ASSAULT ON EBEN EMAEL
During the Second World War on the 10th of May 1940 German glider troops tried to captured the Belgian fort of Eben Emael which was strategically placed at the junction of the Albert Canal and Maas river, north of Liege, to guard a vital crossing-point and which was considered to be impregnable as any assault would have to be made across either the river or the canal. It was attacked by a squad of 85 German glider troops who landed on top of the fort and used special explosive charges to put the gun turrets out of action, but were unable to get into the fort itself as they were pinned down by crossfire from neighbouring forts. The following day German troops crossed the canal by boat to relieve the glider force, who had suffered relatively low casualties, and the fort surrendered. The gliders were quickly removed so for several years it was believed that the assault had been made across the canal.
BATTLE OF ABU TELLUL
The Battle of Abu Tellul occurred during the Great War between British and Turkish forces fighting for the village of Abu Tellul. The Turks lost the village on the 14th of July 1918. The Turkish army had advanced north and east of Jericho, capturing the village of Abu Tellul, but were then halted by British advanced posts. A counterattack by the Australian Light Horse trapped the Turks and the village was retaken.
BATTLE OF AISNE
There were three battles of Aisne between Allied and German forces in northern France during the Great War. The first battle occurred in September 1914 and was inconclusive and left both sides entrenched along lines they held for most of the rest of the war. The second battle between April and May 1917 cost both the French and Germans heavy casualties and was one of the prime causes of the mutinies in the French army the following month. In the final battle in June 1918, the Germans nearly succeeded in breaking through to Paris.
BATTLE OF ALAM HALFA
The Battle of Alam Halfa occurred during the Second World War on the 30th of August 1942, when the Germans led by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel attacked the southern sector of the British defensive Alamein line in North Africa. The British general Auchinleck had foreseen the possibility of such an attack and had made plans to deal with it; these were put into action by Montgomery, who had 700 tanks to meet Rommel's force of 446 tanks. A co- coordinated defence with artillery, tanks, and tactical air forces stopped Rommel and on the 2nd of September he called off the attack and retreated, having lost 3, 000 troops, 49 tanks, 60 guns, and 400 trucks.
BATTLE OF ALBERT
The Battle of Albert was an inconclusive battle between French and German forces on September the 20th to September the 30th 1914 during the Great War, in Somme department north-east of Amiens. The French and Germans attempted to outflank each other, leading to a stalemate which was broken by the arrival of German reinforcements. The French were temporarily forced back until they too reinforced and both sides settled into entrenched lines from Albert to Noyon until the Germans fell back in 1917.
BATTLE OF ALGIERS
The Battle of Algiers was a bitter conflict in Algiers from 1954 to 1962 between the Algerian nationalist population and the French colonial army and French settlers. The conflict ended with Algerian independence 1962.
BATTLE OF ANTWERP
During the Great War a Battle of Antwerp occurred when the Germans laid siege of the Belgian port from the 27th of September to the 9th of October 1914. British and Belgian troops mounted a fierce resistance which failed to save the city but did delay the German advance enough to prevent a push straight through to the English Channel. Antwerp remained under German occupation until the end of the war. During the Second World War a Battle of Antwerp occurred as a British operation in September 1944 to take the Belgian city of Antwerp in order to provide Allied forces with a supply port close to the front line. Although it was taken by the British 11th Armored Division on the 4th of September 1944, the banks of the river Scheldt were still held by German troops who proved difficult to dislodge and it was not until the 28th of November that the first supply ships reached the port.
BATTLE OF ANZIO
The Battle of Anzio was the beachhead invasion of Italy from January the 22nd to May the 23rd 1944 by Allied troops during the Second World War. A failure to use information gained by deciphering German codes led to the Allied troops being stranded temporarily after German attacks. Allied troops were held on the beachhead for five months before the breakthrough after Monte Cassino allowed the US 5th Army to dislodge the Germans from the Alban Hills and allow the Anzio force to begin its advance on Rome.
BATTLE OF ARDENNES
The Battle of Ardennes was an inconclusive battle of the Great War, fought in the Ardennes region of France. French armies, which had been positioned in the region of Stenay and along the Sambre River to meet the German threat from the east, began an offensive on August the 20th, 1914. As a result of serious tactical errors, the French Third Army, headed by General Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre, suffered heavy casualties. The German command failed to take advantage of its superior position, and between August 23rd and 25th both the French and German armies withdrew.
BATTLE OF ARNHEM
The Battle of Arnhem was an airborne operation by the Allies, between the 17th and 26th of September 1944 during the Second World War, to secure a bridgehead over the Rhine, thereby opening the way for a thrust towards the Ruhr and a possible early end to the war. It was only partially successful, with 7,600 casualties. Arnhem itself was to be taken by the British while American troops were assigned bridges to the south of the city. Unfortunately, two divisions of the SS Panzer Corps were refitting in Arnhem when the British landed and penned the British troops in, while the American force captured the bridge at Nijmegen but were unable to secure the bridge at Elst. Despite the arrival of Polish reinforcements on the 21st of September, Montgomery ordered a withdrawal four days later.
BATTLE OF ARRAS
The Battle of Aras was a battle of the Great War fought between April and May 1917. It was an effective but costly British attack on German forces in support of a French offensive, which was only partially successful, on the Siegfried Line. British casualties totaled 84,000 as compared to 75,000 German casualties.
BATTLE OF ARTOIS
The Battle of Artois was a French offensive north of Arras between May and July 1915 during the Great War. It was intended to hold German forces in France and prevent their movement to the Eastern Front. Although the French advance captured two major German positions and gave them a line from which Vimy Ridge could subsequently be attacked, the German line held and the battle died away into sporadic trench fighting.
BATTLE OF AUBERS RIDGE
The Battle of Aubers Ridge was an abortive British attack on German lines in May 1915 during the Great War in support of, and diversionary to, the French attack on Lens in the Battle of Artois. No gains were made and both sides sustained heavy casualties - the Allies lost over 6,000 killed and wounded, while German casualties were just over half that number.
BATTLE OF AUGUSTOV
The Battle of Augustov was a successful Russian counterattack after the disaster at Tannenberg in October 1914, during the Great War to recapture Augustov, a town in western Poland about 60 km north of Bialystok, from the Germans. German losses were estimated at about 50,000, and the Russians were able to press their advantage to advance into East Prussia.
BATTLE OF BAPAUME
The Battle of Bapaume was fought between German and British forces during the Great War I and was the second phase of the successful British offensive of the 21st of August to the 2nd of September 1918. The British pushed the Germans back 8 km, capturing 34,250 prisoners and 270 guns as well as vital strategic positions, including the German strong point at Mont St Quentin. The battle was very similar to the Battle of the Somme in 1916, starting from more or less the same positions and following the same general plan.
BATTLE OF BEDA FOMM
The Battle of Beda Fomm was a catastrophic Italian defeat at the hands of the British during the North African Campaign on the 7th of February 1941. The battle took place just outside Beda Fomm, a small town about 190 km south of Benghazi on the Libyan coast road. Elements of the British 7th Armored Division had cut across the desert and set up a road block in which the retreating 10th Italian Army was ambushed. Over 25,000 prisoners, 100 tanks, 216 guns, and 1,500 other vehicles were captured.
BATTLE OF BELLEAU WOOD
The Battle of Bealleau Wood was an engagement of the Great War, fought between German and American troops in Belleau Wood, a wooded tract less than 2.6 sq. km in an area, located 8 km north-west of Chateau-Thierry, and about 65 km north-east of Paris. A German drive toward Paris had been halted, and the Germans were entrenched in Belleau Wood when on June the 6th, 1918, they were attacked by an American brigade of Marines attached to the Second Division of the American Expeditionary Force commanded by General James Guthrie Harbord. The marines repeatedly attacked, fighting through matted underbrush and over rocky ground. On June the 24th they launched a final successful drive to capture Belleau Wood. The American casualties were more than 7800 officers and men killed, wounded, and missing. The German losses were also severe.
BATTLE OF BIAK
The Battle of Biak was a hard-fought Allied campaign during May and June 1944 to recapture the island of Biak, off the north coast of New Guinea, from the Japanese who were using it as an air base. American and Australian troops attacked the island on the 27th of May 1944. The Japanese garrison put up strong resistance and the island was not secured until the 29th of June, with 2,700 Allied casualties and 9,000 Japanese.
BATTLE OF BOLIMOV
The Battle of Bolimov was an inconclusive battle between German and Russian forces, part of the third German attack on Warsaw in February 1915 during the Great War. It is mainly significant as the first battle in which gas was used as a weapon of war. Although the Russians held the Germans off in this engagement, they decided shortly after to abandon Poland as too costly to defend and the Germans occupied Warsaw in August 1915. The German artillery fired several thousand shells filled with xylyl bromide, a tear gas, but the liquid failed to vaporize because of the extreme cold and so the gas had no effect whatever on the Russian defenders. The Russians discovered that gas had been used, and took steps to issue rudimentary masks to their troops thereafter, as well as alerting Britain and France to the new tactic. However, it was not immediately followed up and the incident was forgotten and so the use of gas at Ypres still came as a surprise.
BATTLE OF BOUGAINVILLE
The Battle of Bougainville was an Allied campaign during November 1943 to April 1944 to recover the most northerly of the Solomon Islands from the Japanese. Bougainville was taken by the Japanese in March 1942 and became an important refueling and supply base for their operations against Guadalcanal and the other Solomon Islands. An estimated 8,500 Japanese were killed in fighting on the island and a further 9,000 died of illness and malnutrition. The island was garrisoned by about 35,000 Japanese troops, principally in the south end of the island. The US 3rd Marine Division landed at the northern end of the island on the 1st of November 1943 and established a secure beachhead, reinforced by the US 37th Infantry Division. Thereafter the Japanese, in spite of ferocious counterattacks, were largely neutralized and contained. In early 1944 the US troops were replaced by Australians who proceeded to hunt down the remaining Japanese and had secured the island by April 1944.
BATTLE OF BRITAIN
The Battle of Britain was an air battle between German and British air forces over Britain from the 10th of July 1940 until October 1940 during the Second World War. At the outset the Germans had the advantage because they had seized airfields in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, which were basically safe from attack and from which south-east England was within easy range. On the 1st of August 1940 the Luftwaffe had about 4,500 aircraft of all kinds, compared to about 3,000 for the RAF. The Battle of Britain had been intended as a preliminary to the German invasion plan Operation Sea Lion, which Hitler indefinitely postponed on the 17th of September and abandoned on the 10th of October, choosing instead to invade the USSR, and the bombing raids were switched to civilian targets.
BATTLE OF CAPE MATAPAN
The Battle of Cape Matapan was a British naval victory on the 28th of March 1941 over an Italian force sent to disrupt Allied shipping in the Mediterranean during the Second World War. The Italians were intercepted just south of Crete by a British fleet under Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham which sank the Italian cruiser Pola, along with six ships left to escort it after it had been crippled in an earlier attack.
BATTLE OF CAPORETTO
The Battle of Caporetto was a joint German-Austrian victory over the Italian Army in October 1917 at Caporetto, a village on the river Isonzo in north- west Slovenia. The German commander, General Karl von Bulow, broke through Italian lines on the Isonzo and forced an Italian retreat to fall back onto the Piave line.
BATTLE OF CHARLEROI
The Battle of Charleroi was fought during the Great War between French and German forces on the 21st to the 24th of August 1914 as the French attempted to make an orderly retreat from Belgium under intense German pressure. The operation probably saved the French 5th Army and slowed the German advance into northern France considerably.
BATTLE OF CORONEL
The Battle of Coronel was fought on November 1st, 1914 between British and German naval squadrons under Rear- Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock and Vice- Admiral von Spee respectively. The British were defeated, losing the Good Hope and the Monmouth. The remaining British ships escaped in the night.
BATTLE OF DIENBIENPHU
The Battle of Dienbienphu ended the first Indochina war, and with it any hope of French control in Indochina and paved the way for the heavy American involvement in the area from 1965 to 1975. Late in 1953 the French occupied a small mountain outpost named Dienbienphu, located in the northern part of Vietnam near the Laotian border. The French hoped to cut Vietminh supply lines into Laos and to set up a base from which to attack. The Vietnamese, in control of the countryside, quickly cut off all roads to Dienbienphu, so the French could only be supplied from the air. The French remained quite confident of their position, and they were thus completely taken by surprise when General Vo Nguyen Giap of North Vietnam surrounded their base with 40, 000 troops and used heavy artillery to batter the French lines. In spite of massive infusions of American aid, the outpost was overrun on May 7, 1954. By this time support in France for the war had virtually evaporated, and the American Congress refused any more aid to support a lost cause. The French government sought an end to the fighting, and an agreement was signed in Geneva on July 21, 1954. The agreement also divided Vietnam in half along the 17th parallel. The Vietminh controlled the north, and the stage was set for their eventually successful attempt to conquer the south. French dismay at the defeat, which was soon to be followed by a similar turn of events in Algeria, led to the end of the French Fourth Republic in 1958.
BATTLE OF DOGGER BANK
The Battle of Dogger Bank was a naval action of the Great War. It took place on January 24th 1915 off the Dogger Bank between a German force of four battle cruisers, four light cruisers, and 22 destroyers which had left Germany to attack the English coast and the British Grand Fleet of six battle cruisers, eight light cruisers, and 28 destroyers which had left Scapa Flow on the same day to carry out a sweep of the North Sea. The British put on speed to overhaul the German line, the first shots were fired at about 9 am., and the two fleets exchanged shots for about three hours. The German battle cruiser Blucher was sunk by gun and torpedo fire, while the British flagship HMS Lion was hit in the engine-room and halted. Admiral David Beatty transferred his flag to a destroyer, but when the German fleet approached Heligoland the British disengaged due to the danger of attack by submarines and minefields.
BATTLE OF DUNAJETZ
The Battle of Dunajetz occurred in April 1915, during the Great War when the Russians held a line on the Dunajetz river against a large German force assembled for an attack on Galicia. The Austrians broke the Russian line in the Gorlitz area to the south of the river in early May and although the Dunajetz sector initially held strong, they were eventually forced to fall back because of the Russian collapse in the south. The Austrians and Germans advanced along the entire front for the next two weeks until the Russians halted them at a line on the San river.
BATTLE OF EBRO
The Battle of Ebro was the principal battle of the Spanish Civil War. It took place between the 24th of July and the 18th of November 1938, in the vicinity of Gandesa. By the time the battle ended the Republicans had lost about 30,000 dead, 20,000 wounded, and 20,000 prisoners, while the Nationalists lost 33,000 killed and wounded. This defeat effectively destroyed the International Brigades and put an end to any hope of Republican victory. A Republican army under General Juan Modesto had advanced across the river Ebro against the Nationalists, hoping to force a way through and link Catalonia with the rest of Republican-held Spain. The advance carried them almost to Gandesa, where they were stopped by fresh Nationalist troops under General Francisco Franco. Franco counterattacked on the 1st of August and gradually drove the Republicans back. There was a pause while Franco strengthened his force and re-grouped, until the 30th of October when he launched a powerful attack which drove the Republicans back across the Ebro itself, leaving them in disarray.
BATTLE OF EL ALAMEIN
The battles of El Alamein were two decisive battles that took place in the western desert, in northern Egypt during the Second World War. In the First Battle of El Alamein from the 1st of July to the 27th of July 1942, the British 8th Army under Auchinleck held off the German and Italian forces under Rommel. In the Second Battle of El Alamein from the 23rd of October to the 4th of November 1942, Montgomery defeated Rommel. The first battle was inconclusive but strategically vital: Rommel attacked the British line in a series of engagements, but Auchinleck kept him at bay. Neither side can be said to have won, but the British had the strategic advantage of short supply lines and so could reinforce faster than the Germans. Montgomery began the second battle with a diversionary attack in the south to draw Axis forces into the area so that the main attack in the north could create a gap for the British armored divisions to pass through German minefields. Progress was slow however and Montgomery changed tactics, constantly switching the main emphasis of his attack to wear down Rommel's front line. The decisive phase of the battle came with an Australian attack along the coastal road on the 26th of October which diverted Axis forces while Montgomery launched a fresh attack further south which developed into a major tank battle. By the 3rd of November Rommel had only 30 serviceable tanks in action and on the following day began organizing his withdrawal. He was able to escape, as the British were hampered by heavy rain and a shortage of fuel, but this was a crushing blow for the Axis campaign in North Africa.
BATTLE OF EPEHY
The Battle of Epehy was a successful British assault on outposts and advanced positions of the Hindenburg Line during September 1918. The objective consisted of a fortified zone some 5 km deep and almost 32 km long, together with various subsidiary trenches and strong points. British troops of the 3rd and 4th Armies and French troops of the 1st Army attacked elements of the 2nd and 18th German armies. Fighting was fierce, in difficult country, and was broken into a series of battles against limited objectives.
BATTLE OF FALKLAND ISLANDS
The Battle of Falkland Islands was a naval battle of the Great War. It occurred on December 8th 1914 between the English and German squadrons. The Germans were lured to the Falkland Islands by a bogus cable sent to Berlin by a British spy, and there were ambushed and almost completely wiped out, only the light cruiser Dresden escaping.
BATTLE OF FESTUBERT
The Battle of Festubert occurred during the Great War between British and German forces in northern France in May 1915. The British launched a series of attacks on the Aubers Ridge to assist the French, who were attacking in Artois and Arras. The assaults met with little success until the 15th of May when they broke through the German lines in two places, linked the two breaches and gained about half a mile before the battle died out and fresh trench lines were dug. Total British losses in the operation amounted to 3, 620 dead, 17,484 wounded, and 4,321 missing.
BATTLE OF GAZA
The Battle of Gaza was a series of unsuccessful British attacks on the Turkish-held town of Gaza during March and April 1917 during the Allied invasion of Palestine in the Great War. General Charles Dobell was relieved of his command as a result of the failure. In the first attack on the 26th of March 1917 Dobell advanced along the coast from Rafa and mounted a three- pronged assault: an infantry division attacked from the south while Anzac forces and cavalry attacked from the east and north. The attack was at first partially successful, and Anzac troops entered the town. However, the Turks put up a strong defence, the British force had no water for its horses, Turkish reinforcements were coming up in rear of the enveloping British forces, and General Dobell had to withdraw. He mounted a second assault on the 17th of April, but in the interval Gaza had been heavily reinforced and fortified, and in spite of support from tanks the British were beaten off with losses of about 7,000 troops. the battle was broken off when night fell.
BATTLE OF GAZALA
The Battle of Gazala was a German victory over British forces in North Africa during May and June 1942. It was the most severe defeat inflicted on the British during the entire desert campaign of the Second World War. Field Marshal Rommel launched a powerful surprise attack on Gazala on the 26th and 27th of May 1942, but the British fought back well and trapped him between a minefield and their own defensive 'box'. Rommel was contemplating surrender until the Italian Trieste Division managed to open a route through the minefield and get a supply column to him. Indecision and arguments in British headquarters also helped and he broke out of the Cauldron on the 1st of June and overwhelmed the British 'box'. He pushed on toward Tobruk, defeating several British units, and the British were forced to abandon their positions and fall back to the El Alamein line in Egypt.
BATTLE OF GIVENCHY
The Battle of Givenchy was an inconclusive Great War battle between British and German forces in December 1914. In early December 1914 an Allied force was opposing strong German defenses around Givenchy, a French village in the Pas-de-Calais. In order to relieve pressure on the French, then fighting at Arras, orders were given to attack and pin down the Germans so that they could not reinforce Arras. Indian troops of the Lahore division attacked on the 19th of December and captured two lines of German trenches but were then driven out by a fierce counterattack. On the 20th of December the Germans, strongly reinforced, mounted a sudden attack against the Indian trenches which were inundated due to rain, and broke through to occupy part of the village. Two British battalions in reserve were called up and recaptured the village in the evening. The battle continued and several salients were driven into the British line, until Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig brought up reinforcements from the 1st Army on the 21st of December, relieved the Indian division, and forced the Germans back to their original line. The battle died out the following day with all participants back where they had started, at a cost of about 4, 000 British and 2,000 German casualties.
BATTLE OF GONDAR
The Battle of Gondar was the final defeat of Italian forces in Ethiopia during the Second World War. The battle took place in 1941 when a garrison of some 40,000 Italians under general Nasi were attacked by two brigades of the 12th African Division. Italian troops holding the only two mountain passes to the town were starved into surrendering, and then the Italian garrison in the town was forced to surrender after African troops gained control of the heights which overlooked the Italian positions and the Kenya Armored Car Regiment penetrated the outskirts of the town.
BATTLE OF GOOSE GREEN
The Battle of Goose Green was a British victory over Argentina on the 28th of May 1982 during the Falkland's war. British troops landed at and around Port San Carlos on the western side of the West Falkland island on the 21st of May and prepared to advance to Port Stanley, some 80 km to the east. An Argentine force was known to be at Goose Green, to the south of San Carlos, and since this posed a threat to the flank of the British advance, troops of the Parachute Regiment, with a battery of 105 mm guns in support, were sent to deal with it. Due to a shortage of helicopters at a critical time, not all the battery of guns and its ammunition was able to get into position, and with this limited support the Parachute troops made an attack on foot. A brisk firefight resulted, in which the commanding officer of the Parachute troops was killed while leading a charge, for which he received a posthumous Victoria Cross. The Argentine garrison was overrun, the survivors taken prisoner, and the advance on Port Stanley was free to move.
BATTLE OF GUADALCANAL
The Battle of Guadalcanal was an important American operation during the Second World War in 1942 to 1943 on the largest of the Solomon Islands. The battle for control of the area began when the Americans discovered the Japanese were building an airfield and landed marines to take the site in August 1942. The Japanese sent reinforcements by sea to recapture the airfield and a series of bitter engagements took place on land for control of the airfield and at sea as each side attempted to reinforce their own troops and prevent the other from doing so. The naval operations began to dwarf those on the land they were supposedly supporting and both sides lost large amounts of ships and aircraft. The engagements on land and sea were inconclusive until the Japanese concluded such heavy naval losses could not be justified by one island and evacuated on the 7th of February 1943.
BATTLE OF GUAM
The Battle of Guam was a US operation to recapture the island of Guam from the Japanese in 1943, during the Second World War. Guam is at the southern end of the Marianas group, about 1,600 km north of New Guinea. It was occupied by the Japanese on the 10th of December 1941 and used as a naval and air base. US forces invaded on the 21st of July 1943 and by the 10th of August the entire island was in their hands. US losses amounted to 1,744 killed and 5,970 wounded; the Japanese lost 18,250 killed and 1,250 captured. Some of the Japanese garrison fled to the interior of the island - the last of them did not surrender until 1960.
BATTLE OF GUISE
The Battle of Guise (also called the Battle of St Quentin) was a battle between French and German forces on the 29th and 30th of August 1914 during the Great War. The retreating French 5th Army under General Charles Lanrezac had fallen back to Guise when it was ordered to attack St Quentin some 25 km away, in order to relieve pressure on the British at Mons and buy time for the French 6th Army to assemble near Paris. The attack was mounted, but the force's open flanks were immediately threatened by German attacks, forcing Lanrezac to abandon the St Quentin objective and concentrate instead on a frontal holding battle against whatever forces the Germans sent. He met and drove back an attack from General Karl von Billow's army, but the danger of his flank being turned by General Alexander von Kluck's forces was such that he could not pursue his victory. He had no choice but to break off and re- start his retreat. Nevertheless, his action caused some 6, 000 German casualties and upset the German plans.
BATTLE OF HALFAYA PASS
During the Second World War, the Battle of Halfaya Pass was a disastrous British attack in June 1941 on a German-held pass south of Bardia, on the Libya-Cyrenaica border. The pass gave access from the coastal plains through the escarpment to the inland plateau and thus to the open desert. Secured by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel during his first offensive in 1941, it became notorious when attacked by British tanks during Operation Battleaxe on the 15th of June 1941. Rommel had concealed a number of 88 mm anti-aircraft guns in the pass and deployed some of his armour to draw the British into the pass. When British tanks pursued this decoy force they were almost all destroyed by the concealed guns.
BATTLE OF IMPHAL
The Battle of Imphal was an Allied operation in 1944 during the
Second World War to hold Japanese forces back from an important road junction in the Manipur district of north-east India, 600 km north-west of Calcutta. It was the turning point in the Burma campaign. Imphal was crucial to the Japanese plan for the invasion of India in 1944 and so the British Field Marshal Sir William Slim devoted three divisions and extensive air support to its defence. Imphal held out for three months, with air and commando attacks disrupting the Japanese lines of supplies and communication, until the British were able to break the siege. The Japanese, starving and diseased, had by now lost 53000 troops and fell back to the Chindwin river, abandoning their artillery and transport.
BATTLE OF INCHON
The Battle of Inchon was a successful American Marines amphibious operation on the 15th of September 1950 at Inchon during the Korean War. The Marines secured the city within two weeks and broke the North Korean forces' hold on the Pusan area.
BATTLE OF IWO JIMA
The Battle of Iwo Jima was intense fighting between Japanese and American forces between the 19th of February and the 17th of March 1945 during the Second World War. In Feb 1945, American marines landed on the island of Iwo Jima, a Japanese air base, intending to use it to prepare for a planned final assault on mainland Japan. The 22,000 Japanese troops put up a fanatical resistance but the island was finally secured on the 16th of March.
BATTLE OF JUTLAND
The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle of the Great War. On May the 30th 1916, in response to low morale in Germany, the newly appointed commander-in- chief of the navy, Admiral von Scheer, ordered the High Seas Fleet to leave the Kiel canal in force with the objective of attacking British cruisers and merchant ships in and outside the Skager-Rack. The German fleet sailed in two divisions: in the van was von Hipper's battle-cruiser squadron of five ships with attendant cruisers and destroyers; and some sixty miles astern, the battle fleet of some nineteen or twenty battleships, twenty light cruisers. The British were alerted by unusual radio traffic over the North Sea and Jellicoe's Grand Fleet and Beatty's battle-cruiser squadron sailed on the night of the 30th of May and took up position the next morning and engaged the enemy. Although the British losses were greater than the German, the German fleet retreated back to its harbors.
BATTLE OF KHALKIN GOL
The Battle of Khalkin Gol was a major Russian victory over the Japanese Kwangtung Army in August 1939 on the border of Manchuria and Outer Mongolia. It was the most disastrous defeat ever suffered by the Japanese Army.
BATTLE OF KOLOMBANGARA
The Battle of Kolombangara was an inconclusive naval engagement between American and Japanese forces in July 1943 off Kolombangara, one of the Solomon Islands. Four Japanese transports escorted by a cruiser and four destroyers were attempting to resupply the Japanese garrison on Kolombangara when they were intercepted by three American cruisers and nine destroyers. The American vessels opened fire, sinking the Japanese cruiser; in reply the Japanese destroyers launched a torpedo attack which crippled one American cruiser. About two hours later the two forces met once more and the Japanese torpedoes crippled the two remaining American cruisers and sank one destroyer. By this time the Japanese had landed their troops and supplies and so they withdrew.
BATTLE OF KURSK
The Battle of Kursk was an unsuccessful German offensive against a Russian salient in July 1943. Kursk was the greatest tank battle in history and proved to be a turning point in the Eastern Front campaign. With nearly 6, 000 tanks and 2 million troops involved. The battle reached its climax with the pitched battle on the 12th of July between 700 German and 850 Soviet tanks. In the spring of 1943 the Soviet front line bulged out into the German front between Kharkov and Orel. The Germans planned an offensive to pinch off this salient and flatten the front but the Soviets were forewarned by their intelligence service and planned to absorb the German thrust and then counterattack. They prepared for the assault with 20,000 guns, millions of mines, 3,300 tanks, 2, 560 aircraft, and 1,337,000 troops; the Germans massed 10,000 guns, 2,380 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 900,000 troops. The battle began on the 5th of July in pouring rain. The northern half of the German force reached a point about 16 km into the salient before being stopped; the southern thrust reached its climax on the 12th of July when 700 German tanks battled with 850 Soviet tanks. But the Allied landing in Sicily on the 10th of July led Hitler to demand the withdrawal of troops from the USSR to reinforce Italy; on the same day the Soviets opened a massive offensive north of the Kursk salient. Hitler terminated the Kursk battle on the 17th of July and the German forces in the area were left to extricate themselves as best they could.
BATTLE OF LOOS
The Battle of Loos took place during the Great War in September 1915 when six separate assaults were made on the German front between Lens and Ypres by the French and British. The assaults were successful, but as reserves did not arrive due to deplorable staff work German counter attacks reclaimed almost all the ground won.
BATTLE OF MARACESTI
The Battle of Maracesti was a defeat of Austro-German force by combined Russian and Romanian forces in August 1917 during the Great War. After defeating the Russians in Galicia in 1916, the German general von Mackensen advanced toward Maracesti, an important railway junction. He was stopped close to the town by a strong Russo- Romanian force and the battle continued for some days. Bolshevik agitators subverted the Russian troops who abandoned the defenses and ran. However, by this time Romanian reinforcements were arriving and in spite of heavy fighting defeated Mackensen's force and prevented him from taking Moldavia.
BATTLE OF MESSINES
The Battle of Messines was a British attack between the 7th and 15th of June 1917 during The Great War on the German-held Belgian village and ridge in West Flanders, 9.5 km south of Ypres. The village was occupied by the Germans in November 1914, enabling them to hold a dominant position overlooking the British lines. A significant factor in the battle was the unprecedented scale of mining operations by the British; some 20 mines were excavated and charged with 600 tons of explosive. Another innovation was the use of supply tanks to carry forward ammunition and fuel for the infantry and the 76 tanks which were deployed in the battle itself. The battle began with an exceptionally heavy artillery bombardment, lasting over a week, which did considerable damage to the German defenses, followed by the detonation of the mines on the morning of the battle itself. By 10 a.m. the entire German front line was in British hands, and the second line had been secured by 8 p.m. Messines remained in British hands until the German Spring Offensive in 1918, but was re- taken in September 1918.
BATTLE OF MIDWAY
The Battle of Midway was a decisive US naval victory over Japan in June 1942 off Midway island, north-west of Hawaii. The Midway victory was one of the most important battles of the Pacific war - Japanese naval air superiority was destroyed in one day, putting an end to Japanese expansion and placing them on the defensive thereafter. In May 1942 the Japanese planned to expand their conquests by landing troops in the Aleutian islands and on Midway. The Japanese attack involved two task forces; the Aleutian force was to draw the US fleet north, allowing the Midway force a free hand. The US forces deciphered Japanese naval codes and were able to intercept the mission. Both launched aircraft and the Americans sank one Japanese carrier and so damaged another two that they were abandoned. The sole remaining Japanese carrier managed to launch a strike which sank the USS Yorktown, but later in the day another US strike damaged it so badly that it had to be scuttled. With no aircraft carriers or aircraft left the Japanese abandoned their attack and retreated.
BATTLE OF MILNE BAY
The Battle of Milne Bay was an Allied victory over the Japanese in august 1942, during the Second World War. The Japanese landed at Milne Bay in New Guinea believing it to be poorly defended, however it was defended by two Australian infantry brigades and two Australian fighter squadrons who between them contained the attack until the Japanese withdrew on the 6th of September 1942.
BATTLE OF SAIPAN
The Battle of Saipan during the Second World War, was an American capture in 1944 of the Japanese- held island of Saipan of the Marianas group about 1, 900 km north of New Guinea. The operation was mainly notable for the mass suicide of the Japanese civil population, several hundred of whom threw themselves over a cliff rather than be captured. Saipan was invaded by American forces on the 17th of June 1944, before the Japanese had completed their planned fortifications. An airfield was captured on the first day, allowing US fighters to provide instant air support, but clearing the island was a slow and hard fight which lasted until the 17th of July. Even then numbers of Japanese troops hid in the more remote areas until the war ended.
BATTLE OF SALAMAUA
The Battle of Salamaua was an Australian capture of the Japanese supply base at Salamaua in September 1943, during the Second World War. The Japanese launched their attack on Port Moresby over the Kokoda Trail from Salamaua, a seaport on the north coast of New Guinea, and when the attack failed, turned the port into a major supply base. It was eventually attacked by Australian troops flown into Wau, about 40 km away. Japanese reinforcements failed to arrive and the town was taken in September 1943.
BATTLE OF SARIKAMISH
The Battle of Sarikamish was the Great War battle between Russian and Turkish forces, from December 1914 to January 1915 which led to the collapse of the Turkish offensive in the Caucasus. This was a bold scheme to advance from Erzerum via Sarikamish to Kars over a 3,000m mountain range in the depths of winter. Although by December 1914 they had reached Sarikamish, their progress was slow and they had been unable to bring up heavy artillery. This allowed the Russians to bring up reinforcements and guns, and they were attacked by the Turks on the 25th of December, who took the town the following day. The Russians fell back, regrouped, and then counterattacked, regaining the town. They pursued the Turks back on their tracks and the Turkish offensive collapsed.
BATTLE OF SAVE ISLAND
The Battle of Save Island was a Second World War naval battle between a Japanese cruiser force and a joint US and Australian force protecting US transports reinforcing Guadalcanal in August 1942. The Japanese achieved complete surprise, and in two engagements sank three American and one Australian cruiser and damaged two others. The Japanese commander, fearful of air strikes as dawn broke, then withdrew without attacking the transports which were at his mercy, for which he was reprimanded for his temerity.
BATTLE OF SCARPE
The Battle of Scarpe (also known as the fifth battle of Arras) was a Great War battle between British and Gennan forces in August 1918. The British, under General Henry Home, were attempting to prepare the ground for a general advance by driving the Germans out of a subsection of the Hindenburg Line. They attacked along both sides of the Scarpe river, taking several villages and completing the operation with the capture of Bullecourt on the 31st of August. The battle then died down into a series of local skirmishes until the opening of the final battle for Arras on the 2nd of September.
BATTLE OF SPION KOP
The Battle of Spion Kop was a Boer victory over British forces in January 1900 during the South African War. As part of General Sir Redvers Buller's plan to relieve Ladysmith by outflanking the Boers on the Tugela River, a column under general Sir Charles Warren crossed the river upstream and then moved down to attack the Boer position on Spion Kop, the centre of their right flank. British troops made a surprise attack on the night of the 23rd/ 24th of January and captured the hilltop, but were unable to get their artillery to the top because of the steep incline. With the coming of morning it was found that the position was exposed to Boer fire and after defending all day withdrew that night, leaving some 300 dead including the commander Brigadier-General Woodgate.
BATTLE OF SUVLA BAY
The Battle of Suvla Bay took place on August 8th 1915 during the Great War, when a landing was made by British troops on the Gallipoli Peninsular with the object of capturing the hills dominating the Dardanelles. The attack failed.
BATTLE OF TANNENBERG
The Battle of Tannenberg took place from August 26th to August 30th 1914 during the Great War, between the Germans and Russians near the village of Tannenberg. The battle virtually destroyed the Russian Second Army and relieved the danger of invasion in East Prussia.
BATTLE OF THE ADMIN BOX
The Battle of the Admin Box was the first major victory over the Japanese for British and Indian troops during the Second World War. It happened at Sinzewa, Burma, in February 1944. The 'Admin Box' was the administrative and base area of 7th Indian Division, which was besieged by the Japanese 55th Division from the 5th to the 23rd of February 1944. The siege was lifted when the Japanese were taken from the rear by the 5th Indian Division advancing over the Ngakyedauk Pass.
BATTLE OF THE ANCRE
The Battle of the Ancre was one of the last of the series of battles in the Somme area which took place between 1916 and 1917 during the Great War. In three days of fighting during November 1916, British forces attempted to capture a heavily fortified German salient based on the village of Beaumont- Hamel. They captured the village and advanced about a mile until difficult weather conditions made fighting impossible.
BATTLE OF THE ARGENTA GAP
The Battle of the Argenta Gap was an operation by British troops to breach German
defenses in northern Italy in April 1945 as part of the final Allied advance in Italy during the Second World War. The Gap was a heavily defended strip of dry land between Lake Comacchio and the Lombardy marshes blocking the route to the Lombardy plain and north-east Italy. The British 5th Corps used amphibious
armored vehicles to outflank the German positions and breach the Axis lines, allowing the British 6th
Armored Division to pass through the gap.
The Battle of the Argonne (often called the Meuse-Argonne offensive), was a major battle of the Great War, fought in Autumn 1918 between the American First Army, which included the XVII French Corps, and strong units of the German army. The battle was part of a general Allied offensive against the Hindenburg line. To weaken these positions in the Argonne region of France was the immediate objective of the First Army; the secondary objective was to capture the chief German supply line, extending through Sedan and Mezieres. On September the 22nd, after a victory at Saint- Mihiel, France, the First Army, under the command of General John Pershing, began to move into the Argonne sector. By September the 25th, the line of the First Army extended from Regneville-Sur- Meuse, opposite Samogneux, in a south-westerly direction 32.2 km to La Harazee in the Argonne Forest above the valley of the Biesme River. This line was assigned to three army corps, the I, the III, and the V. Nine divisions formed the front line, and three were in reserve. French forces lay west of the Aisne River, and on the east the American position was flanked by French troops under American command. Opposed to the American forces were the German Fifth Army, with eight divisions, part of the German Third Army, and about eight divisions in reserve. American operations were conducted in three stages, the first of which lasted from September the 26th to October the 1st and drove a salient about 11 km deep into enemy positions before the Hindenburg line. During the second stage, which lasted from October the 4th to the 16th, the First Army crossed the Aire River and captured all major German defensive positions in the Argonne region. The third, or pursuit, stage lasted from November the 1st to the 10th. In the Argonne offensive, more than 1,200,000 U.S. troops were concentrated for the advance; of that number, 60,000 took an active part in the battle, which extended over an area of 1295 sq. km. American
casualties in the entire Battle of the Argonne were 117,000 killed or wounded. German losses were 94,000 killed or wounded, 26,000 captured by American forces, and 30,000 captured by the French. The battle caused the final breakdown of German resistance and helped bring about the German request for an armistice.
The Expedition to Archangel was a Joint Allied (British, French, and American) operation during 1918 and 1919 officially to
stabilize the Eastern Front following the Russian Revolution and safeguard the large concentration of military stores which had been sent to Archangel and other Western military interests in the area, though secretly it was intended to support the White Russians against the Bolsheviks. The Allied force succeeded in capturing Murmansk in July 1918 and then bombarded Archangel by air and sea, taking the city in August 1918. The Bolsheviks were driven from the area and a new local government established. However by early 1919, Archangel was little more than an enclave in an otherwise almost entirely Bolshevik country and it was evacuated during August and September 1919. The expedition had three main objectives: to safeguard the large concentration of military stores which had been sent to the Russians and which lay in Archangel; to safeguard the flank of the Murmansk Expedition; and to try to
stabilize the Eastern Front and make contact with the Czech Legion and the White Russian forces of Admiral Alexander Kolchak. A mixed force of British, French, and American troops occupied Murmansk in July 1918. Using this as a base, the Allied naval squadron, with air support, attacked and captured Modiuga Island, some 48 km north of Archangel, which allowed them to bypass Bolshevik
defenses and enter Archangel. A land force then cleared the valleys of the rivers Dvina and Vaga and defeated the Bolshevik forces which had been occupying Archangel. A local government was formed and formally
recognized and several thousand Russians enlisted with the Allies. After the Armistice, the Bolsheviks were able to concentrate troops in the area and by early 1919 there seemed little point in holding on to this enclave in a country which had almost entirely become Bolshevik. Archangel was successfully defended until August, when withdrawal began, and the British naval
base was finally closed and the last troops evacuated on the 27th of
Operation Anvil (also known as Operation Dragoon) was the codename of the Allied invasion of southern France on August the 15th 1944 during the Second World War. The landing by the American Seventh Army and the French First Army met little resistance and quickly linked up with General Patton's forces in Dijon.
Operation Bagration was a major Soviet offensive against German Army Group Centre in June 1944, during the Second World War and regarded by Russian historians as perhaps the most decisive operation of the war on the Eastern Front. In the space of four weeks, the Soviets destroyed 25 German divisions, crossed eastern Poland, and advanced 725 km/ finishing on the line of the Vistula river. The German field marshal Ernst Busch was forewarned of the attack and requested permission to fall back to a better defensive line on the river Beresina, but Hitler refused and ordered the Group to remain in position. The Soviet force consisted of over 40 tank brigades plus supporting troops, heavily outnumbering the Germans in both tanks and artillery. The Germans were encircled and cut off in the Vitebsk, Mogilev, and Bobruysk areas and suffered heavy losses.
Operation Barbarossa was the German code name for the plan to invade the USSR during the Second World War. It was launched on the 22nd of June 1941. The plan was initially successful but by the end of 1941, the German advance had stalled. Large sections of the USSR, particularly the Ukraine, remained in German hands until 1944 and fighting continued elsewhere until then, notably the sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad.
Operation Battleaxe was an unsuccessful British offensive in the Western Desert on the 15th of June 1941 during the Second World War, intended to relieve Tobruk and recapture Cyrenaica.
Operation Biting was an Allied combined forces raid on enemy radar installations at Bruneval on the night of the 27th of February 1942, during the Second World War.
Operation Catapult was an attack on part of the French fleet at Mers-El- Kebir, on the 3rd of July 1940, during the Second World War. A British force including HMS Hood, HMS Resolution, HMS Valiant, HMS Active and the aircraft carrier Ark Royal attacked after the refusal by the French to agree to British conditions. A number of French ships were seriously damaged and over 1100 French were killed.
Operation Crusader was a British operation in Libya during November and December 1941 to relieve the besieged garrison of Tobruk and destroy the German Afrika Korps. Although the Afrika Korps were not destroyed, German and Italian forces suffered heavy losses and the siege of Tobruk was lifted.
See "Operation Anvil"
Operation Firedog was an emergency campaign carried out by the British against Malay guerrillas in 1955 and involved the use of Canberra bombers.
Operation Gauntlet was an allied naval operation in August 1941 during the Second World War to destroy the coaling facilities on Spitzbergen by naval bombardment and thus deny the coal to the enemy.
Operation Gunnerside was the British SOE operation to destroy the supplies of heavy water at the heavy water factory in
Telemark region, Norway in 1942 during the Second World War. Eight SOE agents from the Norwegian section gained entrance to the factory, detected only by a Norwegian night-watchman who surrendered and was released when they left. The explosive charges destroyed only the heavy water tanks, and were not heard over the factory noise and the sabotage was undetected until the following morning by which time the agents had escaped, no shots were fired and there were no casualties to the operation.
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful operation by British and American forces to cross the Meuse, Waal, and Neder-Rijn rivers in Holland September 1944. British airborne forces were to capture vital bridges at Arnhem to open the way for an
armored thrust from the south. When the airborne operation failed, the armored
force was unable to reach Arnhem and the whole operation collapsed.
Operation Overlord was the codename of the Allied Normandy invasion on June the 6th 1944 (D-Day). Allied land, naval, and air troops invaded the northern shores of Nazi-held France, and established beachheads (codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword) in five key areas by the next day, opening the area for other Allied troops. The invasion marked the beginning of the end of the Nazi war effort. The invasion, the largest amphibious landing in history, was overseen and executed by General Eisenhower with British field marshal Montgomery in command of Allied ground forces during the invasion. The invasion involved some 800,000 combat troops that had been massed in Britain (mainly in the southern counties) for the operation; over 4,000 ships, under the command of British admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay; and about 5,000 fighters and almost 6,000 bombers that were used to provide air support.
Operation Sea Lion was the German code name for the planned invasion of Britain during the Second World War. The operation commenced with bombing raids (the Battle of Britain) in 1940 designed to eliminate the RAF and thus British air cover, before the ground troops could arrive in barges from Europe. However, the Luftwaffe failed to destroy the RAF, and instead suffered heavy losses themselves (in part due to the British secret weapon RADAR, which allowed the British advance notice of approaching aircraft formations and allowed concentrated efforts of the smaller RAF to be made against the German forces). The operation was abandoned in October with the perceived failure of the Germans to gain air-superiority, though in reality Britain had very few aircraft and crews.
The Tonkin Gulf Incident was a clash that triggered the USA's entry into the Vietnam War in August 1964. Two American destroyers (USS C Turner Joy and USS Maddox) reported that they were fired on by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. It is unclear whether hostile shots were actually fired, but the reported attack was taken as a pretext for making air raids against North Vietnam. On the 7th of August the US Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which formed the basis for the considerable increase in US military involvement in the Vietnam War. The resolution allowed President Johnson to 'take all necessary steps, including the use of armed forces' to help SEATO (South-East Asia Treaty Organisation) members 'defend their freedom'. It was repealed 1970 in the light of evidence that the Johnson administration contrived to deceive Congress about the incident.
The Zeebrugge raid was a daring British attack on the German naval base at Zeebrugge on the coast of Belgium in April 1918. The town was used by the Germans as a U-Boat base. It was finally put out of action by a British attack on the 23rd of April 1918. A party of Royal Marines was landed from HMS Vindictive on the mole, to cause what damage they could, while a submarine packed with explosives went beneath the bridge connecting the mole with the shore and exploded, cutting off the defenders on the mole from any reinforcement. All this was a diversion to attract the attention of the German defenses, and while they were diverted, three blockships were sailed into the harbor and sunk in the channel so as to prevent any German vessels entering or leaving. The Vindictive then recovered the landing parties and sailed back to Britain, leaving Zeebrugge sealed up for the rest of the war.
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