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The Second World War: a timeline

All available Japanese forces were thrown into the area but the separate units failed to unite, resulting in several actions scattered over a wide area. All four Japanese light carriers were sunk, as were three battleships.

Lo was sunk after a Japanese kamikaze carrying a bomb deliberately crashed on its deck. Merchant ships took to sailing in large convoys, protected by screens of destroyers and corvettes armed with depth charges and sonar. Daring U-Boat commanders carried out torpedo attacks within the defensive screen, and when several submarines attacked at once, the defenders had little chance of striking back.

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In the end, the Battle of the Atlantic was eventually won by technology. Radar to detect U-Boats from the surface, radio interception, and code-breaking all played a part. By the end of the war more than 3, merchant ships had been sunk, as well as almost U-Boats. This produced the first naval battle fought at long range between aircraft carriers. Dive bombers and torpedo bombers attacked ships protected by screens of fighters. It was a novel and confusing form of warfare, with both sides struggling to find the enemy and unclear about what ships they had seen and engaged.

The fight forced Japan to call off its invasion plans. Stalin aimed to drive back the invading German armies with an offensive that included more than a thousand tanks backed by aircraft. But Germany blunted the attack by air power when it flew more than planes into the area. The Germans then went on the attack and encircled the Russian forces with several Panzer divisions.

Trapped, surrounded, and with German bombers raining explosives down on them, Russians soldiers surrendered in large numbers. More than a quarter of a million Russian soldiers were killed, injured, or captured, 10 times the number of German casualties. Luzon, the largest of the Philippine islands, fell to Japan in General Douglas Macarthur had famously vowed to return to the Philippines, which he saw as strategically vital, and commanded the invasion force in The Allied landings were unopposed, but further inland there was heavy fighting against scattered enclaves of Japanese troops.

Some of them withdrew to the mountains and continued fighting long after the end of the war. Japanese suffered extreme losses, with more than , killed compared to 10, Americans, making it the bloodiest action involving U. A Japanese force including five large fleet carriers and four light carriers, plus some land-based aircraft, fought seven U.

The U. This disparity led to the action being nicknamed "the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot," with about four times as many Japanese planes downed as American. To those in the West, the Battle of Berlin may seem like an afterthought, the death throes of a war already decided.

Jewish Pilots and Aircrews in the Battle of Britain

In fact it was a massive and extreme bloody action as three quarters of a million German troops, under the personal command of Hitler, fought a desperate final defense against the encroaching Red Army. The Russians had the advantage in tanks, but armored vehicles were vulnerable to new portable anti-tank rockets that destroyed 2, of them. Like Stalingrad, the Battle of Berlin was an infantry action fought at close quarters; artillery demolished defensive strongpoints in a city already devastated by heavy bombing.

Casualties were heavy, including thousands of civilians. On the 30th of April Hitler killed himself rather than surrender, effectively ending the war in Europe.

The Battle of Britain Phase Two

Operation Citadel was the final German offensive on the Eastern front, and Kursk is considered the greatest tank battle of the war. At Kursk, the Nazis aimed to repeat their earlier successes by surrounding and destroying Russian forces. Thanks to Allied codebreakers, though, the Russians got advance warning and built up defensive lines of ditches and minefields to absorb the German attack. In the air, Stukas armed with 37mm gun pods faced Russian armored Sturmoviks dropping dozens of anti-tank bombs.

As the German offensive stalled, Marshal Zhukov launched his counterattack and drove the Germans back with heavy losses. More than a million German troops were thrown into the attack on Moscow as Hitler ordered that the city should be razed to the ground rather than captured. At first the German progress was rapid; by November 15 of they had fought to within 18 miles of the city.

Then they were slowed by the Russian resistance, and an early winter set in, with temperatures dropping well zero Fahrenheit. The German supply chain failed and Russian marshal Zhukov threw his reserve of Siberian divisions into a counterattack. The Germans were pushed back by more than miles by January. Russian casualties were heavy, but the German momentum was broken. The largest amphibious operation in history involved more than 5, ships landing Allied troops on a heavily-defended mile stretch of Normandy coastline, while thousands more took part in an airborne assault.

A major deception operation fooled the Germans into thinking that the landings were a feint, and resistance was light at four out of five landing sites. On the fifth, Omaha Beach, U. Do This Before You Go…. Hitler went ahead with his plans to unify all German-speaking people. He annexed Austria then demanded the liberation of German people in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. Neville Chamberlain flew to Germany to attempt a settlement before war broke out.


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The Czechs were not represented at the meeting and realising that no country would come to their aid were forced to surrender the Sudetenland to Germany. Hitler assured those at the meeting that this was the extent of his ambitions for expansion. Despite the assurances given by Hitler in the Treaty of Munich Sept , he marched into Czechoslovakia and occupied the country. Britain had begun re-arming and a highly secret radar early warning system was installed along the east coast.

Conscription was introduced and assurances were given to Poland, who was being threatened by the Fuhrer. Hitler and Stalin signed a non-aggression pact which included secret clauses for the division of Poland.


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Britain and France declared war on Germany. Neville Chamberlain broadcast the announcement that the country was at war. Hitler invaded and occupied Denmark and Norway to safeguard supply routes of Swedish ore and also to establish a Norwegian base from which to break the British naval blockade on Germany. Hitler launched his blitzkrieg lightning war against Holland and Belgium. Rotterdam was bombed almost to extinction.

Both countries were occupied. Neville Chamberlain resigned after pressure from Labour members for a more active prosecution of the war and Winston Churchill became the new head of the wartime coalition government. Chamberlain gave Churchill his unreserved support. Ernest Bevin was made minister of labour and recruited workers for the factories and stepped up coal production. Lord Beaverbrook, minister of Aircraft Production increased production of fighter aircraft.

The British commander-in-chief, General Gort, had been forced to retreat to the coast at Dunkirk. The troops waited, under merciless fire, to be taken off the beaches. A call went out to all owners of sea-worthy vessels to travel to Dunkirk to take the troops off the beaches of Dunkirk. More than , men were rescued, among them some , French who would form the nucleus of the Free French army under a little known general, Charles de Gaulle. June — the darkest hour. France has fallen. Amongst the Polish military personnel who escape to Britain are around 8, pilots whose bravery and derring-do would help to turn the tide of war….

Timeline of events in during the Second World War, including the attach on Pearl Harbour and the beginning of…. Each person is issued with ration books in order to buy these essentials. Finnish resistance would be fierce and determined. Despite being outnumbered in terms of forces, in aircraft and in tanks, the Finns had retained their sovereignty and pride. The war in the west starts and the so called Phoney War ends. Being the only heavy bomber in the RAF arsenal, the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley , together with the Wellington and Hamden medium bombers, are the only aircraft available to take the war to Germany.

The captured bridges that span the Meuse river allow German troops and armour to pour across giving them direct access to the rear of the undefended Allied frontline and on to the Channel ports. The Luftwaffe attack Rotterdam, causing 30, civilian casualties.

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Holland surrenders. Antwerp surrenders. Related articles. Evacuation of Dunkirk.

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