One of the fifteen decisive battles of history identified by Edward Creasy was the battle in the Teutoburg Forest where the Roman General Varus lost three legions almost to a man to a huge ambush by the German tribesmen. We have a pretty good account of the engagement from Tacitus and Creasy writes it up superbly to make it into a great piece of writing. It is hard to dispute that this is indeed a decisive battle since it prevented the Romans from establishing a frontier much further east which would have made the empire much deeper and would have reduced the length of the frontier that needed to be defended considerably. Had they succeeded the empire might well have lasted a lot longer.
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