Battles of WWII

Battles of WWII


Battles of WWII. Blitzkrieg had been successful: Poland (Sept., 1939) Denmark, Norway (April, 1940) Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg (May, 1940) France (June, 1940). Nazi Victories. Dunkirk. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Battles of WWII

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Battles of WWII

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Nazi Victories

• Blitzkrieg had been successful:– Poland (Sept., 1939)

– Denmark, Norway (April, 1940)

– Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg (May, 1940)

– France (June, 1940)

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Dunkirk• Battle of France, Dunkirk: May 25-31,

1940 German armed forces pressed the Allied armies trapped in the north, from south and east, into the English Channel. Meanwhile, German infantry divisions reinforced the southern flank of the German penetration. 

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Dunkirk Continued• As men retreated, they moved North towards England.

However, they had no way to cross the channel, and the Germans pursued close behind. If caught, the soldiers would be forced to surrender, and England and the allies would lose hundreds of thousands of troops.

• The officers of the German air force told Hitler they could dispose of the allied army in three days, so Hitler turned towards Paris with his land army, to complete the conquest of France.

• As news reached Britain, a plan was formulated to evacuate the British soldiers back to England.

• Hundreds of ships, including many pleasure craft, crossed the channel to do their part and help the men of England.

• Miraculously, while the men were being evacuated from May 25 to June 3, foggy weather inhibited the efforts of the German Luftwaffe. The channel remained calm, allowing for quick evacuation. By June 3rd, 338,226 men were evacuated from Dunkirk.

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Battle of BritainAugust, 1940 to May, 1941

• Evacuation of British troops from France at Dunkirk.

• Nazi aerial bombardment of British factories, then cities.

• British invented radar• RAF outnumbered between 2-6 to 1 but

killed Luftwaffe 3 to 1.• U.S. Lend-Lease program helping with war


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Bomber Command Command • In October of 1942, No.6 Group of Bomber Command

was created to be completely manned by Canadian officers and men and at the end of the war it had grown to thirteen squadrons

• The Canadian Squadrons were based at airfields in the vicinity of Lincoln and York with the exception of three squadrons which were temporarily posted to North Africa to aid in the invasion of Sicily and Italy in 1943.

• The Canadian effort reached its peak in 1944 when• . In total, No. 6 Group dropped 126,122 tons of bombs

and lost 814 aircraft. • Eight thousand decorations for bravery were awarded

to No. 6 Group aircrew

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The Eastern Front

• The eastern front of the war effort was as important (if not more so) to the allied victory as the western front.

• Russia and Germany’s campaigns against one another marked the largest, costliest and most ferocious fighting in the war

• Some of the most lethal battles in human history occurred on the eastern front of WWII

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Battle of Stalingrad

Codename: Operation Barbarossa– German blitzkrieg on Russia.

Battle raged around the Russian city of Stalingrad from August ’42 to Feb. ’43

The Germans initially sieged and then captured the city, and were later trapped there as the Red Army surrounded the entire city.

After the battle ended, estimated casualties stood at 1.5 million + killed or wounded, making it the costliest battle in human history

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Pavlov’s House, the name given to a 4 storey building that Sergeant Yakov Pavlov and a handful of men defended against

heavy German resistance for 2 months, regarded as an enduring symbol of stubborn Russian resistance

Infamous Russian Sniper Vasily Zaytsev, credited with 225 kills (a conservative estimate) during the Battle of Stalingrad, the second most effective sniper in Russian history

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The Siege of Leningrad• Codename: Operation North Light

• German siege of the Russian city of Leningrad, lasting from Sept. ’41 to Jan. ’44, making it the longest siege of a city in human history

• Siege was finally broken by Operation Spark, a full-scale offensive by the Red Army on the Leningrad front.

• Casualty estimates range between 1.1 million and 1.5 million, ranking it 2nd in history in terms of casualties.

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U.S. Enters the War

• U.S. boycotts Japan• Japanese attack naval base

at Pearl Harbor, HI, Dec. 7, 1941.

• U.S. declares war on Japan, Germany & Italy declare war on U.S.

• U.S. and other allies decided to defeat Germany first, then defeat Japan

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• December 1941, 2000 Canadian Soldiers are sent to hold Hong Kong against a force of 20,000 Japanese soldiers

• The Canadians put forth a valiant effort, however they are unable to hold Hong Kong in the face of overwhelming odds

• The Japanese forces committed many atrocities against the Canadian soldiers that were captured as well as those soldiers and civilians taken as Prisoners of War

• This is a photo of Japanese soldiers executing a Canadian soldier

• .

Hong Kong

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Operation was a failure. 3628 ground troops died, and 119 planes were lost. Dieppe had turned into a crushing defeat for Canadians.

The Dieppe Raid was an Allied Operation run by mostly Canadian infantry. 6000 troops were deployed to the Northern Coast of France on August 19 1942. The Goal was to capture a major port for a short time, to gather information from prisoners. Another plan was to draw the Lufftwaffe into a large-scale planned encounter.

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• Battle of Dieppe

• Radio Broadcast on Canada’s heavy losses

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“Soft Underbelly”The Italian Campaign

• Canada invaded Sicily in July, 1943

• Mussolini forced out of office, latter shot and hung.

• Italy then declares war against Germany, Oct. 1944.

• Germans held Northern Italy (Alps) until spring, 1945.

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The Soft Underbelly Time line

• Battles:• - Landing in Sicily, July9-12

- Grammichele, July 15- Piazza Arminera, July 16-17- Valguarnera, July 15-20- Assoro, July 20-22- Leonforte, July 21-22- Agira, July 24-28- Adrano, July 29- Aug. 7- Catenanuova, July 29-30- Regalbuto, July 29-Aug. 3- Centuripe, July 31- Aug. 3- Troina Valley, Aug. 2-6- Pursuit to Messina, Aug. 2-17

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The Italian Campaign Continued

• The new Italian government surrendered on September 3, 1943, the Germans immediately seized control and thus it was German troops that the Allies faced in their advance up the Italian peninsula.

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The Italian Campaign Continued

• The eighth British Army (including the 1st Canadian Division, and the 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade) would lead the way across the Strait of Messina to the toe of Italy and then advance towards Naples The assault across the Strait of Messina began on September 3, 1943. The Canadians, directed on Reggio Calabria, met little resistance since the Germans had withdrawn. The Canadians captured Reggio Calabria and advanced across the Aspromonte Mountains to Catanzaro.

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The Italian Campaign Continued

• In spite of rain, poor mountain roads and German rearguard actions, the Canadians had moved 120 kilometres inland from Reggio by September 10. Meanwhile, the Fifth U.S. Army met stiff German resistance as it assaulted the beaches of Salerno. To assist American troops in the breakout from the bridgehead, a Canadian brigade was diverted from the main Canadian line of advance to seize Potenza, Potenza was taken on September 20.

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The Italian Campaign Continued

• the Canadians found themselves pushing into the central mountain range. Now the enemy resisted with full force. On October 1 at Motta, the Canadians fought their first battle with Germans in Italy, and a series of brief, but bloody actions followed. On October 14, the Canadians took Campobasso. The next day they took Vinchiaturo and the advance continued across the Biferno River.

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The Italian Campaign Continued • The British and Canadians succeeded in driving the

Germans from the Sangro but were faced with the same task further north. Here, along the line of the Moro River, some of the bitterest fighting of the war took place. The Germans counter-attacked repeatedly and often the fighting was hand-to-hand as the Canadians edged forward to Ortona on the coast.

• The mediaeval town of Ortona, was situated on a ledge overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Its steep streets limited the use of tanks and artillery and thus made this an infantryman's struggle. During several days of vicious street fighting, the Canadians smashed their way through walls and buildings - "mouseholing" as they called it. This was Christmas 1943. Meanwhile, a subsidiary attack had been launched to the northwest and the Germans, in danger of being cut off, withdrew from Ortona. The city officially fell on December 28.

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The Italian Campaign Continued

• By now the Canadian Army in Italy had reached its peak theatre strength of nearly 76,000. Total casualties in the Corps had climbed to 9,934 in all ranks, of which 2,119 had been fatal.

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• Interview with Canadian Veterans of the Italian Campaign

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• June 6, 1944 - Allies invade Northern Occupied France at Normandy coast.

• Rommel defending the beaches

• Allies establish a beachhead within 24 hours The Canadian objective is Juno Beach.

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Liberation of the Netherlands

• The Liberation of Holland will always be one of the most important moments in the history of World War II for Canadian Soldiers. As a result of their efforts, the German invasion of the Netherlands was reversed and the Dutch people were freed once more. Canadian troops had been fighting in France, Italy, Belgium, and in Germany since the D-Day landing. These troops were moved to the Netherlands to push the German troops occupying the northeast back to the sea and to drive German troops in the west back into Germany.

• The Liberation campaign was fought on several fronts including:

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Liberation of the Netherlands Continued

• The Battle of the Scheldt which, when successful, would open up the supply lines from Normady through the port of Antwerp and into the Netherlands. November 28th saw the first shipment convoys passed through the channel lead by the Canadian-built freighter Fort Cataraqui. There were over 12,000 casualties in the First Canadian Army and 6,367 of these were Canadian born soldiers.

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Liberation of the Netherlands Continued

• The Rhineland Campaign followed the Battle of the Scheldt and had a front over 200 miles long. The campaign took approximately 3 months and featured divisions of Canadian, British, and American soldiers.

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Liberation of the Netherlands Continued

• Fighting had to be called to a halt and negotiations were held to permit relief supplies to be sent into parts of the Netherlands which had been starved over the course of a winter known as the "Hunger Winter". Canadian pilots dropped food packages from the air to the intense relief and joy of the Dutch people and as the Canadian troops liberated town after town, they were faced by the heart-breaking images of starving and beaten people crying and applauding in gratitude for their rescue.


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• Liberation of Holland celebration footage

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• Dec., 1941, U.S. territories of Philippines, Guam and Wake Is. taken.

• U.S. strategy - “island hopping” – to take the less-defended


– surround the more heavily defended ones

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Coral Sea• Japanese Code broken which gave the U.S.

knowledge of where Japan was to strike.• Battle of the Coral Sea - Japanese invasion

of Australia stopped May, 1942.

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• Japanese attempted to take Midway Island, failed

• Battle of Midway (June, 1942)• Entirely fought in air by aircraft carriers.• Turning point of Pacific war:

– Japan lost more ships, now American and Japanese navy equal.

– Farthest Japan got in Pacific

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Island Hopping to Victory• Guadalcanal, Leyte

Gulf, Iwo Jima, Okinawa among famous battles.

• Japan resorted to defending themselves with kamikaze pilots

•As got closer to Japan, more U.S. casualties.•Atomic bomb

–Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945)–Nagasaki (Aug. 9)

•VJ Day - September 2, 1945