounds and could make a little over 700 miles per hour, less than expected due to an inability to provide adequate domestically made engines. The plane had an operational range of 500 miles and could operate as high as 45,000 feet. The Marut was armed with four 30-mm cannon, and could carry up to two tons of bombs or 48 rockets.
Including 18 special two-seater training versions, 147 Maruts were built, and they formed an important part of the Indian Air Force’s inventory until 1990.
Because its performance was less than expected, the HF-24 was used in the ground attack role during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan Wars. Despite this, on December 7, 1971, Indian Air Force pilot K.K. Bakshi claimed to have downed a Pakistani F-86 while flying a Marut. No HF-24s seem to have been lost in air-to-air combat, but four were apparently lost to ground fire during the 1971 war.
Although officially an Indian aircraft, the HF-24 Marut was designed by Kurt Tank (1898-1983), who had been wandering the world looking for work – he’d already tried Britain, Nationalist China, the U.S.S.R., and even Argentina – for some years since his previous employer had gone out of the aviation business, Nazi Germany, for which he had designed the Focke-Wulf 190 and Focke-Wulf Ta 183, among the most effective aircraft of World War II.