The 20th century saw the largest influx in the amount of inhabitants that call the Earth their home and as a result, no period in time has ever been filled with as many battles, fatalities and war related injuries. The 20th century saw a number of battles that played pivotal roles in the way things on this planet are viewed.
Back in February of 1904 at Port Author, China, a battle between the Japanese and the Russians was fought. With the Japanese and their 16 warships against the Russians with a fleet of 6 battle ships and 10 cruisers, the Japanese attacked first. Using their torpedo boats to damage 2 of Russia’s battleships as well as a single cruiser, following them then open fired on the Russian fleet and injured another battleship as well as 4 Russian Cruisers. The Japanese suffered no damage to their battle ships but lost 58 soldiers on their torpedo ships.
A short time later at the Island of Tsushima, Japan, the Russians appeared with 45 ships but were cut off by the Japanese fleet that sank 4 battleships before the Russian fleet retreated. In pursuit, the Japanese fleet managed to take out a number of additional ships in the Russian fleet.
As the First World War started, the only truly complete German victory of the war occurred in August of 1914 at Tannenberg, Poland. During this battle the German military managed to encircle the Second Army of Russia and in effect halted Russia’s advancement before they were even started.
As the First World War continued, there would be two battles on the River Marne in France. The first occurred in early September of 1914 which was supposed to be the end of the First World War, the Germans instead were brought to a complete halt and as a result, the infamous trench warfare of World War I began. Germany instead focused on sacking Verdun, France along with its many forts. This was considered to be one of the longest battles of the First World War.
By 1916, the Battle of Lusk began which was considered to be the official launching of the Russian Brusilov Offensive. This offensive held a long run of victories for the Russians until the military force began to run out of steam and started to rack up many losses.
The Second Battle of the Marne occurred as the last offensive by the German forces in the First World War. As the battle ensued, the Germans who had thought that they were ready to win this victory, once again fell short of their expectations as the Allied Forces began to make headway and won the battle. This loss for Germany was also considered the loss of the war by many including the Crown Prince Wilhelm.
In an attempt to cut the rail lines which supplied the forces in Meuse-Argonne, France, American and British forces forced the enemies into an offensive position in time for winter despite their sizeable forces. The Foch had a total of 220 divisions which include 420 of those being American troops.
As 1940 closed nearer, the Battle of Britain would soon fill the skies over England with aircraft in defence of the incoming attacks by the Luftwaffe. The Royal Air Force put up an amazing campaign against the German forces which in effect caught the Luftwaffe off guard. Using bombers and fighters, the Luftwaffe then focused their attention on the British airfields as they knew that the only way to attack Britain successfully, they had to control the skies. As a result of Britain’s new radar capabilities which allowed them to see the Luftwaffe before ever leaving France, the Luftwaffe changed their tactics and instead opted to bomb cities of which London saw the worst. Eventually the Germans conceded and gave up their attempted invasion of Great Britain.
Once again, just like in World War I, the American forces had planned on staying neutral during World War II. However, not learning the lesson that the German’s had by intimidating the sleeping giant in World War I; the Japanese laid out a plan to take out America’s Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. While masquerading peace in the Nation’s capital, behind the curtain the Japanese was planning a large offensive against the Americans stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Prior to the Japanese’s attack, the missing Japanese battle fleet prompted the U.S. Military to send out its heavy cruisers and carriers to search for the fleet. While these major battleships were out to sea, the Japanese attacked Peal Harbor on December 7th of 1941. The Americans, losing 6 battleships, 3 destroyers, 3 cruisers as well as an additional 164 aircraft, were immediately prompted to join in on the World War as a means of protecting the interests of the American people.
The following year saw many important battles of the Second World War. The first of these battles was that of the Island of Midway. After intercepting and breaking the Japanese code, the American battle fleets were able to position themselves in a position to succeed in defending the Island from the Japanese forces. Four of the Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk during the Battle of Midway and as a result, the Japanese military would be stuck in an offensive position throughout the remaining years of World War II.
Some of the worst American naval defeats occurred during the Battle of Guadalcanal. Fighting both on land as well as at sea, this battle was nothing less than vicious and brutal.
As the Germans continued on their campaign to the Middle East, they knew that the first thing they needed to accomplish was to create a route which would run right through Russia. In Operation Barbarossa, the German line was to extend from Leningrad to Stalingrad; however, they were stalled by the Russian army along the Volga River. As time went on, this battle became some of the most vicious in the Second World War with some fighting going to hand to hand combat. Unfortunately for the German military, they were not prepared for the winter and as a result, once the winter began to set in, the German advancement began to falter.
Before the Operation Barbossa was considered to be a total loss, in Egypt, the British Eighth Army met with the German Afkrika Corps. Attempting to drive through the British lines, the Afrika Corps would fail and in return, the British forces would go into an offensive against the corps. Starting with the left flank of the well guarded German line, the British forces caught the Afrika Corps off guard and took the line.
Meanwhile, back in Russia, the Russian forces began to push back the German offensive around Kursk and in response to this Hitler launched his Operation Citadel but before it could be finalised, the Russians were informed of the impending attack and managed to be well prepared for the onslaught.
One of the largest assaults of the Second World War would occur on June 6th of 1944 in Normandy, France. Allied forces using amphibious crafts landed on the beach in an attempt to open a front in France against the German forces. While using deception, the Allied forces were able to convince the Germans that the assault would actually occur at Pas-de-Calais and as a result, the German forces reinforced their line in that area which helped make the assault at Normandy Beach a successful one.
The last major German offensive of World War II occurred at the port in Ardennes, Belgium during December of 1944. The American forces there were overwhelmed and caught off guard; however, the 101st Airborne Division who were without any reinforcements or supplies managed to hold off against the German forces.
By October 3rd, a decision was made to show the Japanese finally the ultimate strength of the U.S. might and as a result the command to take Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands was made. This invasion was to penetrate the Japanese’s defensiveness which would force the Japanese to either attempt to resist or to just surrender to the American forces.
While all this was going on, the North Koreans were working in secrecy while the rest of the world was in a war to invade South Korea. As a result, General MacArthur led an amphibious assault against the North Koreans to retake the city of Seoul. The amphibious crafts made landfall at Inchon, South Korea and were usefully able to drive back the North Korean Forces allowing South Korea to retake their capital of Seoul.
The 1960’s saw the Tet Offensive which some have come to know as the Vietnam War. The offensive itself began in January of 1968 as the NVA divisions quietly attempted to take control of Khe Sanh. As a result of this action and the involvement with the Tet Offensive by the American forces, many people began turning against the U.S. Government in an action that was to change the face of American History forever.
The last major battle of the 20th Century occurred in Kuwait for a period of 43 days which lasted from January 17th of 1991 until February 28th of 1991. This battle became known to the world as Desert Storm and was also considered to be the most successful war ever fought in the 20th century due to the quickness which the assault happened and the low number of casualties associated with it.
Original Authors: Nick (Globel Team)
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 28/07/2008