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- The Italian Army 1940–45 (3).
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Reign of Nerva. Reign of Domitian. Reign of Titus. Battle of Poltava. The army commanders not only had to manage the new armies, but also a new type of soldier in formations like the Special Air Service , Special Boat Service , Commandos and the Parachute Regiment. Prior to the war, the British Army was a small professional army , designed to be able to win quick victories by using superior mobility and using technology in place of manpower.
The army knew that British society, and the soldiers themselves, would never again allow them to recklessly throw away lives. The British Army had analysed the lessons of the First World War and adopted them into inter-war doctrine , at the same time trying to predict how advances in weapons and technology might affect any future war. In , the Ten Year Rule was introduced, which stipulated that the British Armed Forces should draft their estimates "on the assumption that the British Empire would not be engaged in any great war during the next ten years". In , Winston Churchill , who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer , and who would later become Prime Minister , successfully urged the British government to make the rule self-perpetuating and hence it was in force unless specifically countermanded.
In the s, and much of the s, the General Staff tried to establish a small mechanized professional army, using the Experimental Mechanized Force as a prototype. However, with the lack of any identified threat, the Army's main function was to garrison the British Empire. The Royal Navy , being the first line of defence, received the major proportion of the defence budget.
In September , the British Army had a total of , officers and men in both the full-time regular army and part-time Territorial Army TA. The regular army could muster , men, who were supported by a reserve of , men. Of the regular army reservists, only 3, men were fully trained and the remainder had been in civilian life for up to 13 years. Conscription was introduced in early  to meet the threat of Nazi Germany , with the Military Training Act The Act required all men aged 20 and 21 to take six months' military training. This extended the liability to military service to all fit men between 20— The age group was increased as the war continued,  ultimately applying to all fit men between the ages of 18— By the end of , the British Army's strength had risen to 1.
The size of the British Army peaked in June , at 2. In , the United Kingdom was facing severe manpower shortages. By May , it was estimated that the British Army's strength in December would be , less than it was at the end of Although casualties in the Normandy Campaign , where the British Army's main effort of was, were actually lower than anticipated, losses from all causes were still higher than could be replaced.
Two infantry divisions and a brigade 59th and 50th divisions and 70th Brigade were disbanded to provide replacements for other British divisions in the 21st Army Group and all men being called up to the Army were trained as infantrymen. Furthermore, 35, men from the RAF Regiment and the Royal Artillery were transferred to the infantry and were retrained as rifle infantrymen, where the majority of combat casualties fell. Furthermore, most infantry battalions in Italy had to be reduced from four to three rifle companies.
The pre-war army had allowed recruits to be assigned to the corps of their wishes. This led to men being allocated to the wrong or unsuitable corps. The army would be without the quotas of men required from skilled professions and trades, which modern warfare demanded. With the British Army being the least popular service compared to the Royal Navy and RAF, a higher proportion of army recruits were said to be dull and backwards. The following memorandum to the Executive Committee of the Army Council highlighted the growing concern. A man is posted to a Corps almost entirely on the demand of the moment and without any effort at personal selection by proper tests.
Only with the creation of the Beveridge committee in , and their subsequent findings in , would the situation of skilled men not being assigned correctly be addressed. The findings led directly to the creation of the General Service Corps , and would remain in place long after the war. During the war, the British Army raised 43 infantry divisions. Not all of these existed at the same time, and several were formed purely as training or administrative formations. Ten divisions were raised from the regular army, eleven from the first-line territorial army and twelve from the second-line territorial army.
Five others were created during the war. The infantry division had a theoretical establishment of 13, men. By , the strength had risen to 18, men. A division typically was made up of three infantry brigades; a Medium Machine Gun MMG battalion with 36 Vickers machine guns , in three companies, and one company of 16 4.
A division generally had three workshop companies, and a recovery company from the REME. There were very few variations on this standard establishment — for example, the 52nd Lowland Infantry Division was converted to a Mountain Division, with lighter equipment and transport. Other differences were generally the result of local exigencies. A "Lower Establishment" existed for divisions stationed in Britain or inactive theatres, which were not intended to take part in active operations. With all cavalry and armoured regiments committed to armoured formations in the early part of the war, there were no units left for divisional reconnaissance, so the Reconnaissance Corps was formed in January Ten infantry battalions were reformed as reconnaissance battalions.
The Infantry brigade typically had a HQ company and three infantry battalions. Brigade groups were also formed on an ad-hoc basis and were given whatever resources was needed to complete an objective. However, it was intended before the war that the division was the lowest formation at which support particularly artillery fire could be properly concentrated and coordinated.
Lieutenant General Montgomery reimposed and reinforced this principle when he assumed command of the Eighth Army in North Africa in , halting a tendency to split divisions into uncoordinated brigades and "penny packets". The infantry battalion consisted of the battalion Headquarters HQ , HQ company signals and administration platoons , four rifle companies HQ and three rifle platoons , a support company with a carrier platoon , mortar platoon , anti tank platoon and pioneer platoon. At the start of the war, the British Army possessed only two armoured divisions: the Mobile Division , formed in Britain in October , and the Mobile Division Egypt , formed in the autumn of following the Munich Crisis ,    These two divisions were later redesignated the 1st Armoured Division , in April ,  and 7th Armoured Division , in January , respectively.
During the war, the army raised a further nine armoured divisions, some of which were training formations and saw no action. Three were formed from first-line territorial or Yeomanry units. Six more were raised from various sources. As with the infantry divisions, not all existed at the same time, as several armoured divisions were disbanded or reduced to skeleton establishments during the course of the war, as a result of battle casualties or to provide reinforcements to bring other formations up to full strength.
The structure of British armoured divisions changed several times before and during the war. In , the Mobile Division had two cavalry brigades each with three light tank regiments, a tank brigade with three medium tank regiments, and a "Pivot Group" later called the "Support Group" containing two motorised infantry battalions and two artillery regiments. By , the intention was for an Armoured Division to consist of two armoured brigades, a support group and divisional troops.
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The armoured brigades would each be composed of three armoured regiments with a mixture of light and medium tanks, with a total complement of tanks, while the support group would be composed of two motorised infantry battalions,   two field artillery regiments, one anti—tank regiment and one light anti—aircraft regiment.
In late , following the campaign in France and Belgium in the spring, it was realised that there were insufficient infantry and support units, and mixing light and cruiser tanks in the same brigade had been a mistake. The armoured divisions' organisation was changed so that each armoured brigade now incorporated a motorised infantry battalion, and a third battalion was present within the Support Group.
In the winter of —41, new armoured regiments were formed by converting the remaining mounted cavalry and yeomanry regiments. A year later, 33 infantry battalions were also converted to armoured regiments. The division's support troops included an armoured car regiment, an armoured reconnaissance regiment, two field artillery regiments one of which was equipped with 24 Sexton self-propelled pounder guns , one anti—tank regiment with one or more batteries equipped with Archer or Achilles tank destroyers in place of towed anti—tank guns and one light anti—aircraft regiment, with the usual assortment of engineers, mechanics, signals, transport, medical, and other support services.
The armoured reconnaissance regiment was equipped with medium tanks, bringing the armoured divisions to a strength of medium tanks  roughly tanks in total  and by the end of the Battle of Normandy the divisions started to operate as two brigade groups, each of two combined arms teams, each in turn of one tank regiment and one infantry battalion The armoured reconnaissance regiment was matched with the armoured brigade's motor battalion to provide the fourth group.
In , the division's armoured regiments comprised 78 tanks. The Sabre Squadrons contained three close support tanks, 12 medium tanks, and four Sherman Fireflys. The Royal Artillery was a large corps, responsible for the provision of field, medium, heavy, mountain, anti-tank and anti-aircraft units. Some field regiments, particularly self-propelled regiments in the later part of the war, belonged to the prestigious Royal Horse Artillery , but were organised similarly to those of the RA. Each field artillery regiment was originally organised as two batteries, each of two troops of six guns.
Unlike most armies of the period, in which artillery observers could only request fire support, a British Army FOO who was supposedly a Captain but could even be a subaltern could demand it, not merely from his own battery, but from the full regiment, or even the entire field artillery of a division if required. The artillery's organisation became very flexible and effective at rapidly providing and switching fire. The medium artillery relied on World War I vintage guns until the arrival, in , of the 4. This was followed in by the 5. Although infantry units each had an anti-tank platoon, divisions also had a Royal Artillery anti-tank regiment.
This had four batteries, each of twelve guns. At the start of the war, they were equipped with the 2-pounder. Although this was perhaps the most effective weapon of its type at the time, it soon became obsolete as tanks became heavier with thicker armour. Even before the 6-pounder was introduced, it was felt that even heavier weapons would be needed, so the pounder was designed, first seeing service in the North African Campaign in late Each division also had a light anti-aircraft regiment. Initially, batteries were organised in troops of four guns, but combat experience showed that a three-gun troop was as effective, shooting in a triangular formation, so the batteries were reorganised as four troops of three guns.
This equipment and organisation remained unchanged throughout the war. The Royal Artillery also formed twelve Anti—aircraft divisions, equipped with heavier weapons. These were mainly the 3-inch and 3. Each Anti-aircraft division was also responsible for searchlight and barrage balloon units within its assigned area. The first raiding forces formed during the war were the ten Independent Companies , which were raised from volunteers from Second-Line Territorial Army divisions.
The remaining personnel carried out Operation Collar against German-occupied France, before being merged into the Commandos. Later in , the British Commandos were formed following Winston Churchill 's call for "specially trained troops of the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror down the enemy coast. They eventually formed 30 battalion-sized commando units including 8 Royal Marines units , some of which were organised within four brigades; 1st , 2nd , 3rd , and 4th Commando brigades.
The Parachute battalions formed the core of the 1st and 6th airborne divisions and the 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade. Units that operated as smaller bodies included the Long Range Desert Group , which was formed in North Africa to report on movements and activities behind the German and Italian lines.
A little known force that never saw combat were the Auxiliary Units , a specially trained and secret organisation that, in the event of an invasion, would provide resistance behind the lines. Reports were to be collected from dead letter drops and relayed by radio operators of the Royal Signals from secret locations.
Formed in September , enlistment was open to woman aged 18 upwards who could enlist for general or local service Local service they served in their own local area, General service they could be sent where they were needed and could be anywhere in the country. Civilians aged between 17—65, who were not in military service, were asked to enlist in the LDV. The British tank force consisted of the slow and heavily armed infantry tank , together with the faster and lighter cruiser tank. The cruiser tanks were intended to operate independently of the slow-moving infantry and their heavier infantry tanks.
They would then deploy independent tank brigades equipped with the infantry tanks to operate with the infantry. These tanks, with a 75mm gun, and the ability to fire high explosive and anti-tank rounds, were better than any other tank then in British service. The British divisional anti-tank weapon was the Ordnance QF 2-pounder , which had three times the range of the German 3. Its small size and light weight provided excellent mobility and at the same time it was also capable of defeating most German tanks. But only with the development of the pounder anti-tank gun in , did the artillery have the ability to knock out the heavily armoured Tiger and Panther tanks at a maximum range of 1 mile 1.
In the evacuation from France, the artillery left behind 1, field and anti-tank guns. Much of what was lost was obsolete and the re-equipment programme produced the mass of artillery that proved decisive from onwards. The Thompson submachine gun was effective, but heavy, and initially hard to obtain because of its American patent. The British medical services had better staffing, equipment and medicines; it enabled the British Army to keep a higher proportion of troops in the field than its opponents. In April a standardised system of markings for British vehicles was introduced to take account of the mass mechanisation of the army.
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The Military Training Pamphlet MTP contained most of the theory by which the army operated, the series covering most of the trades and specialisms of the army. In , the intended audience was stipulated with codes under which higher operations were distributed to unit commanders and above and manuals on minor tactics to corporals and above, lower ranks not being included.
Pre-war manuals were produced by committees and published by the Army Council but this was a slow, bureaucratic process. In late writing was transferred to officers chosen by the Directorate of Military Training, under the CIGS, rather than the Army Council but this was still slow; a manual for the infantry division in defence published in March had taken 15 months to write.
In the first year of the war ATM appeared monthly, then intermittently with 29 issues being published by the end of the war. ATM 33 was published on 2 July , only eleven days after the report contained the findings of the Bartholomew Committee on the lessons of the debacle in France was written.
ATI 2 covered occasions when infantry tank units had to be used as substitutes for armoured brigades as well as support infantry advances. The pamphlet endorsed a more ambitious form of infantry support but this proved disastrous in practice and in May a revised version was published. The swift increase in the number of British tank formations created great demand for information and in , MTP 41 replaced ATI 3 but technological and tactical change rapidly made written instructions obsolete, which rebounded on forces being trained in Britain.
Later issues took longer and covered longer periods, NTW 6 covered Cyrenaica from November to January and was published in July NTWs became the official line on lessons learned and were issues to the level of the company and its equivalents; by mid, the series had reached NTW The CRO series contained findings before they had been endorsed by the War Office to give unit commanders and training school Commandants quick access to information with the proviso that if the details contradicted accepted theory, this would usually take precedence.
CROs were not circulated below brigade headquarters until April , when battalion HQs were included and after May appeared weekly until June Reports after 6 June show changes in theory and show the flaws in Home Forces and 21st Army Group training. There is little evidence in the documents of a frank acknowledgement of the failings of British tanks in North Africa and material criticising equipment is absent perhaps because the War Office and higher commands thought that admitting inadequacies would affect morale.
A report by Lieutenant-Colonel A. The effect of the censorship was limited because word of mouth was unstoppable; when the th RAC , part of the 34th Tank Brigade reached Normandy, visitors from the 11th Armoured Division said that even their Churchills were outclassed by German tanks and CROs resumed in late July.
The First Army was formed to command the British and American forces that were part of Operation Torch , the assault landings in Morocco and Algeria on 8 November It controlled British and Commonwealth land forces stationed in the eastern Mediterranean. The Twelfth Army was originally formed for Operation Husky , codename for the Allied invasion of Sicily but was never used. The Fourteenth Army was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries, many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from 81st , 82nd and 11th African Divisions.
It was often referred to as the "Forgotten Army" because its operations in the Burma Campaign were overlooked by the contemporary press, and remained more obscure than those of the corresponding formations in Europe for long after the war. The Fourteenth Army was the largest Commonwealth Army during the war, with nearly a million men by late However, the number of British infantry battalions serving in the theatre was the equivalent of eight infantry divisions.
It had control of two armies: Eighth Army under command of Montgomery and U. After Sicily, and in preparation for the allied invasion of Italy, the Seventh Army headquarters were replaced by those of the U. Fifth Army , under Mark Clark. The 18th Army Group was activated in early , when the Eighth Army advancing from the east and First Army from the west came close enough to require coordinated command during the Tunisia Campaign.
It was commanded by General Sir Harold Alexander. The 21st Army Group initially controlled all ground forces in Operation Overlord. However the Lines of Communications units were predominantly British. First Army for Overlord,  and the U. Colonel Devine was ambushed near Kaiserbaracke. Poteau became of critical importance later during the evacuation of St. Vith p. The crossroads at Baraque Fraiture with the village of Fraiture itself to the northeast.
Vielsalm is off to the right. Manhay to the top left. Hofen and Monschau lie in a bend of the River Rur, which produced a salient in the U. The two-pronged attacks by Volksgrenadier Division were aimed at Hofen and Mutzenich p. The area between Monschau and Elsenborn where 3 Panzergrenadier Division launched successive unsuccessful attacks before it was transferred to the southern sector of the front p.
The Luftwaffe. Ardennes offensive battle map. Northern sector p. What did the Germans know about Allied dispositions facing the central sector of their front? Patrols had ascertained that the line further south was only thinly defended. Allied command of the skies made aerial reconnaissance impossible and therefore no one at OKW knew what further reserves might lie just east of the river Meuse for a prompt riposte p.
V Panzer Armee. While Sixth Panzer Armee had five designated Rollbahns for its four Panzer divisions, Fifth Panzer Armee only had two for its three, and the southernmost fork of those encroached on Seventh Armee territory at Bastogne p. Capturing Bastogne itself was initially the responsibility of 26 Volksgrenadier Division alone p. Because of his inexperience in top command, von Lauchert relied heavily on his regimental commanders to use their own initiative. By a mixture of sidestepping and fiercely resisting American counter-attacks, they won the vital bridge at Clervaux p.
The unexpected resistance by a mere two companies of American infantry at Hosingen was only finally overcome after a hour battle, and Kokott later acknowledged the determination of the defenders p. After a probing attack by a single Kompanie drove a company of the st Parachute Infantry Regiment out of Wardin on 19 December, but was then repulsed outside Marvie, Hauser threw the whole regiment in on the 23rd p. If the bridge had been usable, the division could easily have been through Marche before the U.
VII Corps even began deploying p. If Walter Kruger had deployed Volksgrenadier Division to take Ouren and Panzer to their south, the tanks could have been on the banks of the Meuse while 2 Panzer Division was still struggling at Bastogne p. The capture of Hotton would not just have given Panzer Division quick access to Marche, but also forced U.
The Fifth and Sixth Panzer Armee Korps were so redeployed once the Meuse was unattainable and Bastogne became the objective, that they bear little resemblance to those on 16 December p. LXVI Korps. Fuhrer Begleit Brigade. Original German map showing the successive probes by the Fuhrer Begleit Brigade at the defences of St. Vith - December After 18 Volksgrenadier Division captured Schonberg, their elation at victory over the U. The final capture of St. Ardennes Offensive Battle Map. Central Sector p. Brandenberger knew that the forces immediately facing his Seventh Armee were relatively weak, but at the same time realized that they would probably not be brushed aside easily, given the nature of the terrain and the limited mobility as well as lack of armoured backup of his own troops.
The biggest problem he faced was the strong American artillery positions emplaced on high ground and able to fire with relative impunity on his bridging sites over the Our and Sauer, delaying any backup to his infantry p. By December 22 they were, in effect, fighting totally separate battles and it was as much to plug the dangerous vacuum in between them as to reinforce them that Model released 9 and 79 Volksgrenadier Divisions and the Fuhrer Grenadier Brigade from reserve.
After finally achieving a breakthrough on the northern flank of the U. The twin battles for Warnach and Bigonville over December were almost copybook exercises, each following a very similar pattern. In both cases the Fallschirmjager proved far more stubborn than their training and experience would have indicated but, without any tanks of their own, at the end of the day they were overwhelmed p.
Assembling his leading two battalions just to the north of Eschdorf late on December 23 while the remainder of 79 Volksgrenadier Division was concentrated around Bourscheid to the east, Alois Weber launched his attack on Heiderscheid before dawn on Christmas Eve but had his men blown away by American Artillery fire p. What is surprising seen at this scale is that McBride made no attempt to exploit the central Kehmen route from the west. The explanation is that he had lost two battalions of his th Regiment to reinforce 4th Armored Division, and third was tied down at Ettelbruck to the southeast p.
VII Armee. LXXX Korps. In the northern sector, Volksgrenadier Division captured Mullerthal and Beaufort, surrounding the U. Although its initial progress was slow due to flanking fire from American troops north of the Sure, Volksgrenadier Regiment helped to encircle the 60th Armored Infantry Battalion and later successfully ambushed the task forces sent to its relief p. Even though Volksgrenadier Regiment made no serious attempt to break out from Mullerthal, their presence in the Schwarz Ernst gorge tied down a significant number of American tanks and infantry and caused them heavy casualties p.
The attack by Volksgrenadier Regiment was delayed by the necessity to move the bridging site from Echternach to Edingen and although Echternach was finally taken on December 19, all efforts to capture Dickweiler and Osweiler failed p. The Fuhrer Grenadier Brigade moved into the vacuum on its left but was itself over-extended on the line Arsdorf - Bourscheid.
LIII Korps. Fuhrer Grenadier Brigade, Heiderscheidergrund - December The battle along the banks of the river Sure around Heiderscheidergrund was confused, with elements of two American divisions involved, Major von Courbiere trying to regroup the Fuhrer Grenadier Brigade in a defensible position which was soon outflanked, and the supporting battalions of 79 Volksgrenadier Division moving through their lines to new positions around Bourscheid for the ill-fated assault on Ringelerhof p.
Although the town of Wiltz was only four miles 6. By January 3, when the Allied counter-offensive began in earnest, and certainly over the period January , the Heeresgruppe B perimeter was already shrinking drastically. Similarly, to their north the th Regiment of the 28th Infantry Division was faced by a Volksgrenadier and a Fallschirmjager division, shortly to be reinforced by a Panzer brigade p. Third Army. The relief of Bastogne. At this scale, it is impossible to show German dispositions without obscuring geographical features referred to in the text.
Third Army, U. III Corps. The stumbling block over the river Sure at Martelange is evident, and it is surprising that the CO of the German 5 Fallschirm Division did not put up a more stubborn resistance here. Surrounded by dense woods, the little village of Chaumont lies in a saucer-like depression.
The situation on December The original line of advance was bounded on the south by the river Wiltz, and on the north by the Bastogne - Bourcy railway line, but was then broadened to embrace Wardin so as to, hopefully, make contact with the 35th Infantry Division. The strong German dispositions on the flanks ruled out a straight thrust through Longvilly p.
The situation on December 27 looked promising, with the leading battalions of the st and th Regiments in an apparently strong position to recapture Wiltz, but the appearance was deceptive, and it would take another three weeks to cover those last couple of miles p. XII Corps. He considered he was under orders to stay put, even when armoured task forces offered to cover his withdrawal.
He was ultimately overwhelmed p. Although surrounded early in the battle, the men of Companies A and G of the 12th Infantry Regiment managed to hold out in Lauterborn until help arrived and only evacuated their position when all hope for the garrison in Echternach was abandoned p. Although they were surrounded early in the battle, it proved possible to get sufficient reinforcements to Companies I and L in Dickweiler and Osweiler so that the whole German effort in the south was crippled p. With the 26th Infantry Division on its left, the th RCT relieved the th in Vichten and, bypassing Merzig, hit the tail of Volksgrenadier Regiment in flank, before heading towards Heiderscheid and Kehmen.
The th, advancing in column alongside the river Alzette, reached Ettelbruck at the same time as Volksgrenadier Regiment, resulting in a prolonged battle p. The situation at nightfall on December The three battalions of the th are deployed in a triangle with a single company of the 3rd Battalion at Heiderscheidergrund. The two battalions from the 26th Infantry Division attacking Eschdorf are on the left p.
The problem the various American task forces - and 5th Infantry Division later in the day - had getting past Mullerthal are easily explained by the nature of the Schwarz Ernst gorge. What remains a mystery is why the Germans did not exploit it earlier p. The German forces opposing them appear much stronger than they, in fact, were by this stage p.
The unbroken line on the map shows the front line 24 hours into the Allied offensive. The slow progress initially is clearly indicated by the heavy broken line, which shows the situation on January The final dotted line marks the situation at the end of the month p. Abbreviations and linear measurements p. The strategic situation, late, at the beginning of the Allied offensive. The boundary line between the two commands was longitude degrees East passing though the center of Santa Isabel Island and the Russell Islands both of which are in the Solomon Islands.
The Solomons were occupied by the Japanese in stages between March and May p. The Solomon Islands, late p. Battle of the Tenaru, August 21, Guadalcanal, August p. The Matanikau Offensive, Guadalcanal, October , p. New Georgia operations, June 21 - July 5, p. Vella Lavella occupation, August 15 - October 16, p. Bougainville, October p. Inland defense line expansion, Cape Torokina, November 1 - December 15, p. Offensive operations in France.
Breakout and pursuit. July 25 - August 25, p. Breakthrough operations. Seizing key terrain. Regaining the initiative. Restoring the initiative. Overcoming an unprepared defense. Attack on a prepared position. Attacks on enemy armored units. Armor in the defense. Vith, December , p. Small unit tactics. TF Abrams at Singling, December 6, p. German ranks with allied equivalents p. Waalhaven and Rotterdam p. Veldwezelt, Vroenhoven, Canne and Eben Emael p. Only units assigned to Southern Army are indicated p.
The Southern Operations plan p. The Port Moresby invasion plan, May 9, Even in an amphibious assault, the doctrine of flanking and enveloping the enemy can be seen p. Examples of envelopment and encirclement tactics p. The main Philippine landings, December 10, - May 3, p. Luzon operations, December 10, - February 26, p.
The Lingayen Bay landing, and the drive south to Cabanatuan p.
Military history of Italy during World War II - Wikiwand
Bataan operations, Phase 1, early-January to late-February Bataan operation, Phase 2, late-February to early-May The assault of Corregidor, May , p. Borneo operations, December 12, - February 13, p. Timor operations, February The Ito detachment occupied Koepang, Dili and Malaca. It was relieved by the 48th Division between October and December p. Sumatra operations, February 6 - March 17, p. Java operations, March , p. South Seas operations, January 14 - July 21, p. Tanks in amphibious assault - Omaha Beach. The plans for Operation Neptune included the support of both regimental combat teams at Omaha Beach by one tank battalion, with the st Tank Battalion supporting the 16th RCT on the eastern side and the rd supporting the th RCT on the western side.
Each battalion deployed two companies with DD tanks and one company with M4 and M4A1 medium tanks with wading trunks. The DD tanks were supposed to be launched from to yards offshore, and to be the first US troops ashore five minutes before H-Hour, to be followed five minutes later by the remaining tank companies landing from LCTs. Tanks in amphibious assault - Operation Dragoon. Although less well known than the amphibious assault in Normandy, tank battalions also supported the landings on the French Riviera on August 15, , when the US Seventh Army invaded southern France.
Each of the assaulting divisions was assigned a tank battalion, with each of these battalions having about a company of DD tanks. The eight DD tanks of the th Tank Battalion with Alpha Force disembarked about yards from the beach and swam to shore, with one being sunk by wash from a passing landing craft and another by an underwater mine. Two tanks from this unit were involved in fighting against German pillboxes.
Of the 12 DD tanks with the st Tank Battalion in the center with Delta Force, four swam ashore from 75 yards at H-hour hrs , while the remaining eight were landed from their LCTs directly on shore. Of the 16 DD tanks of the rd Tank Battalion with Camel Force, eight swam ashore in the initial wave and the remaining eight arrived in the early afternoon, and were landed directly on shore. There was a skirmish between these tanks and a German self-propelled gun, which was knocked out. There was significantly less resistance on these beaches than at Normandy, but mines disabled at least five tanks p.
Attacking a fortified zone - 11th Infantry Regiment and th Tank Battalion vs. Driant, October 3, p. Armor in the defense - 38th Infantry Regiment and Co. C, st Tank Battalion, vs. Armor in river-crossing operations - st Tank Battalion and 84th Division crossing the Roer at Linnich, February , p. The strategic situation in the Pacific Theater, p. The fighting in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, p. Special Service Unit No. Landings prior to September are not shown p.
The Solomon Islands, p. The Tulagi assault, August , p. The Matanikau action, September , p. The Matanikau offensive, October , p. The seizure of the Russell Islands, February 21, p. The objectives of each phase are numbered p. The raid on Cabanatuan Prison Camp, hours, January 30, p. The Japanese airfields, and seaplane and naval bases are shown on this map p.
The defense in depth provides three lines of defense, beach defenses protecting the rear, and flank defenses. There are also hundreds of foxholes and dugouts, which are not shown at this scale p. The surrounding ground was swampy, and could be up to waist deep after rain p. The defenses of Gona, , the western end of the 3. The areas within this position called the Triangle, Coconut Grove, and the Island were particularly difficult to overwhelm for US forces. The defenses also featured hundreds of foxholes, dugouts, and other small positions, which are not shown here.
In the upper right are trench lines positioned perpendicular to the coast. These trenches faced Allied troops that had penetrated the outer defenses and were attempting to roll up the defenses from the flank. They proved particularly difficult to take p. The frontal attack in the center of the American line east of Apitape strove to achieve a breakthrough; it was successful, and created a gap in the line. The th Infantry swung north and took up positions behind the US frontline; it remained there for several days, before being driven back.
The 78th and 80th moved south to occupy the southern and of the line. US counterattacks were able to restore the line, and had driven the remnants of the 20th Division across the river by August 1 p. Southeast Area command and control, November p. The locations and dates of American landings and raids black , and Japanese reinforcement landings red , on Guadalcanal, p. Henderson Field offensive, October , p. The Japanese line, December - January p.
New Georgia Group, June-October p. Bougainville, November - March Concentrations of Japanese forces are depicted at the time of the November 1 American landing at Cape Torokina. The Japanese deployment routes for the March counteroffensive underline the transportation and logistical difficulties the Japanese faced p. On this map, different colours have been used to distinguish the units, and refer only to Japanese forces p.
Buna-Gona positions, November - January In addition to the four main positions Gona, Sanananda-Giruwa, South Giruwa, and Buna , there were countless small, scattered positions in between. It required seven Australian brigades, four US regiments, and over two month of brutal fighting to reduce Buna-Gona p. The withdrawal from Buna-Gona, January Some elements of those units destroyed here managed to escape 20 miles west to the Kumusi River, or were evacuated by barge. The fact that some managed to escape was unknown to the Allies p. El Alamein, October p.
Primosole Bridge, July p. The locations of the main cross-Channel Commando raids, together with the relevant operation names and dates p.
The landings of Nos. The outward and homeward routes taken by the St. Nazaire raiding force p. The objectives and progress of the Commando teams at St. Nazaire, hours, 28 March p. The inset map shows the location of the Scheldt estuary p. The amphibious landings in South Arakan and central Burma, and the approach to Kangaw p. The fighting around Hill , Arakan p.
Abbreviations and glossary p. Ras el Mdauuar, 30 April - 1st May p. Two days of battle - Sidi Rezegh, November p. Belhamed, December p. Intelligence and deception - Benghazi, 29 January p. Flachenmarsch at Gazala, 26 May The advance of Axis troops in the first stages of Operation Theseus had been carefully planned; Panzer Division. To its right was Flachenmarsch at Gazala, the march order of Panzer Division p. El Mreir, June p. Panzer Division crossing the minefields, 30 August p. Defeat - Panzer Division at El Alamein, 2 November p.
Tank support in amphibious landings: Operation Torch, November 8, p. Tank destroyers in the defense: El Guettar, March 23, p. Armor in the defense: Anzio beachhead, February 16, p. The Free French at Kufra, February p. Reconnaissance in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania p. The first campaign in the Fezzan, February-March p. The big raids, September p. The raids in Egypt, July-August p.
The Normandy landings, June 6, p. The infantry assaults on Omaha Beach, June 6, p. Japanese positions on Luzon, January 11, p. Operation Neptune: routes of troop carrier missions p. Operation Neptune: D-Day airborne landings, June 6, p. Operation Market: st Airborne Division landings, September 17, p. Operation Market: 82nd Airborne Division landings, September 11, p.
Operation Varsity: 17th Airborne Division landings, March 24, p. The Southwest Pacific. US airborne operations are indicated together with amphibious landings conducted by airborne units p. The parachute landings around Nadzab New Guinea p. Japanese attacks on Burauen Airfields Leyte , December , p. Purple Heart Hill, December , Internment Camp No. The reduction of Mt Macolod during the clearing of southern Luzon, th GIR, March 23 - April 20, - a good example of airborne troops conducting assaults against heavily defended enemy positions p.
The Mediterranean theatre of war p. The North African littoral - Tripolitania to Egypt p. Operation Crusader - the opening moves p. Operation Crusader - the Germans strike back p. Operation Crusader - the dash to the wire p. The Battle of Alam el Halfa p. The Battle of the Mareth Line, March , showing the attack on the main defences p. The Battle of Wadi Akarit p. Panzer Division at the Bzura, Poland, September p. Hannut, Belgium - the first tank vs. Breakthrough at Sedan, France, May p.
The Panzers are checked at Gembloux, France, 15 May p. The counter-attack at Arras, France, 21 May p. The expansion of Japan, p. The conquest of Malaya, December - February p. Naval battles : A. Eastern Solomons, 24 August ; C. Santa Cruz Island, 26 October ; D. Bismarck Sea, March ; E. Kula Gulf, July ; F. Kolombangara, July ; G. Vella Gulf, August ; H. Vella Lavella, October ; I. Empress Augusta Bay, 2 November p. The Allied counteroffensive, August - September 1. April , Japanese begin Ichigo offensive in China; The Allied invasion of Burma, 1.
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Burma-Thailand railroad built by slave labor between July and October to resupply Japanese forces in India; 2. The Hump' - the route flown by US aircraft resupplying China; 3. February-March British resume offensive in December ; 4. Kohima is relieved on 18 April and Imphal on 22 June; 5.
December , Fourteenth Army invades Burma; 7. Philippines operations, 20 October - July Landings and land operations : 1. Three more divisions are deployed before the island is secured in December; 2. Six more divisions are landed during the battle for Luzon. The main fighting ceases in June, although pockets of Japanese remain; 3. They conduct over 50 landings 14 of which are medium to large operations; Battle of Leyte Gulf : A. Only one Japanese ship survives; C. The US lost two escort carriers, two destroyers, and a destroyer escort; G. The Allied counteroffensive, 16 September - 22 August p.
The rival invasion plans c laid down by Hitler in Directive No. This version of the plan made the destruction of Soviet forces in the Baltic States and the taking of Leningrad first priority. Moscow was to be considered only after this had been achieved p. The front line at the start of Operation Typhoon p. The Soviet counteroffensive at Moscow p. The Red Army springs the trap at Stalingrad p. The German plan for Operation Citadel. The intention was to eliminate the salient by the classic method, driving across its neck from north and south.
However, the Soviets expected this p. Partisan areas, The open steppes of the Ukraine offered little scope for large-scale partisan activity, and most groups there were small. In Belorussia and the Baltics, forests and swamps made it easier for partisans to form large bands and even to take control of sizable areas. They contributed notably to the Soviet successes at Kursk in and in Belorussia in by disrupting German communications and monitoring German troop movements.
Some partisans in Ukraine and the Baltics were nationalist and fought Soviet as well as German rule. In February Ukrainian nationalist partisans ambushed and mortally wounded front commander General Vatutin. These anti-Soviet formations fought on until p. Soviet gains, November - August In this period the battle for the Dnepr August-December was followed by the lifting of the siege of Leningrad January , and by Operation Bagration in Belorussia June-August , with associated offensives on the Finnish, Carpathian, and southern sectors.
From the Vistula to the Oder, January This Soviet offensive lasted only 22 days 12 January - 2 February , but ended with a seizure of bridgeheads across the Oder only about 60 miles km from Berlin p. The Battle of Berlin, April p. The campaign in the Far East, August This campaign was noteworthy for the logistical problems of supplying a highly mechanized force, 1.
The actual fighting lasted only two weeks. For the Soviet Union's brief participation, Stalin took more Japanese territory Southern Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands than his allies, who had fought Japan for several years p. Europe steers toward war p. Red Sea. Mussolini's decision to declare war on a statistically weaker Britain in the Mediterranean may have seemed a worthwhile gamble. However, it meant that the Red Sea forces were cut off from Italy and their supplies. Unless Italy could defeat British forces in Egypt and east Africa, its isolated naval garrison would eventually succumb to an overwhelming Royal Navy presence.
Initially, Italy held the advantage over the British Empire on the land in east Africa, forcing an amphibious withdrawal.
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However, the same naval flexibility enabled British forces to come back into east Africa and ensured eventual victory in and the seizure of the Italian ports p. Japanese incursions in the Indian Ocean p. Eastern Indian Ocean - sinkings and incursions. The Imperial Japanese navy made only one large-scale sortie into the Indian Ocean during the Pacific War, and that was during April The Japanese feet accounted for a number of vessels and forced Admiral Somerville's fleet to the western Indian Ocean.
However the Japanese failed to take advantage of their naval superiority. Following strikes against Ceylon and targets in the Bay of Bengal, they withdrew to the Pacific p. Arctic convoy routes, winter and summer. From August the Royal Navy started running vital resupply convoys around northern Norway to the beleaguered Soviet Union. Eventually, almost 4. But constrained by both geography and the atrocious Arctic weather and, after March , subjected to the concentrated efforts of German aircraft, submarines, and surface vessels lurking in Norwegian fjords, this was the most dangerous of all convoy routes, with almost 8.
Operation Ironclad was a testing ground for British amphibious operations following their initial failures earlier in the war One area that was exploited far better than in previous landings was the use of carrier-based aircraft, particularly in larger numbers. The Illustrious was also used in the successful operations in September p.
The Atlantic. The key to the naval war was control of the Atlantic. Forays of large German surface units such as Bismarcks could be dealt with. However, continuing the menace of German submarine Wolf Packs that preyed on Allied convoy routes, which grew in complexity as the war progressed, was a much greater problem. It was not until the late spring of that adequate control of the Atlantic had been acquired with the increasing availability of very long-ranged land based maritime patrol aircraft playing a vital role p. Normandy landings. D-Day saw US and British airborne landings on either flank of the assault areas to protect the Allied seaborne landings.
Forces arrived in Area Z from the southern half of Great Britain - follow up forces would come from the whole country - and several thousand vessels of all kinds were funnelled through narrow channels swept through the deep-water minefields. By the end of 6 June 57, American and 75, British and Canadian troops would be ashore p. D-Day gun duels. In an attempt to protect the coast German forces had created an Atlantic Wall of mines, obstacles and gun emplacements.
Whilst not as formidably defended as some sections of the coast, the German heavy gun batteries in Normandy were sited to cover the entire landing area with interlocking arcs of fire and unmolested would have made the landings impossible. An essential feature that made the Allied landings possible, was the presence of large numbers of heavy naval vessels to counter the threat posed by these guns p.
The most intense areas of fighting p. Strategic situation in Europe, 6 June p.
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