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Major Battles/Events of WWII

Major Battles/Events of WWII

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Major Battles/Events of WWII

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  1. Major Battles/Events of WWII

  2. Battle/Event Order • Escape from Dunkirk: May 1940 • Battle of Britain: July-September 1940 • Battle of Wake Island: December 1941 • Battle of Coral Sea: May 1942 • Battle of Midway: June 1942

  3. Battles continued… • Battle of Guadalcanal: August 1942- February 1943 • Battle of Stalingrad: September 1942-1943 • D-Day: June 6, 1944 • Battle of the Bulge: December/January 1944/45 • Dresden Bombing : February 1945 • Iwo Jima: February/March 1945 • Battle of Okinawa: April-June 1945

  4. Escape from Dunkirk (May-June 1940) • Operation Dynamo • Constantly bombed by the German Air force • Desperate attempt to rescue equipment and personnel before Hitler took all of France. • Used every type of boat possible from military to fishing to evacuate • Significance: Rescued ~340,000 soldiers, the majority being from the French military (also included Belgian soldiers and British Expeditionary Forces, saved the allied war effort (BEF)

  5. Battle of Britain (July-September 1940) • German attempt to control the English Channel and send an invasion force into England • Germans had superior numbers, British had better equipment, primarily RADAR, which they used to detect oncoming German attacks • British fighter planes destroyed the German bombers and without them, the Germans could not destroy key targets (RADAR stations/airbases) • Significance: Turned Hitler away and he was never a serious threat to England for the duration of the war

  6. Battle of wake island (December 8-23, 1941) • U.S. territory that Japanese wanted to take for strategic reasons • U.S. military base was not fully constructed when the Japanese arrived • Fought and repelled the Japanese numerous times losing all of the fighter aircraft in the process • Marines finally forced to surrender. Japanese held the island for the remainder of the war • Significance: Despite the loss, proved Americans could withstand the might of the Japanese military

  7. Battle of Coral Sea (May 7-8 1942) • Using recently learned intelligence, the U.S. fleet sailed to meet the Japanese and stop them from invading Port Moresby • Despite superior numbers, the Japanese were held to a standstill • While not technically a victory for the United States (due to ships sunk) it was seen as one because the Japanese invasion was stopped for the first time • Significance: This battle combined with Midway turned the tide in the Pacific from Japanese to American control

  8. Battle of midway (June 4-7, 1942) • Japanese Admiral Yamamoto launched an attack on Midway Island in an attempt to draw the U.S. fleet into the open to be destroyed and return air/sea superiority to the Japanese • American intelligence thwarted the Japanese plans by getting American carriers to Midway before the Japanese • Japanese lost their superiority when the Americans sank four of their carriers, to three American carriers sunk • Significance: U.S and Japanese fleets equal from this point onwards, a major turning point for the United States in the Pacific theater

  9. Battle of Guadalcanal (July 1942) • Operation Watchtower- American plan to invade Guadalcanal as well as the nearby islands. • Guadalcanal was the last line of defense before the Japanese were able to attack Australia • Marines stormed the island, but Japanese dug in and refused to surrender • Japanese lost 25,000 men to the American 1,500 • Significance: Allowed Americans to go on the offensive for the first time

  10. Battle of stalingrad (September 1942- February 1943) • Hitler decided that the city needed to be attacked and sent his troops in to take it • Stalin decided that it had to be saved and set the bulk of his military up defending it • Germans were initially successful, but unable to fully capture the city • Russians counterattacked and eventually trapped the Germans and stopped them from retreating

  11. Stalingrad continued… • Germans were forced to endure the winter with little to no supplies. Eventually the German commanders realized that it was impossible to fight on and both major commanders surrendered • Significance: Very significant because it ended the German offensive in Europe and ensured the Germans did not have an adequate defensive force to stop the Russians once they went on the offensive

  12. D-day (June 6, 1944) • Operation Overlord: Plan to invade Europe • More than 160,000 men landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. • Used more than 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships • • More than 9,000 Americans killed in the invasion • Significance: Gave the Allied Forces the foothold in Europe they needed to eventually defeat Hitler

  13. Battle of the bulge (December1944 – January 1945) • 200,000 German troops and 1,000 tanks attacked the American lines in the Ardennes forest to break through • His goals: Split the allies in two and capture badly needed supplies, mainly gas and oil • 600,000 Americans fought and managed to stop the German offensive once and for all • Significance: Last major German offensive

  14. Dresden Bombing (February 1945) • Combined allied bombing effort that killed between 35,000 and 135,000 people • • Created a massive firestorm that killed additional people • Public outrage occurred because it was a city full of refugees and other civilians. There were no formal military targets there that anyone is aware of • Significance: Bombing is thought to have been a warning to Stalin and warn him what the allies were capable of in case he decided to extend the Russian borders

  15. Iwo jima (February-march 1945) • Site of “Flag Raising,” which inspired the Marines on the island as well as Americans everywhere who had doubted the cause • Island became an emergency landing area for B-29 bombers that were damaged • Significance: Strategically necessary to provide an appropriate base of operations needed to bomb and eventually invade Japan

  16. Okinawa (February 1945 – June 1945) • Necessary to take to allow bombers with shorter distance capabilities a secure landing/refueling/rearming site • One of the bloodiest battles in World War II due to more than 250,000 soldiers and civilians being killed on the Japanese side alone. • Significance: Demonstrated the fighting will of the Japanese and made American commanders realize that to invade Japan would incur an enormous loss of life. That realization led to the first and only atomic bombs ever to be used for military purposes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.