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World War II Battles

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World War II Battles

US troops landing on Omaha Beach, Normandy, June 6, 1944

Photograph Courtesy of the US Coast Guard
World War II: Conferences & Aftermath | World War II: 101 | World War II: Leaders & People

The battles of the World War II were fought across the globe from the fields of Western Europe and the Russian plains to the China and the waters of the Pacific. Beginning in 1939, these battles caused massive destruction and loss of life and elevated to prominence places that had previously been unknown. As a result, names such as Stalingrad, Bastogne, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima became eternally entwined with images of sacrifice, bloodshed, and heroism. The most costly and far-reaching conflict in history, World War II saw an unprecedented number of engagements as the Axis and Allies sought to achieve victory. The battles of World War II are largely divided into the European Theater (Western Europe), Eastern Front, Mediterranean/North Africa Theater, and the Pacific Theater. During World War II, between 22 and 26 million men were killed in battle as each side fought for their chosen cause.

World War II Battles by Year and Theater

1939

September 3-May 8, 1945 - Battle of the Atlantic - Atlantic Ocean

December 13 - Battle of the River Plate - South America

1940

February 16 - Altmark Incident - European Theater

May 25-June 4 - Dunkirk Evacuation - European Theater

July 3 - Attack on Mers el Kebir - North Africa

July-October - Battle of Britain - European Theater

September 17 - Operation Sea Lion (Invasion of Britain) - Postponed - European Theater

November 11/12 - Battle of Taranto - Mediterranean

December 8-February 9 - Operation Compass - North Africa

1941

March 27-29 - Battle of Cape Matapan - Mediterranean

April 6-30 - Battle of Greece - Mediterranean

May 20-June 1 - Battle of Crete - Mediterranean

May 24 - Battle of the Denmark Strait - Atlantic

September 8-January 27, 1944 - Siege of Leningrad - Eastern Front

October 2-January 7, 1942 - Battle of Moscow - Eastern Front

December 7 - Attack on Pearl Harbor - Pacific Theater

December 8-23 - Battle of Wake Island - Pacific Theater

December 8-25 - Battle of Hong Kong - Pacific Theater

December 10 - Sinking of Force Z - Pacific Theater

1942

January 7-April 9 - Battle of Bataan - Pacific Theater

January 31-February 15 - Battle of Singapore - Pacific Theater

February 27 - Battle of the Java Sea - Pacific Theater

April 18 - Doolittle Raid - Pacific Theater

March 31-April 10 - Indian Ocean Raid - Pacific Theater

May 4-8 - Battle of the Coral Sea - Pacific Theater

May 5-6 - Battle of Corregidor - Pacific Theater

May 26-June 21 - Battle of Gazala - North Africa

June 4-7 - Battle of Midway - Pacific Theater

July 1-27 - First Battle of El Alamein - North Africa

August 7-February 9, 1943 - Battle of Guadalcanal - Pacific Theater

August 9-15 - Operation Pedestal - Relief of Malta - Mediterranean

August 9 - Battle of Savo Island - Pacific Theater

August 19 - Dieppe Raid - European Theater

August 24/25 - Battle of the Eastern Solomons - Pacific Theater

August 25-September 7 - Battle of Milne Bay - Pacific

August 30-September 5 - Battle of Alam Halfa - North Africa

July 17-February 2, 1943 - Battle of Stalingrad - Eastern Front

October 11/12 - Battle of Cape Esperance - Pacific Theater

October 23-November 5 - Second Battle of El Alamein - North Africa

November 8-16 - Naval Battle of Casablanca - North Africa

October 25-26 - Battle of Santa Cruz - Pacific Theater

November 8 - Operation Torch - North Africa

November 12-15 - Naval Battle of Guadalcanal - Pacific Theater

November 27 - Operation Lila & Scuttling of the French Fleet - Mediterranean

November 30 - Battle of Tassafaronga - Pacific Theater

1943

January 29-30 - Battle of Rennell Island - Pacific Theater

February 19-25 - Battle of Kasserine Pass - North Africa

February 19-March 15 - Third Battle of Kharkov - Eastern Front

March 2-4 - Battle of the Bismarck Sea - Pacific Theater

April 18 - Operation Vengeance (Yamamoto Shot Down) - Pacific Theater

April 19-May 16 - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - Eastern Front

May 17 - Operation Chastise (Dambuster Raids) - European Theater

July 9-August 17 - Invasion of Sicily - Mediterranean

July 24-August 3 - Operation Gomorrah (Firebombing Hamburg) - European Theater

August 17 - Schweinfurt-Regensburg Raid - European Theater

September 3-16 - Invasion of Italy - European Theater

September 26 - Operation Jaywick - Pacific Theater

November 20-23 - Battle of Tarawa - Pacific Theater

November 20-23 - Battle of Makin - Pacific Theater

December 26 - Battle of the North Cape - Atlantic Ocean

1944

January 22-June 5 - Battle of Anzio - Mediterranean

January 31-February 3 - Battle of Kwajalein - Pacific Theater

February 17-May 18 - Battle of Monte Cassino - European Theater

March 24/25 - The Great Escape - European Theater

June 4 - Capture of U-505 - European Theater

June 6 - D-Day - Invasion of Normandy - European Theater

June 6-July 20 - Battle of Caen - European Theater

June 15-July 9 - Battle of Saipan - Pacific Theater

June 19-20 - Battle of the Philippine Sea - Pacific Theater

July 25-31 - Operation Cobra - Breakout from Normandy - European Theater

August 15-September 14 - Operation Dragoon - Invasion of Southern France - European Theater

September 15-November 27 - Battle of Peleliu - Pacific Theater

September 17-25 - Operation Market-Garden - European Theater

October 23-26 - Battle of Leyte Gulf

December 16-January 25, 1945 - Battle of the Bulge - European Theater

1945

February 9 - HMS Venturer sinks U-864 - European Theater

February 13-15 - Dresden Bombing - European Theater

February 16-26 - Battle of Corregidor (1945) - Pacific Theater

February 19-March 26 - Battle of Iwo Jima - Pacific Theater

March 7-8 - Bridge at Remagen - European Theater

April 7 - Operation Ten-Go - Pacific Theater

April 16-19 - Battle of the Seelow Heights - Eurpean Theater

April 16-May 2 - Battle of Berlin - European Theater

April 29-May 8 - Operations Manna & Chowhound - European Theater

 

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