Throughout history certain brave individuals have stood alone against overwhelming odds. Taking on entire armies as a last stand has always been regarded as a one-way ticket to immortality. And that ticket got seven of them a place on this list. These are the most badass one-man last stands in history.
Number 7: ANIBAL MILHAIS
1895 to 1970 known as ‘Soldier millions’ was the most decorated Portuguese soldier of World War 1. His nickname comes from him being described as worth a million men. During Operation Georgette, Milhais stood alone with his machine gun and defeated two German assaults by laying down intense fire, leaving hundreds of Germans dead. He managed to cover the retreat of Portuguese and Scots despite being under heavy fire himself. He fired in all directions and stayed at his post until he ran out of ammunition. In the end, the Germans decided to go around his position and Milhais found himself behind enemy lines for three days. Only carrying his machine-gun, he managed to rescue a Scottish major from a swamp and the two reached allied lines. A few months later, ‘Soldier Millions’ again held back a German assault standing alone with his Lewis gun, allowing a Belgian unit to retreat safely to a secondary trench without any casualties.
Number 6: THE LONE VIKING ON STAMFORD BRIDGE
In 1066 during the Viking invasion on the eastern coast of England, an epic Last Stand secured one man a spot in history. At Stamford Bridge, a 15,000-man strong English army faced around 9,000 Vikings. A lone Berserker whose name is lost to time, fortified at the bridge and took down more than 40 Englishmen, giving his fellow Vikings time to regroup. Holding a Dane axe, this anonymous Norse barbarian held back the entire English army for over an hour. The Viking finally succumbed when an English soldier rowed under the bridge and stabbed him in the groin with a spear mortally wounding the Berserker. His sacrifice was in vain as the Vikings were soon defeated marking the end of the Viking golden age.
Number 5: BEN L SALOMON
Benjamin Lewis Salomon 1914 to 1944, was the United States Army dentist during World War 2, assigned as a frontline surgeon. During the Battle of Saipan, his aid station was overrun by a Japanese assault. When the Japanese started attacking his hospital, rather than flee and leave his patients behind, he grabbed an M1 rifle and ordered the wounded to be evacuated while he would cover their retreat. He succeeded in holding the line, killing at least 98 enemy troops before dying himself.
Number 4: DIAN WEI
Dian Wei was one of Cao Cao’s many generals and was renowned for his strength and bravery. He fought in several battles in his Lord’s honor before he acted as the rearguard for his escape at Wan Castle. Dian’s Last Stand took place during the Battle of Wancheng in the year 197, when he stood at the entrance of the castle and barred the way against hordes of enemy soldiers. He killed at least 20 enemies before another group of assassins that had entered the building from a different direction attacked him from behind. He was finally brought down by a rain of blows from every direction.
Number 3: MUSASHIBO BENKEI
Saito Musashibo Benkei was a massive warrior monk who served Minamoto no Yoshitsune and was known for being strong enough to pulverize a head by just squeezing it, and for mastering the use of more than 9 weapons. Benkei accompanied Yoshitsune as an outlaw until they were encircled in the castle of Koromogawa, in 1189. As Yoshitsune retired to the inner keep of the castle to commit ritual suicide, known as ‘seppuku’, Benkei fought on at the bridge in front of the main gate to protect his master. Realizing that any attempts of fighting Benkei up close would result in defeat, the opposing army decided to fight him from a distance instead. Benkei was killed by a barrage of arrows but by the time the rival hordes broke into the inner sanctum of the castle, Yoshitsune had already committed seppuku.
Number 2: JOHN R. MCKINNEY
Private John R. McKinney received the Medal of Honor in World War 2, for his bravery during the campaign to recapture the Philippines from Japanese forces in 1945. He was taking a nap when 100 Japanese soldiers launched a sneak attack on his position. McKinney returned fire on the Japanese attack and only using his rifle and fists, stood alone against waves of Japanese soldiers. He single-handedly thwarted the assault, killing 40 of them before the rest withdrew, using only his M1 Garand.
Number 1: SEMPRONIUS DENSUS
Sempronius Densus was a veteran centurion in the praetorian guard, and bodyguard to the deputy Emperor Galba, during the 1st century AC. He will be remembered by history for his courage and loyalty as he single-handedly defended his Emperor while all his comrades deserted or switched sides. Completely surrounded, Densus fought the entire army of mutinous Roman soldiers by himself, to defend a man he hardly knew. His courageous stand ended when he was brought down by a blow to the back of the knee and was enthusiastically murdered by the mob. Galba was later decapitated, and his head was paraded around town on a spear.
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