|Battle of Britain||Battle of Leningrad|
|D-Day: Invasion of Normandy||Battle of the Bulge|
The Battle of Britain
In May of 1940 Germany invaded France. The French army and its British and Belgian allies were overpowered by the German blitzkrieg. Toward the end of May, Allied troops were backed up to the coast of France in the town of Dunkirk. In a daring rescue attempt, an armada of ships from England picked up the soldiers and brought them across the English Channel to safety. Ships of all kinds were used, ranging from Royal Navy ships to fishing boats. The Royal Air Force provided cover, protecting the troops from German planes. Over 300,000 soldiers were saved from the oncoming German army. France fell into German hands and only the English Channel separated Great Britain from the enemy. Hitler was planning to invade Britain-Operation SEEL WE. But first the Luftwaffe had to destroy the RAF, to prevent it posing a threat to German troops as they landed in Britain. The battle of Britain was the first major battle fought entirely in the air. Hermann Gring's air force began its assault on England in July 1940 with more than twice the 600 aircraft available to Sir Hugh Dowding's Fighter Command. Every day between June and October 1940 the RAF and the Luftwaffe clashed over Britain. The Luftwaffe's final effort to destroy England's air force began on Eagle Day, August 13, 1940. Hermann Gring thought his vastly superior forces could sweep the Royal Air Force from the sky in just four weeks, but poor weather and bungled communications hampered the Luftwaffe's raids. Eagle Day ended with 46 German aircraft destroyed, compared to only 14 RAF fighters. The RAF inflicted on Germany their first defeat of the war. The Battle of Britain was one of the greatest moments in British history: although short of planes and pilots, the Royal Air Force held off the Luftwaffe and prevented a German invasion. Churchill called it Britain's "finest hour". Britain triumphed because it had the first modern air-defense network based on new technology-radar. So Hitler turned to bombing Britain's cities, hoping for a British surrenderby reducing industry to rubble and weakening the will of the British people. Although many were killed, the factories kept working while the relentless only united the British people in their determination to beat the Nazi foe.
The Battle of Leningrad
The German assault on the city of Leningrad started in the spring of 1941. The Germans believed the taking of Leningrad was very important in their quest of taking over Russia. The Defense of Leningrad took an area of over 450 km and involved 517,000 men. The defense stopped the Germans in the suburbs of the city and lasted for 83 days.
The Battle of Leningrad began on July 10, 1941 and lasted over three years. The Germans, along with the Finnish army, attacked with 38 divisions and were opposed by the Northern Front and the Northwestern Front. On July 10 the Russian State Committee for Defense combined the two Russian Fronts forming the Northwest Axis to coordinate efforts. Immediately the Northwest Axis fortified regions like Krasnogvardeisk and Slutsk- Kolpino to defense the enemy.
Part I of the Battle of Leningrad lasted from July 10- late September 1941. Germany had blasted through the Baltic Region and moved on Leningrad. By late July the enemy had been turned around in order to regroup. As usual, the Russians were over matched but held strong in order to protect one of their most important cities. Fighting was continuous through August 8 when the enemy attacked Krasnogvardeisk and broke through to Leningrad. Once again, however, the heart and pride of the Russians held off the Germans. But on August 30, though, the Germans took the railroads which cut Leningrad off from the rest of Russia. By September 8 the only means of communication for aid available were by air dropping or by crossing Lake Ladoga.
Between November 1941 and October 1942 during the seige of Leningrad , 641,803 people died of starvation. Because of the shortages in food and supplies an offensive to break the blockade was impossible. Fortunately though, a successful Russian counteroffensive at Stalingrad drained the enemy of resources needed to carry out a new attack on Leningrad that was being planned. Though the Germans would never take Leningrad the defense of the city would be one of the costliest for Russia in the war. Finally in November 1942 the Soviet of Working People's Deputies laid a roadway across the frozen Lake Ladoga in which supplies were able to be brought in and 550,000 people were able to be evacuated. Leningrad was soon able to take advantage of this as well as the German losses in Stalingrad and break the blockade. Russia had the upper hand at this point, after Kursk, Stalingrad and Smolensk and Russians were in a favorable position to begin launching huge offensives to push the Germans back where they came from.
At the beginning of World War II, Germany invaded Poland, causing France, Great Britain and Canada to declare war on Germany. By the spring of 1940, the German army was ready to invade France, defended by not only the French military, but also a sizable British force as well. Within six weeks, the Germans defeated the Allies and seized control of France. By 1944, the Germans knew that the Allies, which now also included the United States, among others, would attempt an invasion of France to liberate Europe from Germany. The Allied forces, based in Britain, decided to begin the invasion by landing a huge army at a place called Normandy Beach, which is located on the northwest coast of France. Code-named "Operation Overlord", and commanded by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allies landed on June 6, 1944 at five beaches in the Normandy area with the codenames of: Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach. Prior to the actual amphibious invasion, Allied planes pounded the Nazi defenders and dropped thousands of paratroopers behind German lines the night before the seaborne landings. Local French Resistance forces, alerted to the imminent invasion, engaged in behind-the-lines sabotage and combat against the occupying Germans.
American, British and Canadian troops met heavy resistance from the German forces defending the area, but were able to punch inland, securing safe landing zones for reinforcements. The German failure to successfully defend the Normandy area from the Allied liberation forces in essence doomed Hitler's dream of a Nazi controlled "Fortress Europe" and marked the beginning of the end for Germany.
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge which lasted from December 16, 1944 to January 28, 1945 was the largest land battle of World War II in which the United States participated. More than a million men fought in this battle including some 600,000 Germans, 500,000 Americans, and 55,000 British. The German military force consisted of two Armies with ten corps(equal to 29 divisions). While the American military force consisted of a total of three armies with six corps(equal to 31 divisions). At the conclusion of the battle the casualties were as follows: 81,000 U.S. with 19,000 killed, 1400 British with 200 killed, and 100,000 Germans killed, wounded or captured.