Battle of Salamis, 480 BC
While the Battle of Thermopylae receives the most admiration due to the legendary last stand of the 300 Spartans, the Battle of Salamis is often forgotten. In 480 BC an allied fleet consisting of 378 Greek triremes destroyed the massive Persian navy. Despite the Persian fleet numbering over 1,000 ships, the Greeks were able to ambush and annihilate the Persians in the narrow Straights of Salamis.
By the Battle of Salamis the Persian army had already conquered and occupied most of Greece. However without the Persian fleet, Xerxes’ mighty army was cut off from supplies. Xerxes retreated with most of his army, crossing the Hellespont with a hastily built pontoon bridge. A force of 60,000 elite infantry and cavalry was left with the Persian general Mardonius to complete the conquest, which would later get the crap kicked out of it by the Greeks at Battle of Platae and Mycale.