Battles of World War II

Taylor Smith

Pacific Front

  • Fought in the Pacific Ocean and islands, the South West Pacific, South-East Asia and China

Bataan Death March

  • General Edward King Jr. surrendered his 75,000 Filipino and American troops
  • Douglas MacArthur promised to return to Bataan with reinforcements
  • The troops were sent on a 65 mile march from the Bataan Peninsula to San Fernando
  • U.S-Filipino forces recaptured the Bataan Peninsula in February 1945, avenging Americas defeat
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"Two Pronged Attack" Strategy

  • General MacArthur would push along the northwest by the New Guinea coast and up into the Bismarck Archipelago with the ultimate goal of liberating the Philippines
  • Admiral Nimitz planned to cross the central Pacific, going through the Gilbert, Marshall, Caroline and Marianas islands
  • the plan would then put the Japanese in range of U.S. bombers

Island Hopping

  • Describes the advance of the Allied Forces across the Pacific to reclaim islands from Japanese control

Battle of MIdway

  • Most decisive naval battles of World War II
  • U.S. was prepared for Japan's ambush and countered thanks to the advances in code breaking
  • japan wanted to destroy the remaining U.S. ships that weren't destroyed in Pearl Harbor, so Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku chose to invade a target relatively close to Pearl Harbor to draw out the American fleet
  • Midway based planes were not successful, but American carrier based planes helped turn the tides

Iwo JIma

  • The U.S Marines launched an amphibious attack on Iwo Jima because the U.S wanted a base close to Japan, and succeeded
  • The Japanese troops changed their defense tactics and focused the fighting inland form elaborate networks of caves, tunnels, and undergound installments that were hard to find and destroy


  • Last and biggest battle of the Pacific Island battles
  • Japanese navy and army mounted mass air attacks by planes on "suicide" missions
  • Kamikaze tactics used by the Japanese created the most difficult Pacific campaign
  • Both sides suffered heavy personel and equipment losses, as well as many civilian losses

Chester Nimitz

  • Nimitz's responsibilities were to guard the supply lines between the U.S. and Hawaiian Islands (including Midway) as well as the South Pacific route between the U.S. and Australia
  • The only offensive NImitz could undertake was hit-and-run raids on Japanese bases
  • NImitz has control over the Pacific Fleet as well as the Allied ground and air forces based in the region

Douglas MacArthur

  • originally resigned in 1937 but 1941 he was called back into active duty as commander of U.S. Army forces in the Far East
  • his forces were attacked in December, and his forces retreated to the Bataan peninsula
  • From orders from Roosevelt, MacArthur escaped to Australia and promised "i shall return" but forces fell to Japan in May of 1942
  • April 1942- appointed supreme commander of Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific
  • He then spent the next two and a half years commanding the Island-Hopping campaign before returning to liberate the Philippines in October, 1944
  • September 2, 1945- MacArthur officially accepted Japan's surrender aboard the USS Missouri
  • As the commander of the Japanese occupation, MacArthur oversaw the demobilization of Japan's military as well as the economies reconstruction, as well as drafting a new constitution and other reforms

The Flying Tigers

  • 1937- Claire L. Chennault retired from active dity and accepted an offer from Madame CHiang Kai-shek for a three month mission to China to survey the air force
  • At this time China was on the verge of war with Japan
  • Chennualt's plan to stop Japanese bombings on Chana was to bring in American volunteers
  • MIlitary opposed having American volunteers in China
  • the P-40B was not equipped with a gun sight, bomb rack or provision for attaching fuel tanks to the wing or belly
  • in their first combat in 1941, the First and Second squadron shot down nine japanese bombers
  • the Royal Air Force (RAF) would often fight along th Tigers
  • the Tigers continued to carry out their final missions by supporting Chinese ground forces on the eastern and western front along with defending CHinese cities against the Japanese Air Force
  • Flying Tigers was disbanded on July 4, 1942

European Front

  • Americans planned to concentrate Allied power in England and launch drives across the English Channel into the European mainland
  • 1942- Americans poured supplies and troops into the U.K.
  • 1943- Allies invaded and won the North African campaign, fighting in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia
  • 1943- Roosevelt and Churchill decided that the Italian island Sicily would be the next target
  • 1945- Italian campaign successful after German forces surrendered

Invasion of Normandy (D-Day)

  • lasted from June 1944 - August 1944 and ended in Allied liberation of Nazi control in Western Europe, called the beginning of the end of the war in Europe
  • June 6 (D - Day) - 156,000 American, British, and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along 50 miles of France's heavily fortified coast
  • leading up to D - Day, Allies carried out deception operations to make the Germans believe Normandy was not the target
  • British and Canadians captured beaches Gold, Juno, and Sword, and the Americans did at Utah
  • Americans faced heavy resistance at Omaha beach, but by days end around 156,000 Allied troops stormed Normandy's beaches successfully
  • End of August, 1944 - Allies reached the Seine River, liberated Paris, Germans were removed from Northwestern France, and Allied forces prepared to enter Germany
  • This battle turned the tide of the war to the Allies' favor: it prevented Hitler from sending additional troops to France to build up his Eastern Front against Soviets

Dwight Eisenhower

  • General during D-Day, Eisenhower instituted a determined pursuit of the enemy toward Germany, and since the ports of Cherbourg and Brest were too far west for support, the plans involved capture of Channel parts and escpecially of Antwerp - the main port in Europe.
  • Eisenhower reinforced the British by sending the U.S. First Army close alongside the 21st Army Group toward Aachen in the drive toward Antwerp

Battle of the Bulge

  • December 1944 - Hitler tried to split the Allied armies in northwest Europe by blitzkrieg through the Ardennes to Antwerp
  • as Germans drove deeper into the Ardennes, Allied line took on the apperance of a large bulge, giving the battle its name
  • Lieurenant General George S. Patton developed the successful maneuvering of the Third Army to Bastogne
  • The objective was to split the Allied armies by surprise blitzkrieg through the Ardennes to Antwerp
  • December 16- three German armies launched the deadliest battle of the war in the west Ardennes: American units were caught flat footed and fought to defend against German advances at St. Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, Houffalize and Bastogne
  • A shortage of fuel and American determination proved detrimental to Hitler's plan to draw with the Allies in the West

George "Old Blood and Guts" Patton

North Africa and Sicily

  • 1941 - given command of 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions after Pearl Harbor
  • 1942 - Went to Africa as head of American force
  • 1943 - with formidable aggression and discipline, Patton managed to put U.S. forces on the offensive after many defeats and win the war's first major American victory against Nazi forces in the Battle of El Guettar

France and Germany

  • June 6, 1944 - after 1st Army broke the German line, Patton's 3rd Army swept the breach into northern France, pursuing Nazi forces (this played a key part in frustrating the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge
  • 1945 - Patton led his army across the Rhine River and into Germany, liberating the country from the Nazis
  • Patton's idea of turning the Third Army ninety degrees from Lorraine to relieve the town of Bastogne was the key to ruining Germany's counter offensive at the Battle of the Bulge

Omar Bradley (The Soldier's General)

  • Took charge of the Eighty-second and Twenty-Eighth Divisions
  • Commanded the Second Corps in Tunisia and Sicilian Campaigns
  • June 6, 1944 - Commander of the FIrst Army during the Normandy Campaign. Designer of Operation Cobra, the American breakout from the Cotentin Peninsula that unleashed the First Army and Third army into Brittany and across Normandy
  • February 1943 - assisted Eisenhower after America's defeat at Kasserine Pass

George Marshall

  • 1939 - Chief of staff and responsible for increasing the size of the U.S. Army
  • 1944 - Helped create Operation Overlord (Normandy), but was not allowed commandment over the invasion force
  • believed that success in a war this size requires civil-military, interservice, and inter allied relationships
  • ensured coordination of American and British military leadership through the Combined Chiefs of Staff and unity of command in combat theaters
  • Supported a Germany-first strategy, but the support of an Anglo-American invasion of France in 1943 was shaky

Navajo Code Talkers

  • 1940 - army recruited Commanches, Choctaws, HOpis, and CHerokees to transmit messages
  • 1941+1942 - Marine Corps recruited 29 Navajos to develop a code withing their language
  • Marine Corp established a Code Talking school were Talkers memorized the code
  • Some Talkers were enlisted, others were drafted - many of the Talkers who served were under age and had to lie about their age to join
The Codes

  • Type Two Codes - messages translated into the NAtive language and sent over the radio
  • Type One Codes - to develop this code, the original 29 Navajo Talkers came up with a Navajo word for each letter of the alphabet
Sending Messages

  • Code-Talkers had to know how to operate wire and radio equipment and carry it on their backs
  • Code Talkers got the message in English, translated it without writing it down, sent them to another Code Talker, and then after the message was recieved it was written down into a logbook

Tuskegee Airmen

  • Before 1940 - African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. Military, but civil rights organizations and protests resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama
  • The Tuskegee Experience - the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft
  • the Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors and the personnel who kept the planes in the air

Fall of Berlin

  • April 16, 1945 - Stalin unleashed 20 armies, 6,300 tanks and 8,500 aircraft to crush German resistance and reclaim Berlin
  • April 20 - Soviets barraged the heart of the city with artillery and the Allies joined with an air raid
  • April 24 - Soviet Army surrounded the city on three sides, slowly tightening its hold on the Nazi defenders, Hitler committed suicide, and his reign of terror was over
  • May 9 - General Wilding surrendered the city to the soviets