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Encyclopedia > Military history of the United Kingdom during World War II

The United Kingdom, along with the British Empire's crown colonies, especially British India, declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939, after the German invasion of Poland. Hostilities with Japan began in 1941, after it attacked British colonies in Asia. The Axis powers were defeated by the Allies, in 1945. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... Location of the British Overseas Territories The British Overseas Territories are fourteen[1] territories which the United Kingdom considers to be under its sovereignty, but not as part of the United Kingdom itself. ... Anthem God Save The King The British Indian Empire, 1909 Capital Calcutta (until 1912), New Delhi (after 1912) Language(s) Hindustani, English and many others Government Monarchy Emperor of India  - 1858-1901 Victoria¹  - 1901-1910 Edward VII  - 1910-1936 George V  - 1936 Edward VIII  - 1936-1947 George VI Viceroy²  - 1858... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Soviet Unions military action against Poland under the same alliance, see Soviet invasion of Poland (1939). ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... For other uses, see Asia (disambiguation). ... This article is about the independent states that comprised the Axis powers. ... This article is about the independent states that comprised the Allies. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ...

Contents

Pre-war tensions

Although the United Kingdom had increased military spending prior to 1939, because of the threat of Nazi Germany, its forces were still weak by comparison - especially the army. Only the Royal Navy was of a greater strength than its German counterpart. This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ...


Beginning of the fight

Anticipating the outbreak of the Second World War, The Polish Navy during the Peking Plan, carried out in late August and early September 1939, evacuated to Great Britain three valuable modern destroyers, Burza (Storm), Błyskawica (Lightning), and Grom (Thunder); the ships served alongside (and under the command of) the Royal Navy for the remainder of the war. Flag of the Polish Navy Polish Navy Ensign The Polish Navy (Marynarka Wojenna RP, MW RP) is the branch of Polands armed forces responsible for naval operations. ... Polish destroyers during the Peking Plan. ... ORP Burza was a Polish destroyer of the Wicher class which saw action in World War II. History ORP Burza was ordered on April 2, 1926 from the French shipyard Chantiers Naval Francais together with sister ship ORP Wicher. ... ORP BÅ‚yskawica was a Grom-class destroyer serving in the Polish Navy during World War II, currently preserved as a museum ship in Gdynia. ... ORP Grom was a name of a Polish Navy destroyer during World War II. She was laid down in 1935, commissioned in 1937 and lost in battle on May 4, 1940 in Ofotfjord near Narvik during the Norwegian campaign. ...

The message sent to ships of the Royal Navy informing them of the outbreak of war.

On September 3, the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany, 24 hours after the UK had issued an ultimatum to Germany to withdraw from Poland. After the fall of Poland, the British Navy was strengthened by the arrival of two Polish submarines Orzeł (Eagle) and Wilk (Wolf) and the formation of Polish Navy in Great Britain later supplemented with leased British ships. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 787 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,049 × 1,562 pixels, file size: 840 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) This is the naval message sent by the C in C H.F. (Commander in Chief Home Fleet) upon Britains entrance into... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 787 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (2,049 × 1,562 pixels, file size: 840 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) This is the naval message sent by the C in C H.F. (Commander in Chief Home Fleet) upon Britains entrance into... is the 246th day of the year (247th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Soviet Unions military action against Poland under the same alliance, see Soviet invasion of Poland (1939). ... ORP OrzeÅ‚ (Eagle) was a Polish Navy submarine in service during the World War II that participated in OrzeÅ‚ incident. ... ORP (OkrÄ™t Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej - Polish Republic Naval Ship) Wilk was a French-built mine-laying submarine which saw service in the Polish Navy from 1931 to 1951. ...


The army immediately began dispatching the British Expeditionary Force to support France. At first only regular troops from the pre-war Army made up its numbers. In 1940, however, men of the Territorial Army divisions being mobilised in the UK were sent. In the end, the BEF had I, II and III Corps under its command, controlling some 14 divisions. The Royal Air Force also sent significant forces to France at the start of hostilities. Some were Army cooperation squadrons to help with matters like reconnaissance for the Army. Others were Hawker Hurricane squadrons from Fighter Command. Separately, Bomber Command sent the Advanced Air Striking Force, composed of squadrons flying the Fairey Battle and other machines that did not have the range to reach Germany from the UK. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British army sent to France and Belgium in World War I and British Forces in Europe from 1939–1940 during World War II. The BEF was established by Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane following the Second Boer War in case the... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Territorial Army (TA) is the principal reserve force of the British Army, the land armed forces of the United Kingdom, and composed mostly of part-time soldiers paid at the same rate, while engaged on military activities, as their Regular equivalents. ... The British I Corps has a long history, and was in existence as an active formation in the British Army for longer than any other corps. ... The British II Corps was formed in both World War I and World War II. During WWII its first assignment was to the British Expeditionary Force where it was commanded by Alan Brooke (from whose name it took its insignia of a red leaping salmon upon three wavy blue bands... The British III Corps was formed in both World War I and World War II. During World War II it was formed to control forces of the British Expeditionary Force, after the expansion of that force had rendered control by just two corps headquarters cumbersome. ... RAF redirects here. ... The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. ... Fighter Command was one of three functional commands that dominated the public perception of the RAF for much of the mid-20th century. ... Bomber Command badge RAF Bomber Command was the organisation that controlled the RAFs bomber forces. ... The RAF Advanced Air Striking Force was formed on 24 August 1939 from No. ... Fairey Battle The Fairey Battle was a light bomber of the Royal Air Force built by Fairey Aviation in the late 1930s. ...


During the Phony War, the RAF carried out small bombing raids and a large number of propaganda leaflet raids (codenamed "Nickels") and the Royal Navy imposed a blockade on Germany. British Ministry of Home Security Poster of a type that was common during the Phony War The Phony War, or in Winston Churchills words the Twilight War, was a phase in early World War II marked by few military operations in Continental Europe, in the months following the German... For other uses, see Propaganda (disambiguation). ... This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ...


Western and northern Europe, 1940 and 1941

Norwegian campaign

Main article: Norwegian campaign

Norway was vital for Germany and the United Kingdom because of the great iron ore deposits in northern Sweden. Convinced that the United Kingdom might make a move against Norway to stop the flow of ore from Narvik, Hitler ordered a strike to begin on April 9, 1940. German battle cruisers in a Norwegian port in June 1940 The Norwegian Campaign, lasting from 9 April to 10 June 1940, led to the first direct land confrontation between the military forces of the Allies — United Kingdom and France — against Nazi Germany in World War II. The primary reason for... This heap of iron ore pellets will be used in steel production. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... is the 99th day of the year (100th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Germans succeeded in their mission, landing a large force at vital strategic points in Norway. However, the landings proved expensive for the Germans who lost three cruisers. USS Port Royal (CG-73), a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser (really an uprated guided missile destroyer), launched in 1992. ...


British land forces were quickly sent to Norway, landing in the centre at Åndalsnes and at Namsos and in the north of the country at Narvik. Landings farther south were denied by German airpower. Ã…ndalsnes is a Norwegian town in the municipality of Rauma, of which it is also the administrative center. ... Combatants United Kingdom France Norway Nazi Germany Commanders Adrian Carton De Wiart Sylvestre-Gérard Audet Ole B. Getz - Strength 3,500 British 2,500 French 500 Norwegians 6,000 Casualties British: 19 killed 42 wounded 96 missing  ? In April and early May, 1940 Namsos was the scene of heavy...


The early war

In central Norway, Royal Navy aircraft carriers and RAF fighter squadrons could not keep the established bases secure. The British had to evacuate them. In the north, the Germans were driven out of Narvik after they had captured it. However, as Luftwaffe aircraft came into range with the German advances, it was again found to be impossible to sustain bases in the face of that threat. British forces in Narvik were withdrawn as well.


As a consequence of the German invasion of Norway and Denmark, British forces commenced a pre-emptive occupation of the Faroe Islands on 12th April 1940.

See also: British occupation of the Faroe Islands in World War II

Immediately following the German invasion of Denmark and Norway in April 1940, the United Kingdom occupied the stragically important Faroe Islands to pre-empt a German invasion. ...

Occupation of Iceland

Main article: Invasion of Iceland

On 10 May 1940 British forces occupied Iceland to install naval and air bases on this Atlantic island. This article is about the 1940 invasion. ...


The Battle of France

Main article: Battle of France

On 10 May the so called Phoney War between Germany and the Franco-British alliance ended with a sweeping German invasion of the Benelux. German troops entered France through the Ardennes on 13 May. Most Allied forces were in Flanders, anticipating a re-run of the World War I Schlieffen Plan, and were cut off from the French heartland. As a result of this and superior German communications, the Battle of France was shorter than virtually all prewar Allied thought could have conceived, with France surrendering after six weeks. The United Kingdom and her Empire were left to stand alone. Combatants  France  United Kingdom  Canada  Czechoslovakia  Poland  Belgium  Netherlands  Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) Leopold III H.G. Winkelman Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R.H. Umberto di... is the 130th day of the year (131st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... British Ministry of Home Security Poster of a type that was common during the Phoney War The Phoney War was a phase in early World War II marked by few military operations in Continental Europe,[1] in the months following the German invasion of Poland and preceding the Battle of... Location of Benelux in Europe Official languages Dutch and French Membership  Belgium  Netherlands  Luxembourg Website http://www. ... The Ardennes (IPA pronunciation: ) (Dutch: Ardennen) is a volcanic region of extensive forests and rolling hill country, primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching into France (lending its name to the Ardennes département and the Champagne-Ardenne région). ... is the 133rd day of the year (134th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Flanders (disambiguation). ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Image:AlfredGrafVonSchlieffen. ... Combatants  France  United Kingdom  Canada  Czechoslovakia  Poland  Belgium  Netherlands  Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) Leopold III H.G. Winkelman Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R.H. Umberto di... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...


During the Battle of France, the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned, to be replaced by Winston Churchill, who had opposed negotiation with Hitler all along. This article is about the British prime minister. ... Churchill redirects here. ...


Fall of France

Main article: Fall of France

When France fell the position changed drastically. A combination of the French, German and Italian navies could potentially deny the United Kingdom command of the Atlantic and starve her into submission. Unable to discover whether the terms of the French surrender would permit Germany the use of French warships, it was decided that their use must be denied to the enemy. Those that had taken refuge in British ports were simply taken over (many volunteered to join the British). See below for details of how the British neutralised the French Mediterranean Fleet. In World War II, Battle of France or Case Yellow (Fall Gelb in German) was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, executed 10 May 1940 which ended the Phony War. ...


Dunkirk

Main article: Battle of Dunkirk

Fortunately for the United Kingdom, much of its army escaped capture from the northern French port of Dunkirk. In total, 330,000 troops were pulled off the beaches, of which 230,000 were British. However almost all the army's heavy equipment had been abandoned in France — many soldiers were unable to bring even their rifles. This article is about a Second World War battle in 1940, for the 1658 battle of the same name see Battle of the Dunes (1658) Combatants United Kingdom France Belgium Germany Commanders Lord Gort General Weygand Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Ewald von Kleist (Panzergruppe von Kleist) Strength approx. ... Location within France For the battleship, see Dunkerque Dunkirk (French: Dunkerque; Dutch: Duinkerke; German: Dünkirchen) is a harbour city and a commune in the northernmost part of France, in the département of Nord, 10 km from the Belgian border. ...


The Battle of Britain

Main article: Battle of Britain

In preparation for a planned cross-channel land invasion which was to be called Operation Sea Lion, the Luftwaffe began operations to destroy the Royal Air Force (RAF) and to thus gain advance air superiority over its next intended conquest, Britain. This battle for the skies over Britain is referred to as the Battle of Britain. Initially the Luftwaffe sought to bomb RAF ground installations and draw their fighters into airborne combat. In the Autumn of 1940, Hitler, having grown impatient with the failure to destroy the RAF, ordered a switch to bombing major British cities. Known as The Blitz, this was intended to demoralise the British people and destroy British industry. In May of 1941, only a few weeks after American president Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease act, it became clear to German planners that the Luftwaffe was not likely to gain air superiority over Britain any time soon, and significant German forces in France were reassigned to the expanding German Eastern front which were soon to be used in Germany's imminent struggle with Russia. This article is about military history. ... Operation Sealion (Unternehmen Seelöwe in German) was a World War II German plan to invade Britain. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... RAF redirects here. ... For other uses, see Blitz. ... FDR redirects here. ... The Lend-Lease program was a program of the United States during World War II that allowed the United States to provide the Allied Powers with war material without becoming directly involved in the war. ...


The German failure to achieve air superiority over Britain in the Battle of Britain marked a major turning point in the war. This British victory, the first major one against the Third Reich, ensured the survival of an independent Britain and marked the first major reverse in the German war effort of World War II.

See also: British anti-invasion preparations of World War II

Detail from a pillbox embrasure. ...

The war at sea

Opening moves

At the start of the war the British and French expected to have command of the seas, as they believed their navies were superior to those of Germany and Italy. The British and French immediately began a blockade of Germany, which had little effect on German industry. The German Navy began to attack British shipping with both surface ships and U-boats, sinking the S.S. Athenia within hours of the declaration of war. The German Panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee was sunk in the Battle of the River Plate by the British and New Zealand navies. U-boat is also a nickname for some diesel locomotives built by GE; see List of GE locomotives October 1939. ... The S.S. Athenia was the first British ship to be sunk by Germany in World War II. Athenia was built by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Ltd. ... The Deutschland class was a series of three Panzerschiffe (armoured ships), a form of heavily armed cruiser, built by the German Reichsmarine in accordance with restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. ... Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland class heavy cruiser which served with the Kriegsmarine of Germany during World War II. Originally classified as an armored ship (Panzerschiff), she was later reclassified as a heavy cruiser, and was referred to as a pocket battleship by the British. ... Combatants Germany United Kingdom New Zealand Commanders Hans Langsdorff Henry Harwood Strength 1 heavy cruiser 1 heavy cruiser 2 light cruisers Casualties 1 heavy cruiser damaged 36 dead 60 wounded 1 heavy cruiser heavily damaged 2 light cruisers damaged 72 dead 28 wounded For other uses, see The Battle of...


Battle of the Atlantic

Main article: Battle of the Atlantic (1939-1945)

Combatants Royal Navy Royal Canadian Navy United States Navy (1941–5) Kriegsmarine Regia Marina (1940–3) Commanders Sir Percy Noble Sir Max K. Horton Percy W. Nelles Leonard W. Murray Ernest J. King Erich Raeder Karl Dönitz Casualties 30,248 merchant sailors 3,500 merchant vessels 175 warships 28...

First 'Happy Time'

With the fall of France, ports such as Brest were quickly turned into large submarine bases from which British trade could be attacked. This resulted in a huge rise in sinkings of British shipping. The period between the fall of France and the British containment of the threat was referred to as the first happy time by the U Boat commanders. Brest is a city in Brittany, or the Bretagne région, north-west France, sous-préfecture of the Finistère département. ...


By 1941 the United States was taking an increasing part in the war. British forces had occupied Iceland shortly after Denmark fell to the Germans in 1940, the US was persuaded to provide forces to relieve British troops on the island. American warships began escorting convoys to Iceland, and had several hostile encounters with U-boats. The United States Navy also helped escort the main Atlantic convoys. For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... This article is about the 1940 invasion. ... USN redirects here. ...


More American help came in the form of the destroyers for bases agreement. Fifty old American destroyers were handed over to the Royal Navy in exchange for 99 year leases on certain British bases in the western hemisphere.


In addition, personnel training in the RN improved as the realities of the battle became obvious. For instance, the training regime of Vice Admiral Gilbert O. Stephenson is credited in improving personnel standards to a significant degree. Vice Admiral is a naval rank of three star level, equivalent to Lieutenant General in seniority. ... Sir Gilbert O. Stephenson was a British Vice Admiral in the Royal Navy. ...


'Second Happy Time'

Main article: Second happy time

The attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent German declaration of war on the United States had an immediate effect, with German U-boats conducting a highly successful campaign against traffic along the American east coast. A proportion of the ships sunk were en route to assembly points for convoys to Britain. German sailors called this the "second happy time". It came to an end when a convoy system operated along the coast and adequate anti-submarine measures were employed. The second happy time was a phase in the Second Battle of the Atlantic during which Axis submarines attacked merchant shipping along the east coast of North America. ... This article is about the actual attack. ... The second happy time was a phase in the Second Battle of the Atlantic during which Axis submarines attacked merchant shipping along the east coast of North America. ...


Success against the U-boats

A Flower Class corvette used for convoy protection work

The institution of an interlocking convoy system on the American coast and in the Caribbean Sea in mid-1942 created an enormous drop in attacks in those areas. Attention shifted back to the Atlantic convoys. Matters were serious, but not critical throughout much of 1942. Image File history File links Corvette. ... Image File history File links Corvette. ... Map of Central America and the Caribbean The Caribbean Sea (pronounced or ) is a tropical sea in the Western Hemisphere, part of the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Gulf of Mexico. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The winter weather provided a respite in early 1943, but in the spring, large wolf packs of U-boats attacked convoys and scored big successes without taking large losses in return. However, in May 1943 a sudden turnaround happened. Two convoys were attacked by large wolf packs and suffered losses. Yet unlike earlier in the year the attacking submarines were also mauled. After those battles merchant ship losses plummeted and U-boat losses rocketed, forcing Dönitz to withdraw his forces from the Atlantic. They were never again to pose the same threat. Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The term wolf pack refers to the mass-attack tactics against convoys used by U-boats of the Kriegsmarine during the Battle of the Atlantic and submarines of the United States Navy against Japanese shipping in the Pacific Ocean in World War II. Karl Dönitz used the term Rudel... U-boat is also a nickname for some diesel locomotives built by GE; see List of GE locomotives October 1939. ... Karl Dönitz (IPA pronunciation:  ) (born 16 September 1891; died 24 December 1980) was a German naval leader, who commanded the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) during the second half of World War II. Dönitz was also President of Germany for 23 days after Adolf Hitlers suicide. ...


What had changed was a sudden convergence of technologies. The large gap in the middle of the Atlantic that had been unreachable by aircraft was closed by long range B-24 Liberator aircraft. Centimetric radar came into service, greatly improving detection and nullifying German radar warning equipment. The introduction of the Leigh Light enabled accurate attacks on U-boats re-charging their batteries on the surface at night. With convoys securely protected there were enough resources to allow escort carrier groups to aggressively hunt U-boats. The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber that was produced in greater numbers than any other American combat aircraft during World War II and still holds the record as the most produced allied aircraft. ... For other uses, see Radar (disambiguation). ... The Leigh Light (abbreviated L/L) was a British World War II era anti submarine device used in the Second Battle of the Atlantic. ...


Arctic convoys

The Arctic convoys travelled from the USA and the United Kingdom to the northern ports of the USSR - Archangel and Murmansk. The Arctic convoys of World War II travelled from the United States and the United Kingdom to the northern ports of the Soviet Union - Archangel and Murmansk. ... Arkhangelsk (Russian: ), formerly called Archangel in English, is a city in and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. ... Murmansk coin Murmansk (Russian: ; Finnish: (archaic); Northern Sami: ; Skolt Sami: ) is a city in the extreme northwest part of Russia with a seaport on the Kola Bay, 12 km from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russias borders with Norway and...


85 merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy warships were lost. The Germans lost several vessels, including one battlecruiser and at least 30 U-boats, as well as a large number of aircraft. The material significance of the supplies was probably not as great as the symbolic value - hence the continuation, at Stalin's insistence, of these convoys long after the Russians had turned the German land offensive. Iosif (usually anglicized as Joseph) Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин), original name Ioseb Jughashvili (Georgian: იოსებ ჯუღაშვი&#4314...


The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean saw a great deal of naval action during World War II. In a struggle which lasted for three years the Royal Navy and Italian Navy battled for control of the sea. The Kriegsmarine also took part in the campaign, primarily through sending U Boats into the Mediterranean, but also controlling the few remaining Axis naval forces after the Italian surrender. Combatants Allied Nations Axis Powers The Naval Battle of the Mediterranean was waged during World War II, to attack and keep open the respective supply lines of Allied and Axis armies, and to destroy the opposing sides ability to wage war at sea. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... The Kriegsmarine (or War Navy) was the name of the German Navy between 1935 and 1945, during the Nazi regime, superseding the Reichsmarine. ...


The Mediterranean began the war dominated by the British and French navies with Italy as a neutral power astride communications in the centre of the area. The situation changed vastly with the fall of France and the declaration of war by Italy. In addition the British Mediterranean Fleet based at Alexandria controlling the eastern end of the Mediterranean there was a need to replace French naval power in the west. To do this Force H was formed at Gibraltar. The British Government was still concerned that the remaining French ships would be used by the Axis powers. Consequently they took steps to neutralise it. The Mediterranean Fleet was part of the Royal Navy. ... This article is about the city in Egypt. ... Force H was a British naval squadron during World War II. It was formed in 1940 to replace French naval power in the western Mediterranean that had been removed by the French armistice with Nazi Germany. ...


At Alexandria relations between the French and British commanders, Admirals Godfroy and Cunningham, were good. The French squadron there was impounded in the port. In the western basin things did not go so smoothly. The bulk of the French fleet was at Mers-el-Kebir in North Africa. Force H steamed there to confront the French with terms. Those terms were all rejected and so the French fleet was attacked and heavily damaged by Force H. The Vichy French government broke off all ties with the British as a result. See destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. Mers-el-Kebir is a town in northwestern Algeria, located by the Mediterranean Sea near Oran, in the Oran Province. ...  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ... Vichy France (French: now called Régime de Vichy or Vichy; called itself at the time État Français, or French State) was the French state of 1940-1944 which was a puppet government under Nazi influence, as opposed to the Free French Forces, based first in London and later... Combatants United Kingdom France Commanders James Somerville Marcel-Bruno Gensoul Strength 3 battleships, 1 carrier, 2 cruisers, 11 destroyers 4 battleships, 6 destroyers, 1 seaplane tender Casualties — 1 battleship sunk 2 battleships damaged 1,297 killed The Destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, French North Africa (now...


Battle of Taranto

The Italian battle fleet dominated the centre of the Mediterranean and so the Royal Navy hatched a plan to cripple it. On November 11, 1940, the Royal Navy crippled or destroyed three Italian battleships by using carrier borne aircraft, the obsolescent Fairey Swordfish, in the Battle of Taranto. As a result the Italian fleet was withdrawn from Taranto and never again based in such a forward position. This battle inspired the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about a battleship as a type of warship. ... Fairey Swordfish The Fairey Swordfish was a torpedo bomber built by the Fairey Aviation Company and used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during World War II. Affectionately known as the Stringbag by its crews, it was outdated by 1939, but achieved some spectacular successes during the... This article is about the 1940 battle. ... Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, southern Italy. ...


Battle of Matapan

The first fleet action of the war in the Mediterranean was the Battle of Cape Matapan. It was a decisive Allied victory, fought off the Peloponnesus coast of Greece from March 27 to March 29, 1941 in which British Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy forces under the command of the British Admiral Andrew Cunningham intercepted those of the Italian Regia Marina, under Admiral Angelo Iachino. The Allies sank the heavy cruisers Fiume, Zara and Pola and the destroyers Vittorio Alfieri and Giosue Carducci, and damaged the battleship Vittorio Veneto. The British lost one torpedo plane and suffered light damage to some ships. Combatants United Kingdom Australia Italy Commanders Andrew Cunningham Angelo Iachino Strength 1 aircraft carrier 3 battleships 7 light cruisers 17 destroyers 1 battleship 6 heavy cruisers 2 light cruisers 17 destroyers Casualties 4 light cruiser lightly damaged 1 torpedo bomber destroyed 3 dead 1 battleship heavily damaged 3 heavy cruisers... Greece and the Peloponnese The Peloponnese or Peloponnesus (Greek: Πελοπόννησος Peloponnesos; see also List of Greek place names) is a large peninsula in southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth. ... is the 86th day of the year (87th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 88th day of the year (89th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ... The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. ... Bronze bust of Lord Cunningham, looking at Nelsons column and Whitehall Andrew Browne Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope (7 January 1883 - 12 June 1963), familiarly known as ABC, was the most famous British admiral of World War II, winning distinction in Mediterranean battles in 1940 and 1941, then... The Italian Regia Marina (literally: Royal Navy) dates from the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 after Italian unification. ... Angelo Iachino was the Italian navy commander during the Battle of Cape Matapan. ... HMS Raleigh a Hawkins class cruiser around which the treaty limits for Heavy cruisers were written. ... Zara was an Italian Zara class heavy cruiser, which served in the Regia Marina during World War II. Her keel was laid down 1928 at , La Spezia; she was launched on 27 April 1930, and her construction was completed in 1931. ... USS McFaul underway in the Atlantic Ocean. ... For other uses, see Battleship (disambiguation). ... Vittorio Veneto was an Italian Vittorio Veneto class battleship, that served in the Regia Marina during the World War II. Her keel was laid down 1934 at Cantieri Riuniti dellAdriatico, Trieste; she was launched on 25 July 1937, and her construction was completed in 1940, after Italy entered in...


Crete

Battle of Crete In the aftermath of the German invasion of Greece only the island of Crete remained in Allied hands in the Aegean area. The Germans invaded in a combined operation and forced the evacuation of the British forces. The evacuation was essentially a Mediterranean version of Dunkirk, but far more costly to the Royal Navy. It lost the battleship HMS Barham and a number of cruisers along with large numbers of destroyers during the evacuation. During the evacuation Admiral Cunningham was determined that the "navy must not let the army down", when army generals feared he would lose too many ships Cunningham said that "It takes three years to build a ship, it takes three centuries to build a tradition". For other uses, see Crete (disambiguation). ... Look up Aegean Sea in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses of Dunkirk or Dunkerque, see Dunkirk (disambiguation). ... For other ships with the same name, see HMS Barham. ... Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham Bronze bust of Lord Cunningham, looking at Nelsons column and Whitehall Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope (7 January 1883–12 June 1963), familiarly known as ABC, was a famous British admiral of World War II, winning distinction in...


Malta

Malta, which lies in the middle of the Mediterranean south of Italy, was always a great thorn in the side of the Axis. It was in the perfect strategic position to interdict Axis supplies destined for North Africa. For a time it looked as if Malta would be starved into submission by the use of Axis aircraft flying from bases in Italy. The turning point in the siege came in August 1942, when the British sent a very heavily defended convoy codenamed Operation Pedestal. Once Malta had been supplied with Spitfire fighters carried to the Island by HMS Furious during Operation Pedestal, these fighters along with the other vital supplies of materiel lifted the siege of Malta. The British re-established a creditable air garrison on the island. With the aid of Ultra, Malta garrison was able to decimate the Axis supplies to North Africa immediately before the Second Battle of El Alamein. For the fortitude and courage of the Maltese during the siege, Malta was awarded the George Cross. Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants  United Kingdom  United States  Nazi Germany Fascist Italy Commanders Vice Admiral Sir Neville Syfret, Rear-Admiral H M Burrough, CB Alberto Da Zara Strength 2 Battleships, 4 Aircraft Carriers, 7 Cruisers, 16 Destroyers, 14 Merchantmen. ... The Supermarine Spitfire was a British single-seat fighter, which was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during the Second World War, and into the 1950s. ... HMS Furious was a modified Courageous class large light cruiser (an extreme form of battlecruiser) converted into an early aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. ... Ultra (sometimes capitalized ULTRA) was the name used by the British for intelligence resulting from decryption of German communications in World War II. The term eventually became the standard designation in both Britain and the United States for all intelligence from high-level cryptanalytic sources. ... Combatants British Eighth Army: United Kingdom Australia Free French Greece India New Zealand South Africa Panzer Army Africa: Germany Italy Commanders Harold Alexander Bernard Montgomery Erwin Rommel Georg Stumme Ettore Bastico Strength 220,000 men 1,100 tanks[1] 750 aircraft (530 serviceable) 116,000 men[1] 559 tanks[2... The George Cross (GC) is the highest civil decoration of the Commonwealth of Nations. ...


Great invasions

In late 1942 Operation Torch, the first of the great Allied combined operations during the war, was launched. It represented a new pattern in the naval war in the Mediterranean with the primary task of the naval forces being to cover the invasion. Since the Italian fleet was still extant a heavy covering force was required to screen against Italian interference. However the Italians did not leave port during the invasion. Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham François Darlan Strength 73,500 60,000 Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in...


Torch was followed by Operation Husky the invasion of Sicily, and Operation Avalanche, the invasion of southern Italy. Again the naval forces escorted the invasion fleet and heavy cover was provided against Italian interference. In the aftermath of Avalanche the Italian surrender was announced and the British naval forces escorted the Italian fleet to Malta under the terms of the surrender. The main threat to Allied shipping around Italy during these invasions was not the Italian fleet but German guided weapons which sunk or damaged a number of Allied units. Combatants  United States  United Kingdom  Canada  Free French  Nazi Germany Italy Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Harold Alexander Bernard Montgomery George S. Patton Albert Kesselring Alfredo Guzzoni Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin Strength 160,000 men 14,000 vehicles 600 tanks 1,800 guns 365,000 Italians 40,000 Germans Casualties... Sicily ( in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


After the surrender of the Italian fleet naval operations in the Mediterranean became relatively mundane, consisting largely of supporting ground troops by bombardment, anti-submarine missions, covert insertions of agents on enemy coast and convoy escort.


Aegean sweep

The one major exception to mundane missions occurred in late 1944. Due to their garrisons on the various islands of the Aegean the Germans had maintained control over the Aegean Sea long after they had lost other areas of the Mediterranean to Allied control. In late 1944 that changed as an Allied carrier task force moved into the area. It was composed entirely of escort carriers but the task force wreaked havoc with German shipping in the area and reasserted Allied dominance over the last area of the Mediterranean still controlled by the Germans. Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The escort aircraft carrier or escort carrier, was a small aircraft carrier developed by the Royal Navy in the early part of World War II to deal with the U-boat crisis of the Battle of the Atlantic. ...


Operation Overlord and the Normandy landings

The invasion of Normandy was the greatest amphibious assault ever. Over 1,000 fighting ships and some 5,000 other ships were involved. The sheer number of vessels involved meant that nearly all of the major ports of the United Kingdom were at capacity immediately preceding the assault. This article is about the assault phase of Operation Overlord. ...


The five assault divisions crossed the channel in five great assault groups. There were two task forces, the Anglo-Canadian Eastern Task Force and the American Western Task Force. Coastal Command secured the western flank of the invasion route against interference by German U Boats from the western French ports. The surface forces assisted by protecting the assault convoys from the small German surface forces in the area. Overlord saw an enormous minesweeping operation, with hundreds of minesweepers clearing and maintaining channels. The bombardment forces were on an enormous scale, with eight battleships taking part in the assault. The formidable defences of the Atlantic Wall were difficult to contend with, and many duels between the heavy ships and shore batteries were fought during the invasion. German coastal artillery in the Pas-de-Calais area, with laborers at work on casemate. ...


On the whole the assault went well, although disaster came nearest to occurring at the American Omaha Beach. There the naval forces provided crucial backup for the assaulting forces, with destroyers coming in very close to the beach the blast the German defences. British losses to enemy attack both during the initial assault and the building of the bridgehead were comparatively small. Virtually no ships were sunk by German naval surface forces as this force was largely destroyed prior to the invasion. Combatants United States Germany Commanders Omar Bradley, Norman Cota, Clarence R. Huebner Dietrich Kraiss Strength 43,250 Unknown Casualties 3,000 1,200 Omaha Beach was the code name for one of the principal landing points of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on June...


Two of the ports used by the German light forces were heavily bombed by the Allied air forces. The larger German ships based in France, three destroyers from Bordeaux were defeated in a destroyer action well to the west of the main assault area. Larger problems were caused by U-boats and especially mines, but the U-boats were hunted down and the mines swept effectively enough to make the invasion a success. For other uses, see Bordeaux (disambiguation). ...


The East

Indian Ocean disaster

Though the Indian Ocean was a backwater during World War II, there were several vital operations in that area. British convoys running through the western Indian Ocean were vital for supplying Allied forces in North Africa. They faced a small but consistent submarine threat from both German and Japanese surface raiders and submarines. Tankers sailing from the oil terminals of Persia (now Iran) also had to run the same gauntlet. For other uses of this term see: Persia (disambiguation) The Persian Empire is the name used to refer to a number of historic dynasties that have ruled the country of Persia (Iran). ...


The major operations in the Indian Ocean took place in early 1942 and 1944/45. Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


British forces in the Singapore were reinforced by HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse in December 1941. However, three days into the war on December 10, those two ships were sunk by Japanese aircraft, the Prince of Wales becoming the only modern Allied battleship sunk during the entire war and the first time that a battleship at sea and free to manoeuvre had been sunk by air attack. HMS Prince of Wales was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England. ... HMS Repulse was a Renown-class battlecruiser, the second to last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ...


Japanese forces captured Malaya, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies and the remaining British warships withdrew to Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and in February, 1942 they were reconstituted into the British Eastern Fleet. On paper the fleet looked impressive, boasting five battleships and three aircraft carriers. However, four of the battleships were old and obsolete and one of the aircraft carriers was small and virtually useless in a fleet action as the new fleet commander, Admiral James Somerville, noted. Map of Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (or Semenanjung Malaysia in the Malay language) is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula, and shares a land border with Thailand in the north. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Trincomalee District Map Trincomalee (Tamil: (Thirukonamalai, hist: Sirigonakanda); Sinhala: (Thirikunamalaya)) is a port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka, about 110 miles northeast of Kandy. ... The British Eastern Fleet (also known as the East Indies Fleet and the Far East Fleet) was a fleet of the Royal Navy during World War II and post war until 1971. ... Four aircraft carriers, (bottom-to-top) Principe de Asturias, amphibious assault carrier USS Wasp, USS Forrestal and light V/STOL carrier HMS Invincible, showing size differences of late 20th century carriers An aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and in most cases recover aircraft, acting as a sea... Admiral of the Fleet Sir James Fownes Somerville, GCB GBE DSO, (17 July 1882 – 19 March 1949) was one of the most famous British Admirals of World War II. // The son of Arthur Fownes Somerville (1850-1942, who appears to have spent some time farming sheep in New Zealand), James...


Following successes over American forces in the Pacific, the main Japanese carrier force made its one and only foray into the Indian Ocean in April 1942. Nagumo took the main force after the British fleet and a subsidiary raid was made on shipping in the Bay of Bengal. The weight and experience of this Japanese force far outweighed that available to the Royal Navy. During these attacks, two British heavy cruisers, HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall, an aircraft carrier — the obsolete HMS Hermes — and a destroyer were sunk and many merchant ships were damaged or sunk. It has been suggested that Japanese Raids into Indian Ocean be merged into this article or section. ... This is a Japanese name; the family name is Nagumo Admiral Chuichi Nagumo , 25 March 1887 - 6 July 1944) was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. // Nagumo was born in Yonezawa city, Yamagata prefecture in northern Japan in 1887. ... Look up Bay of Bengal in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... HMS Raleigh a Hawkins class cruiser around which the treaty limits for Heavy cruisers were written. ... HMS Dorsetshire (pennant number 40) was a heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy, named after the English county (now called Dorset). ... HMS Cornwall (56) was a 9,750-ton County-class heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy. ... For other ships with the same name, see HMS Hermes. ...


Fortuitously, or by design, the main British fleet did not make contact with the Japanese and thus remained available for future action.


Indian Ocean retreat

Following those attacks, the British fleet retreated to Kilindini in East Africa, as their more forward fleet anchorages could not be adequately protected from Japanese attack. The fleet in the Indian Ocean was then gradually reduced to little more than a convoy escort force as other commitments called for the more powerful ships. Kilindini Harbour is a large, natural deep-water inlet extending inland from Mombasa, Kenya. ...


One exception was Operation Ironclad, a campaign launched when it was feared that Vichy French Madagascar might fall into Japanese hands, and be used as a submarine base. Such a blow would have been devastating to British lines of communication to the Far East and Middle East, but the Japanese never contemplated it. The French resisted more than expected, and more operations were need to capture the island, but it did eventually fall. The Battle of Madagascar is another name for Operation Ironclad, the Allied invasion of Madagascar launched on May 5, 1942, when it was feared that bases on the Vichy French_controlled island might be used by Japan. ...


Indian Ocean strike

It was only after the war in Europe was coming to an end that large British forces were dispatched to the Indian Ocean again after the neutralisation of the German fleet in late 1943 and early 1944. The success of Operation Overlord in June meant even more craft from the Home Fleet could be sent, including precious amphibious assault shipping. The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between the German forces occupying Western Europe and the invading Allies. ...


During late 1944, as more British aircraft carriers came into the area a series of strikes were flown against oil targets in Sumatra to prepare British carriers for the upcoming operations in the Pacific. For the first attack, the United States lent the USS Saratoga. The oil installations were heavily damaged by the attacks, aggravating the Japanese fuel shortages due to the Allied blockade. The final attack was flown as the carriers were heading for Sydney to become the British Pacific Fleet. For other uses, see Sumatra (disambiguation). ... The fifth USS Saratoga (CV-3) was the second aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. ...


After the departure of the main battle forces the Indian Ocean was left with escort carriers and older battleships as the mainstay of its naval forces. Nevertheless, during those months important operations were launched in the recapture of Burma, including landings on Ramree and Akyab and near Rangoon. Yangôn, formerly Rangoon, population 4,504,000 (2001), is the capital of Myanmar. ...


Blockade of Japan

British forces consistently played a secondary role to American forces in the strangling of Japan's trade, albeit they still did have a significant role. The earliest successes were gained by mine laying. The Japanese minesweeping capability was never great, and when confronted with new types of mines they did not adapt quickly. Japanese shipping was driven from the Burmese coast using this type of warfare.


British submarines also operated against Japanese shipping, although later in the war. They were based in Ceylon, Fremantle and finally the Philippines. A major success was the sinking of several Japanese cruisers. “Fremantle” redirects here. ...


The North African desert

See also: North African campaign and Italian military history of World War II

On 13 September 1940, the Italian Tenth Army crossed the border from the Italian colony of Libya into Egypt, where British troops were protecting the Suez Canal. The Italian assault carried through to Sidi Barrani, approximately 95 km inside Egypt. The Italians then began to entrench themselves. At this time there were only 30,000 British available to defend against 250,000 Italian troops. The Italian decision to halt the advance is generally credited to them being unaware of the British strength, and the activity of Royal Navy forces operating in the Mediterranean to interfere with Italian supply lines. There were Royal Navy seaports at Alexandria, Haifa, and Port Said. Following the halt of the Italian Tenth Army, the British used the Western Desert Force's Jock columns to harass their lines in Egypt. During World War II, the North African Campaign, also known as the Desert War, took place in the North African desert from September 13, 1940 to May 13, 1943. ... This page is intended to serve as a focal point for studying Italian military history during the WWII-era. ... is the 256th day of the year (257th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Suez (disambiguation). ... Sidi Barrani is a village in Egypt, ~95km from the border with Libya, and ~240km from Tobruk. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ... The Mediterranean Sea is an intercontinental sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Port. ... This article is about the city in Egypt. ... Hebrew Arabic حَيْفَا Founded in 3rd century CE Government City District Haifa Population 267,000 1,039,000 (metropolitan area) Jurisdiction 63,666 dunams (63. ... Port Said (postcard around 1915) Port Said (31. ... The Western Desert Force, during World War II, was a British Commonwealth Army unit stationed in Egypt. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ...


Onto the offensive

On 11 November 1940, the Royal Navy crippled or destroyed three Italian battleships in the Battle of Taranto. is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about a battleship as a type of warship. ... This article is about the 1940 battle. ...


Then, on 8 December 1940, Operation Compass began. Planned as an extended raid, a force of British, Indian and Australian troops succeeded in cutting off the Italian troops. Pressing their advantage home, General O'Connor pressed the attack forward and succeeded in reaching El Agheila (an advance of 500 miles) and capturing tens of thousands of enemy. The Italian army was virtually destroyed, and it seemed that the Italians would be swept out of Libya. However at the crucial moment Churchill ordered that the advance be stopped and troops dispatched to defend Greece. Weeks later the first German troops were arriving in North Africa to reinforce the Italians. is the 342nd day of the year (343rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants Western Desert Force United Kingdom Indian Empire Australia Italian Tenth Army Commanders Richard OConnor Rodolfo Graziani Pietro Maletti † Annibale Bergonzoli Strength 31,000 soldiers(december 1940 250,000)[1] 120 artillery pieces 275 tanks 60 Armoured cars 150,000 soldiers 1,600 guns 600 tanks Casualties 500 dead...


Greek interlude and Crete

See also: Greco-Italian War, Invasion of Yugoslavia, Battle of Greece, Battle of Crete, and Balkans Campaign

The Italians attacked Greece from Albania in late 1940. Not only did the Greeks stop the attack, they forced the Italians back. Eventually, in the spring of 1941, the Germans intervened in Greece. They also invaded Yugoslavia concurrently. Combatants Italy Albania Greece United Kingdom Commanders Sebastiano Visconti Prasca Ubaldo Soddu Ugo Cavallero Giovanni Messe Alexander Papagos Strength 529,000 men Under 300,000 men Casualties 13,755 dead, 50,874 wounded, 25,067 missing, 12,368 incapacitated by frostbites, ca. ... “April War” redirects here. ... Combatants Germany Italy Bulgaria Albania Greece United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Commanders Wilhelm List Alexander Papagos, Henry Maitland Wilson, Bernard Freyberg Thomas Blamey Strength Germany:[1] 680,000 men, 1200 tanks 700 aircraft 1Italy:[2] 565,000 men 1Greece:[3] 430,000 men British Commonwealth:[4] 262,612 men 100... Combatants Greece United Kingdom New Zealand Australia Nazi Germany Kingdom of Italy Commanders Bernard Freyberg Kurt Student Strength United Kingdom: 15,000 Greece: 11,000 Australia: 7,100 New Zealand: 6,700 Total: 40,000 (10,000 without fighting capacity[2]) Germany: 14,000 paratroopers 15,000 mountain troopers 280... Combatants Germany Italy Bulgaria Albania Greece United Kingdom Australia New Zealand Yugoslavia Commanders Maximilian von Weichs Giovanni Messe Alexander Papagos Henry Maitland Wilson The Balkans Campaign was the Italian and German invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia during World War II. It began with Italys annexation of Albania in April... Yugoslavia (Jugoslavija in the Latin alphabet, Југославија in Cyrillic; English: South Slavia, or literary The Land of South Slavs) describes three political entities that existed one at a time on the Balkan Peninsula in Europe, during most of the 20th century. ...


The Greeks had been reluctant to acquiesce to British ground forces into the country, because the United Kingdom could not spare enough forces to be guaranteed to forestall a German attack. They had, however, accepted aid from the RAF in their war with the Italians in Albania. The trigger for British forces moving to Greece in large numbers was the entry of German forces into Bulgaria, which made clear the German intent to invade Greece.


British forces took position on a defensive line running north west to south east across the northern part of Greece. However, there were critical weaknesses in the defences. The Greek forces in the area were further forward than the British forces, and the Greek Government refused British advice to withdraw to a common line. The Greek forces were thus defeated in detail. There was also a large gap between the left flank of British forces and the right flank of the Greek forces in Albania. That was exploited to the full by the Germans.


After being thrown off the Greek mainland, British forces retreated to Crete. There, the Germans again exploited weaknesses in the defences with a bold invasion plan. In the largest and last German airborne assault, paratroops landed at several points on the island. In all but one location, they were cut off and destroyed, and the follow-on seaborne forces were dispersed by the Royal Navy. However, that one location was enough, and reinforcements were flown in to the point where the Germans were strong enough to break out and take the rest of the island. For other uses, see Crete (disambiguation). ...


Iraq, Syria and Persia

See also: Anglo-Iraqi War, Syria-Lebanon campaign, and Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran

In May 1941, to add to British troubles in the area, there was a coup d'etat against the pro-British government in Iraq. A pro-German ruler took power in the coup and ordered British forces out of Iraq. There were two main British bases in Iraq, around Basra and at Habbaniya north east of Baghdad. Basra was too well defended for the Iraqis to consider taking. However, Habbaniya was a poorly defended air base, situated in the middle of enemy territory. It had no regular air forces, being only a training centre. Nonetheless, the RAF personnel at the base converted as many of the training aircraft as possible to carry weapons. Combatants Kingdom of Iraq United Kingdom India Commanders Rashid Ali General Sir Edward Quinan Strength five divisions about two divisions Casualties 2,500 KIA, about 6,000 POWs 1,200 (KIA, MIA, WIA) The Anglo-Iraqi War is the name of hostilities between the United Kingdom and the Iraqi nationalist... Combatants Australia U.K. British India British Palestine  Czechoslovakia Government-in-Exile Free France Vichy France Mandate of Syria Mandate of Lebanon Commanders Henry Maitland Wilson Henri Dentz Strength Approximately 35,000 troops Australian: 18,000 British: 9,000 Indian: 2,000 Free French: 5,000 Between 35,000 and... Combatants Allies (UK, India and USSR) Persia/ Iran The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia was the invasion of Iran by the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, codenamed Operation Countenance, from August 25 to September 17 of 1941. ... The Iraq coup of 1941, also known as the Rashid Ali Al-Gaylani coup. ... Sayyad Rashid Ali al-Gillani Son of Sayyad Abdul Wahhab al-Gillani (رشيد علي الكيلاني)‎ (1892–1965) served as prime minister of Iraq on three occasions: March 20, 1933 – October 29, 1933 March 31, 1940 – January 31, 1941 April 3, 1941 – May 29, 1941 He is chiefly remembered for his efforts to bring... This article is about the city of Basra. ... Habbaniya is a lake in Iraq, west of Baghdad. ... Baghdad (Arabic: ) is the capital of Iraq and of Baghdad Governorate. ...


When Iraqi forces came to Habbaniya, they surrounded the base and gave warning that any military activity would be considered as hostile, leading to an attack. However, the RAF training aircraft took off and bombed the Iraqi forces, repelling them from the base. Columns then set out from Habbaniya, Palestine and Basra to capture Baghdad, and put an end to the coup. They succeeded at relatively low cost, but there was a disturbing development during the campaign. A 2003 satellite image of the region. ...


A Luftwaffe aircraft was shot down over Iraq during the advance on Baghdad. The nearest Axis bases were on Rhodes, and so the aircraft had to stage through somewhere to be able to get to Iraq. The only possible place was Vichy Syria. This overtly hostile action could not be tolerated. Consequently, after victory in Iraq, British forces invaded Syria and Lebanon to remove the Vichy officials from power there. Vigorous resistance was put up by the French against British and Australian forces moving into Lebanon from Palestine. However, pressure there eventually told, and when this combined with an advance on Damascus from Iraq, the French surrendered. The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... This article is about the Greek island of Rhodes. ... Motto Travail, famille, patrie French: Unoccupied zone of Vichy France (until November 1942) Capital Vichy Capital-in-exile Sigmaringen (1944-1945) Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholic Government Dictatorship Chief of state  - 1940 — 1944 Philippe Pétain President of the Council  - 1940 — 1942 Philippe Pétain  - 1942 — 1944 Pierre Laval... A 2003 satellite image of the region. ... For other uses, see Damascus (disambiguation). ...


The final major military operation in the war in the Middle East took place shortly thereafter. The Soviet Union desperately needed supplies for its war against Germany. Supplies were being sent round the North Cape convoy route to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, but the capacity of that route was limited and subject to enemy action. Supplies were also sent from America to Vladivostok in Soviet-flagged ships. However, yet more capacity was needed, the obvious answer was to go through Persia. The Shah of Persia was somewhat pro-German, and so would not allow this. Consequently British and Soviet forces invaded and occupied Persia. The Shah was deposed and his son put on the throne. North Cape is the name of several capes: North Cape is a cape in Prince Edward Island, Canada North Cape is a cape in northern New Zealand North Cape is a cape in northern Norway, also known as Nordkapp The North Cape was a barge which ran aground in Rhode... Murmansk coin Murmansk (Russian: ; Finnish: (archaic); Northern Sami: ; Skolt Sami: ) is a city in the extreme northwest part of Russia with a seaport on the Kola Bay, 12 km from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russias borders with Norway and... Arkhangelsk (Russian: ), formerly called Archangel in English, is a city in and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. ... Vladivostok (Russian: ) is the administrative center of Primorsky Krai, Russia, situated close to the Russo-Sino border and North Korea. ... Anthem SorÅ«d-e MellÄ«-e Īrān Â² Capital (and largest city) Tehran Official languages Persian Demonym Iranian Government Islamic Republic  -  Supreme Leader  -  President Unification  -  Unified by Cyrus the Great 559 BCE   -  Parthian (Arsacid) dynastic empire (first reunification) 248 BCE-224 CE   -  Sassanid dynastic empire 224–651 CE   -  Safavid dynasty... Shah or Shahzad is a Persian term for a monarch (ruler) that has been adopted in many other languages. ...


Ethiopia

See also: East African Campaign (World War II)

In addition to the well known campaigns in the western desert during 1940, a front was opened against the Italians in June 1940, around their colonies of Ethiopia, Italian Somaliland and Eritrea in East Africa. Combatants United Kingdom Anglo-Egyptian Sudan British Somaliland British East Africa British India Gold Coast Nigeria N. Rhodesia S. Rhodesia Union of S. Africa Belgium Belgian Congo Free France Ethiopian irregulars Italy Italian East Africa German Motorized Company Commanders Archibald Wavell William Platt Alan Cunningham Duke of Aosta Guglielmo Nasi... Italian Somaliland was an Italian colony that lasted, apart from a brief interlude of British rule, from the late 19th century until 1960 in the territory of the modern-day East African nation of Somalia. ...


As in Egypt, British forces were massively outnumbered by their Italian opponents. However, unlike Libya, Ethiopia was isolated from the Italian mainland, and thus cut off from resupply.


The first offensive moves of the campaign fell to the Italians. They attacked in three directions, into Sudan, Kenya and British Somaliland. Only in the Italian conquest of British Somaliland did they enjoy full success. The British garrison in Somaliland was outnumbered, and after a couple of weeks of fightings had to be evacuated to Aden. In Sudan and Kenya the Italian conquered only some small areas around border villages. Flag Capital Aden Religion Islam Political structure Protectorate History  - Established 1884  - Independence June 26, 1960  - Somaliland established 18 May, 1991 Currency British pound British Somaliland was a British protectorate in the north part of the Horn of Africa, and later part of Somalia and presently the unrecognized Republic of Somaliland. ... Combatants United Kingdom British India British Somaliland N. Rhodesia British East Africa Italy Italian East Africa Commanders Alfred Godwin-Austen Arthur Chater Guglielmo Nasi Carlo De Simone Strength 4,000 24,000 Casualties 38 killed[1] 71 wounded[1] 49 missing[1] Total:205[2] Destroyed British convoy near Berbera... Port of Aden (around 1910). ...


After their offensives petered out, as in Egypt, the Italians adopted a passive attitude and waited for the inevitable British counter-attack. Attention then shifted to the naval sphere.


The Italians had a small naval squadron based at Asmara in Eritrea. This was a threat to the British convoys heading up the Red Sea. It consisted of a few destroyers and submarines. However, the squadron was not used aggressively and mostly acted as a fleet in being. As supplies of fuel decreased, its opportunities for action also decreased. The Italians made one major attempt to attack a convoy, and they were roundly defeated in doing so. Following that attack, most of the surface ships of the squadron were sunk, and the submarines that escaped travelled around the Cape of Good Hope to return to Italy. Asmara (English) (Geez: አሥመራ Asmera, formerly known as Asmera, or in Arabic: Asmaraa) is the capital city and largest settlement in Eritrea, home to a population of around 579,000 people. ... Location of the Red Sea The Red Sea is an inlet of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia. ... In naval warfare, a fleet in being is a naval force that extends a controlling influence without ever leaving port. ... For other uses, see Cape of Good Hope (disambiguation). ...


British forces were thin on the ground in East Africa, and the two nations that made the greatest contribution to victory on land were South Africa and India. South Africa provided much needed airpower and troops from the Indian Army made up the mainstay of the British ground forces. In the end, two Indian divisions saw combat in Ethiopia. A group of native Indian Muslim soldiers posing for volley firing orders. ...


An important aspect of the campaign to retake Ethiopia was irregular forces. Major Orde Wingate, later to gain fame in Burma with the Chindits was a major mover behind the Ethiopian 'patriots' as they were referred to by the British. The irregulars, formed into the Gideon Force, disrupted Italian supply lines and provided vital intelligence to British forces. Irregular soldiers in Beauharnois, Quebec, 19th century. ... Major General Orde Charles Wingate, DSO (February 26, 1903 – March 24, 1944), was a British major general and creator of two special military units during World War II. // Orde Wingate was born 26 February 1903 in Naini Tal, India to a military family. ... The Chindits (Officially in 1942 77th Indian Infantry Brigade and in 1943 Indian 3rd Infantry Division) were a British Indian Army Special Force that served in Burma and India from 1942 until 1945 during the Burma Campaign in World War II. They were formed into long range penetration groups trained... The Gideon Force was a British-led African guerrilla force fighting the Italian occupation forces in Abyssiania (modern-day Ethiopia) during the World War II. Leader and creator of the force was British major Charles Orde Wingate. ...


The regular push to take Ethiopia began once reinforcements arrived from Egypt. The arrival of the first Australian division in North Africa had allowed the release of the Indian 4th Infantry Division to be sent to East Afric. Along with the Indian 5th Infantry Division, it quickly took the offensive from Sudan. The Indian divisions were supported by a thrust from Kenya. An amphibious assault on British Somaliland was staged from Aden. The three thrusts converged on the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, which fell early in May 1941. Fourth Indian division during world war two served first in egypt where with western desert force it fought the italians who had decided to invaded egypt. ... Indian 5th Infantry Division fought in several theatres of World War II and more than earned its nickname the Ball of Fire. Lord Louis Mountbatten said: When the Division came under my command in South-East Asia towards the end of 1943, it had already had three years hard fighting... Flag Capital Aden Religion Islam Political structure Protectorate History  - Established 1884  - Independence June 26, 1960  - Somaliland established 18 May, 1991 Currency British pound British Somaliland was a British protectorate in the north part of the Horn of Africa, and later part of Somalia and presently the unrecognized Republic of Somaliland. ... Port of Aden (around 1910). ... For the long-distance runner, see Addis Abebe. ... For other uses, see May (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ...


The Italians made a final stand around the town of Amba Alagi, before they were finally defeated. Amba Alagi fell in mid-May 1941. The last significant Italian forces surrendered at Gondar in November 1941, receiving full military honors. After December 1941 the Italians started an Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia and Eritrea that lasted until summer 1943. Ambi-Alagi is a remote area in Ethiopia between Asmara and Addis Ababa. ... For other uses, see May (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... Overview of the city with Fasilides castle in the center. ... For other uses, see November (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... Italian Propaganda Poster (1942): We will return! (to the italian African colonies) When the italian army surrendered in Gondar in november 1941, many Italians decided to start a guerrilla warfare in the mountains and deserts of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. ...


Rommel arrives

The arrival of the German Afrika Korps under General Rommel reversed the initiative. Rommel's first offensive saw the British forces thrown out of Cyrenaica and back into Egypt. Rommel eventually halted at Sollum. However, the important port of Tobruk remained in British hands, with a largely Australian garrison. It withstood a siege for several months. After this first offensive by Rommel, initiative see-sawed between the two sides as each gained more supplies and troops. The seal of the Deutsches Afrikakorps. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most famous German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... Salum may be: Salum, harbour city in Egypt, near the border to Libya, significant during the Western Desert Campaign of World War II Saloum, a city in Senegal Category: ... Tobruk is on the Mediterranean Sea in northeastern Libya. ...


To and fro in the Western Desert

After Rommel's first offensive, a reorganisation of British command took place. In November 1941 the Eighth Army was activated under Lieutenant General Sir Alan Cunningham. Its first offensive failed disastrously as Rommel blunted the thrust. British operational doctrine was at fault through failing to use tanks effectively; a prerequisite for successful desert warfare. Cunningham was relieved of command and Major General Neil Ritchie was put in his place. However, a second British offensive in late 1941 turned Rommel's flank and lead to the relief of Tobruk. Again Cyrenaica fell into British hands, this time the advance went as far as El Agheila. However outside events again intervened to impede British efforts; as the British attack reached El Agheila Japan attacked in the Far East. That meant that reinforcements that had been destined for the Middle East went elsewhere. This was to have disastrous effects. The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations in World War II, fighting in the campaigns in North Africa and Italy. ... Alan Cunningham, British Army Officer Sir Alan Gordon Cunningham (1st May 1887 _ 30th January 1983) was a British Army officer noted for victories over Italian forces in the East African Campaign during World War II. He was the younger brother of the renowned Admiral Andrew Cunningham. ... General Ritchie as commander of XII Corps in France General Sir Neil Ritchie GBE, KCB, DSO, MC (July 29, 1897 - December 11, 1983) was a British commanding officer during the Second World War. ... Tobruk is on the Mediterranean Sea in northeastern Libya. ... Operation Crusader November 18, 1941 - December 31, 1941 El Agheila is on the lower left (Click to enlarge) El Agheila is a coastal city on the Gulf of Sidra in far southwestern Cyrenaica, Libya. ...


Rommel took the offensive again in January 1942. He had been instructed by his high command to only conduct a limited offensive against British positions. However, he disobeyed orders and exploited the British collapse. By doing this he laid the seeds for his own downfall.


An operation had been planned to take Malta, and thus reduce its strangulation of Rommel's supply lines. However, with his new offensive, Rommel was consuming materiel meant for the Malta attack. It came down to a choice of attacking Malta or supporting Rommel and Rommel's attack won out. At the time Malta seemed neutralised, but this mistake was to come to haunt the Axis later. Material (from the French matérial for equipment or hardware, related to the word material) is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management. ...


Confusion in British ranks was horrendous as attempts to shore up the position failed time and again. Rommel not only drove the British out of Libya, and somewhat into Egypt, he pushed deep into the protectorate. Tobruk fell quickly, and there was no repeat of the epic siege that Rommel's last advance had produced. A prepared defensive line at Mersa Matruh was out flanked, and disaster beckoned. Ritchie was dismissed as Eight Army commander and Auchinlek, the Commander-in-Chief Middle East, came forward to take command of it himself. After Matruh there was only one more defensive position before Cairo itself; El Alamein. For other uses, see Cairo (disambiguation). ... El Alamein is a town in northern Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea coast. ...


Auchinlek managed to stop Rommel's offensive with the First Battle of El Alamein. Combatants Allies (mostly British Empire forces) Axis Commanders Claude Auchinleck Erwin Rommel Strength 150,000 troops in 3 army corps, 7 infantry and 3 armoured divisions 1,114 tanks, over 1,000 artillery and over 1,500 planes 96,000 troops (including 56,000 Italians) 8 infantry and 4 armoured...


A new command team arrived in the Middle East, with Lieutenant General Sir Bernard Montgomery assuming command of the Eighth Army. Rommel tried to break through again during the Battle of Alam Halfa, but his thrust was stopped. Montgomery then began preparations for a great breakthrough offensive that would result in the pursuit of Axis forces all the way to Tunisia. Bernard Law Montgomery Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (November 17, 1887 - March 24, 1976) was a British military officer during World War II often referred to as Monty. ... Battle of Alam Halfa Conflict World War II Date August 30–September 6, 1942 Place El Alamein, Egypt Result Allied strategic victory Axis tactical victory The Battle of Alam el Halfa took place between August 30 and September 6, 1942 during the Western Desert Campaign of World War II...


Operation Torch and El Alamein

8 November 1942 saw the first great amphibious assault of WWII. In Operation Torch, an Anglo-American force landed on the shores of Algeria and Morocco. However, even in Algeria despite having a large British content the allies maintained the illusion that this was an American operation in order to reduce possible resistance by the French. is the 312th day of the year (313th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham François Darlan Strength 73,500 60,000 Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in...


After the attack by Force H on the French fleet at Mers el Kebir in 1940, anti-British feeling ran high among the French. This had been exacerbated by later British operations against Vichy-controlled territories at Dakar, Syria and Lebanon, and the invasion of Madagascar. It was feared that any British attack on French soil would lead to prolonged resistance. Ironically, the attack which saw the greatest resistance was that wholly-American landing in Morocco. A full scale naval battle was fought between French and American ships, and ground fighting was also heavy. Force H was a British naval squadron during World War II. It was formed in 1940 to replace French naval power in the western Mediterranean that had been removed by the French armistice with Nazi Germany. ... Mers-el-Kebir is a town in northwestern Algeria, located by the Mediterranean Sea near Oran, in the Oran Province. ... (City of Dakar, divided into 19 communes darrondissement) City proper (commune) Région Dakar Département Dakar Mayor Pape Diop (PDS) (since 2002) Area 82. ...


The resistance did not last long. The French surrendered and then shortly afterwards joined the Allied cause. One of the main reasons for quick switch of sides was because the Germans had moved into unoccupied France, ending the Vichy regime, shortly after the North African garrisons had surrendered.


Once resistance in Algeria and Morocco was over, the campaign became a race. The Germans were pouring men and supplies into Tunisia, and the Allies were trying to get sufficient troops into the country quickly enough to stop them before the need for a full scale campaign to drive them out occurred.


At the same time as Torch, the Second Battle of El Alamein was being fought in Egypt. The new commander of the Eighth Army, Lieutenant General Sir Bernard Montgomery, had the opportunity to conclusively defeat the Panzerarmee Afrika under Erwin Rommel, since Rommel was at the end of enormously stretched supply lines, the British were close to their supply bases, and Rommel was about to be attacked from the rear by Torch. Combatants British Eighth Army: United Kingdom Australia Free French Greece India New Zealand South Africa Panzer Army Africa: Germany Italy Commanders Harold Alexander Bernard Montgomery Erwin Rommel Georg Stumme Ettore Bastico Strength 220,000 men 1,100 tanks[1] 750 aircraft (530 serviceable) 116,000 men[1] 559 tanks[2... Bernard Law Montgomery Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (November 17, 1887 - March 24, 1976) was a British military officer during World War II often referred to as Monty. ...


The Second Battle of El Alamein saw enormous use made of artillery. Rommel's forces had laid enormous amounts of mines in the desert, and the terrain of the area prevented his position being outflanked, and British naval forces were not powerful enough to land a significant force directly behind Rommel to cut his supply lines directly at the same time as Operation Torch. Consequently, the German lines had to be attacked directly. However, that did not mean that Montgomery did not try to use feint and deception in the battle. Dummy tanks and other deceptions were used liberally to try to fool the Germans where the stroke would fall. For other uses, see Artillery (disambiguation). ...


The main attack went in, but it was turned back by the extensive minefields. Montgomery then shifted the axis of advance to another point to throw the Germans off balance. What had formerly been a spoiling attack was developed into the new major thrust. Through a grinding battle of attrition, the Germans were thrown back.


After El Alamein, Rommel's forces were pursued through the western desert for the last time. Cyrenaica was retaken from Axis forces, and then Tripolitania was won for the first time. Rommel's forces, apart from small rearguard actions to hold up Montgomery's men, did not turn and fight again until they were within the Mareth Line defences of southern Tunisia. The Mareth Line was a system of fortifications built by the French near the coastal town of Medenine in southern Tunisia prior to World War II. It was designed to defend against attacks from the Italians in Libya, but following the fall of France it fell into Axis hands. ...


Battle for Tunisia

Main article: Tunisia Campaign
General von Arnim's staff car at the Eastbourne Redoubt captured by the Royal Sussex Regiment in Tunisia.
General von Arnim's staff car at the Eastbourne Redoubt captured by the Royal Sussex Regiment in Tunisia.

As British forces swept west through Libya and Anglo-American forces closed in from Algeria, the Axis began to pour reinforcements into Tunisia. A new command under Colonel General Jurgen von Arnim was set up, von Arnim was a confirmed enemy of Rommel, and so German command relations did not get off to a good start. Combatants United Kingdom United States France Germany Italy Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Harold Alexander Keneth Anderson Bernard Montgomery Albert Kesselring Erwin Rommel Hans-Jürgen von Arnim Giovanni Messe The Tunisia Campaign (also known as the Battle of Tunisia), was a series of World War II battles that took place... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1024x776, 369 KB) Harveyqs I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1024x776, 369 KB) Harveyqs I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... // Eastbourne Redoubt was built at what is now Royal Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex, England between 1804 and 1810 to support the associated Martello Towers. ... The Royal Sussex Regiment, a regiment in the British Army , was formed in 1881 from the 35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot and the 107th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Light Infantry) . // Following its formation the 1st Battalion was sent to the Sudan on the unsuccessful attempt to save General... Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (4 April 1889 - 11 September 1962), was a German colonel-general of cavalry, serving during World War II. He was born in Ernsdorf, Germany in 1889, the son of General Sixt von Arnim. ...


Rommel turned to face Montgomery's forces who had caught up with the Panzerarmee Afrika at last at the Mareth Line. The Mareth Line was a series of old French border defences against Italian forces from Libya. Rommel took them over and improved them greatly. It took a major effort for British forces to break through. However, by this time Rommel had left Africa never to return. The Mareth Line was a system of fortifications built by the French near the coastal town of Medenine in southern Tunisia prior to World War II. It was designed to defend against attacks from the Italians in Libya, but following the fall of France it fell into Axis hands. ...


It was decided that First Army should make the main thrust to destroy Axis formations in Africa. II Corps was moved from the south to north of the front, and the French XIX Corps took up station on the right wing of the First Army. The Eighth Army was to make a subsidiary thrust along the coast to pin down Axis forces. The French XIX Corps was formed in late 1942 from the Army of Africa (Fr: Armée dAfrique), when French Vichy forces in north-west Africa joined the Allies after the German oocupation of Vichy France. ...


The final offensive began at the end of March 1943, and by May, Axis forces had surrendered. 250,000 men were taken prisoner, a number comparable to the battle of Stalingrad. Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants  Germany Romania Italy Hungary  Soviet Union Commanders Adolf Hitler Friedrich Paulus # Erich von Manstein Petre Dumitrescu Constantin Constantinescu Italo Garibaldi Gusztav Jany Vasiliy Chuikov Aleksandr Vasilyevskiy Georgiy Zhukov Semyon Timoshenko Konstantin Rokossovskiy Rodion Malinovskiy Andrei Yeremenko Strength Army Group B: German Sixth Army # German Fourth Panzer Army Romanian Third...


The Italian campaign

Combatants  United Kingdom Indian Empire  United States Poland  Brazil  New Zealand  Canada  Free French  South Africa Italy  (after September 8th) Italian Resistance  Germany Italy  (until 8 September 1943) RSI  (until 25 April 1945) Commanders C-in-C AFHQ: Dwight D. Eisenhower (until January 1944) Henry Maitland Wilson (Jan to Dec...

Invasion of Sicily

On 19 July 1943, Sicily was invaded. The operation named Operation Husky was directed from Malta. British forces attacked on the eastern flank of the landing, with Eighth Army's XXX Corps coming ashore at Cape Passero and XIII Corps at Syracuse. The Army's job was to advance up the east coast of Sicily. Originally British forces were to have the main role in the attack on the island but, when their advance slowed, the U.S. Seventh Army on the west side of the island swept around the enemy flank instead. Combatants  United States  United Kingdom  Canada  Free French  Nazi Germany Italy Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Harold Alexander Bernard Montgomery George S. Patton Albert Kesselring Alfredo Guzzoni Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin Strength 160,000 men 14,000 vehicles 600 tanks 1,800 guns 365,000 Italians 40,000 Germans Casualties... is the 200th day of the year (201st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants  United States  United Kingdom  Canada  Free French  Nazi Germany Italy Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Harold Alexander Bernard Montgomery George S. Patton Albert Kesselring Alfredo Guzzoni Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin Strength 160,000 men 14,000 vehicles 600 tanks 1,800 guns 365,000 Italians 40,000 Germans Casualties... Capo Passero or Cape Passero (Greek: ; Latin: Pachynus or Pachynum) is a celebrated promontory of Sicily, forming the extreme southeastern point of the whole island, and one of the three promontories which were supposed to have given to it the name of Trinacria. ... Syracuse (Italian, Siracusa, ancient Syracusa - see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a city on the eastern coast of Sicily and the capital of the province of Syracuse, Italy. ... Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. Seventh Army. ...


Eighth Army eventually battered its way past the German defences and enveloped Mount Etna; by this time the Germans and Italians were retreating. By 17 August all the Axis forces had evacuated the island, and Messina was captured that day. Etna redirects here. ... is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Messina, Italy Strait of Messina, Italy. ...


Surrender of Italy

After operations in Sicily, the Italian Government was teetering on the brink of collapse. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was ousted and taken into custody. Peace feelers were put out to the Allies. However, the invasion of Italy still proceeded. The Armistice with Italy is an armistice that occurred on September 8, 1943, during World War II. It was signed by Italy and the Allied armed forces, who were occupying the southern half of the country at the time. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Mussolini redirects here. ...


On 3 September 1943, the first attacks were made directly across the Straits of Messina by Eighth Army in Operation Baytown. V and XIII Corps carried out that attack. Montgomery's forces leap-frogged up the toe of Italy over the next few days. A subsidiary landing, Operation Slapstick, was also made on 9 September at the Italian naval base of Taranto by the British 1st Airborne Division. is the 246th day of the year (247th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article covers the invasion of mainland Italy by the World War II Allies in September 1943 during the Italian Campaign. ... Operation Slapstick was a part of the Allied invasion of Italy during World War II on 9 September 1943. ... is the 252nd day of the year (253rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, southern Italy. ... The British 1st Airborne Division was a military unit that fought in World War II. It suffered terrible casualties, especially in Operation Market Garden. ...


Also on 3 September, King Victor Emmanuel and Marshal (Maresciallo d'Italia) Pietro Badoglio secretly signed an armistice with the Allies. They set up a government in southern Italy and joined the Allies against the Axis. is the 246th day of the year (247th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Victor Emmanuel III (Italian: ; 11 November 1869 – 28 December 1947) was King of Italy (29 July 1900 – 9 May 1946), Emperor of Ethiopia (1936–43) and King of Albania (1939–43). ... Pietro Badoglio (September 28, 1871 - November 1, 1956) was an Italian soldier and politician. ...


The main attack, Operation Avalanche, was delivered on 9 September at Salerno. Salerno was chosen for the site of the attack because it was the furthest north that the single-engined fighters based in Sicily could realistically provide cover. Escort carriers also stood off shore to supplement the cover given by land-based aircraft. A subsidiary landing, Operation Slapstick, was also made on the same day at the Italian naval base of Taranto by the British 1st Airborne Division, landed directly into the port from warships. News of the Italian surrender was broadcast as the troop convoys were converging on Salerno. This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... is the 252nd day of the year (253rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Salerno is a town in Campania, south-western Italy, the capital of the province of the same name. ... Operation Slapstick was a part of the Allied invasion of Italy during World War II on 9 September 1943. ... Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, southern Italy. ... The British 1st Airborne Division was a military unit that fought in World War II. It suffered terrible casualties, especially in Operation Market Garden. ...


The Germans reacted extremely quickly to the Italian surrender. They disarmed the Italian troops near their forces and took up defensive positions near Salerno. Italian troops were disarmed throughout Italy and Italian-controlled areas in what was known as Operation Axis (Operation Achse).


The landings at Salerno were made by the U.S. Fifth Army under Lieutenant General Mark Clark. It consisted of the U.S. VI Corps landing on the right flank and the British X Corps landing on the left. Initial resistance was heavy, however heavy naval and air support combined with the approach of Eighth Army from the south eventually forced the Germans to withdraw. By 25 September a line from Naples to Bari was controlled by Allied forces. The U.S. Fifth Army was one of the principal formations of the US Army in the Mediterranean during World War II. It was activated on January 4, 1943 and made responsible for the defence of Algeria and Morocco. ... Mark Wayne Clark (May 1, 1896 - April 17, 1984) was an American general during World War II and the Korean War. ... For the VI Corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War, see VI Corps (ACW) The VI Corps took part in some of the most high profile operations in World War II. Its first combat was during the Allied invasion of Italy when it landed at Salerno with... The X Corps was a British Army formation active in Flanders in World War I and reformed in 1942 during the North African campaign. ... is the 268th day of the year (269th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Location of the city of Naples (red dot) within Italy. ... For other uses, see Bari (disambiguation). ...


Further relatively rapid advances continued over the next few weeks, but by the end of October, the front was stalled. The Germans had taken up extremely powerful defensive positions on the Winter Line. There the front would remain for the next six months. The Winter Line was a series of German military fortifications in Italy, constructed during World War II by Organisation Todt. ...


About two months after his ouster, Mussolini was rescued by the Germans in Operation Oak (Unternehmen Eiche). He set up the Italian Social Republic in northern Italy. The daring rescue of Benito Mussolini by German special forces in World War II. ... Anthem Giovinezza (The Youth)¹ Capital Salò Language(s) Italian Religion Roman Catholicism Government Republic Head of State Benito Mussolini Historical era World War II  - Established September 23, 1943  - Disestablished April 25, 1945 ¹ External link The Italian Social Republic (Repubblica Sociale Italiana or RSI) was a Nazi puppet state led by...


The Winter Line, Anzio and the Battle of Monte Cassino

The linchpin of the Winter Line position was the town and monastery of Monte Cassino. The extremely powerful position dominated a key route to Rome and thus it had to be captured. British forces on the left flank of Fifth Army tried to cross the Garigliano River and were also driven back, as was a joint French-American attempt. The Winter Line was a series of German military fortifications in Italy, constructed during World War II by Organisation Todt. ... Combatants United States, United Kingdom Germany Commanders Harold Alexander Mark W. Clark John P. Lucas Lucian Truscott Albert Kesselring Eberhard von Mackensen Strength 22 Jan 1944: 36,000 soldiers and 2,300 vehicles End May:150,000 soldiers and 1,500 guns 22 Jan 1944: 20,000 soldiers End May... Combatants United Kingdom United States Poland New Zealand Canada Free France India and others Germany Commanders Harold Alexander Mark Clark Oliver Leese Albert Kesselring Heinrich von Vietinghoff Frido von Senger Strength 105,000 80,000 Casualties 54,000 20,000 The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle... The restored Abbey. ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... The Garigliano is a river in central Italy. ...


With no sign of a breakthrough it was decided to attempt to outflank the Winter Line with an amphibious landing behind it. Operation Shingle involved landings at Anzio on the West coast on 23 January 1944. The assaulting formations were controlled by the U.S. VI Corps, but as with Salerno, there was a substantial British component to the assault force. The British 1st Division and British 2nd Commando Brigade formed the left flank of the assault. Combatants United States, United Kingdom Germany Commanders Harold Alexander Mark W. Clark John P. Lucas Lucian Truscott Albert Kesselring Eberhard von Mackensen Strength 22 Jan 1944: 36,000 soldiers and 2,300 vehicles End May:150,000 soldiers and 1,500 guns 22 Jan 1944: 20,000 soldiers End May... // Anzio is a city and resort on the coast of the Lazio region of Italy, about 33 miles south of Rome. ... is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The VI Corps took part in some of the most high profile operations in World War II. Constituted in the Organized Reserves in 1921, it was allotted to the Regular Army in 1933 and activated on 1 August 1940 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. ... See: British 1st Airborne Division British 1st Armoured Division British 1st Cavalry Division British 1st Division (World War I) British 1st Infantry Division This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Again, like Salerno, there were serious problems with the landings. The commander, Lieutenant General John P. Lucas, did not exploit as aggressively as he might have done and was relieved for it. If Lucas had pushed too far, however, his forces could have been cut off by the Germans. The Germans came even closer than Salerno to breaking up the beachhead. They pushed through the defences to the last line before the sea. Again massive firepower on the Allied side saved the beachhead. John Porter Old Luke Lucas (January 14, 1890 - December 24, 1949) was a General and the commander of VI Corps (1943-1944) during World War II. Lucas, a graduate of West Point, originally was in the cavalry, but transferred to field artillery. ...


After the initial attack and after the German counter-attack had been repulsed, the Anzio beachhead settled down to stalemate. The attempt at outflanking the Winter Line had failed. It was May before a breakout from the beachhead could be attempted.


Breakthrough to Rome

By May 1944, VI Corps had been reinforced to a strength of seven divisions. In the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as Operation Diadem), a concerted attack was made at both Anzio and the Winter Line. The German defences finally cracked. For other uses, see May (disambiguation). ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... During World War II, Operation Diadem was the 1944 Allied spring ground offensive in Italy launched on 12 May 1944 to turn the German defenses at Cassino and open up the Liri Valley. ...


The front had been reorganised. V Corps was left on the Adriatic, but the rest of Eighth Army was moved over the Apennines to concentrate more forces to take Rome. The front of Fifth Army was thus considerably reduced. X Corps also moved to Eighth Army as the complicated arrangement of British forces under American command was removed. Several battles for Cassino followed, contested by Indian, New Zealand and Polish forces. In the end, Cassino lost its pivotal position as operations elsewhere on the front managed to turn its flanks. These included a brilliant demonstration of mountain warfare by the French Expeditionary Corps. The Apennine Mountains (Greek: Απεννινος; Latin: Appenninus--in both cases used in the singular; Italian: Appennini) is a mountain range stretching 1000 km from the north to the south of Italy along its east coast, traversing the entire peninsula, and forming, as it were, the backbone of the country. ... The French Expeditionary Corps (French: ), also known as the French Expeditionary Corps in Italy (French: ), was an expeditionary force of the Free French Forces that fought in the Italian Campaign during World War II under the command of General Alphonse Juin. ...


British forces were not well handled during Diadem. Oliver Leese, the commander of Eighth Army, made an enormous mistake by sending the heavily mechanised XIII Corps up the Liri Valley towards Rome. An enormous traffic jam developed. There was also controversy over the handling of American forces. VI Corps had originally been supposed to interpose itself on the route to Rome and cut off the German forces retreating from the Winter Line. However, Clark decided instead to advance on Rome, and ordered only a comparatively token force into a blocking position and ordered the rest of the Corps to head for Rome. The Germans brushed aside the blocking force and thus a major part of their formations escaped encirclement. A total of 25 divisions (roughly a tenth of the Wehrmacht) escaped. Oliver Leese (right) with Sir Henry Maitland Wilson. ... The Liri is a river located in southern Italy. ... The straight-armed Balkenkreuz, a stylized version of the Iron Cross, the emblem of the Wehrmacht. ...


Rome fell on 5 June, and the pursuit continued well beyond the city, into northern Italy. is the 156th day of the year (157th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Gothic Line and victory in Italy

Main article: Gothic Line

By the end of August 1944, Allied forces had reached Pisa and Pesaro on each coast. As with the previous year, the advance then slowed greatly. The composition of the forces in Italy had changed again with the withdrawal of the French forces for the invasion of southern France, Operation Dragoon. The U.S. IV Corps had been activated to replace the French in Fifth Army. Eighth Army was composed of V, X and XIII Corps of the British forces, Canadian I Corps and Polish II Corps. However, during this period, XIII Corps was temporarily placed under the command of Fifth Army. German defensive positions in Northern Italy 1944 370th Infantry Regiment walking toward the mountains at north of Prato - April 1945 The Gothic Line, also known as Linea Gotica, formed Field Marshal Albert Kesselrings last major line of defence in the final stages of World War II along the summits... For other uses, see August (disambiguation). ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Leaning Tower of Pisa. ... Pesaro is a town and comune in the Italian region of the Marche, capital of the Pesaro e Urbino province, on the Adriatic. ... Combatants United States1 United Kingdom2 Free France3 Germany Commanders Lt. ... The IV Corps replaced the VI Corps in the Fifth United States Armys order of battle in Italy in the summer of 1944 when VI Corps was withdrawn to take part in Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of southern France. ... The Insignia of the Polish II Corps. ...


Between August and December, the Eighth Army slowly progressed up the east coast. The Polish II Corps captured the important port-city of Ancona, thus significantly shortening the allied supply line. The original aim had been to break through in the Po plain by the end of 1944, but that was nowhere near possible. December saw the line just south of Lake Comacchio, with the Germans holding a salient to the west. Fifth Army was in the high passes of the Apennines. Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche, a region of central Italy, population 101,909 (2005). ... The Padan Plain (Pianura Padana in Italian) is a major geographical feature of Italy. ...


After December, operations ground to a halt for the winter. The only major event that took place during this period was the removal of I Corps from the Italian front to reinforce Canadian 1st Army in France. The offensive was not renewed until April. The choice for the last offensive was whether the major blow should fall on the Fifth Army or the Eighth Army front. Eventually, it was settled that Eighth Army should make the major attack. A deception plan was hatched the convince the Germans that Fifth Army would launch the major attack, and a major logistical effort was required to move formations to their start lines. The Canadian First Army was the overall command for the Canadian military forces in Europe during World War II. It was formed in early 1942 to command two corps composed of the three infantry divisions, two armoured divisions, and two armoured brigades that had assembled in England. ...


On 2 April 1945, the attack was launched and the advance was again slow at first. is the 92nd day of the year (93rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ...


By 20 April, Bologna was in a salient held by the Germans, and Lake Comacchio was crossed by an amphibious attack. The Germans were close to breaking. In the next ten days, the German forces were either surrounded or pinned against the River Po. The Germans were reduced in large part to scattered bands and bereft of heavy equipment. is the 110th day of the year (111th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the food product, see Bologna sausage. ... Po redirects here, for alternate uses see Po (disambiguation). ...


On 28 April, Mussolini and a group of fascist Italians were captured by Italian partisans while attempting to flee Italy. Mussolini and about fifteen other fascists were executed and their bodies taken to Milan for display. is the 118th day of the year (119th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Partisans parading in Milan The Italian resistance movement was a partisan force during World War II. It became massive after the capitulation of the Italian Royal Army on September 8, 1943. ... Type Anti-tank Nationality Joint France/Germany Era Cold War, modern Launch platform Individual, Vehicle Target Vehicle, Fortification History Builder MBDA, Bharat Dynamics (under license) Date of design 70s Production period since 1972 Service duration since 1972 Operators 41 countries Variants MILAN 1, MILAN 2, MILAN 2T, MILAN 3, MILAN...


On 29 April, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani surrendered the Italian LXXXXVII Army (Liguria), the army of Mussolini's Italian Social Republic. is the 119th day of the year (120th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Rodolfo Graziani, Marchese di Neghelli (August 11, 1882—January 11, 1955), was an Italian military officer who led expeditions in Africa before and during World War II and a war criminal responsible for thousands of Libyan and Ethiopian civilian deaths. ...


The progress in May was rapid. The American forces mopped up in the upper Po Valley and captured Genoa, the Polish forces captured Bologna, and the British forces cleared the lower Po and reached the Yugoslav and Austrian borders. For other uses, see May (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Genoa (disambiguation). ... For the food product, see Bologna sausage. ...


On 2 May, the German forces in Italy capitulated. This occurred shortly before the main German surrender on 8 May. May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... is the 128th day of the year (129th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Greek Civil War

Main article: Greek Civil War

A little-known British military operation took place in Greece in late 1944 and early 1945. After being ignominiously ejected from Greece by the Germans in 1941, and bundled out of the Aegean again in 1943 in the aftermath of an attempt to take advantage of the Italian surrender by occupying the Dodecanese Islands, British forces returned to Greece in strength in the autumn of 1944. Combatants Hellenic Army, Royalist forces, Republicans United Kingdom Communist Party of Greece (ELAS, DSE) Commanders Alexander Papagos, Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos, James Van Fleet Markos Vafiadis Strength 150,000 men 50,000 men and women Casualties 15,000 killed 32,000+ killed or captured The Greek Civil War (Ελληνικός εμφύλιος πόλεμος [ellinikos emfilios polemos]) was... The Dodecanese (Greek: Δωδεκάνησα, Dodekánisa, meaning twelve islands) are a group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, off the southwest coast of Turkey. ...


Operations against the Germans themselves were confined strictly to harassment of retreating forces. The retreat had been forced upon the Germans by the approach of Soviet forces in the Balkans threatening to cut the lines of communication to Greece. The UK simply could not spare enough troops from the Italian, North-Western Europe and Burmese operations to do any more.


In the aftermath of the German withdrawal, and with the approach of Soviet forces, Greek communist guerillas staged an attempted coup. They were defeated, but a vicious conflict developed. The Greek King eventually acceded to a regency by a prominent Greek Archbishop for an interim period until the fallout of the war could be sorted out. That, combined with the military fact of British successes against them forced the guerillas to sue for a ceasefire. George II, King of the Hellenes (Greek: Γεώργιος Β [Geōrgios] Βασιλεύς των Ελλήνων) (20 July 1890–1 April 1947) ruled Greece from 1922 to 1924 and from 1935 to 1947. ...


The liberation of Europe

Operation Overlord

Main article: Battle of Normandy
British infantry land in Normandy
British infantry land in Normandy

On 6 June 1944, the invasion of Normandy, the largest amphibious assault in history, took place. It involved the landing of five assault divisions from the sea and three assault divisions by parachute and glider. Of those, one airborne and two seaborne divisions were British. The British airborne formation involved was 6th Airborne Division, with the British seaborne divisions being the 3rd Infantry Division landing at Sword Beach and 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division and 8th Armoured Brigade on Gold Beach. One further assault formation was from the British Empire; 3rd Canadian Infantry Division on Juno Beach. The remaining divisions were provided by the United States. This article is about the assault phase of Operation Overlord. ... Image File history File links Infantry_waiting_to_move_off_Queen_White_Beach. ... Image File history File links Infantry_waiting_to_move_off_Queen_White_Beach. ... is the 157th day of the year (158th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the assault phase of Operation Overlord. ... The 6th Airborne Division was an airborne unit of the British Army during World War II. // The division was formed in the United Kingdom on 3 May 1943, during the Second World War. ... The British 3rd Infantry Division was part of the ill-fated British Expeditionary Force evacuated from Dunkirk early in World War II. It was the first British division to land at Sword beach on D-Day. ... Combatants United Kingdom Germany Commanders General-Lieutenant Miles Dempsey, British 3rd Infantry Division Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter, German 716th Static Infantry Division Hans von Luck, German 21st Panzer Division Strength 28,845 Unknown Casualties 630 Unknown German defense at Ouistreham. ... // 50th Northumbrian Division History This formation was sent to France in 1940 as a Territorial Army division, and was involved in the evacuation at Dunkirk. ... The 8th Armoured Brigade was a Second World War British Army brigade. ... Combatants United Kingdom Germany Commanders Lieutenant-General Miles Dempsey, British 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter, German 716th Static Infantry Division Generalleutnant Dietrich Kraiss, German 352nd Static Infantry Division Strength 24,970 Unknown Casualties 400 altogether Unknown This article is about a World War II invasion. ... This article is about the beach codenamed in WWII. For other uses, see Juno Beach (disambiguation) Combatants Canada Germany Commanders Major-General R.F.L. Keller, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter, German 716th Static Infantry Division Strength 15,000[1] 7,771 Casualties 340 dead, 739 other casualties...


The British Empire formations were assigned to the eastern end of the beachhead. The 6th Airborne Division landed to secure the eastern flank of the assault forces. The first Allied units in action were the glider-borne troops that assaulted Pegasus Bridge. Beyond the main formations, various smaller units went ashore. Prominent among those were the British Commandos. Pegasus Bridge before its replacement Pegasus Bridge in 1944 Original Pegasus Bridge in the Pegasus Museum - July 2005 The replacement Pegasus Bridge in operation The Pegasus Bridge is a bascule bridge over the Caen Canal, near Ouistreham, France. ... The British Commandos were first formed by the Army in June 1940 during World War II as a well-armed but non-regimental raider force employing unconventional and irregular tactics to assault, disrupt and reconnoitre the enemy in mainland Europe and Scandinavia. ...


The United Kingdom was the main base for the operation and provided the majority of the naval power for it. Nearly eighty percent of the bombarding and transporting warships were from the Royal Navy. Airpower for the operation was a more even divide. The United States contributed two air forces to the battle, the Eighth Air Force with strategic bombers, and the Ninth Air Force for tactical airpower. All the home commands of the RAF were involved in the operation. Coastal Command secured the English Channel against German naval vessels. Bomber Command had been engaged in reducing communications targets in France for several months to paralyse the movement of German reinforcements to the battle. It also directly supported the bombardment forces on the morning of the assault. Air Defence of Great Britain, the temporarily renamed Fighter Command, provided air superiority over the beachhead. The 2nd Tactical Air Force provided direct support to the Empire formations. The RAFs Second Tactical Air Force was one of three tactical air forces within the Royal Air Force during and after World War II. // It was formed in June 1943 in connection with preparations then in train to invade Europe a year later. ...


The operation was a success. Both tactical and strategic surprise were achieved, to the amazement of the Allied commanders. The setback occurred at Omaha Beach where American forces coming ashore were pinned down for much of the day and suffered heavy casualties. However, they eventually won through.


The initial objectives for the day were not achieved, but a firm beachhead was established. It was gradually built up until offensive operations could begin in earnest. The first major success was the capture of Cherbourg. American forces pushed across the Contentin Peninsula and then up to the city, capturing it on 27 June. The port facilities there greatly eased the supply situation. Cherbourg is a city of Normandy, in northwestern France, in the Manche département, of which it is a sous_préfecture. ... Map of Cotentin peninsula The Cotentin Peninsula, also known as the Cherbourg Peninsula,[1] is a peninsula in Normandy, forming part of the north-western coast of France. ... is the 178th day of the year (179th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


In the east, the first major British objective was Caen, an extremely tough nut to crack. The battle for the city turned into a long drawn-out slog. It eventually fell in July. By then, American forces were poised to break out of the Normandy beachhead and into France as a whole. Caen (pronounced /kɑ̃/) is a commune of northwestern France. ...


Breakout from Normandy

The American forces broke out in late July 1944, with Operation Cobra. American forces and British forces began trapping the German forces remaining in Normandy. Hitler ordered a counter-attack on the seemingly vulnerable strip of territory that the US forces controlled on the Normandy coast, linking First and Third Armies, but appearances were deceiving. The attack drew German forces west when they should have been retreating east. Combatants USA Canada Free France Germany Commanders General Omar Bradley, General George S. Patton General Philippe Leclerc SS General Paul Hausser Strength 8 infantry divisions, 4 armoured divisions 2 infantry divisions, 11 infantry battlegroups, 2 Panzer Divisions, 1 Panzergrenadier Division Casualties 1. ...


As American forces swept round to the south, British, Canadian and Polish forces pinned the Germans from the north. An enormous pocket formed, centred on the town of Falaise. An entire German Army was trapped there and largely destroyed. Following the battle, all Allied forces swept east. Paris fell at the end of August 1944, and by the end of September virtually the whole of France had been liberated. Falaise is the name of several communes in France: Falaise, in the Ardennes département Falaise, in the Calvados département This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... This article is about the capital of France. ...


However, logistical difficulties then caught up with the Allies. Because of thinly-stretched supply lines, the fast broad-front advance could not be sustained, grinding to a halt in the Lorraine and Belgium. Heated discussions then took placed over the next phase of Allied strategy. Lorraine coat of arms location of the Lorraine province Lorraine (French: Lorraine; German: Lothringen) is a historical area in present-day northeast France. ...


Riviera invasion

Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France in August 1944 was carried out almost entirely by American and Free French troops, though British naval forces took part in bombardment duties and air protection of the beachhead. The only British land forces to take part were the 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade. They landed without much opposition, and rapidly took their objectives. The quick success of the operation allowed them to be withdrawn from the line and redeployed to Greece where they were urgently needed to help quell the civil war. Combatants United States1 United Kingdom2 Free France3 Germany Commanders Lt. ...


Operation Market Garden

Montgomery and Eisenhower had long been debating the merits of a broad front attack strategy versus concentrating power in one area and punching through German lines. Eisenhower favoured the former, and Montgomery the latter. However, in late 1944, logistic problems meant that the former was temporarily out of the question. Montgomery conceived Operation Market Garden to implement a narrow front strategy. The idea was to land airborne forces in the Netherlands to take vital bridges over the country's various rivers. Armoured formation would then relieve the airborne forces and advance quickly into Germany. Combatants  United Kingdom  United States  Canada  Poland  Germany Commanders Bernard Montgomery Brian Horrocks Roy Urquhart James M. Gavin Maxwell Taylor StanisÅ‚aw Sosabowski Walter Model Wilhelm Bittrich Kurt Student Strength 35,000 20,000 Casualties 11,377 dead, wounded or missing 6,946 British MIA 2,000 Killed 6,000... Combatants  United Kingdom  United States  Canada  Poland  Germany Commanders Bernard Montgomery Brian Horrocks Roy Urquhart James M. Gavin Maxwell Taylor StanisÅ‚aw Sosabowski Walter Model Wilhelm Bittrich Kurt Student Strength 35,000 20,000 Casualties 11,377 dead, wounded or missing 6,946 British MIA 2,000 Killed 6,000...


American paratroops were dropped at intermediate points north of Allied lines, with the British 1st Airborne Division and Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade at the tip of the salient at Arnhem. The bridges were captured as expected, but the plan then began to run into serious trouble. The relief forces of Lieutenant General Horrock's XXX Corps had to advance up a single good road, and this began to cause congestion. The Germans reacted quickly to attack the road from both sides. Consequently the armoured forces took a great deal longer than expected to punch through to Arnhem. The British 1st Airborne Division was a military unit that fought in World War II. It suffered terrible casualties, especially in Operation Market Garden. ... Official force name 1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa Other names 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade 1 SBS Branch Polish Army Chain of Command Directly subordinate to Polish Government in Exile In 1944 transferred under British command Description Airborne force, rapidly deployable aeromobile infantry force. ... This article is about the Dutch city and municipality. ... Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Gwynne Horrocks, (September 7, 1895 - January 4, 1985) was a British military officer. ... The XXX Corps was an infantry corps in the British Army. ...


The 1st Airborne Division held the Arnhem bridge for four days, and had a large force over the river for a total of nine days, before finally withdrawing in a daring night escape back over the Rhine. Of the more than 10,000 men who flew into the Arnhem operation, only about 2,000 returned. 1st Airborne Division was essentially finished as a fighting formation for the duration of the war, and Montgomery's plan had failed. This article is about the Dutch city and municipality. ...


In the aftermath of the attack, the salient's flanks were expanded to complete the closing up to the Rhine in that section of the front.


Walcheren

Following Market Garden, the great port of Antwerp had been captured. However, it lay at the end of a long river estuary, and so it could not be used until its approaches were clear. The southern bank of the Scheldt was cleared by Canadian and Polish forces relatively quickly, but the thorny problem of the island of Walcheren remained. For other uses, see Antwerp (disambiguation). ... The Scheldt (Dutch: Schelde, French Escaut) is a 350 km[1] long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands. ... Satellite image of the Scheldt estuary Walcheren is a former island in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary. ...


Walcheren guarded the northern approaches to Antwerp and thus had to be stormed. The dikes and dunes were bombed at three locations, Westkapelle, Veere and Flushing, in order to inundate the island. In the last great amphibious operation of the war in Europe, British Commandos and Canadian troops captured the island in the late autumn of 1944, clearing the way for Antwerp to be opened and for the easement of the critical logistical problems the Allies were suffering. Veere is a municipality and a city in the southwestern Netherlands, on Walcheren in the province of Zeeland. ... Veere is a municipality and a city in the southwestern Netherlands, on Walcheren in the province of Zeeland. ... Vlissingen (help· info) (occasionally British English: Flushing) is a municipality and a city in the southwestern Netherlands on the former island of Walcheren. ... The British Commandos were first formed by the Army in June 1940 during World War II as a well-armed but non-regimental raider force employing unconventional and irregular tactics to assault, disrupt and reconnoitre the enemy in mainland Europe and Scandinavia. ...


Battle of the Bulge

Main article: Battle of the Bulge

After December 1944, the strategy was to complete the conquest of the Rhineland and prepare to break into Germany proper en masse. However, what happened next completely caught the Allied staffs by surprise. For the 1965 film, see Battle of the Bulge (film). ...


The Germans launched their last great offensive in December, resulting in the Battle of the Bulge. In an attempt to repeat their 1940 success, German forces were launched through the Ardennes. Again they encountered weak forces holding the front, as the American formations there were either new to the war or exhausted units on a quiet sector of the front rehabilitating. There were however also some important differences to 1940 which resulted in the German offensive ultimately failing. They were facing enormously strong Allied airpower unlike in 1940 when they had ruled the skies. The opening of the offensive was timed for a spell of bad weather, aimed at removing the threat of the Allied airpower, but the weather cleared again relatively soon. For the 1965 film, see Battle of the Bulge (film). ...


Most of the forces that took part in the Battle of the Bulge were American. Some great feats of staff work resulted in the Third Army and Ninth Army, essentially altering their facing by ninety degrees to contain the salient. However, the salient created by the German attack meant that First and Ninth Armies were cut off from 12th Army Group Headquarters, so they were shifted to the command of 21st Army Group for the duration of the battle meaning the British army group had an important controlling role. The British XXX Corps also took part in the battle in a backstop role to contain any further German advances. The US Third Army was first activated as a formation during the First World War. ... The US Ninth Army was one of the main US combat commands used during the campaign in northwest Europe in 1944 and 1945. ...


By the end of January, the salient had effectively been reduced back to its former size, and the temporarily aborted mission of liberating the Rhineland recommenced. First Army returned to 12th Army Group, but Ninth Army remained under the control of 21st Army Group for the time being.


Crossing the Rhine and final surrender

Main article: Operation Plunder

The penultimate preliminary operation to close up to the Rhine in the British section was the clearing of the Roermond Triangle. The XIII Corps removed German forces from the west bank of the Roer during the second half of January. During World War II, Operation Plunder was the crossing of the Rhine river at Rees, Wesel and south of the Lippe Canal by the British Second Army, under Lieutenant-General Miles C Dempsey, and the US Ninth Army, under Lieutenant-General William H Simpson. ... For other uses, see Rhine (disambiguation). ... Rur (-German, in Dutch: Roer, not to be confused with the Ruhr) is a river in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. ...


Following the reaching of the Roer, Second Army shifted to the mission of pinning German forces opposing it. Ninth Army in Operation Grenade and First Army in Operation Veritable began a great pincer movement to destroy the remaining German forces west of the Rhine. The only British forces to take part in the main part of this offensive was XXX Corps, which was part of First Army. Operation Grenade was the plan for The US Ninth Army to cross the Roer (Rur) river in February 1945. ... Operation Veritable was the northern part of the Second World War pincer movement by Field Marshall Bernard Montgomerys 21st Army Group to clear the land between the Rhine and Roer rivers. ... For other uses, see Rhine (disambiguation). ...


By 5 March 1945, the Canadian, British ,and American forces had closed up to the Rhine in all but a small salient on their sectors of the front. That salient was reduced by five days later. This article is about the day. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... For other uses, see Rhine (disambiguation). ...


On 23 March, the operations to cross the Rhine in the north began. The British Second and U.S. Ninth Armies took the lead. Ninth Army, on the south flank, took part in the great encirclement of German forces in the Ruhr. The U.S. First Army on the right crossed the Rhine in early April and then swung left to liberate northern Holland. Second Army drove straight across the North German plain, reaching the Ems on 1 April and the Weser on 4 April. After the closing of the Ruhr pocket on that day, Ninth Army reverted to the command of 12th Army Group. In 15 April the British troops liberated Bergen-Belsen. is the 82nd day of the year (83rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Rhine (disambiguation). ... Shoulder sleeve insignia of the U.S. Ninth Army. ... For the conurbation see Ruhr Area. ... Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. First Army. ... For other uses, see Rhine (disambiguation). ... // For the river in Hampshire, see River Ems. ... is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Weser watershed The Weser is a river of north-western Germany. ... is the 94th day of the year (95th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the conurbation see Ruhr Area. ... is the 105th day of the year (106th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


By 18 April, First Army had reached the coast in much of the Netherlands, isolating the German forces there. Second Army reached the Elbe the next day. The only moves in the Netherlands that the Canadian and Polish forces made for the remainder of the war were reducing a small amount of the coast of the IJsselmeer that had not been captured and liberating a small amount of territory around Groningen. Most of German Frisia also fell to Canadian and Polish forces. British units reached the Baltic on 2 May, and then halted as they had reached the agreed line of meeting Soviet forces. The war came to an end on 7 May, and British forces reoriented to the task of occupying Germany itself. is the 108th day of the year (109th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about a river in Central Europe. ... Traditional boat on the IJsselmeer Landsat photo The IJsselmeer (or Lake IJssel) is a shallow lake of some 1250 km² in the central Netherlands bordering the provinces of Flevoland, North Holland and Friesland, with an average depth of 5 to 6 m. ... For the German town, see Gröningen. ... Satellite view of the German Bight (the Frisian Coast). ... Population density in the wider Baltic region. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... is the 127th day of the year (128th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Combined bomber offensive

Main article: RAF Bomber Command
Propaganda leaflet dropped by RAF Bomber Command over Germany in 1942. The leaflet comically shows Hermann Goering, head of the German Luftwaffe, and his supposed reaction to aerial warfare. Happy at the German raids against European cities during the early days of the war which changes to fear and anguish of the retaliatory RAF bombing of German cities.
Propaganda leaflet dropped by RAF Bomber Command over Germany in 1942. The leaflet comically shows Hermann Goering, head of the German Luftwaffe, and his supposed reaction to aerial warfare. Happy at the German raids against European cities during the early days of the war which changes to fear and anguish of the retaliatory RAF bombing of German cities.

The combined bomber offensive was born out of the need to strike back at Germany during the years when the United Kingdom had no forces on the continent of Europe. Initially the bomber forces available for attacks were small, and the rules of engagement were so restricted that any attacks that were made were mostly ineffective. However, once France had fallen in the summer of 1940 that began to change. Bomber Command badge RAF Bomber Command was the organisation that controlled the RAFs bomber forces. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (236x1000, 80 KB) Summary Propaganda leaflet dropped by RAF Bomber Command over Germany in 1942. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (236x1000, 80 KB) Summary Propaganda leaflet dropped by RAF Bomber Command over Germany in 1942. ... Bomber Command badge RAF Bomber Command was the organisation that controlled the RAFs bomber forces. ... Hermann Göring Hermann Wilhelm Göring (also spelled Hermann Goering in English) (January 12, 1893–October 15, 1946) was a prominent and early member of the Nazi party, founder of the Gestapo, and one of the main architects of Nazi Germany. ... The Deutsche Luftwaffe or   (German: air force, IPA: ) is the commonly used term for the German air force. ... RAF redirects here. ...


During and after the Battle of Britain, bomber forces pounded the invasion fleets assembling in channel ports. However, they also flew a raid against Berlin after German bombs had fallen on London. The attack on Berlin by Bomber Command so enraged Hitler that he ordered the deliberate and systematic targeting of British cities in revenge. Throughout 1941, the size of the raids launched by Bomber Command slowly grew. However, due to the German defences raids could only generally be flown at night, and the navigational technology of the time simply did not allow even a large city to be accurately located.


The entry of America into the war in December 1941 did not initially change much. However, what did alter matters was the appointment of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Bomber Command in early 1942. Harris was a zealous advocate of the area bombing of German cities. He put a new fire and drive into the operations of Bomber Command. During the summer of 1942, the first 1,000 bomber raids were launched on German cities. However, at that time, such large numbers of aircraft could only be put over the target by stripping training units of their aircraft temporarily. Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet (April 13, 1892 - April 5, 1984), commonly known as Bomber Harris, and often, in the RAF, as Butcher Harris, was commander of RAF Bomber Command and later a Marshal of the Royal Air Force during the latter half of World War II. In 1942...


Other important advances occurred in the technical field. The first navigation aid, GEE was introduced to help pilots to find their targets. Window, small metal strips dropped from aircraft, was introduced to help confuse the German radars. Planes also got their own radar, the H2S radar system. It provided a radar map of the ground beneath the aircraft, allowing navigation with more accuracy to cities like Berlin which were at that time beyond the effective range of systems like Gee. However, probably the most important innovation to improve targeting accuracy was tactical, not technical. It was the introduction of the pathfinder system. Pathfinders were groups of specially trained aircrews who flew ahead of the main raid and marked the target. Their use greatly improved the accuracy and destructiveness of raids. // As a surname, Gee may refer to: Andrew Gee (b. ... For other uses, see Window (disambiguation). ... An early H2S picture of the Pembroke and Milford Haven area The H2S radar was used in bombers of RAF Bomber Command. ...


By early 1943, American forces were beginning to build up in large numbers in the UK. Bomber Command was joined in its bombing efforts by the Eighth Air Force. Where Bomber Command operated by night, the Eighth flew by day. Raids were often coordinated so that the same target was hit twice within 24 hours. Hamburg was the victim of one of the most destructive air raids in history during 1943. The city was easy to find using radar, being located on the distinctively shaped Elbe estuary. It was devastated in a large raid that ignited a firestorm and killed some 50,000 people. The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force (NAF) of the major command (MAJCOM) of Air Combat Command of the United States Air Force and it is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


The destruction of Hamburg was not to be repeated during the rest of 1943 and 1944. During that winter, Berlin was attacked a large number of times, with heavy losses being sustained by Bomber Command. A further force also joined the fray, with the Fifteenth Air Force and No. 205 Group RAF beginning to fly from Italy. During early 1944, the emphasis began to change. As the invasion of France drew closer, the independent role of the bomber forces was considerably reduced, and eventually were placed under the direction of General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Harris and his American counterparts fought hard against being placed under Eisenhower, but they eventually lost. Activated on November 1, 1943, the Fifteenth Air Force was established as part of the U.S. Army Air Force in the World War II Mediterranean Theater of Operations as a strategic air force and commenced combat operations the day after it was formed. ...


Bomber Command heavily bombed targets in France and helped to paralyse the transport system of the country in time for the launching of Operation Overlord on 6 June 1944. Following Overlord, further direct support was provided to the troop, but Harris eventually succeeded in detaching his command from Eisenhower's control. The striking of German cities resumed. is the 157th day of the year (158th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


By the winter of 1944, the power of the British and American bomber forces had grown enormously. It was now routine for 1,000 bomber raids to be mounted by both American and British forces flying from the UK. American forces flying from Italy could also put several hundred aircraft above a target. Accuracy had improved, but it was still nowhere near good enough for 'precision bombing' in the modern sense of the term. Precision was not a single building, it was at best a district of a city.


As the amount of territory controlled by German forces decreased, the task of Bomber Command became somewhat easier, as more friendly territory was overflown during missions. The German night fighter defences were also reducing in strength due to the crippling of Germany's fuel supplies by American bombing of synthetic oil plants. There remained one last great controversy during the war which would blacken the name of Bomber Command and surpass the firestorm of Hamburg in both destruction and casualties. Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil Synthetic oil is oil consisting of chemical compounds which were not originally present in crude oil (petroleum) but were artificially made (synthesized) from other compounds. ...


In February 1945, as Soviet forces closed in on the German city of Dresden, which had been largely spared of heavy bombing raids due to its historic status, they asked for attacks to be made on the extensive transport links around the population centre. Bomber Command and American forces obliged, subjecting the city to a series of extremely heavy raids. Somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 people were killed in those raids, and questions were asked whether they were necessary so late in the war. Dresden (etymologically from Old Sorbian Drežďany, meaning people of the riverside forest) is the capital city of the German Federal Free State of Saxony. ... The bombing of Dresden, led by Royal Air Force (RAF) and followed by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) between February 13 and February 15, 1945, remains one of the more controversial Allied actions of World War II. The exact number of casualties is uncertain, but most historians agree...


After the surrender of Germany, Harris became a hate figure for many, and he was shunned by quite a few of his fellow officers. Even Churchill, who had supported area bombing vigorously backed away from him.


Bomber Command was destined to play no further large part in the war. A large number of RAF bombers were being prepared for deployment to Okinawa as Japan surrendered. Therefore it was only at the hands of American strategic bombers and British and American carrier aircraft that Japan received attacks. There was to be no far eastern equivalent of the combined bomber offensive of Europe. This article is about the prefecture. ...


The Far East

Main article: South-East Asian Theatre of World War II

The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II included the campaigns in India, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, Malaya and Singapore. On 8 December 1941, the conflict in this theatre began when the Empire of Japan invaded Thailand and Malaya from bases located in French Indochina. Action in this theatre officially ended on 9 September 1945 with the surrender of Japan. The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya and Singapore. ... Indochina 1886 Indochina, or the Indochinese Peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. ... Map of Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay: Semenanjung Malaysia) is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula, and shares a land border with Thailand in the north. ... is the 342nd day of the year (343rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... Anthem Kimi ga Yo Imperial Reign Capital Tokyo Government Constitutional monarchy Emperor  - 1868–1912 Emperor Meiji  - 1912–1926 Emperor Taishō  - 1926–1989 Emperor Shōwa Prime Minister  - 1885-1888, 1892-1896, 1898, 1900-1901 Itō Hirobumi  - 1888-1889 Kuroda Kiyotaka  - 1889-1891 Yamagata Aritomo  - 1906-1908, 1911-1912 Saionji Kinmochi... Flag Capital Hanoi Language(s) French Political structure Federation Historical era New Imperialism  - Addition of Laos 1893, 1887  - Vietnamese Declaration of Independence September 2, 1945  - Independence of Laos July 19, 1949  - Independence of Cambodia November 9, 1953  - Recognized Independence of Vietnam 1954, 1954 Area  - 1945 750,000 km² Currency French... is the 252nd day of the year (253rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ...


Disaster in Malaya and Singapore

The outbreak of war in the Far East found the United Kingdom critically overstretched. British forces in the area were weak in almost all arms. On 8 December 1941, the Japanese launched invasions of Thailand, Malaya and Hong Kong. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Combatants Malaya Command: Indian III Corps Australian 8th Div. ... Combatants Malaya Command: Indian III Corps Australian 8th Div. ... is the 342nd day of the year (343rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ...


On 10 December 1941, the first major setback to British power in the region was the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse by Japanese land-based planes. The sinking of these ships was triply significant. It represented the loss of the last Allied capital ships in the Pacific left after the Pearl Harbor disaster. The Prince of Wales and the Repulse were the only Allied modern or 'fast' battleships to be sunk in the entire war. It was the first time that a battleship had been sunk by enemy aircraft while underway at sea. is the 344th day of the year (345th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1941 (disambiguation). ... HMS Prince of Wales was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England. ... HMS Repulse was a Renown-class battlecruiser, the second to last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. ... This article is about the actual attack. ...


Reverses in the air and on the ground soon followed. Japanese forces had naval superiority, and they used it to make outflanking amphibious landings as they advanced down the Malayan peninsula towards Singapore. Japanese assaults from the ground and air soon made the forward landing grounds that much of the RAF's only real hope of defending Singapore from the air rested upon untenable. The RAF took a toll of Japanese forces, but there were never enough aircraft to do anything more than delay the Japanese offensive.


Indian, British, and Australian army forces in Malaya were larger in numbers than the other services. But they were equally ill-prepared and ill-led. They were committed in numbers both too small and too poorly positioned to counter the Japanese tactic of outflanking strongpoints through the jungle. Over a period of several weeks, the Allied ground forces steadily gave ground.


In early 1942, Singapore was critically unprepared for the assault that came. It had been neglected during the famine years for defence of the 1930s. It had then suffered during the war as British efforts were focused on defeating Germany and Italy. The colony was run by a Governor who did not want to "upset" the civilian population. Military neglect was exacerbated when he refused to allow defensive preparations before the Japanese arrived. Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Following Japanese landings on Singapore, intense fighting occurred over several days. But the poorly-led and increasingly disorganised Allied forces were steadily driven into a small pocket on the island.


On 15 February 1942, General Arthur Percival surrendered the 80,000 strong garrison of Singapore. This was the largest surrender of personnel under British leadership in history. Many of the troops saw little or no action. The civilian population then suffered a brutal Japanese occupation. Some aircraft escaped to Sumatra and Java, but those islands also fell to the Japanese within a short time. British forces were forced back to India and Ceylon. is the 46th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival December 26, 1887 – January 31, 1966. ... For other uses, see Sumatra (disambiguation). ... Java (Indonesian, Javanese, and Sundanese: Jawa) is an island of Indonesia, and the site of its capital city, Jakarta. ...


Burma Campaign

Main article: Burma Campaign

The Burma Campaign was fought primarily between British, Commonwealth, Chinese, and American forces against the forces of the Empire of Japan and its auxiliary, the Indian National Army. The British and Commonwealth forces were drawn from the United Kingdom, British India (which included present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh), East Africa, West Africa, Australia, Malaya, Singapore, and elsewhere. Combatants United Kingdom British India Republic of China United States Empire of Japan Indian National Army Burma National Army Thailand Commanders Louis Mountbatten William Slim Chiang Kai-Shek Joseph Stilwell Aung San(From 1944) Masakazu Kawabe Hyotaro Kimura Renya Mutaguchi Subhash Chandra Bose Aung San(until 1944) Strength Unknown Unknown... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... Anthem Kimi ga Yo Imperial Reign Capital Tokyo Government Constitutional monarchy Emperor  - 1868–1912 Emperor Meiji  - 1912–1926 Emperor Taishō  - 1926–1989 Emperor Shōwa Prime Minister  - 1885-1888, 1892-1896, 1898, 1900-1901 Itō Hirobumi  - 1888-1889 Kuroda Kiyotaka  - 1889-1891 Yamagata Aritomo  - 1906-1908, 1911-1912 Saionji Kinmochi... The Indian National Army (I.N.A) or Azad Hind Fauj was the army of the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (The Provisional Government of Free India ) which fought along with the Japanese 15th Army during the Japanese Campaign in Burma, and in the Battle of Imphal, during the Second...


Forced out of Burma

In Burma, the Japanese attacked shortly after the outbreak of war. However, they did not begin to make real progress until Malaya and Singapore had fallen. After that, they could transfer large numbers of aircraft to the Burma front to overwhelm the Allied forces.


The first Japanese attacks were aimed at taking Rangoon, the major port in Burma, which offered the Allies many advantages of supply. It had at first been defended relatively successfully, with the weak RAF forces reinforced by a squadron of the famous American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers. However, as the Japanese attack developed, the amount of warning the Rangoon airfields could get of attack decreased, and thus they became increasingly untenable. Yangôn, formerly Rangoon, population 4,504,000 (2001), is the capital of Myanmar. ... Flying Tigers was the nickname of the 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG), a group of United States Army (USAAF), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC) pilots and ground crew, recruited under a secret Presidential sanction by Claire Chennault. ...


By the start of March, Japanese forces had cut the British forces in two. Rangoon was evacuated and the port demolished. Its garrison then broke through the Japanese lines thanks to an error on the part of the Japanese commander. The British commander in Burma, Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Hutton was removed from command shortly before Rangoon fell. He was replaced by Sir Harold Alexander. Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Jacomb Hutton (1890–1981) 1890 born; educated at Rossall and Royal Military Academy, Woolwich 1909 commissioned into the Army as 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Artillery World War I 1914–1918 service on the Western Front 1915 promoted Captain 1918 prompted Brevet Major 1918 General Staff... Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (December 10, 1891 - June 16, 1969) was a British military commander and Field Marshal, notably during World War II as the commander of the 15th Army Group. ...


With the fall of Rangoon, a British evacuation of Burma became inevitable. Supplies could not be moved to maintain fighting forces in Burma on a large scale, since the ground communications were dreadful, sea communications risky in the extreme (along with the fact that there was only one other port of any size in Burma besides Rangoon) and air communications out of the question due to lack of transport aircraft.


Besides the Japanese superiority in training and experience, command problems beset the Burma campaign. The 1st Burma Division and Indian 17th Infantry Division at first had to be controlled directly by the Burma Army headquarters under Hutton. Burma was also swapped from command to command during the early months of the war. It had been the responsibility of GHQ India since 1937, but in the early weeks of the war, it was transferred from India to the ill-fated ABDA Command (ABDACOM). ABDA was based in Java, and it was simply impossible for Wavell, the Supreme Commander of ABDA, to keep in touch with the situation in Burma without neglecting his other responsibilities. Shortly before ABDA was dissolved, responsibility for Burma was transferred back to India. Interactions with the Chinese proved problematic. Chiang Kai-Shek, the leader of Nationalist China, was a poor strategist, and the Chinese Army suffered from severe command problems, with orders having to come directly from Chiang himself if they were to be obeyed. The ability of many Chinese commanders was called into question. Finally, the Chinese Army was lacking in the ancillary services which allow a force to fight a modern war. The Indian 17th Infantry Division was a formation of the British Indian Army raised during World War II. It had the distinction of being continually in combat during the three-year long Burma Campaign (except for brief periods of refit). ... The Myanmar Army is the land component (army) of the Military of Myanmar, previously known as Burma. ... The British India Command the name given to the general staff of the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C), India. ... The American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) Command, code name ABDACOM, was a short-lived, unified command for all Allied forces in South East Asia, during the Pacific War. ... Chiang Kai-shek (October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975) was the Chinese military and political leader who assumed the leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT) after the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925. ...


The problems with the Chinese were never satisfactorily resolved. However, after the dissolution of ABDA, India retained control of operations in Burma until the formation of South East Asia Command in late 1943. The problems of a lack of corps headquarters were also solved. A skeleton force known as Burcorps was formed under Lieutenant General Sir William Slim, later to gain fame as the commander of the Fourteenth Army. South East Asia Command (SEAC) was the body set up to be in overall charge of Allied operations in the South-East Asian Theatre during World War II. The initial supreme commander of the theatre was General Sir Archibald Wavell, initially as head of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command... Field Marshal Sir William Slim (pictured here as a Major General) Field Marshal William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim (6 August 1897 - 14 December 1970), British military commander and 13th Governor-General of Australia, was born near Bristol, Gloucestershire. ... The British Fourteenth Army was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries during World War II. Many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from East African divisions within the British Army. ...


Burcorps retreated almost constantly, and suffered several disastrous losses, but it eventually managed to reach India in May 1942, just before the monsoon broke. Had it still been in Burma after the monsoon broke, it would have been cut off, and likely destroyed by the Japanese. The divisions making up Burcorps were withdrawn from the line for long refit periods.


Forgotten army

Operations in Burma over the remainder of 1942 and in 1943 were a study of military frustration. The UK could only just maintain three active campaigns, and immediate offensives in both the Middle East and Far East proved impossible due to lack of resources. The Middle East won out, being closer to home and a campaign against the far more dangerous Germans.


During the 1942-1943 dry season, two operations were mounted. The first was a small scale offensive into the Arakan region of Burma. The Arakan is a coastal strip along the Bay of Bengal, crossed by numerous rivers. The First Arakan offensive largely failed due to difficulties of logistics, communications and command. The Japanese troops were also still assigned almost superhuman powers by their opponents. The second attack was much more controversial; that of the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade, better known as the Chindits. Arakan is a state in the North Western part of Myanmar, formerly Burma. ... Look up Bay of Bengal in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Chindits (Officially in 1942 77th Indian Infantry Brigade and in 1943 3rd Indian Infantry Division) were a British jungle Special Forces unit that served in Burma from 1943 until 1945 as part of the Fourteenth Army during the Burma Campaign in World War II. They were formed into long... The Chindits (Officially in 1942 77th Indian Infantry Brigade and in 1943 Indian 3rd Infantry Division) were a British Indian Army Special Force that served in Burma and India from 1942 until 1945 during the Burma Campaign in World War II. They were formed into long range penetration groups trained...


Under the command of Major General Orde Wingate, the Chindits penetrated deep behind enemy lines in an attempt to gain intelligence, break communications and cause confusion. The operation had originally been conceived as part of a much larger offensive, which had to be aborted due to lack of supplies and shipping. Almost all of the original reasons for mounting the Chindit operation were then invalid. Nevertheless, it was mounted anyway. Major General Orde Charles Wingate, DSO (February 26, 1903 – March 24, 1944), was a British major general and creator of two special military units during World War II. // Orde Wingate was born 26 February 1903 in Naini Tal, India to a military family. ...


Some 3,000 men entered Burma in many columns. They caused damage to Japanese communications, and they gathered intelligence. However, they suffered dreadful casualties, with only two thirds of the men who set out on the expedition returning. Those that returned were wracked with disease and quite often in dreadful physical condition. The most important contributions of the Chindits to the war were unexpected. They had had to be supplied by air. At first it had been thought impossible to drop supplies over the jungle. Emergency situations that arose during the operation necessitated supply drops in the jungle, proving it was possible. It is also alleged by some that the Japanese in Burma decided to take the offensive, rather than adopt a purely defensive stance, as a direct result of the Chindit operation. Whatever the reason for this later change to the offensive, it was to prove fatal for the Japanese in Burma.


Kohima and Imphal

As the 1943-44 dry period dawned, both sides were preparing to take the offensive. The British Fourteenth Army struck first, but only marginally before the Japanese. The British Fourteenth Army was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries during World War II. Many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from East African divisions within the British Army. ...


In Arakan, a British advance began on the XV Corps front. However, a Japanese counter-attack halted the advance and threatened to destroy the forces making it. Unlike during previous operations, the British forces stood firm, and were supplied from the air. The resulting Battle of Ngakyedauk Pass saw a heavy defeat handed to the Japanese. With the possibility of aerial supply, their infiltration tactics, relying on units carrying their own supplies and hoping to capture enemy victuals were fatally compromised.


On the central front, IV Corps advanced into Burma, before indications that a major Japanese offensive was building caused it to retreat on Kohima and Imphal. Forward elements of the corps were nearly cut off by Japanese forces, but eventually made it back to India. As they waited for the storm to break, the British forces were not to know that the successful defence of the two cities would be the turning point of the entire campaign in south East Asia. HQ XXXIII Corps was rushed forward to help control matters at the front and the two corps settled down for a long siege.


The Japanese threw themselves repeatedly against the defences of the two strong points, in the battles of Imphal and Kohima, but could not break through. At times the supply situation was perilous, but never totally critical. It came down to a battle of attrition, and the British forces could simply afford to fight that kind of battle for longer. In the end, the Japanese ran out of supplies, and suffered large casualties. They broke and fled back into Burma, pursued by elements of Fourteenth Army. Combatants British Fourteenth Army Indian IV Corps Japanese 15th Division Japanese 33rd Division Japanese 31st Division Commanders Louis Mountbatten Geoffrey Scoones Renya Mutaguchi Masakasu Kawabe Strength 4 Infantry Divisions 1 Armoured Brigade 1 Parachute Brigade 3 Infamtry about 100,000 Japanese Army Casualties 17,500 53,879 The Battle of... The Battle of Kohima was a battle of the Burma Campaign in World War II, fought around the town of Kohima in northeast India from April 4 to June 22, 1944. ...


Burma retaken

The recapture of Burma took place during late 1944 and the first half of 1945. Command of the British formations on the front was rearranged in November 1944. 11th Army Group was replaced with Allied Land Forces South East Asia and XV Corps was placed directly under ALFSEA. The British 11th Army Group was the main British Army force in Southeast Asia. ...


Some of the first operations to recapture Burma took place in Arakan. To gain bases for the aircraft necessary to supply Fourteenth Army in its attack through the heart of the country, two offshore islands, Akyab and Ramree, had to be captured. Akyab was virtually undefended when British forces came ashore, so it effectively provided a rehearsal of amphibious assault doctrine for the forces in theatre. However, Ramree was defended by several thousand Japanese. The clearing of the island took several days, and associated forces on the mainland longer to clear out. Following these actions, XV Corps was greatly reduced in numbers to free up transport aircraft to support Fourteenth Army. Akyab is a city and district in the Arakan division of Burma. ... Ramree Island is an island off the coast of Myanmar (Burma). ...


Fourteenth Army made the main thrust to destroy Japanese forces in Burma. The Army had IV and XXXIII Corps under its command. The conception of the plan was that XXXIII Corps would reduce Mandalay, and act as a diversion for the main striking force of IV Corps which would take Meiktila and thus cut the Japanese communications. The plan succeeded extremely well, and Japanese forces in Upper Burma were effectively reduced to scattered and unorganised pockets. Slim's men then advanced south towards the Burmese capital. This article is about the city in Myanmar. ... MEIKTILA is in Mandalay division of Myanmar; population (1901) 252,305, and is located at 20°53N, 95°53 E. It is situated on the banks of magnificent Lake Meiktila, an ancient irrigation and drinking water reservoir, and at the junction of the Bagan-Taunggyi and Yangon-Mandalay roads. ...


Following the taking of Rangoon in May 1945, there were still Japanese forces to take care of in Burma, but it was effectively a large mopping up operation. The next major campaign was planned to be the liberation of Malaya. This was to be an amphibious assault on the western side of Malaya codenamed Operation Zipper. However, the dropping of the atomic bombs forestalled Zipper, and it was undertaken postwar as the quickest way of getting occupation troops into Malaya. During World War II, Operation Zipper was a British plan to capture of either Port Swettenham or Port Dickson, Burma as staging areas for the recapture of Singapore. ...


Okinawa and Japan

In their final actions of the war, substantial British naval forces took part in the Battle of Okinawa (also known as Operation Iceberg) and the final naval strikes on Japan. The British Pacific Fleet operated as a separate unit from the American task forces in the Okinawa operation. Its job was to strike airfields on the chain of islands between Formosa and Okinawa, to prevent the Japanese reinforcing the defences of Okinawa from that direction. British forces made a significant contribution to the success of the invasion. Battle of Okinawa Conflict World War II, Pacific War Date April 1, 1945 – June 21, 1945 Place Okinawa, Japan Result American victory The Battle of Okinawa, fought on the island of Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands (south of the four big islands of Japan) was the largest amphibious assault... Operation Downfall was the overall Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Unions declaration of war against Japan. ... Combatants  United States  United Kingdom  Canada  Australia  New Zealand Empire of Japan Commanders Simon B. Buckner â€  Joseph W. Stilwell Ray Spruance Mitsuru Ushijima â€  Isamu Cho â€  Strength 548,000 soldiers, 1,300 ships,  ? aircraft 100,000 regulars and militia,  ? ships,  ? aircraft Casualties 12,513 dead or missing, 38,916 wounded, 33... Battle of Okinawa Conflict World War II, Pacific War Date April 1, 1945 – June 21, 1945 Place Okinawa, Japan Result American victory The Battle of Okinawa, fought on the island of Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands (south of the four big islands of Japan) was the largest amphibious assault... The British Pacific Fleet (BPF) was a multinational Allied naval force which saw action against Japan during World War II. The fleet was comprised mainly of British Commonwealth naval vessels. ... This article is about the history, geography, and people of the island known as Taiwan. ...


During the final strikes against Japan, British forces operated as an integral part of the American task force.


Only a small British naval force was present for Japan's surrender. Most British forces had been withdrawing to base to prepare for Operation Olympic, the first part of the massive invasion of Japan. Operation Downfall was the overall Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Unions declaration of war against Japan. ...


The Air War

This article is about military history. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... For other uses, see Blitz. ... The Baedeker Blitz or Baedeker raids were a series of reprisal raids for the bombing of the erstwhile Hanseatic League city of Lübeck during World War II, which was being used to supply the Russian front. ... The logistics organizations of the Royal Air Force in World War II were No. ...

Airfields

Duxford is a village in Cambridgeshire, England, some ten miles south of Cambridge. ... A Flightline BAe 146 aircraft lands at London (Heathrow) Airport in July 2004. ...

Special Forces

The Auxiliary Units (or Auxunits) were specially trained highly secret units created with the aim of resisting the expected invasion of the British Isles by Nazi Germany during World War II. Britain was the only country during the war to create such a resistance movement in advance of an invasion. ... The British Commandos were first formed by the Army in June 1940 during World War II as a well-armed but non-regimental raider force employing unconventional and irregular tactics to assault, disrupt and reconnoitre the enemy in mainland Europe and Scandinavia. ... See also Australian Special Air Service Regiment and New Zealand Special Air Service: The Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) is the principal special forces unit of the British Army. ... The Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) was a British Army unit during World War II. The unit was founded in Egypt following the Italian declaration of war (June 1940) by Major Ralph A. Bagnold with the assistance of Captains Clayton and Shaw, acting under the direction of General Wavell. ... The Chindits (Officially in 1942 77th Indian Infantry Brigade and in 1943 Indian 3rd Infantry Division) were a British Indian Army Special Force that served in Burma and India from 1942 until 1945 during the Burma Campaign in World War II. They were formed into long range penetration groups trained...

Military Structures

A pillbox on the GHQ Line The GHQ Line was a defence line built in the United Kingdom during World War II to contain an expected German invasion. ... The Taunton Stop Line was a World War II defensive line in southwest England. ...

Technology

Marconi tower at sunset. ... For other uses, see Radar (disambiguation). ...

See also


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