From September 15th, 1944 to November 27th, 1944 the Battle of Peleliu was waged. Part of Operation Forager, with the ultimate goal of retaking the Philippines, the Palau Islands were strategically important in order to protect the right flank of Douglas MacArthur's forces as they claimed their ultimate goal.
The battle of midway was one of the most important naval battles during WW2. It was fought between America and Japan. This battle was also Japans largest naval defeat in 350 years. The plan was to lure American carriers into a trap, however, faulty assumptions of the Americans reactions and code breakers lead to the Japanese losing.
On December 7, 1941, Japanese carrier aviation and submarines launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan began the strike with 6 carriers and launched 353 war planes 275 miles north of pearl harbor under complete radio silence. This devastating strike was intended to destroy most of the U.S. ships in the Pacific and to give the Japanese a free hand for further invasions in the region.
It started the war in the Pacific; before Pearl Harbor, the U.S. might have had doubts about participating in World War II, but after the attack its choice was obvious and unanimous.
The attack in the morning shook the US Navy so much that by nightfall a fleet of US pilots came inland from the enterprise. One US gunman did not know the incoming fleet was friendly and opened fire. The rest of the on edge crew than began to open fire as well. Lighting up the night sky with tracers and destroying their own aircraft.
Despite the irreparable damage suffered by the American fleet, Japan was unable to keep America out of the game.
5 Battle Ships
2403 Americans Killed
After the successful Invasion of Normandy and the subsequent eastward push through France, the Allied front lines extended from Nijmegen in the north down to neutral Switzerland in the south. The valuable port city of Antwerp had been captured during the push, and by the time winter arrived, the Allies even had control of German territory near the city of Aachen. Adolf Hitler soon laid out a plan to attack the Allied lines in Belgium; 25 divisions would launch a surprise attack through the Ardennes, with the aim of crossing the Meuse River and recapturing Antwerp. Despite major misgivings from his senior commanders, including Gerd von Rundstedt and Walther Model, the plan was not modified and the jump-off date was eventually set as 16 December 1944. Meanwhile, the Allied commanders considered the Ardennes area to be unsuitable for a large-scale German attack, mainly because of terrain issues. In addition, intelligence reports suggested that the only German divisions stationed in the area were weary, and in the weeks leading up to the assault, no Allied commander saw reason to believe that an attack was imminent. Bastogne, a hub city that commanded several important roads in the area, was defended mainly by the 28th Infantry Division, which had seen continuous fighting from 22 July-19 November, before being assigned to this relatively quiet area. The Allies believed only an infantry division was present opposite the 28th Infantry, and they believed any attack along this sector would be limited in scale. In the town of Bastogne, Belgium, there are seven roads in and seven roads out of the town. These roads were important for the movement of German armor, making Allied retention of the roads imperative.
Hasso von Manteuffel—commanding the 5th Panzer Army—gave Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz′s XLVII Panzer Corps the responsibility of capturing Bastogne, before crossing the Meuse near Namur. von Lüttwitz planned to attack a 7 mi (11 km) front with three divisions: the 26th Volksgrenadier and the Second Panzer would lead the assault, with the Panzer-Lehr-Division behind them. Opposing this significant force were two battalions of the 110th Infantry Regiment (the third was held back as a division reserve), responsible for a 9 mi (14 km) front along the Our River. The Allied forces were gathered into small groups at major villages, with outposts along the river manned only during the daytime. The forces were too thin to maintain an even battle line, they focused their attention on the four roads that crossed the Our. Due to heavy rain preceding the German attack, only one of the roads was in good enough condition to be used as a crossing point — the northernmost road, which crossed the Our at Dasburg on its way to Clerf and Bastogne. The 2nd Panzer Division was assigned to cross the river along this road, while the 26th Volksgrenadier Division would construct a bridge near Gemünd for its crossing. von Lüttwitz realized the importance of the road network of Bastogne — he knew that the city had to be captured before his corps could venture too far westward. Therefore, he ordered the Panzer-Lehr Division' to push forward to Bastogne as soon as his other troops had crossed the Clerf River.
The 101st Airborne formed an all-round perimeter using the 502nd PIR on the northwest shoulder to block the 26th Volksgrenadier, the 506th PIR to block entry from Noville, the 501st PIR defending the eastern approach, and the 327th GIR scattered from Marvie in the southeast to Champs in the west along the southern perimeter, augmented by engineer and artillery units plugging gaps in the line. The division service area to the west of Bastogne had been raided the first night, causing the loss of almost its entire medical company, and numerous service troops were used as infantry to reinforce the thin lines. CCB of the 10th Armored Division, severely weakened by losses to its Team Desobry (Maj. William R. Desobry), Team Cherry (Lt. Col. Henry T. Cherry), and Team O'Hara (Lt. Col. James O'Hara) in delaying the Germans, formed a mobile "fire brigade" of 40 light and medium tanks (including survivors of CCR 9th Armored Division and eight replacement tanks found unassigned in Bastogne).
Three artillery battalions were commandeered and formed a temporary artillery group. Each had twelve 155 mm (6.1 in) howitzers, providing the division with heavy firepower in all directions restricted only by its limited ammunition supply. Col. Roberts, commanding CCB, also rounded up 600+ stragglers from the rout of VIII Corps and formed Team SNAFU as a further stopgap force.
As a result of the powerful American defense to the north and east, XLVII Panzer Corps commander Gen. von Lüttwitz decided to encircle Bastogne and strike from the south and southwest, beginning the night of 20/21 December. German panzer reconnaissance units had initial success, nearly overrunning the American artillery positions southwest of Bastogne before being stopped by a makeshift force. All seven highways leading to Bastogne were cut by German forces by noon of 21 December, and by nightfall the conglomeration of airborne and armored infantry forces were recognized by both sides as being surrounded.
The American soldiers were outnumbered approximately 5-1 and were lacking in cold-weather gear, ammunition, food, medical supplies, and senior leadership (as many senior officers, including the 101st's commander—Major General Maxwell Taylor—were elsewhere). Due to the worst winter weather in memory, the surrounded U.S. forces could not be resupplied by air nor was tactical air support available due to cloudy weather.
However, the two panzer divisions of the XLVII Panzer Corps—after using their mobility to isolate Bastogne, continued their mission towards the Meuse on 22 December, rather than attacking Bastogne with a single large force. They left just one regiment behind to assist the 26th Volksgrenadier Division in capturing the crossroads. The XLVII Panzer Corps probed different points of the southern and western defensive perimeter in echelon, where Bastogne was defended by just a single airborne regiment and support units doubling as infantry. This played into the American advantage of interior lines of communication; the defenders were able to shift artillery fire and move their limited ad hoc armored forces to meet each successive assault.
The 26th VG received one panzergrenadier regiment from the 15th Panzergrenadier Division on Christmas Eve for its main assault the next day. Because it lacked sufficient troops and those of the 26th VG Division were near exhaustion, the XLVII Panzer Corps concentrated its assault on several individual locations on the west side of perimeter in sequence rather than launching one simultaneous attack on all sides. The assault—led by 18 tanks carrying a battalion of infantry—pierced the lines of the 327th's 3rd Battalion (officially, the 1st Battalion, 401st Glider Infantry), and advanced as far as the battalion command post at Hemroulle.
However, the 327th held its original positions and repulsed infantry assaults that followed, capturing 92 Germans. The panzers that had achieved the penetration divided into two columns, one trying to reach Champs from the rear, and were destroyed in detail by two companies of the 1st Battalion 502nd PIR under Lt. Col. Patrick F. Cassidy and four tank destroyers of the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion.
Allied control of Bastogne was a major obstacle to the German armored advance, and the morale of Allied forces elsewhere on the Western Front was boosted by news of the stubborn defense of the besieged town.
From the Wikipedia: "Malaya Zemlya (Russian: Малая Земля, lit. "Minor Land") was a Soviet uphill outpost on Cape Myskhako (Russian: Мысхако) that was recaptured after fierce, bloody battles with the Germans during the Battle of Caucasus, on the night of 4 February 1943. The episode paved way for a Soviet attack on German forces in Novorossiysk.
Cape Myskhako is still associated with a heroic stand made by the 800-strong contingent of the Soviet Naval Infantry against the Germans during the Second World War. The special forces were dropped during winter high storms by the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. After the unsuccessful landing attempt at Malajia Ozereevka. The landing at Malaya Zemlya was supposed to be a decoy, but after the landing at Bolshaia Ozereevka was lost in an ambush, the offensive plan was reworked and the landing site at Malaya Zemlya was made the main landing location. Upon landing to secure the beachhead they came under furious German counter-offensive, that utilized both the ground and airforces.
Against very strong forces, the marines held their ground, and the leader of the group Major Caesar Kunikov (Russian: Цезарь Кунников) was mortally wounded, and was posthumously awarded the highest Soviet World War II title of the Hero of the Soviet Union. He is one of the Soviet-Jewish World War II heroes.