Battle of the AtlanticSept. 1, 1939- May 8, 1945
Germany and Italian Navies VS Allied Powers
German warships made a number of trips into shipping lanes, aiming to destroy Allied convoys.
The ‘Wolf pack’ tactic began with spread out German U-boats searching for Allied convoys. When one U-boat spotted a target, a radio message sent its location to other U-boats, who converged for the kill.
Battle of BritainJune 18, 1940- Sept. 7, 1940
German Luftwaffes and Britain RAF
On June 17, 1940, the French signed an armistice and quit World War II. Britain was now alone against the power of Germany. Germany planned an air raid to destroy Britain, but Britain possessed an effective air defense system.
There was an average loss of 21 percent of the RAF’s fighter pilots and 16 percent of the Luftwaffe’s fighter pilots each month during July, August, and September.
Battle of StalingradJuly 17, 1942- Feb. 2 1943
U.S.S.R. and German
The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the bloodiest battles in history, with combined casualties of nearly 2 million.
The Russians hailed it a “contemporary Cannae,” and the Germans condemned it as Rattenkrieg (Rat War). Considered a turning point in the war on the Eastern Front and one of the most crucial engagements WW2.
The Soviet victory at Stalingrad was a great humiliation due to Hitler's elevation of the battle's importance.
Battle of El Alamein, EgyptOctober 23– November 4, 1942
British, Australian, and French VS German and Italian troops
General Bernard Montgomery brought in new divisions and generals and lifted the army's morale with his bold fighting talk. Montgomery planned his attack in two phases. The bombardment started on the night of October 23, and by November 4 the German's had to retreat.
Operation TorchNovember 8-16, 1942
American and British VS German troops
Operation Torch was the name given to the Allied invasion of North Africa in November of 1942. Operation Torch was the first time the British and Americans had jointly worked on an invasion plan together. The landings started before daybreak on November 8th. There was no preliminary air or naval bombardment, Operation Torch saw the first large scale American airborne drop when the US 509th Parachute Regiment captured two airfields.
Invasion of SicilyJuly 9- August 17, 1943
Allies VS Axis powers
The invasion was assisted by some subterfuge; Allies provided false evidence of their own plans to divert Germany's attention. The invasion of Sicily, code-named Operation Husky, began before dawn on July 10, 1943. Allied troops encountered light resistance to their combined operations. Hitler had been so deceived by “Mincemeat” that he had left only two German divisions in Sicily to battle Allied soldiers. After Mussolinis arrest, troops withdrew.
Operation OverlordJune 6- August 30, 1944
Western Allies VS German forces
Operation Overlord was the code-name given to the Allied invasion of France scheduled for June 1944. The Allied high command decided on a landing in Normandy. The risks were much higher but the beaches were suitable for a mass landing of people and equipment. Overlord had built into it the movement of a total of 3 million men in 47 divisions, moved by 6000 ships with aerial cover provided by 5000 fighter planes.
Battle of the BulgeDecember 16, 1944- January 25 1945
Allied forces VS German troops
Hitler attempted to split the Allied armies in northwest Europe by using a surprise blitzkrieg attack through the Ardennes to Antwerp. As the Germans drove into the Ardennes in an attempt to secure vital bridges, the Allied line took on the appearance of a large bulge, hence the battle’s name. The manuevering of Third Army to Bastogne proved vital to the Allied defense, neutralizing the German counteroffensive despite heavy deaths
Hitler's SuicideApril 30, 1945
Warned by officers that the Russians were only a day or so from overtaking the chancellery and urged to escape to Berchtesgarden, the dictator instead chose suicide. It is believed that both he and his wife swallowed cyanide capsules. For good measure, he shot himself with his service pistol.
V-E DayMay 8, 1945
Great Britain and the United States celebrate Victory in Europe Day. May 8 spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms. The main concern of many German soldiers was to elude the grasp of Soviet forces, to keep from being taken prisoner.