David Hambling fromPopular mechanics”Produced a very interesting work. He took the liberty of publishing a rating of the most important battles of World War II, and now we will go through it from the first to the last point. His article talks about 20 battles, but in fact there are 22 of them. Which does not detract from the work done by David.
Naturally, with comments.
22. Narva offensive operation of 1944
This battle of Narva should not be confused with the other battle of Narva that took place between 1700-1721 during the Great Northern War (although both battles were fought in Narva, Estonia).
Agree, for an American, just an incomparable knowledge of our stories!
During the Battle of Narva in World War II, Germany and the Leningrad Front vied for control of the Narva Isthmus. The battle consisted of two stages: the battle for the Narva bridgehead and the battle for the Tannenberg line. German troops held their ground and obstructed Soviet attempts to build a stronghold in Narva. Both sides lost more than 500 soldiers combined.
In fact, the losses in the Narva offensive operation were an order of magnitude lower. 2500 people from the German troops and 4500 from our army. Narva was liberated and the Tannenberg defense line was destroyed during the Tallinn operation.
Brilliant knowledge of history, but, from my point of view, the moment is quite ordinary.
21. Lifting the blockade of Leningrad 1941-1944.
The siege of Leningrad, also known as the "900-day siege" because it lasted almost the same (in fact, it lasted 872 days), occurred when German and Finnish troops surrounded Leningrad and took the city. In just one year, the blockade claimed more than 650 Soviet lives due to hunger, disease and shelling.
I think everyone will agree. The blockade of Leningrad and its breakthrough was one of the epoch-making events of that war. Very difficult to understand and perceive, but again, applause to David.
20. The capture of Crete by Germany in 1941
One of the most daring operations in Germany's conquest of Europe was the air attack on the Greek island of Crete. The first action, during which a massive airborne assault was carried out. Crete was defended by British and Greek forces, which had some success against lightly armed paratroopers. However, delays and disruptions in communication between the Allies allowed the Germans to seize the vital airfield at Maleme and transfer reinforcements there. As soon as the Nazis gained air superiority, a landing at sea followed. The Allies surrendered after two weeks of fighting.
Indeed, it was a successful amphibious operation carried out by the Luftwaffe and the Wehrmacht.
19. Iwo Jima. 1944 g.
The Battle of Iwo Jima is a landmark event, but military analysts are still debating whether the island's limited strategic value justified such an expensive move. Twenty thousand Japanese defenders were entrenched in a complex system of bunkers, caves and tunnels. The attack was preceded by a massive naval and aerial bombardment that lasted several days and covered the entire island. Despite being outnumbered five times and having no hope of victory, the Japanese put up strong resistance and almost no one gave up.
I agree with the American: Iwo Jima had more propaganda and political significance than strategic.
18. Battle of Anzio. 1944 g.
The Allies invaded Italy in 1943, but by 1944 had only advanced as far as the Gustav Line south of Rome. Therefore, the high command organized a massive landing operation to encircle the Italians and Germans.
About 36 men landed, but while the Allies were turning, the Germans surrounded the area with equivalent forces and dug defensive positions. After heavy fighting and unsuccessful offensives in February, the Allies were pushed back almost to the very beachhead. It took more than 000 more reinforcements and five months of fighting to finally break out of Anzio.
It is difficult to say to whom this operation can be recorded as an asset. It certainly did not have a real meaning for the success of the entire war, but the meat grinder turned out to be notable.
17. The Battle of Monte Cassino. 1944 g.
After Anzio, the Germans took up defensive positions known as the winter line, consisting of bunkers, barbed wire, minefields, and ditches. Four consecutive Allied attacks on these positions became known as the Battle of Monte Cassino. The battle was reminiscent of the battle of the First World War, with artillery shelling preceding infantry attacks on fortified positions. Success was bought at the cost of more than 50 Allied casualties.
Today, the battle is mostly remembered for the destruction of the Abbey of Monte Cassino (where civilians were hiding) with more than a hundred Flying Fortresses I-17, when the Allies mistook the abbey for a German artillery observation position.
Roughly the same as Anzio. A very dubious result, especially if we add to it the destruction of a historical monument, in which there was not a single German soldier.
16. Battle of Belgium. 1944 g.
Following the June 1944 invasion, the Allies withdrew from Normandy and advanced rapidly through France and Belgium. Hitler intended to stop them with a sudden blow. Some tank divisions concentrated in the Ardennes in order to break through the Allied defenses. American troops held out stubbornly, despite heavy casualties, with more than 19 dead. The Germans had limited supplies and could only fight for a few days before they ran out of fuel and ammunition, so the offensive soon dried up. Subsequently, Germany did not have the resources for a new offensive, and the end was inevitable.
Doubtful again. Especially if you remember that Churchill in January 1945 very much asked Stalin to speed up the offensive operations of the Red Army - then it does not look very victorious at all.
15. Battle of Sedan. 1940 g.
When England and France declared war on Germany after the Nazi invasion of Poland, many expected the war to be a repetition of the tactical actions of the infantry of the First World War. This line of thinking led to the French strategy of building heavy concrete fortifications on the Maginot Line. These expectations were shattered in May 1940, when the Germans began a rapid "blitzkrieg" with tank groups. Lacking heavy artillery, the Germans attacked the French positions in Sedan with massive Luftwaffe raids.
Deservedly. It was here that the essence of the "blitzkrieg" was revealed, so that as an example of the successful action of the German army, this episode is quite justified here.
14. Battle of Britain. 1940 g.
By the end of 1940, Britain faced the threat of a German invasion. It all began with an air war waged by the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe. For four months, German aircraft struck British airfields, radar stations and aviation factories, and also bombed British cities. However, the RAF emerged victorious from this battle, and Hitler's plans to invade were postponed indefinitely.
Indeed, the aerial battle for Britain is one of the most striking episodes of the war, with very distant consequences.
13. Battle of Brody. 1941 g.
Hitler's plan to attack Soviet Russia was called Operation Barbarossa. On paper, he looked insane (given the outnumbered Russians and the infamous history of the enemy invasion of Russia). Hitler, however, believed that the blitzkrieg could not be stopped, and the Battle of Brody in western Ukraine would prove him right. For some time.
750 German tanks collided with four times as many Red Army tanks. But the Soviet aircraft were destroyed on the ground, and the German Stuks were able to dominate that area. In addition to destroying tanks, they targeted fuel and ammunition supplies and disrupted communications. The bewildered Russian troops were completely incapacitated, and their numerical superiority did not matter.
Yes, in terms of the number of tanks, this battle is second only to the Battle of Kursk. Indeed, the Soviet command, in the person of Zhukov, Kirponos and Purkaev, lost outright to von Runsted and von Kleist.
12. Battle of Leyte Gulf.
The largest naval battle in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf off the Philippines, was another step in the US advance towards the Japanese islands. All available Japanese forces were thrown into the area, but the individual units were unable to unite, leading to several actions scattered over a wide area. All four Japanese light aircraft carriers were sunk, as were three battleships. Leyte Bay also marked the first use of a desperate new tactic: the escort aircraft carrier USS St. Lo was sunk after a bomb-carrying Japanese kamikaze deliberately crashed on its deck.
You can also add that in this battle the Americans were saved by a real miracle in the person of Admiral Kurita and his more than strange actions. The Americans used 110% of Kurita's mistakes and turned the operation that promised the defeat of their unit into a remarkable victory.
These battles, which we call the Battle of Leyte Gulf, deserve a place in the history of war.
11. Battle of the Atlantic. 1939-1943
Submarine warfare had an impact in World War I, but became more significant in World War II, when German submarines sought to blockade Britain. Merchant ships set out in large convoys, protected by groups of destroyers and corvettes armed with depth charges and sonars. Daring submarine commanders carried out torpedo attacks within the warrant, and when several submarines attacked simultaneously, the defenders had little chance of retaliating. The Battle of the Atlantic was ultimately won by technology. Radar for detecting submarines from the surface, radio interception, code breaking - all this played a role. By the end of the war, more than 3000 merchant ships had been sunk, as well as nearly 800 submarines.
Indeed, Britain really survived only thanks to supplies from the colonies and the United States. And the Battle of the Atlantic became a long and bloody battle between Doenitz's submarine forces and the Allied fleets.
10. Battle of the Coral Sea. 1942 g.
After Pearl Harbor, the Japanese intended to invade New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and the American fleet moved to intercept them. This was the first naval battle to be fought over a long distance between aircraft carriers. Dive bombers and torpedo bombers attacked ships protected by fighter units. It was a new and confusing form of warfare where both sides struggled to find the enemy and did not know which ships they saw and went into battle. The most serious loss was the American aircraft carrier USS Lexington, which sank after a fire. This struggle forced Japan to abandon its invasion plans.
Suppose the Japanese did not abandon their plans for an invasion at all, but the fact that the battle was the first in which the main role belonged to aircraft carriers is indeed so.
9. Second battle for Kharkov. 1942 g.
Stalin sought to drive back the invading German armies with an offensive that included over a thousand tanks supported by 700 aircraft. But Germany reduced its effectiveness somewhat with the help of aviation when the Luftwaffe threw more than 900 aircraft into the area.
Then the Germans went on the offensive and surrounded the Russian troops with several tank divisions. Trapped, Russian soldiers surrendered in large numbers. More than a quarter of a million Russian soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner, which is 10 times the number of German casualties.
The Battle of Kharkov in 1942 is undoubtedly one of the most tragic pages in our history and, accordingly, an operation that the Germans could be proud of. But it’s not a lost battle, but a won war.
8. Battle of Luzon. 1945 g.
Luzon, the largest of the Philippine Islands, was captured by Japan in 1942. General Douglas MacArthur is known to have vowed to return to the Philippines, which he considered strategically important, and commanded the invasion force in 1945. The landing of the allies did not meet with resistance, but further, in the interior of the country, fierce battles were fought against the scattered enclaves of Japanese troops. Some of them went to the mountains and continued to fight after the end of the war. The Japanese suffered huge losses - more than 200 killed compared to 000 Americans - making it the bloodiest operation ever involving American troops.
Difficult to comment. It is difficult to assess this carnage. But if I would put her in the rating, then at the very end of the list.
7. Battle in the Philippine Sea. 1944 g.
The last major aircraft carrier battle of World War II, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, took place as American forces were advancing across the Pacific. Japanese forces, which included five heavy and four light aircraft carriers, as well as ground-based aircraft, fought seven heavy and eight light aircraft carriers of the American fleet.
The United States possessed not only numerical superiority, but also significantly better aviation. The new Grumman F6F Hellcat outperformed the old Japanese Zeros. This discrepancy led to the action being dubbed the "Great Mariana Turkey Shooting," in which about four times more Japanese aircraft were shot down than American ones.
This example, unlike the previous one, is well deserved. Indeed, in the battle of the Mariana Islands, the Japanese naval aviation was virtually destroyed, and further destruction at sea became a matter of time.
6. Battle of Berlin. 1945 g.
For those in the West, the Battle of Berlin may seem like an afterthought, the death throes of a war already decided. In fact, it was a massive and extremely bloody action, when three quarters of a million German troops fought a desperate last defense against the advancing Red Army.
The Russians had the advantage in tanks, but the armored vehicles were vulnerable to the new portable anti-tank missiles that destroyed 2000 Soviet tanks. Like the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Berlin was an infantry operation that was fought in close combat. Artillery destroyed defensive strongholds in a city already destroyed by heavy bombing. On April 30, Hitler committed suicide instead of surrendering, effectively ending the war in Europe.
You can't help but applaud. Especially when an American writes that. The Berlin offensive operation is the crown of the entire Great Patriotic War and one of the main pages of the Second World War.
5. Battle of Kursk. 1943 g.
Operation Citadel was the last German offensive on the Eastern Front, and the Kursk tank battle is considered the greatest tank battle of the war. At Kursk, the Nazis intended to repeat their previous successes by encircling and destroying the Russian troops. When the German advance stalled, Marshal Zhukov launched a counterattack and threw the Germans back with heavy losses.
There is nothing to comment on.
4. Battle of Moscow. 1941 g.
More than a million German soldiers were thrown into the attack on Moscow as Hitler ordered the city to be razed to the ground, not captured. At first, the German advance was rapid; by November 15, 1941, they were fighting within 18 miles of the city. They were then slowed down by Russian resistance and early winter set in when temperatures dropped to zero Fahrenheit. The German supply system failed and Russian Marshal Zhukov threw his reserve of Siberian divisions into a counterattack. By January, the Germans were pushed back more than 100 miles. The Russians suffered heavy casualties, but the German offensive momentum was broken.
If not "Russian frosts" - quite. It was not the frosts that broke the Germans, our soldiers did it. But it is not something that can be forgiven for an American - it is necessary.
3. Landing in Normandy. 1944 g.
The largest landing operation in history involved more than 5000 ships landing Allied troops on the heavily defended 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast, while thousands more took part in the air assault. A major disinformation operation led the Germans to think the landing was a hoax and resistance was weak at four of the five landing sites. In the fifth, Omaha Beach, US forces came under heavy fire and 2000 people died as they tried to escape the beachhead. The Germans were unable to quickly organize their forces to repel the threat. Within a week, the Allies landed more than 300 soldiers in Normandy.
As a successful amphibious operation - yes. As a strategic moment of the war ... Yes, not bad, but we obviously managed it ourselves. This is a fact that cannot be dismissed.
2. Battle of Midway. 1942 g.
Midway was a disastrous defeat from which the Japanese Imperial Navy never fully recovered. Much credit goes to the codebreakers who uncovered a Japanese plan to ambush American troops just in time for the Allies to plan a counterstrike. The Japanese plan to split the American forces also failed. Three of the four Japanese aircraft carriers were destroyed, which changed the course of the war against Japan.
A serious blow to the Japanese fleet, but not Stalingrad or Prokhorovka. A glorious and far-reaching victory for the American Navy.
1. Stalingrad. 1942-1943
In contrast to the epic tank battles on the Eastern Front, Stalingrad was a protracted and bloody urban war, fought from street to street, from house to house, from room to room, while the Red Army resisted German attempts to take the city.
The Red Army's defenses were based on thousands of strongholds, each manned by an infantry squad, in apartments, office buildings and factories, all of which had strict orders forbidding retreat. German artillery and aviation practically destroyed the city, but could not knock out the defenders. In the end, the German troops were surrounded. The total number of victims could be as high as two million people, including civilians.
Deservedly. Amazing. It should also be added that it was in Stalingrad that the Wehrmacht ridge was broken.
The result is admiration, you know. Getting such an overview from an American is amazing. David Hambling not only did a thorough and precise job, he did it without regard to politics. Honestly and frankly, which is not just a rarity in our time.
After analyzing David's review with a feeling of great gratitude, I could not help but note some not so much inaccuracies, but ... If we are talking about the fact that in 1942 the Germans were good near Kharkov, then why not say about the handsome Japanese in Singapore?
Therefore, we decided to make our review of the successes of EVERY army that took part in that war. Who possessed them, of course.
The analytical and historical cycle will be called "Victory from the point of view ..."... We invite you to rate.
Based on materials The Most Important Battles of World War II.