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- 1+ 89- 14
Hitlers 1942 Russian offensive proves to be the greatest blunder of the war. Instead of going for Moscow, or the vital ports up north, he chooses the Caucasus oil fields as his target. Hitler then changes his mind and makes the priority Stalingrad, the city named after his rival Stalin. However, without bothering to bolster the Sixth Army's flanks, the entire army is cut off inside the city of Stalingrad. To make things worst, Hitler then orders the army to keep fighting in the city, even though the Russians were pushing all Germans in the area back. The result is the surrender of the Sixth army, and Germany's failure to conquer Russia.
- 2+ 62- 12
The biggest tank battle of all time fittingly took place between the Germans and the Soviets. Thousands of tanks on each side fought each other in a battle that could change the course of the eastern front. Model attacked the Russian bulge from the North, and Von Manstein attacked from the south. The Russians under general Rokossovsky, knew where the Germans would attack and built defenses accordingly. Model failed to concentrate his forces enough to break thru the Russian defenses, but Von Manstein had cut behind enemy lines and was about to cut off the Russian army. Hitler, in one of the greatest blunders of the war, however ordered Manstein to retreat and called off the entire attack. The result was that the Germans handed the Russians the initiative for the rest of the war.
- 3+ 63- 22
The Luftwaffe attempts to destroy the Royal Air Force so Germany can invade Britain. The Germans use their vast numbers to force the British to choose its battles carefully. The British however, had already developed radar which allowed them to figure out where the Luftwaffe would attack. Oddly enough, the turning point of this battle did not happen in Britain, but in Germany. Berlin was bombed, which sent Hitler into a rage and led to the bombing of major British cities, saving the RAF from destruction. Sparing the RAF ended up being a terrible blunder, as the British retook the superiority in the air and made a invasion into Britain impossible.
- 4+ 54- 20
A decisive American victory, destroying Yamamoto's 4 aircraft carriers. Yamamoto made one of the worst blunders of the war when he used his bombers on Midway and let an American carrier, whose aircraft would destroy his entire fleet, off the hook till his dive bombers could refuel. Often called one of the most stunning and unforseen victories in all of naval warfare.
- 5+ 29- 8
- 6+ 36- 14
A surprise attack on the Russians that Hitler had been planning for some time. German solders trapped and encircled millions of Russian solders and pushed the Russians back hundreds of kilometers. The Germans took Smolensk, Kiev and Odessa among other key cities. Operation Typhoon, the final assault on Moscow, ended however with the Germans having to retreat west for the winter. While failing to achieve its final objectives, it still left the Germans with the initiative in the spring of 1942 to attack even further into Russia. The brutal treatment by the Germans to the Russians, the "Final Solution" called for the death of every Russian, that fell in the German blitz creates an anti-German fever, that united a divided Soviet Union to counter this horrible threat.
- 7+ 30- 11
- 8+ 16- 2
- 9+ 34- 16
- 10+ 30- 13
The climax of the Pacific theatre, and the last island America needed to launch a invasion on Japan. The Japanese, as you may had expected, fought nearly to the last man as 100,000 Japanese died out of the 120,000 garrisoned there. Four generals lost their lives, 3 Japanese and 1 American, during the carnage that claimed about 40,000 American casualties. Whats worse is the sickening treatment of the civilian population there. Rape was common by both sides, and Japanese ordered the civilian population to commit suicide rather than being taken over by the Americans, whom they portrayed as sub human monsters. Anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000 civilians died during the battle.
- 11+ 27- 11
France, one of the major powers of the world, hid from the Germans behind the Maginot line, a series of defenses that the Germans could not pass. Instead of attempting to break thru the tough defenses, Guderian out flanked the Allies in the north and cut France in two. Counterattacks against the Germans failed and France could see the writing on the wall. The British managed, with a little help from a classic Hitler military blunder, to escape in the battle of Dunkirk back to Britain and fight another day. However Britain had lost its last ally against Germany, and seemed doomed to be blitzed just like France.
- 12+ 29- 13
- 13+ 24- 9
- 14+ 31- 16
In one month, a German blitz conquered Warsaw, the Polish capital, and proved to the world that peace was no longer an option. Close to 700,000 Poles were encircled by German and Russian forces out of the 900,000 strong Polish Army. France and Great Britain declared war on Germany, but had no idea how they would stop Hitler and his lightning blitzkrieg.
- 15+ 31- 16
The fiercest battle in the Pacific theater took place between the US Marines and Kuribayashi's army on an island with little strategic value. However, the Japanese fought it almost to the last man, with 21,814 of the 22,060 defenders dying, not wounded or captured, DEAD, during the battle. That means that at one point in the battle, 500 Japanese were fighting close to 50,000 Americans! Its legacy as one of the most brutal victories in American history outweighs its lack of strategic value, with the raising of the flag over Suribachi a moment that the United States Marines still find great pride in.
- 16+ 32- 17
Germany's, and the Axis's, last strategic attack in World War 2. Hitler planned to cut the Allied forces in Western Europe in two by cutting through the Ardennes and blitzing to the ports in France where the Allies supplied their forces. The panzers cut through the weak defenses fine, leaving little pockets for the infantry to clean up. These pockets proved to be diehards though, and refused to give in when German victory seemed to be just a matter of time. Allies, by now scared out of their wits, sent in their ace General Patton, to save their entire European campaign. Patton covered more miles in less time than any general in history, with one of the most unbelievable marches in military history, and took the Germans last hope away from them, pushing the Germans back to their original positions and put them on the defensive for the rest of the war.
- 17+ 21- 8
Hitler orders the greatly overpowered Army Group Centre to hold their ground against the Russian onslaught. Russian artillery destroy the German defenses as mobile ground units encircle and eliminate the remains of Army Group Centre. Even though not well known, it is, along with Stalingrad, one of the greatest catastrophes in German history.
- 18+ 19- 9
The Normandy invasion was gaining stream when all of a sudden, a gift was given to the Allies. The Allies had cut around the Germans left flank, thanks to General Patton, and was threatening to encircle the entire German defenses in the region. Interesting fact was as this encirclement occurred, the destruction of Army Group Center in the Eastern Front was almost complete. Talk about a bad week! Anyways, unlike in the Eastern Front, Von Kluge and Model are actually able to save some of their army before it got annihilated. But 50,000 Germans were lost in a costly fight that disorganized any defense against the now strong Allied landings.
- 19+ 22- 12
Admiral MacArthors decision to hold on the already lost Philippines results in the capture of 100,000 Americans. What may be the most significant outcome of the battle may not be the battle itself, but the Japanese brutal treatment of the American prisoners by the Japanese. Once news got out about the Bataan Death March, the Americans became enraged at the Japanese barbaric torture. This led to the tone of the Pacific theater being changed from a deadly theatre of war, to a personal and brutal barbaric struggle, where neither side surrendered and battles were fought to the last man.
- 20+ 17- 11