Many of these battles during the World Wars have had a lasting significance on the economies, society and armed forces of those involved. Here are 10 of the most important battles of the world wars.
- Battle of Moscow – World War II
Capturing Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union, was one of the main objectives during the Nazi invasion of the country (Operation Barbarossa). This battle began in October 1941 and raged until January 1942. The defensive posture that Soviet troops had established frustrated Hitler and his armed forces, turning this battle into a stalemate in terms of goals military for Nazi troops. This battle has a symbolic meaning within Russian culture and history. Today Moscow is also called “City of Heroes”, for the sacrifices made by people to defeat the Nazis. The losses for Axis troops vary between 170,000 and 400,000 and it is thought that losses for the Soviet Union were as high as 700,000!
- Battle of Kursk – World War II
The Battle of Kursk took place from July 5 until August 23 of 1943 in the city of Kursk, located in the Western Soviet Union. Kursk saw 6,000 tanks, up to 2,000,000 troops and about 4,000 planes fighting for this strategic piece of land within the Soviet Union. The losses were much more balanced for both sides during this battle; the Nazis nearly lost 200,000 men and the Soviet Union lost nearly 250,000. This battle involved the biggest battle between tanks and tanks in history, and ended with the Soviet Union claiming much of its land that had been captured during the Barbarossa operation. This battle also allowed the
- Battle of Verdun – World War I
The Battle of Verdun was the largest, but also the longest, battle of the 1 of the First World War. This battle took place on the 21st of February and lasted until December 18, 1916. German forces were optimistic that they believed that if France was captured, the United Kingdom would seek peace or be defeated. The wickedness of this battle is well documented: many troops on both sides have been abandoned due to poor conditions and suffer from “shell shock”. This battle was also extremely expensive for every party involved, and some argue that Germany could not recover from this failed economic invasion. The victims were approximated 377,231 French and 337,000 German, with both sides losing 70,000 troops a month.
- D-Day – World War II
After a campaign of aerial and naval bombing in the days before landing, 24,000 allied troops invaded a 50-mile stretch of coastline in Nazi-occupied Normandy, in northern France, on June 6, 1944. This would become (and it is still today) the greatest force of sea invasion in human history. During the planning phases, the Allied troops divided the coast into sectors 5 – naming them Gold, Juno, Omaha, Sword and Utah. The operation was called in Operation Neptune code. Losses for the Allied invasion force were due to 10,000 men (4414 confirmed dead allied soldiers) and approximate losses for Axis troops on mouse hovers between 4,000 and 9,000. This battle led to a decisive victory for the allied troops,
- Battle of the Marne – World War I
The Battle of the Marne was a battle during World War 1 which took place from 7 to September until 12 September 1914. This battle is also known as “The Miracle of the Marne”, due to the concept that countries and allied troops they were overwhelmed by German forces during the war. This battle involved 1.1 million troops from France and the United Kingdom, as well as about 1.5 million troops from the German Empire. Despite the huge number of troops, the victims reached only 150,000 combined for both sides. This battle was considered an allied victory, but it also laid the foundations for a long and drawn trench warfare.
- Operation Barbarossa – World War II
On June 22, 1941, 4 million Axis soldiers invaded the western border of the Soviet Union along a front line 1800. It is interesting to note that both nations had previously signed documents explicitly stating that they would not attack each other, otherwise known as a “non-aggression pact”. Nevertheless, Hitler ordered an already planned invasion to occur. At this point in World War 2, Hitler seemed almost unstoppable as several European countries came under his control from 1939 onwards. Operation Barbarossa’s military campaign would have lasted almost a month 6, and Hitler’s forces suffered heavy losses in the bitter Russian winter. Losses for German troops are estimated at over 1 million, while Russian troops have lost almost 5 million of them defending their homeland. The failure of Operation Barbarossa to capture Moscow and paralyze the Soviet Union would have provided an important turning point during the Second World War.
- Battle of the Somme – World War I
This battle was fought between the Allied troops and the German empire during World War 1. The Somme River, in France, was the site of this battle that took place from 1 to July until 18 November, 1916. This was a very violent and costly battle of the 1st, and left a lasting legacy on the military culture of both sides. It is known that the British lost almost 60,000 troops on the first day of this battle! The losses for both sides were extremely high: the allies lost near the troops 650,000 and the German Empire lost about 480,000 of them. The outcome of this battle was inconclusive, as no significant changes occurred in the territory and neither side achieved its military objectives.
- Gallipoli campaign – World War I
The battle of Gallipoli took place between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916 and was fought between the allied troops and the Ottoman and German empires. Invaded by the sea, the goal of the allied forces was to regain an important waterway, the Dardanelles. After 8 months of battle, the invading forces withdrew and headed for Egypt. The allied victims were just over 300,000, and the Ottoman Empire lost about 250,000 of its troops. This battle was the only major victory for the Ottoman Empire during the entire World War 1. The Gallipoli campaign is still remembered in Australia and New Zealand every year, in April 25, which is the anniversary of the first landing.
- Battle of Midway – World War II
Between 4 and 7 June 1942, the Battle of Midway took place. It was a naval and air battle between the United States of America and Japan, six months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The goal of the Japanese during this battle was to open the Pacific Theater to achieve territorial goals, including the expulsion of the US Navy from the Pacific. The Japanese attack was not a well-kept secret and, because of this, it failed. The US military knew of an imminent attack and they were well prepared. The decisive victory for the United States of America led to the weakening of the Japanese air force and navy and gave the United States the opportunity to operate within the Pacific Theater of WW2.
- Battle of Stalingrad – World War II
The Battle of Stalingrad, which took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943, had an enormous impact on the outcome of World War 2. Both sides dug during this conflict, refusing to retreat until the defeat, and the victims they were incredibly tall. The Soviet Union lost up to 1.1 million troops, while German troops suffered almost 730,000. This battle ran out of German resources and, after the defeat, the Germans retreated, surrendered or were captured. The city, which takes its name from Joseph Stalin (the Soviet leader of the time), was considered one of the largest Soviet cities in terms of morality and military strategy. If Hitler had succeeded in this operation, there was no doubt that the city would be renamed.