List of military engagements of World War II

This is a list of military engagements of World War II encompassing land, naval, and air engagements as well as campaigns, operations, defensive lines and sieges. Campaigns generally refer to broader strategic operations conducted over a large bit of territory and over a long period. Battles generally refer to short periods of intense combat localised to a specific area and over a specific period. However, use of the terms in naming such events is not consistent. For example, the Battle of the Atlantic was more or less an entire theatre of war, and the so-called battle lasted for the duration of the entire war. Another misnomer is the Battle of Britain, which by all rights should be considered a campaign, not a mere battle.

Battles

1939

Invasion of Poland
Battle of the Bzura
Battle of Mława
Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski
Battle of Kock
Siege of Warsaw
Poland invaded by Nazi Germany.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Soviet invasion of Poland
Battle of Lwów
Battle of Wilno
Battle of Grodno
Battle of Szack
Battle of Wytyczno
Poland invaded by Soviet Union.
 
 
 
 
 
Slovak invasion of PolandPoland invaded by Slovakia
Saar OffensiveFrench attack on Saarland.
Winter War
Battle of Tolvajärvi
Battle of Suomussalmi
Finland invaded by the Soviet Union and, initially, resists successfully.  
 
 
First Battle of ChangshaFirst Japanese attempt to take Changsha in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
1939–40 Winter OffensiveFirst large-scale Chinese counter-offensive operation.
Battle of the River PlateThe Admiral Graf Spee chased into Montevideo harbour and later scuttled.

1940

Battle of the AtlanticName given to the conflicts in the Atlantic Ocean between 1940 and 1945.
Winter War
Battle of Kollaa
Battle of Honkaniemi
 
 
The only tank battle during the Winter War.
German invasion of Denmark
Battle of Drøbak SoundTook place on the first day of the German invasion of Norway.
Battles of NarvikMinor Allied victory in Norway.
Battle of NamsosFailed Allied attempt to halt the Germans in Norway.
Invasion of Iceland
Battle of the NetherlandsGermany defeats the Dutch in Europe during the opening stages of the first operation of the Battle of France, "Case Yellow" (Fall Gelb).
Battle of BelgiumGermany defeats Belgium during the continuation of Fall Gelb.
Battle of France
Battle of Dunkirk
Battle of Arras
Battle of Boulogne
Attack on Mers-el-KébirOperation "Catapult". Feared by the possibility of some French ships moored in the French Algeria could fall in Axis hands, the Royal Navy proceed to a bombardment of Mers-El-Kebir. One French warship is sunk and three others damaged. The operation is in fine a failure as most of the French ships leave to Toulon, southern France.
Battle of BritainThe German Air Force (Luftwaffe) fails to defeat the British Royal Air Force as the precondition for the invasion of Britain.
British Somaliland Italian conquest of British Somaliland
First Battle of French IndochinaThe forces of Imperial Japan successfully invade French Indochina but leave the Vichy French forces in control.
Battle of DakarAn unsuccessful attempt by the Allies to capture the strategic port of Dakar from Vichy French control.
Greco-Italian War
Battle of Pindus
Italian forces invade Greece from Albania and are repelled. Greek counter-attack drives Italians back into Albania.
 
Battle of GabonFree French forces under General Charles De Gaulle take Libreville, Gabon, from Vichy French forces.
Battle of TarantoBritish carrier-based planes destroy the Italian fleet in Taranto Harbor.
Hundred Regiments OffensiveMajor offensive by the Chinese Red Army against the Imperial Japanese Army.
Battle of Sidi BarraniThe first he first big British attack of the Western Desert campaign.

1941

Battle of Ko ChangVichy French naval victory against naval forces of Thailand during French-Thai War.
Battle of the Litani RiverAustralian forces cross the Litani River to begin the Syria-Lebanon Campaign against Vichy French forces.
Battle of DamascusCommonwealth and Allied forces take Damascus from the Vichy French.
Battle of BeirutCommonwealth and Allied forces take Beirut and the Vichy French surrender all forces in Syria and Lebanon.
Battle of KerenCommonwealth and Allied forces defeat Italian forces at Keren in the decisive battle of the East African Campaign.
Battle of Cape MatapanBritish fleet defeats Italian fleet.
Battle of Denmark StraitThe German battleship Bismarck sinks HMS Hood.
Last battle of the battleship BismarckThe German battleship Bismarck is sunk by the Royal Navy in response to the sinking of HMS Hood.
Invasion of YugoslaviaGermany and Axis allies invade Yugoslavia via Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Albania.
Battle of Greece
Battle of the Metaxas Line
Battle of Vevi
Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of CreteGerman paratroopers capture Crete, but suffer many casualties.
Operation Barbarossa
Battle of Smolensk
Battle of Kiev
Battle of Moscow
German invasion of the Soviet Union.
The German advance is halted, albeit temporarily.
 
The German Army Group Centre is driven back from Moscow.
Battle of GondarThe final defeat of organized Italian forces in Italian East Africa by Commonwealth and Allied forces.
Attack on Pearl HarborSurprise Japanese attack destroys almost all the US Pacific Fleet.
Second Battle of ChangshaJapan's second unsuccessful attempt to take Changsha in China.
Battle of ShanggaoJapanese 11th army attacked the headquarters of the Chinese 19th army.
Battle of ThailandJapan successfully invades and occupies Thailand.
Battle of Hong KongJapan captures the British colony of Hong Kong.
Battle of Guam (1941)Japan successfully capture the American territory of Guam.
Battle of Wake IslandJapan captures the atoll of Wake Island.
Malayan Campaign
Japanese Invasion of Malaya
Operation Krohcol
Bombing of Singapore
Battle of Jitra
Battle of Kampar
Battle of Slim River
Battle of Muar
Battle of Gemas
Battle off Endau
Sinking of Prince of Wales and RepulseJapanese defeated British naval forces.

1942

Battle of Bataan
Battle of DražgošeFirst direct engagement between Slovenian partisans and German occupying forces.
Battle of Makassar StraitJapanese aircraft raid an American and Dutch convoy.
Battle of Singapore
Battle of Sarimbun Beach
Battle of Kranji
Battle of Bukit Timah
Battle of Pasir Panjang
Battle of the Java SeaJapanese forces wipe out an Allied naval squadron.
Battle of Badung StraitHeavily outnumbered Japanese forces defeat an Allied night-time naval attack.
Battle of JavaJapanese forces invade the island of Java
Indian Ocean raidAllied naval forces and shipping incur heavy losses during Japan's Fast Carrier Strike Force sortie.
Battle of Christmas IslandThe Japanese occupy Christmas Island without any resistance.
Battle of CorregidorPhilippines lost to Japan.
Japanese capture of BurmaBurma lost to Japan.
Battle of NanosEight hundred Italian soldiers lay siege to fifty Slovene partisans.
Doolittle RaidFirst air raid on Tokyo.
Battle of the Coral SeaFirst aircraft-carrier vs. aircraft-carrier battle. Japan wins tactically, but loses strategically.
Battle of GazalaGerman offensive in the desert south of Tobruk anticipated and nearly defeated, but ended with heavy losses to British armour, forcing a withdrawal. In a surprise strike, Tobruk was taken in a day. Rommel exploited the success by pursuing the British into Egypt, denying them time to recover from the defeat but was checked at El Alamein.
Battle of MidwayKey defeat of Japanese naval forces in the Pacific; the Japanese lose four aircraft-carriers.
Convoy PQ-17A convoy of thirty-five ships leaves Iceland on June 17, bound for Murmansk. Eleven arrive on July 5.
Battle of the Aleutian IslandsJapanese invade and occupy two islands of Alaska's Aleutian archipelago as part of a feint designed to cover the Imperial Fleet's intended trap at Midway. Foreign troops are not expelled from US soil until the following
Attack on Sydney HarbourJapanese midget submarines attack Sydney harbour.
First Battle of El AlameinBritish Eighth Army stops Rommel's Axis forces invading Egypt.
Second Battle of El AlameinMontgomery's Eighth Army forces Rommel out of Egypt.
Battle of SevastopolCaptured by Germans after eight-month siege.
Battle of Changsha (1942)Chinese claim victory over Japanese.
Kokoda Track CampaignAustralians and U.S. for the first time in World War II stop a Japanese offensive, this one to capture Port Moresby.
Battle of GuadalcanalBeginning of Allied action in Solomon Islands.
Battle of Savo IslandJapanese sink four US cruisers.
Battle of Dieppe"Operation Jubilee" was an Allied amphibious raid on the German occupied port of Dieppe in France. A tactical disaster for the Allies. However lessons learned applied to later amphibious operations including D-Day.
Battle of StalingradCity besieged by Paulus' German Sixth Army; from November 23 the Sixth Army is surrounded and destroyed by Soviets; bloodiest battle in history, 1.8 millions dead approx.
Battle of the Eastern SolomonsJapanese aircraft carrier Ryūjō sunk.
Battle of Milne BayFirst time Japanese landing force had been driven back into sea.
Battle of Buna-GonaAustralians and U.S. defeat Japanese on north coast of New Guinea.
Battle of WauAustralians defeat Japanese attempts to capture Wau, New Guinea.
Battle of the Bismarck SeaU.S. and Royal Australian Air Force planes attacked and sink most of a Japanese convoy carrying troops to reinforce Lae, New Guinea.
Salamaua-Lae campaignAustralian and U.S. forces capture two major Japanese bases at Lae and at Salamaua.
Operation CartwheelOperation to neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul.
Battle of Cape Esperancenear Guadalcanal
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islandsnear Guadalcanal, USS Hornet (CV-8) sunk.
Operation TorchAllied landings in North Africa and successful Putsch of French Resistance in Algiers to prevent Vichyist forces opposition.
Naval Battle of GuadalcanalUS defeats Japan, a turning point.
Battle of Tassafarongaoff Guadalcanal
Second Battle of KharkovFailed Soviet attempt to retake Kharkov.
Battle of Changsha (1942)Second Sino-Japanese War
Battle of MadagascarAllies capture Madagascar from Vichy France.

1943

• Battle of OsankaricaAbout 2000 Germans massacred all 69 men and women of the Pohorje battalion. Germans lost 19 men dead and had 31 wounded.
Battle of Rennell IslandJapanese bombers sink a cruiser.
Third Battle of KharkovGermans retake Kharkov.
Battle of the Kasserine PassBattle between US and German armored forces in Tunisia.
Battle of NeretvaGerman Army offensive in southern Bosnia. Offensive launched to encircle and destroy the Yugoslavian Communist Partisan forces found there. Supporting the German forces in this effort were Italian, Ustaše, and Serbian Royalist Chetnik units. The partisans were badly mauled but managed to escape encirclement.
Battle of the Komandorski IslandsNaval engagement between US and Japan in the Bering Sea.
·(Battle of the Ruhr)March 5,1943-July 31,1943– The Battle of the Ruhr of 1943 was a 5-month British campaign of strategic bombing during the Second World War against the Nazi Germany Ruhr Area, which had coke plants, steelworks, and 10 synthetic oil plants. The campaign bombed 26 major Combined Bomber Offensive targets.[8] The targets included the Krupp armament works (Essen), the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant (Gelsenkirchen), and the Rheinmetal–Borsig plant in Düsseldorf. The latter was safely evacuated during the Battle of the Ruhr.[5]Although not strictly part of the Ruhr area, the battle of the Ruhr included other cities such as Cologne which were within the Rhine-Ruhr region[9] and considered part of the same "industrial complex".[4] Some targets were not sites of heavy industrial production but part of the production and movement of materiel.
Battle of Bismarck SeaUnited States sinks Japanese transports.
Battle of the Bering SeaUnited States and Japanese navies fight an inconclusive battle.
Battle of AttuUnited States troops defeat and drive the Japanese off the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising5,000 Jews and 2,000 Germans die, Jews confined.
Battle of SutjeskaAnother attempt by German forces in Yugoslavia, this time supported by Italian, Bulgarian, and Serbian units, to encircle and destroy the Yugoslavian Communist Partisan forces in southern Bosnia. Again, the partisans were mauled but escaped.
Battle of Castle TurjakSlovene partisans took the castle guarded by the Slovene village sentries.
Battle of KurskGermans attack Kursk salient at Orel and Belgorod, Russians drive them back. Arguably the largest tank battle ever fought.
Allied invasion of SicilyAllies take Sicily from the Italians and German armies.
Allied invasion of ItalyLandings at Calabria, Taranto and Salerno.
Dodecanese Campaign
Battle of Kos
Battle of Leros
Allied and German scramble to occupy the Dodecanese Islands.
German amphibious and airborne operation to capture Kos.
German amphibious and airborne operation to capture Leros.
Battle of SmolenskThe Soviets attack 850,000 German troops near Smolensk Fortified Region, drive them back inflicting severe losses.
Battle of Kiev (1943)Kiev retaken by Soviets.
Raid on Schweinfurtmilestone air battle between the Luftwaffe and the USAAF known as "Black Thursday."
Schweinfurt-Regensburg missionanother major daylight air battle, first shuttle mission.
Battle of BerlinAllied failed to defeat the Luftwaffe
Battle of TarawaFirst major American amphibious landing in the Pacific.
Battle of MakinAmericans capture the atoll of Makin Atoll.
Battle of the Bernhardt LineU.S. 5th Army sustains 16,000 casualties fighting through the Mignano Gap to reach the Cassino defenses.
Moro River Campaign
Battle of Ortona

1944

Battle of Meiktila
Battle of Monte CassinoFour battles in Italy Jan - May. Allies finally breakthrough towards Rome.
Battle of Monte CasteloAlso called Operation Encore, 25 November 1944 - 22 February 1945. The battle marked the Brazilian Expeditionary Force's entry into the land war in Europe.
Battle of Anzio
Battle of Cisterna
Battle of KwajaleinAmerican forces assault the islands of Kwajalein and Roi-Namur.
Battle of the Admin BoxJapanese attempt a local counter-attack against an Allied offensive.
Battle of EniwetokBattle between American and Japanese on Eniwetok Atoll.
Battle of Imphal and Battle of KohimaAttempted Japanese invasion of India fails with heavy losses.
U Go offensiveAllied successfully defend Manipur from the Axis
Operation Ichi-GoSuccessful Japanese campaign to capture American air bases in China capable of sending bombers to Japan.
Operation RösselsprungGerman attempt to capture Tito using airborne troops.
Battle of NormandyAllies invade northern France (Operation Overlord), hard fighting from Cherbourg to Caen, Germans surrounded and destroyed at Falaise.
Battle of SaipanThe battle was fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands and resulted disastrous for Japanese forces since most died.
Second Battle of GuamAmerican forces capture back Guam.
Battle of TinianAmerican forces capture Tinian.
Operation BagrationSoviet offensive destroys German Army Group Center on the Eastern Front.
Battle of Philippine SeaMajor carrier battle; US lose 123 planes and destroy 315 Japanese planes.
Battle of Tali-IhantalaFinnish stop Soviet offensive.
Warsaw Uprising20,000 armed Poles against 55,000 Wehrmacht and SS. 90% of city destroyed, more than 250,000 casualties.
Operation DragoonAllied invasion of Southern France.
Battle of DebrecenSoviets gain ground in Hungary but German and Hungarian forces manage to withdraw relatively intact after both sides suffer similar losses.
Gothic Line offensiveBritish 8th Army and U.S. 5th Army attempt unsuccessfully to break into the north Italian plains.
Battle of ArnhemThe major battle of Operation Market Garden; Allies reach but fail to cross the Rhine; British First Airborne Division destroyed.
Battle of PeleliuA fight to capture an airstrip on a speck of coral in the western Pacific.
Battle of AachenAachen was the first major German city to face invasion during World War II.
Battle of the ScheldtDecisive Canadian victory, solved the logistical problems of the Allies, and opened the port of Antwerp for supplies directly to the front.
Battle of Crucifix HillThe 18th Infantry, U.S. 1st Infantry Division take Crucifix Hill, a crucial position to help surround Aachen. Cpt. Bobbie E. Brown is awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroics.
Battle of AngaurAmerican forces capture an island in Palau.
Battle of Hurtgen ForestStubborn German defense, appalling losses to US army.
Battle of LeyteAmerican and Filipino guerrillas forces capture Leyte.
Battle of Leyte GulfThe largest air-sea battle in history.
Operation Queenwas a joint British-American operation during World War II at the Western Front between Aachen and the Rur river.
Battle of Mindoro
Battle of the BulgeGerman counterattack in Ardennes; General McAuliffe says "NUTS" at Bastogne.

1945

Operation ElephantAllied offensive against a German bridgehead at Kapelsche Veer in the Netherlands.
Raid at CabanatuanUS Army Rangers rescue Bataan and Corregidor POWs from Japanese prison camp.
Prague Offensive1st, 4th, and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts of the Soviet Army crushed the last concentration of German troops (over 1,000,000 men in two army groups) in southeastern Germany and Czechoslovakia. These troops were Army Group Centre and the remnants of Army Group Ostmark.
Operation Spring AwakeningThe last desperate German offensive of the war, launched around Lake Balaton, in Hungary.
Battle of BataanU.S. and Philippine Forces retake the historic Bataan Peninsula.
Battle of ManilaCity totally devastated after month-long battle between the American, Filipino and Japanese forces; 100,000 civilians killed.
Battle of LuzonThe battle where Mexico entered World War II, contributing pilots to help the United States and the Philippines defeat Japan in the South Pacific, with a loss of 37,870 Allied soldiers and 217,000 Japanese soldiers, resulting in an Allied victory
Battle of CorregidorSpectacular combined U.S. and Philippine assault retakes island bastion from Japanese forces.
Raid at Los BañosU.S. Airborne Task Force rescues more than 2,000 Allied POWs and civilian internees held by Japanese.
Battle of MindanaoU.S. Eighth Army together with the Philippine Commonwealth troops completes the recapture of Southern Philippines.
Operation Varsity134 Allied gliders land troops in Weisel.
Battle of the VisayasU.S. Eighth Army together with the Philippine Commonwealth troops retakes central Philippine islands.
Battle of Meiktila and MandalayJapanese defeated in decisive battle in Central Burma
Battle of Iwo JimaAfter a month, U.S. Forces take main offshore Japanese island.
Battle of West Henan–North HubeiIndecisive battle between China and Japan. Japan controls airbases after battle.
Battle of HalbePart of Battle of Berlin, Germans unable to break out.
Battle of BerlinSoviet forces encircle and capture German capital; Hitler commits suicide.
Battle of HamburgBritish forces capture German city.
Battle of TriestBritish army and Yugoslav capture the city.
Battle of TarakanAllied attack as part of the Borneo campaign.
Battle of Poljana(14–15 May 1945) Battle between Yugoslav partisans and HOS (Croatia), German wehrmacht, Slovene Home Guard...
Battle of OdžakLast battle of World War II in Europe. Between Yugoslav partisans and HOS (Croatia) from 19 April to 25 May 1945.
Battle of West HunanChinese victory in final battle to expel Japan.
Battle of OkinawaUS takes Japanese Island in the Ryūkyūs; many casualties to both sides.
Battle of North BorneoAustralian victory during final stages of World War II in the Pacific.
Battle of BalikpapanAllied victory over Japan.
Battle of ManchuriaSoviet forces liberate Manchuria.

Sieges

General

Specific
1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

Major bombing campaigns

General

Specific

Operations

Raids

Small to medium-sized raiding operations were carried out by both Allied and Axis armies during World War II. The modus operandi used included guerrilla attacks by partisans in occupied territory and/or combined operations involving the landing and removal of specialised light infantry, such as commandos, by means of small boats.

Raiding units

Defensive lines

Contemporaneous wars

See also

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