World War 2 Timeline

The World War 2 Timeline is a brief presentation of the battles that marked the military history of 1939-1945.

1939   1940   1941   1942   1943   1944   1945

1939

September 1 - October 6 > The Invasion of Poland was the military result of a non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, the country being split between its two neighbours.

November 30 - March 13,1940 > The Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland lasted more than three months, during which the Red Army would receive a bitter lesson.

Junkers Ju 87Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bombers over Poland, September 1939

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1987-1210-502 / Hoffmann, Heinrich / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

1940

April 9 - June 10 > The German Invasion of Norway led to a British and French military reaction. Subsequent events in France would ultimately decide the fate of Norwegian campaign.

May 10 - June 25 >  After the breakthrough at Sedan, the Wehrmacht made the winning move in the Battle of France when the panzer divisions headed towards the English Channel.

July 10 - October 31 > The Battle of Britain would end with a highly praised British victory. The Luftwaffe had not been designed for strategic bombing - a major drawback.

1941

June 22 - December 5 > The Invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany and her allies, code-named Operation Barbarossa, began on June 22, 1941. Massive successes of the Wehrmacht followed in the first weeks.

October 2 - January 7, 1942 > Blitzkrieg reached its limits during the Battle of Moscow, the Soviets launching in early December 1941 a counteroffensive that shocked the Germans.

November 18 - December 30 > The British Commonwealth forces launched Operation Crusader, obtaining the first victory against Rommel, after a battle with twists and turns, that led to relieving the siege of Tobruk.

December 7 > The Japanese launched their Attack on Pearl Harbor, aiming to annihilate the U.S. capital ships. The U.S. Navy's chance was that none of its carriers were at Pearl Harbor.

1942

May 4 - 8 > The U.S. Navy awaited the Japanese, having information based on decryption of Japanese naval communications, which resulted in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

May 26 - June 21 > The Battle of Gazala had a few emblematic episodes such as the defense of Bir Hakeim by the French Free Forces, and the brilliant maneuver of Rommel which led to the fall of Tobruk.

June 4 - 7 > The Battle of Midway proved to be the turning point of the Pacific War. The Americans had been informed and attacked timely, the battle ending disastrously for the Japanese Navy.

July 1 - 30 > Rommel attacked the Commonwealth defense in the center during the First Battle of El Alamein, but his offensive failed and the British Eighth Army counterattacked.

August 7 - February 9, 1943 > The Battle of Guadalcanal started with the American invasion of the island and it took six months of land and naval fighting, the Japanese being ultimately forced to retreat.

August 23 - January 31, 1943 > The Wehrmacht's target during the summer of 1942 was the Caucasus petroleum, but it was necessary to secure the river banks of Don and Volga, which led to the Battle of Stalingrad.

October 23 - November 11> With numerical superiority and a far better supply, the British-led forces achieved a decisive victory in the Second Battle of El Alamein.

November 8 - 16 > Anglo-American units landed in Morocco and Algeria by Operation Torch. The French arrived two days after the landings at an agreement with the Allies.

1943

February 19 - 24 > Rommel won his last victory in the Battle of Kasserine Pass, inflicting significant losses on the U.S. Army, which still lacked experience.

July 5 - August 23 > The German offensive in the Battle of Kursk was not successful because the Soviets, informed of the German intentions, had prepared a powerful defense in depth.

July 10 - August 17 > The Allied Invasion of Sicily saw Italian and German forces defending especially around Mount Etna.

September 3 - 16 > The Allied Invasion of Italy. The Anglo-American forces met the strongest German resistance at Salerno, near Naples.

November 20 - 23 > The Battle of Tarawa began when the U.S. Marines landed in the Tarawa Atoll. It was the beginning of the Japanese removal from the Central Pacific.

1944

January 17 - May 18 > The Battle of Monte Cassino lasted no less than four months of bloody fighting for the Allies to achieve victory.

January 22 - June 5 >  The Battle of Anzio started with the Allied landings, then a few months of standoff followed, until the Germans retreated after they were driven off from the Gustav Line.

June 6 - August 30 >  The Battle of Normandy began on D-Day, but the Allies would win it after two months, after the counterattack of the panzer divisions ended for the Germans in the disaster of Falaise.

June 19 -20 > The Battle of the Philippine Sea was a great American victory against the Imperial Japanese Navy. The technological progress of U.S. Navy was obvious and decisive.

June 22 - August 19 > The Soviets launched Operation Bagration against Army Group Center, inflicting losses on the Germans almost similar to those of the Battle of Stalingrad.

August 25 - March 5, 1945 > The Allies began the Battle for the Gothic Line in northern Italy. A slow Allied advance followed, the targets being only partially achieved.

September 17 - 25 > Operation Market Garden was intended to shorten the war. The Allied airborne troops would pay for the exaggerated optimism or poor planning.

September 19 - February 10, 1945 > The U.S. Army entered into Germany from the Belgian border, getting stuck for a few months in the bloody Battle of Hurtgen Forest 

October 23 - 26 > The Battle of Leyte Gulf was one of the largest naval battles in history. The Americans obtained a decisive victory, albeit dramatical.

December 16 - January 25, 1945 > Battle of the Bulge began when the Germans launched through the Ardennes a surprise attack. Hitler played his last card and lost.

1945

February 19 - March 26 > The U.S. Marines invaded the heavily fortified Japanese island of Iwo Jima. The Battle of Iwo Jima was won by the Americans after about a month of bloody fighting.

April 1 - June 22 > The Battle of Okinawa began when U.S. forces landed on the island where they would encounter a tenacious Japanese defense.

April 16 - May 2 >  The Soviets paid a heavy price for victory in the Battle of Berlin but ultimately their triumph brought the end of the Third Reich.

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