The Most Important Battles of World War 2 Military Conflicts

The Most Important Battles of World War 2

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Battles that changed the natural course of WW2

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    Battle of Stalingrad
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia, on the eastern boundary of Europe. Marked by constant close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it ...more

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    Battle of Kursk
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    The Battle of Kursk was a World War II engagement between German and Soviet forces on the Eastern Front near Kursk in the Soviet Union during July and August 1943. The German offensive was code-named Operation Citadel and led to one of the largest armoured clashes in history, the Battle of Prokhorovka.more

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    Battle of Britain
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    The Battle of Britain is the name given to the Second World War air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940. The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and was also the largest and most sustained ...more

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    Battle of Midway
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    The Battle of Midway was a crucial and decisive naval battle in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, only six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, the United States Navy under Admirals Chester Nimitz, Frank Jack Fletcher, ...more

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    Operation Barbarossa
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II, commencing on 22 June 1941. Over the course of the operation, about four million soldiers of the Axis powers invaded Soviet Russia along a 2,900 km front, making it the largest invasion in the ...more

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    Invasion of Normandy
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    The Invasion of Normandy was the invasion by and establishment of Western Allied forces in Normandy, during Operation Overlord in 1944 during World War II; the largest amphibious invasion to ever take place. D-Day, the day of the initial assaults, was Tuesday 6 June 1944. Allied land forces that saw ...more

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    operation bagration

    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.
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    Second Battle of El Alamein
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    Rommel is finally forced to retreat, giving the Allies the initiative in North Africa for the rest of the war.

    The Second Battle of El Alamein took place near the Egyptian coastal city of El Alamein. With the Allies victorious, it marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. It followed the First Battle of El Alamein, which had stalled the Axis advance into Egypt, after ...more

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    Battle of Moscow
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    The Battle of Moscow is the name given by Soviet historians to two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler's attack on Moscow, capital of ...more

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    Battle of the Atlantic
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    Germany attempts to cut off Britain from its ally USA. U boats wreak havoc on British shipping routes for years, but because of a lack of desire to build a sizable navy, Germany eventually gives the Atlantic to the Allies, leading to D Day.

    The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Germany in 1945. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. It was at its ...more

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    Battle of Okinawa
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and included the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War during World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were ...more

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    Battle of the Bulge
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive campaign launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end of World War II in Europe. Eric von Manstein planned the offensive with the primary goal to recapture the ...more

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    Battle of Iwo Jima
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    The Battle of Iwo Jima was a major battle in which the United States Armed Forces landed and eventually captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The American invasion, designated Operation Detachment, had the goal of capturing the entire island, including the ...more

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    Guadalcanal Campaign
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    The failure to keep the Solomon's, plus the failure to destroy the American navy at the Coral Sea and Midway, means that the Japanese would be on the defensive for the rest of the war against the biggest economy in the world, surely leading to Imperial Japan's demise.

    The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by Allied forces, was a military campaign fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theatre of World War II. It was the first major offensive ...more

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    Battle of Leyte Gulf
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    One of the largest naval battles in history, Japan uses all of its remaining power to stop the American transports who are island hopping closer and closer to Japan. Ends in the complete destruction of the Japanese navy.

    The Battle of Leyte Gulf, formerly known as the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, is generally considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II and, by some criteria, possibly the largest naval battle in history alongside the Battle of Red Cliffs in 208 CE and the Battle of Salamis in 480 ...more

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    Battle of France
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    In the Second World War, the Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the successful German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, defeating primarily French forces. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb, German armoured units ...more

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    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.

    The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign, or the 1939 Defensive War in Poland, and alternatively the Poland Campaign or Fall Weiß in Germany, was a joint invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the beginning of World War II in ...more

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    Operation Torch
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    American landings on North Africa made the Germans defend on two fronts, against two enemies that both outnumbered them.

    Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa during the North African Campaign of the Second World War which started on 8 November 1942. The Soviet Union had pressed the United States and United Kingdom to start operations in Europe and open a second front to reduce the ...more

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    Battle of Monte Cassino
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome. At the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by ...more

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    Philippines Campaign (1941–1942)
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.

    The Philippines Campaign or the Battle of the Philippines was the invasion of the Philippines by Japan in 1941–1942 and the defense of the islands by Filipino and United States forces. The defending forces outnumbered the Japanese invaders by 3 to 2, but were a mixed force of non-combat experienced ...more

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