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After successfully flashing a modern custom ROM on my old phone, I tried doing the same with my girlfriend's old Lenovo Vibe P1m.

However, after mistakenly pulling out the USB cable at the worst time imaginable (flashing the recovery image), the phone wouldn't start anymore. Nothing worked - power button, power + volume up, down, both - nothing! So I'm guessing the recovery flash got corrupted. In great despair and guilt, I started looking for second-hand phones to swap the internal storage with.

After leaving it unplugged over the weekend though, the battery got drained, and, even though the power button still didn't work, the power + vol down buttons did show the boot menu, from which I managed to boot it normally.

That was a great story, but my question here is: what happened when I (practically) removed the battery? I know the clock resets of course, all cache goes away, but.. is the bootloader/recovery also reset?

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    The bootloader is in flash and thus is totally independent of the battery. Sounds more like the phone was in a state where you thought it would be off but actually it was running. May be a hard reboot (pressing the power button 10-60 seconds) would have had the same effect like leaving it unplugged over weekend.
    – Robert
    Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 14:18

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First your recovery got corrupted during flash interrupt. Then you booted into recovery accidentially, which made device crash. It stucked in crashed state and did not react to buttons, until battery drained. After you charged battery it powered on normally. During boot, recovery was restored from recovery-from-boot.p

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