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World War II European Theatre. War in Europe Much of war planning was joint British- American strategy  American in favor of immediate offensive against.

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Presentation on theme: "World War II European Theatre. War in Europe Much of war planning was joint British- American strategy  American in favor of immediate offensive against."— Presentation transcript:

1 World War II European Theatre

2 War in Europe Much of war planning was joint British- American strategy  American in favor of immediate offensive against the continent  British favored a more conservative approach Scarred by 3 hard years of war Go after the “softer underbelly” of the enemy

3 Dieppe Raid Reinforced British view August Raid by Canadian forces to test strength of German defenses in France Disastrous results Canadians incur over 3,000 casualties Good lessons  Improved amphibious attack strategies  Not prepared for French invasion yet

4 Offensive in North Africa Combined British and American force attacks Heavy resistance around Casablanca Race for control of Tunisia Kasserine Pass-American inexperience shows against Afrika Corps Ultimately able to push by Rommel’s forces

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6 Battle of the Atlantic Allied strategy:  Land-based air patrols  Escort Carriers  Escort vessels Increasingly German undersea activities became a useless drain on resources

7 Sicily/Italy Next step after North Africa Massive Force-160,000 troops Quickly overrun Island Move on to Italy  Two landings Germans had taken over most of Italian defenses Italy would be a long and bloody campaign

8 European Air War British campaign used night-time mass bombing raids  Disrupt economy  Lessen will of German people to fight American strategy was to fly precision, daytime raids— B-24’s, B-17’s Schweinfurt-October 1943  Need for long-range fighter Impact of air campaign often overrated  Accuracy limited-bombsights marginally accurate  Bomb loads relatively small  Psychological impacted limited—Battle of Britain  Ground support role was very effective

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10 Invasion of France Russians had pressed for 2 nd front since Germans expecting attack in 1944  Pas de Calais region Normandy-5 beaches  Germans have strong beach defenses 3 Airborne divisions dropped before dawn 5 divisions—resistance light, except Omaha Beach

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12 D-Day Germans initially mistake invasion for a diversion.  Unable to prevent beachhead Within 2 weeks, over 1 million men ashore Quickly turned from battle for Normandy to Battle for France By August 25 th, Paris fell By Autumn 1944, German position looks hopeless

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15 Marketgarden September 1944 Allies make “leapfrog” German defenses Dropped three airborne divisions behind German lines to secure bridges over Meuse, Waal, and Rhine rivers. Fails British 1 st airborne unable to hold Arnhem British armor unable to punch through German lines

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17 Battle of Bulge Hitler’s final gamble-Counteroffensive through weak center of Allied line in Ardennes Forest Winter allows for secret troop buildup Germans strike December 16 Inflict heavy losses-Encircle Bastogne Uses up German reserves

18 Final Offensive British and American forces move into Germany Meet up with Russian forces heading West.


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