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A battle cry is a yell or chant taken up in battle, usually by members of the same combatant group.
Battle cries are not necessarily articulate (e.g. "Eliaaaa!", "Alala"..), although they often aim to invoke patriotic or religious sentiment. Their purpose is a combination of arousing aggression and esprit de corps on one's own side and causing intimidation on the hostile side. Battle cries are a universal form of display behaviour (i.e., threat display) aiming at competitive advantage, ideally by overstating one's own aggressive potential to a point where the enemy prefers to avoid confrontation altogether and opts to flee. In order to overstate one's potential for aggression, battle cries need to be as loud as possible, and have historically often been amplified by acoustic devices such as horns, drums, conches, carnyxes, bagpipes, bugles, etc. (see also martial music).
Battle cries are closely related to other behavioral patterns of human aggression, such as war dances and taunting, performed during the "warming up" phase preceding the escalation of physical violence. From the Middle Ages, many cries appeared on standards and were adopted as mottoes, an example being the motto "Dieu et mon droit" ("God and my right") of the English kings. It is said that this was Edward III's rallying cry during the Battle of Crécy. The word "slogan" originally derives from sluagh-gairm or sluagh-ghairm (sluagh = "people", "army", and gairm = "call", "proclamation"), the Scottish Gaelic word for "gathering-cry" and in times of war for "battle-cry". The Gaelic word was borrowed into English as slughorn, sluggorne, "slogum", and slogan.
One of the common Hindu war cries was "Har Har Mahadev" meaning either Everyone is Mahadev or Mahadev takes sorrows away.
A common war cry used in ancient Tamilakam was "Vetrivel, Veeravel" (Victorious Vel, Courageous Vel). Vel is the holy lance of the Hindu god of war Murugan.
Each Turkic tribe and tribal union had its distinct Tamga (seal), totemic Ongon bird, and distinct Uran (battle cry) (hence the Slavic Urah "battle cry"). While tamgas and ongons could be distinct down to individuals, the hue of horses and uran battle cries belonged to each tribe, were passed down from generation to generation, and some modern battle cries were recorded in antiquity. On split of the tribe, their unique distinction passed to a new political entity, endowing different modern states with the same uran battle cries of the split tribes, for example Kipchak battle cry among Kazakhs, Kirgizes, Turkmens, and Uzbeks. Some larger tribes' uran battle cries:
Allahu Akbar and Allah-Allah were used by Muslim armies throughout history. "Victory or martyrdom" was also a common battlecry; the Qur'an 9:52 says that Allah has promised to the righteous Muslim warrior one of these two glorious ideals.
When putting out peasants' rebellions in Germany and Scandinavia around 1500, such as in the Battle of Hemmingstedt, the Dutch mercenaries of the Black Guard yelled "Wahr di buer, die garde kumt" ('Beware, peasants, the guards are comin')
The Spanish cried "Santiago" (St. James) both when reconquering Spain from the Moors and during conquest in early colonial America.
King Henry IV of France (13 December 1553 - 14 May 1610), a pleasure-loving and cynical military leader, famed for wearing a striking white plume in his helmet and for his war cry: "Follow my white plume!" (French: "Ralliez-vous à mon panache blanc!").
In the Battle of Dybbøl in 1864, both Danish and German forces used "Hurrah" as a war cry.
During World War One in the Italian Front of 1915. Before battle, Italian Soldiers would yell "Savoia" or "Avanti Savoia", which is "Forward Savoy" in Italian.
During World War II, Banzai served as a battle cry of sorts for Japanese soldiers, particularly in a "banzai charge". The most popular battle cry is "Ei ei oh"(), which is usually used at the start of battle.