List of military engagements of World War II: Wikis


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USS Lexington explodes during the Battle of the Coral Sea.
An RAF Spitfire shortly before World War II.

This is a list of military engagements of World War II encompassing land, naval, and air engagements as well as campaigns, operations, defensive lines and sieges. Campaigns generally refer to broader strategic operations conducted over a large bit of territory and over a long period of time. Battles generally refer to short periods of intense combat localised to a specific area and over a specific period of time. However, use of the terms in naming such events is not consistent. For example, the Battle of the Atlantic was more or less an entire theatre of war, and the so-called battle lasted for the duration of the entire war. Another misnomer is the Battle of Britain, which by all rights should be considered a campaign, not a mere battle.



European Theatre

Asian and Pacific Theatre

Middle East Theatre

African Theatre



Invasion of Poland
Battle of Bzura
Battle of Mława
Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski
Battle of Kock
Battle of Warsaw
Battle of Modlin
Poland invaded and partitioned by Nazi Germany and the Communist Soviet Union.
Saar Offensive French attack on Saarland.
Winter War
Battle of Tolvajärvi
Battle of Suomussalmi
Finland invaded by the Soviet Union and, initially, resists successfully.  
First Battle of Changsha First Japanese attempt to take Changsha in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Battle of the River Plate The Admiral Graf Spee chased into Montevideo harbour and later scuttled.


Battle of the Atlantic Name given to the conflicts in the Atlantic Ocean between 1940 and 1945.
Winter War
Battle of Kollaa
Battle of Honkaniemi
The only tank battle during the Winter War.
Battle of Drøbak Sound Took place on the first day of the German invasion of Norway.
Battle of Narvik Minor Allied victory in Norway.
Battle of Namsos Failed Allied attempt to halt the Germans in Norway.
Battle of the Netherlands Germany defeats the Dutch in Europe during the opening stages of the first operation of the Battle of France, "Case Yellow" (Fall Gelb).
Battle of Belgium Germany defeats Belgium during the continuation of Fall Gelb.
Battle of France Germany defeats France and the British Expeditionary Force in the culmination of Fall Gelb. The remainder of France is defeated in the second operation of the Battle of France, "Case Red" (Fall Rot).
Battle of Dunkirk Operation Dynamo, the successful evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force.
Attack on Mers-el-Kébir Operation "Catapult", the Royal Navy destroys most of the French Navy to avoid ships falling in German hands.
Battle of Britain The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) fails to defeat the British Royal Air Force as the precondition for the invasion of Britain.
British Somaliland Italian conquest of British Somaliland
First Battle of French Indochina The forces of Imperial Japan successfully invade French Indochina but leave the Vichy French forces in control.
Battle of Dakar An unsuccessful attempt by the Allies to capture the strategic port of Dakar from Vichy French control.
Greco-Italian War
Battle of Pindus
Italian forces invade Greece from Albania and are repelled. Greek counter-attack drives Italians back into Albania.
Battle of Gabon Free French forces under General Charles De Gaulle take Libreville, Gabon, from Vichy French forces.
Battle of Taranto British carrier-based planes destroy the Italian fleet in Taranto Harbor.
Hundred Regiments Offensive Major offensive by the Chinese Red Army against the Imperial Japanese Army.


Battle of Koh Chang Vichy French naval victory against naval forces of Thailand during French-Thai War.
Battle of the Litani River Australian forces cross the Litani River to begin the Syria-Lebanon Campaign against Vichy French forces.
Battle of Damascus Commonwealth and Allied forces take Damascus from the Vichy French.
Battle of Beirut Commonwealth and Allied forces take Beirut and the Vichy French surrender all forces in Syria and Lebanon.
Battle of Keren Commonwealth and Allied forces defeat Italian forces at Keren in the decisive battle of the East African Campaign.
Battle of Cape Matapan British fleet defeats Italian fleet.
Battle of Denmark Strait The German battleship Bismarck sinks HMS Hood.
Invasion of Yugoslavia Germany and Axis allies invade Yugoslavia via Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Albania.
Battle of Greece Germany and Axis allies invade Greece via Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Albania.
Battle of Crete German paratroopers capture Crete, but suffer many casualties.
Operation Barbarossa
Battle of Smolensk
Battle of Kiev
Battle of Moscow
German invasion of the Soviet Union.
The German advance is halted, albeit temporarily.
The German Army Group Centre is driven back from Moscow.
Battle of Gondar The final defeat of organized Italian forces in Italian East Africa by Commonwealth and Allied forces.
Attack on Pearl Harbor Surprise Japanese attack destroys almost all the US Pacific Fleet.
Second Battle of Changsha Japan's second unsuccessful attempt to take Changsha in China.
Battle of Thailand Japan successfully invades and occupies Thailand.
Battle of Hong Kong Japan captures the British colony of Hong Kong.
Battle of Guam (1941) Japan successfully capture the American territory of Guam.
Battle of Wake Island Japan captures the atoll of Wake Island.
Battle of Malaya Japan successfully invades and occupies Malaya.
Battle of Singapore Japan takes Singapore.


Battle of Makassar Strait Japanese aircraft raid an American and Dutch convoy.
Battle of Dražgoše First direct engagement between Slovenian partisans and German occupying forces.
Battle of the Java Sea Japanese forces wipe out an Allied naval squadron.
Battle of Badung Strait Heavily outnumbered Japanese forces defeat an Allied night-time naval attack.
Battle of Java Japanese forces invade the island of Java
Indian Ocean raid Allied naval forces and shipping incur heavy losses during Japan's Fast Carrier Strike Force sortie.
Battle of Christmas Island The Japanese occupy Christmas Island without any resistance.
Battle of Corregidor Philippines lost to Japan.
Japanese capture of Burma Burma lost to Japan.
Battle of Nanos Eight hundred Italian soldiers lay siege to fifty Slovene partisans.
Doolittle Raid First air raid on Tokyo.
Battle of the Coral Sea First aircraft-carrier vs. aircraft-carrier battle. Japan wins tactically, but loses strategically.
Battle of Bir Hakeim The First Free French Brigade buys Allied forces enough time to prevent a German breakthrough to the Suez Canal.
Battle of Midway Key defeat of Japanese naval forces in the Pacific; the Japanese lose four aircraft-carriers.
Convoy PQ-17 A convoy of twenty-seven ships leaves Iceland on June 17, bound for Murmansk. Ten arrive on July 5.
Battle of the Aleutian Islands Japanese invade and occupy two islands of Alaska's Aleutian archipelago as part of a feint designed to cover the Imperial Fleet's intended trap at Midway. Foreign troops are not expelled from US soil until the following
Attack on Sydney Harbour Japanese midget submarines attack Sydney harbour.
First Battle of El Alamein British Eighth Army stops Rommel's Axis forces invading Egypt.
Second Battle of El Alamein Montgomery's Eighth Army forces Rommel out of Egypt.
Battle of Sevastopol Captured by Germans after eight month siege.
Battle of Changsha Chinese claim victory over Japanese.
Kokoda Track Campaign Australians and U.S. for the first time in World War II stop a Japanese offensive, this one to capture Port Moresby.
Battle of Guadalcanal Beginning of Allied action in Solomon Islands.
Battle of Savo Island Japanese sink four US cruisers.
Battle of Dieppe "Operation Jubilee" was an Allied amphibious raid on the German occupied port of Dieppe in France. A tactical disaster for the Allies. However lessons learned applied to later amphibious operations including D-Day.
Battle of Stalingrad City besieged by Paulus' German Sixth Army; from November 23 the Sixth Army is surrounded and destroyed by Soviets; bloodiest battle in history, 1.8 millions dead approx.
Battle of the Eastern Solomons Japanese aircraft carrier Ryūjō sunk.
Battle of Milne Bay First time Japanese landing force had been driven back into sea.
Battle of Buna-Gona Australians and U.S. defeat Japanese on north coast of New Guinea.
Battle of Wau Australians defeat Japanese attempts to capture Wau, New Guinea.
Battle of the Bismarck Sea U.S. and Royal Australian Air Force planes attacked and sink most of a Japanese convoy carrying troops to reinforce Lae, New Guinea.
Salamaua-Lae campaign Australian and U.S. forces capture two major Japanese bases at Lae and at Salamaua.
Operation Cartwheel Operation to neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul.
Battle of Cape Esperance near Guadalcanal
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands near Guadalcanal, USS Hornet (CV-8) sunk.
Operation Torch Allied landings in North Africa and successful Putsch of French Resistance in Algiers to prevent Vichyist forces opposition.
Naval Battle of Guadalcanal US defeats Japan, a turning point.
Battle of Tassafaronga off Guadalcanal
Second Battle of Kharkov Failed Soviet attempt to retake Kharkov.
Battle of Changsha (1942) Second Sino-Japanese War
Battle of Madagascar Allies capture Madagascar from Vichy France.


• Battle of Osankarica About 2000 Germans massacred all 69 men and women of the Pohorje battalion. Germans lost 19 men and had 31 wounded.
Battle of Rennell Island Japanese bombers sink a cruiser.
Battle of Guadalcanal Allies take the island.
Third Battle of Kharkov Germans retake Kharkov.
Battle of the Kasserine Pass Battle between US and German armored forces in Tunisia.
Battle of Neretva German Army (Wehrmacht Heer) offensive in southern Bosnia. Offensive launched to encircle and destroy the Yugoslavian Communist Partisan forces found there. Supporting the German forces in this effort were Italian, Croatian, Ustaše, and Yugoslavian Royalist Chetnik units. The partisans were badly mauled but managed to escape encirclement.
Battle of the Komandorski Islands Naval engagement between US and Japan in the Bering Sea.
Battle of Bismarck Sea US sinks Japanese transports.
Battle of Attu US troops defeat and drive the Japanese off the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 5,000 Jews and 2,000 Germans die, Jews confined.
Battle of Sutjeska Another attempt by German forces in Yugoslavia, this time supported by Italian, Bulgarian, Croatian, and Cossack units, to encircle and destroy the Yugoslavian Communist Partisan forces in southern Bosnia. Again, the partisans were mauled but escaped.
• Battle of Castle Turjak Slovene partisans took the castle guarded by the Slovene village sentries.
Battle of Kursk Germans attack Kursk salient at Orel and Belgorod, Russians drive them back. Arguably the largest tank battle ever fought.
Allied invasion of Sicily Allies take Sicily from the Italians and German armies.
Allied invasion of Italy Landings at Calabria, Taranto and Salerno.
Dodecanese Campaign
Battle of Kos
Battle of Leros
Allied and German scramble to occupy the Dodecanese Islands.
German amphibious and airborne operation to capture Kos.
German amphibious and airborne operation to capture Kos.
Battle of Smolensk The Soviets attack 850,000 German troops near Smolensk fortified region, drive them back inflicting severe losses.
Battle of Kiev (1943) Kiev retaken by Soviets.
Raid on Schweinfurt milestone air battle between the Luftwaffe and the USAAF known as "Black Thursday."
Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission another major daylight air battle, first shuttle mission.
Battle of Tarawa First major American amphibious landing in the Pacific.
Battle of Makin Americans capture the atoll of Makin Atoll.
Battle of the Bernhardt Line U.S. 5th Army sustains 16,000 casualties fighting through the Mignano Gap to reach the Cassino defenses.


Battle of Cisterna Part of Operation Shingle, the 1st, 3rd, and 4th US Army Ranger battalions attempted to capture the town of Cisterna.
Battle of Monte Cassino Four battles in Italy Jan - May. Allies finally breakthrough towards Rome.
Battle of Kwajalein American forces assault the islands of Kwajalein and Roi-Namur.
Battle of the Admin Box Japanese attempt a local counter-attack against an Allied offensive.
Battle of Eniwetok Battle between American and Japanese on Eniwetok Atoll.
Battle of Imphal and Battle of Kohima Attempted Japanese invasion of India fails with heavy losses.
Operation Rösselsprung German attempt to capture Tito using airborne troops.
• Battle of Normandy Allies invade northern France (Operation Overlord), hard fighting from Cherbourg to Caen, Germans surrounded and destroyed at Falaise.
Battle of Saipan The battle was fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands and resulted disastrous for Japanese forces since most died.
Battle of Guam American forces capture back Guam.
Battle of Tinian American forces capture Tinian.
Operation Bagration Soviet offensive destroys German Army Group Center on the Eastern Front.
Battle of Philippine Sea Major carrier battle; US lose 123 planes and destroy 315 Japanese planes.
Battle of Fontenay
Battle of Tali-Ihantala Finnish stop Soviet offensive.
Warsaw Uprising 20.000 armed Poles against 55.000 Wehrmacht and SS. 90% of city destroyed, more than 250.000 casualties.
Operation Dragoon Allied invasion of Southern France.
Battle of Debrecen Soviets gain ground in Hungary but German and Hungarian forces manage to withdraw relatively intact after both sides suffer similar losses.
Gothic Line offensive British 8th Army and U.S. 5th Army attempt unsuccessfully to break into the north Italian plains.
Battle of Arnhem The major battle of Operation Market Garden; Allies reach but fail to cross the Rhine; British First Airborne Division destroyed.
Battle of Peleliu A fight to capture an airstrip on a speck of coral in the western Pacific.
Battle of Aachen Aachen was the first major German city to face invasion during World War II.
Battle of the Scheldt Decisive Canadian victory, solved the logistical problems of the Allies, and opened the port of Antwerp for supplies directly to the front.
Battle of Crucifix Hill The 18th Infantry, U.S. 1st Infantry Division take Crucifix Hill, a crucial position to help surround Aachen. Cpt. Bobbie E. Brown wins a Medal of Honor for his heroics.
Battle of Angaur American forces capture an island in Palau.
Battle of Hurtgen Forest Stubborn German defense, appalling losses to US army.
Battle of Leyte American and Filipino guerrillas forces capture Leyte.
Battle of Leyte Gulf The largest air-sea battle in history.
Operation Queen was a joint British-American operation during World War II at the Western Front between Aachen and the Rur river.
Battle of the Bulge German counterattack in Ardennes; General McAuliffe says "NUTS" at Bastogne.


• Operation Elephant Allied offensive against a German bridgehead at Kapelsche Veer in the Netherlands.
Raid at Cabanatuan US Army Rangers rescue Bataan and Corregidor POWs from Japanese prison camp.
Battle of Bataan U.S. and Philippine Forces retake the historic Bataan Peninsula.
Battle of Manila City totally devastated after month-long battle between the American, Filipino and Japanese forces; 100,000 civilians killed.
Battle of Luzon The battle where Mexico entered World War II, contributing pilots to help the United States and the Philippines defeat Japan in the South Pacific, with a loss of 37,870 Allied soldiers and 217,000 Japanese soldiers, resulting in an Allied victory
Battle of Corregidor Spectacular combined U.S. and Philippine assault retakes island bastion from Japanese forces.
Raid at Los Baños U.S. Airborne Task Force rescues more than 2,000 Allied POWs and civilian internees held by Japanese.
Battle of Mindanao U.S. Eighth Army together with the Philippine Commonwealth troops completes the recapture of Southern Philippines.
Operation Varsity 134 Allied gliders land troops in Weisel.
Battle of the Visayas U.S. Eighth Army together with the Philippine Commonwealth troops retakes central Philippine islands.
Battle of Meiktila and Mandalay Japanese defeated in decisive battle in Central Burma
Battle of Iwo Jima After a month, U.S. Forces take main offshore Japanese island.
Battle of West Henan–North Hubei Indecisive battle between China and Japan. Japan controls airbases after battle.
Battle of Halbe Part of Battle of Berlin, Germans unable to break out.
Battle of Berlin Soviet forces encircle and capture German capital; Hitler commits suicide.
Battle of Triest British army and Yugoslav capture the city.
Battle of Tarakan Allied attack as part of the Borneo campaign.
Battle of Poljana Last battle of World War II in Europe.
Battle of West Hunan Chinese victory in final battle to expel Japan.
Battle of Okinawa US takes Japanese Island in the Ryūkyūs; many casualties to both sides.
Battle of North Borneo Australian victory during final stages of World War II in the Pacific.
Battle of Balikpapan Allied victory over Japan.
Battle of Manchuria Soviet forces liberate Manchuria.


Naval engagements








Major bombing campaigns





Small to medium-sized raiding operations were carried out by both Allied and Axis armies during World War II. The modus operandi used included guerrilla attacks by partisans in occupied territory and/or combined operations involving the landing and removal of specialised light infantry, such as commandos, by means of small boats.

Raiding units

Defensive lines

Contemporaneous wars

See also


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