In the war, Duryodhana repeatedly eggs on the invincible Bhishma and Drona to forward his cause, even though his main hope is Karna. He desires to appoint Karna as his commander-in-chief; however, Karna and Shakuni point out that his already reluctant allies would much rather fight under Bhishma, an older, experienced, god-born, kshatriya than fight under a suta-putra, son of a charioteer. Reluctantly, Duryodhana appoints Bhishma as the commander in chief.
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Story when Duryodhana wanted Karna to lead the war but reluctantly appoints Bhishma as the commander in chief
Duryodhan had defeated Bhim on 4th day and 8th day of war in an archery combat. When Bhishma falls to Arjuna, Duryodhana appoints Drona as commander-in-chief and orders him to capture Yudhishthira alive, so that he may blackmail the Pandavas into surrender, or force him to gamble again. On the thirteenth day of battle, his heir Lakshmana is killed by Arjuna’s son, Abhimanyu, who proceeds to try and arrest Duryodhana. Duryodhana participates in the brutal and unethical killing of Abhimanyu.
Duryodhan got repeatedly frustrated, as the Pandavas succeed in downing Drona, and is emotionally distraught when Arjuna kills Jayadratha, his brother-in-law, to avenge Abhimanyu. And all along, Bhima is steadily slaying his brothers, increasing his misery and bringing him closer to defeat. On 14th night he defeated all the Pandavas alone. On 15th day Duryodhan defeated Nakul in a single combat.
It is said that, Duryodhana never shed a single tear for any of his real brothers who were killed in the battlefield, but when his beloved friend Karna was slain, he was inconsolable. Duryodhan defeated Nakul and Sahadev on 17 th day of war. Duryodhana’s hopes are finally shattered when Karna is felled by the cheating of Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Duryodhana appoints Shalya as the next commander-in-chief. After the death of his beloved friend Karna he defeated all the Pandavas on 17th day singly handedly.
At the end of the exile term, Duryodhana refuses to return Yudhishthira’s kingdom, despite the counsel of Bhishma, Dronacharya, and Vidura. Although Dhritarashtra criticizes his son, he tacitly desires that Duryodhana retain his throne.