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The execution of Genghis Khan's envoy by the Shah of Khwarezm (Persia or Modern day Iran, more or less).
Genghis Khan legitimately wanted to trade with them in order to fund his war with China. Instead, the Shah decides to insult the smelly Mongol and kill his representative. This, of course, infuriated the Great Khan, leading to the Mongol invasion of first Khwarezm and then the rest of the Middle East, resulting in the complete destruction of his kingdom and devastation of the entire region: millions of deaths and the eventual burning of Baghdad, one of the world's greatest cities and great repositories of knowledge.
This legitimately could have changed the course of world history: at the time, the Islamic world was the richest and best educated region of the world. They had the largest cities, the best scientists and artists, and were generally tolerant of other cultures (especially in comparison to Europe at the time). All of that was burnt to the ground, because one ruler was a dickhead who didn't want to treat with a smelly Mongol.
The U.S.S William D Porter(A.k.a the "Frat Boat") is probably one of the funniest f*** ups in history. A destroyer whose job was to escort President Roosevelt(aboard the USS Iowa) during WWII.
During the process they manage to nearly kill him by accidentally shooting a torpedo at his ship while doing a practice drill where they stimulated shooting enemy aircraft, yes aircraft(which they were not ordered to do!), and then decide not to tell them via radio, and instead opt for light signals where they repeatedly give totally incorrect messages including telling them they shot a missile the other way, and that they're deciding to reverse.
After the ordeal the Iowa trained all its weaponry on the W.D.P
They were then arrested and a year later asked to patrol Antarctica , where one of them got drunk and shot a gun at a building with dozens of officers, blowing up the garden
They also scraped their anchor on the Iowa while leaving port because they forgot to lift it properly.
They then also nearly blew themselves up by accidentally dropping a depth charge off the side of their ship.
To round it all off, while off the coast of Okinawa, they shot a friendly ship by mistaking it for a plane, and then were the only ship sunk by an underwater Kamikaze attack from a downed plane.
And the best bit?During this whole ordeal not a single American life was lost due to their negligence. One man died when he was swept off the top by a freak wave
The 1917 Halifax Explosion -
In the morning of December 6th 1917 the French cargo ship Mont-Blanc was carrying munitions from New York through Halifax ultimately to go to Bordeaux France. As it made it's way into the Halifax Harbor it made a collision with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo. The Imo was travelling through the harbor at an accelerated rate; having had been delayed earlier in the day it was attempting to make up for time. Despite repeated attempts at advising the Imo to slow down, the captain disregarded them and continued through at high speeds.
The Imo would eventually meet its fate as it began towards a head on collision with the Mont-Blanc. At this point both ships were aware of the potential collision, and both had shut their engines off to prevent significant damage; a force stop wasn't used by the Mont-Blanc for fear that doing so may set off its cargo. Eventually the two ships were steered to the point where they had become parallel, the Mont-Blanc passing the Imo bow avoiding a collision.
The Imo, for what ever reason, decided to go in reverse, causing its head to swing into the Mont-Blanc. Initial damage wasn't severe; the problem though was that barrels of Benzol toppled over and began to spill out. As the Imo restarted its engines it flew out sparks, igniting the Benzol vapors.
The resulting explosion released an energy equivalent to 2.9 Kilotons of TNT - at the time the largest man made explosion until the development of Nuclear weapons. The explosion obliterated all nearby structures, completely destroying the nearby community of Richmond, killing around Two Thousand people and resulting in the injuries of another Nine Thousand. It was a blast so powerful that it ended up creating a Tsunami, which subsequently wiped out a native population who were living on Tuffs Cove. Pieces of the Mont-Blanc was scattered, travelling miles away from the initial blast area, its main gun reportedly travelling 3.5 miles north. It was so loud that the explosion was said to be heard over 100 miles away
All because the captain of the Imo was feeling a bit impatient that day.
The death toll could have been worse had it not been for the self-sacrifice of an Intercolonial Railway dispatcher, Patrick Vincent (Vince) Coleman, operating at the railyard about 750 feet (230 m) from Pier 6, where the explosion occurred. He and his co-worker, William Lovett, learned of the dangerous cargo aboard the burning Mont-Blanc from a sailor and began to flee. Coleman remembered, however, that an incoming passenger train from Saint John, New Brunswick, was due to arrive at the railyard within minutes. He returned to his post alone and continued to send out urgent telegraph messages to stop the train. Several variations of the message have been reported, among them this from the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: "Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbor making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this will be my last message. Good-bye boys."
Military involvement was due to begin in October 1932. The "war" was conducted under the command of Major G.P.W. Meredith of the Seventh Heavy Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery, with Meredith commanding a pair of soldiers armed with two Lewis guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition.
By 8 November, six days after the first engagement, 2,500 rounds of ammunition had been fired. The number of birds killed is uncertain: one account claims just 50 birds, but other accounts range from 200 to 500
Taking to the field on 13 November 1932, the military found a degree of success over the first two days, with approximately 40 emus killed. The third day, 15 November, proved to be far less successful, but by 2 December the guns were accounting for approximately 100 emus per week. Meredith was recalled on 10 December, and in his report he claimed 986 kills with 9,860 rounds, at a rate of exactly 10 rounds per confirmed kill. In addition, Meredith claimed 2,500 wounded birds had died as a result of the injuries that they had sustained.
In the 12th century, a monk made a prayer book. Paper was scarce in those days, so instead of shelling out for brand new paper the monk pulled an old manuscript off the shelf, and just wrote it using that. He scraped the ink off, re-cut, and flipped the pages, and set out writing his book.
Later analysis has shown that that worthless manuscript that he practically destroyed was actually a book called "The Method" by Archimedes. The book, to put it lightly, laid out the basics of calculus and physics more than 1500 years before Newton and Liebniz.
Who knows how advanced we might be these days if that monk hadn't written his book?
The U.S.S William D Porter(A.k.a the "Frat Boat") is probably one of the funniest f*** ups in history
Napoleon delegated responsibility for preparing the causeway for demolition to an unreliable general officer named Dulauloy. He in turn passed the task on to a Colonel Montfort, who soon decided that the whistle of musketballs was coming uncomfortably close and quitted the scene, leaving one miserable corporal in charge of the demolition charges. This unfortunate individual panicked at one o'clock and without the least need blew the bridge in spite of the fact that it was still crowded with French troops. This criminal mistake turned a successful withdrawal operation into a disaster, for the rear guard was trapped in Leipzig, with no means of making good their escape.
"The Method" by Archimedes. The book, to put it lightly, laid out the basics of calculus and physics more than 1500 years before Newton and Liebniz.
One of the biggest one has to be the legendary operation with 300% mortality by Robert Liston (born 1794):
"Amputated the leg in under 2 1⁄2minutes (the patient died afterwards in the ward from hospital gangrene; they usually did in those pre-Listerian days). He amputated in addition the fingers of his young assistant (who died afterwards in the ward from hospital gangrene). He also slashed through the coat tails of a distinguished surgical spectator, who was so terrified that the knife had pierced his vitals he dropped dead from fright. That was the only operation in history with a 300 percent mortality."