1.) Desperta Ferro!
An old war-cry, this Catalan phrase was used by the Almogovars, lighly-clad, fast footsoldiers of the Christian Iberian kingdoms in the later phases of the Reconquista, during the 13th and 14th centuries. In medieval Catalan, the phrase was Desperta Ferres! It means 'Awake, Iron!' Now how cool is that?!
This is a page from the Crònica de Ramon Muntaner, a Codex of 1342. This particular section chronicles the Battle of Gagliano (1300) and the highlighted sections show the use of 'Desperta Ferro!' and 'Desperta!'
This famous cry literally translates as something like 'ten thousand years,' shortened from Tenno Heiko Banzai (Long live the emperor/may the emperor reign for 10,000 years.) It has come to signify a particular type of infantry charge used by Japanese forces in World War II, one that would either overwhelm the enemy or result in the complete destruction of the attackers.
Also used was the less widely known 'Totsugeki' (charge)!
This is the Japanese type 30 bayonet, the principal weapon of choice in a Banzai charge. Slightly atypical in its sword-like possession of a sharp edge all the way along the blade.
3.) Rebel Yell
This impressive cry was used by Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War. Apparently, there were many different variations of the cry, which had no set, articulate words or even a designated sound. It is speculated that different regiments from different regions had their own particular yells, and research into the sound and origins of this intimidating battle cry has become quite a popular pursuit in recent years. The wailing, raucous nature of the sound has led to the belief that the cry has its origins in Native American war whoops, or an old Scottish war-cry tradition.
Although no 'authentic' recordings of the cry as used in actual battle exist, there are a number of recordings from the early twentieth century of Civil War veterans recreating the shout. This is one such occasion.
An Ancient Greek phrase literally translating as 'war cry' or 'loud cry,' the origins and use of which are varied. Hellenes and Akkadians are said to have used this rousing refrain in the time of Homer. Athenean warriors used the cry in the Medic Wars and the Pelopponesian War. Even in World War II, during the Greco-Italian War, Greek soldiers used a derivative 'Area' and a special corps of the fascist Italian army used the phrase "eja eja alalà." In Greek mythology, Alala was the daughter of the Daemon Polemos, and an attendant to the war God Ares (who used her name as his war-cry.) It was supposed to resemble the frightening hoot of an owl, which was a symbol of the Goddess Athena. In any case, it's really fun to shout - very onomatopoeic!
The hallowed origin of the ancient war cry!
5.) Dieu et mon Droit
Possibly the only battle cry to evolve into a national motto. Literally means 'God and my right,' which refers to the principle of the divine right of Kingship (i.e. as absolute monarch, I derive my right to rule from God.) It is believed that Richard Lionheart used this rallying cry at the Battle of Gisors in 1198. Henry V then made it the Royal motto of England, and it now appears on the Royal coat of arms.
Are there any famous battle cries that we've missed out here? Get in touch and let us know.