The time period is similar to the crusade time instead of asia there is an entirely different island continent. The people on it are not homosapiens but some different earlier branch. they are though still similar in form.

There is a crusade called against them ( some holy lands near the eastern coast of Europe) people gather to the crusade same way they did in the real first crusade, but imagine that peter the hermit would have joined with rest of the army and that he made 60% of it and the rest were from the armies of Europe, and somehow they all counted up to 100k ( unrealistic, not historical, impossible i know but say it happened) they are then ambushed by an army of twice that number ( they are those other humans) and are fully encircled.

ranks break and people shatter ( the thing is those other humans are planning to kill every single soul), they are armed with late renaissance like weaponry and are all extremely skilled and professional the entire army has breast plate armor.

They start killing the trapped army, leadership is gone and panic spreads, the soldiers in the army manage to form small defensive circles, those who surrender are cut down immediately. There is no escape.

The question is how long would it take realistically to kill that many people with the equipment mentioned and with the state of disarray they are in?

Please i don't want a lecture why the scenario wouldn’t work i just care about how long they would need to kill that many, nothing else.

  • $\begingroup$ I've added relevant tags, please feel free to roll back if you think it's appropriate. You might want to decide between medieval and renaissance, they're different periods. $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '20 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ A google search for massacres of the middle ages would give you the answer you're looking for, I think. $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '20 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ @morristhecat well its not that they aren’t fighting back at all so I couldn’t find something like i described $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '20 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ @bitterdreggs well yeah but they kinda both present tho $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '20 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ It depends somewhat on how exactly the defeat happens. The death rate will be roughly proportional with the surface area between the combatants. The defenders will last longest in one big circle, with defeat coming quicker the more broken up they get. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Feb 3 '20 at 23:02

It appears that in the Battle of Thymbra, in the Lydia-Persian war (6th century BCE), 100,000 casualties took place in a single day. This was with early Iron Age swords and spears, breasplates and helmets, significantly less advance technology than what you'd see as late as 1000 CE.

If the two armies are as large as those at this battle, there's no reason it should take more than a single long day to inflict a hundred thousand casualties, providing only that the armies are disciplined enough to close when ordered to do so and not to simply run away from the battle.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer and a quick question, dont feel obligated to answer, would the killing of 500 k be sone in a day too? $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '20 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ Done* sorry for the mix up $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '20 at 20:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The Battle of Thymbra was fought in the 6th century BCE; that's more than half a millennium after the end of the Bronze Age. And while the Lydian did indeed lose badly and decisively, with heavy casualties, there was no mass massacre; for example, we know that the large-ish Egyptian contingent held to the end, then surrendered honorably and was offered service in the victorious Persian army; they accepted. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 3 '20 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ For an army encircled and grossly outnumbered, the only limit on how many casualties could be inflicted in a day is fighting travel time from the initial battle front to the center of the last holdout. How many men can you fit into a couple miles circle? $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Feb 4 '20 at 12:13

The Battle of Cannae occurred in 216 BC between Hannibal and the Romans, cost the lives of almost all of the Romans involved – nearly 90,000. It was fought and lost in a single day.

It is possible with an isolated, defeated army that it could be mopped up in a day.

  • $\begingroup$ How long do you think 500k will take? Same deal $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '20 at 21:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How many "mole whackers" in your attacking army? If you are looking for ultimate mayhem, anything is possible. If the opponents are fighting back, the cost to the attacking army could be as significant as what they deal to the defeated one. If all they are doing is an execution, arms get tired, might take a bit. Where no quarter is given, this type of execution, it can turn into a basic massacre instead. $\endgroup$
    – user72081
    Feb 3 '20 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ Yes say the attacking army is up for similar numbers but are highly equipped. 60% of the other army are just peasants with pitchforks. Could that massacre be done in one day with minimal losses? $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '20 at 21:56

The Siege of Baghdad could offer you a clue. It lasted about 12 days and resulted in the deaths of over 90,000 people, all done with 13th century weapons.

This was Baghdad, mind you. And it had boltholes, places to hide, streets to fight in with choke points, etc. It would take a lot longer than the scenario you have in mind

As I recall, the Mongols would do things like simply tell all of their soldiers to kill say 10 people each. In that case, it would not take very long at all to wipe out 100k people, even if the 'work' was done by hand. Say, for example, out of your remaining 150k people in the winning army (I'm assuming about 25% losses from combat), you could take 130k to prevent break out from the remaining knots of the soon to be massacred. Then take 20,000 and assign them 5 scalps each (or ears, or even heads). At that point, the dying could be over in a day from the time it took to break the resistance. Perhaps even less if you have flammables on hand.

Humans can be pretty nasty.


12-24 hours

I won’t give you an exact number of hours, because as you stated in your prompt some people were making last stands in little circles. Some people would be able to last just a little longer or fold faster.

Elsewhere in this thread people have given great historical examples like Thymbra, Baghdad, and of course Cannae, which is the absolute best example of we accept Livy’s casualty rates on their face (just like we’re accepting your numbers). Within a single day the numerically inferior Carthaginians slaughtered 75,000 Roman Soldiers, some of the most skilled and most armored soldiers in the world at the time.

The battle started and ended within one day, and killed three quarters of your requested number, so we should use it as a baseline.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.