World War II European Theater Barbarossa, North Africa, Sicily
April - June 1941 166 German divisions in 3 Army Groups totaling 4.5 million men, 42,000 guns, 4200 tanks and 4400 aircraft assemble along border between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia 22 June 1941 Operation Barbarossa Germany attacks Russia along an 1800 mile front Europe – June 1941 Nazi Germany and its allies dominate all of Europe and North Africa Army Group South Army Group Center Army Group North December 1941 German Army at the gates of Moscow Summer 1941 Operation Barbarossa Germany advances into Russia along an 1800 mile front Fall 1941 Operation Barbarossa Germany continues to advance into Russia along an 1800 mile front Unprepared for winter, the German advance is effectively halted
The Soviet winter counter-offensive, 5 December 1941 to 7 May 1942
Operation BlueOperation Blue: German advances from 7 May 1942 to 18 November 1942:
Operations Uranus, Saturn and Mars: Soviet advances on the Eastern Front,UranusSaturnMars 18 November 1942 to March 1943:
North Africa: mid 1940 through October 1942 After two years of see-saw battles between the Italians/Germans and the British, the British 8th Army under Montgomery finally breaks through in Oct 1942 (2 nd Battle of El Alamein) and drives the Germans west.
Eastern Task Force Western Task Force Center Task Force Montgomery Clark 1 th Abn Div 15 th Army Grp Alexander 188 Patton 75 10 July – 17 August 43: Sicily was conquered. The US 7th Army under Patton attacked up the western side of the island, protecting the flank of the British 8th Army (under Montgomery) that attacked up the eastern side. The Germans were able to evacuate much of their men and equipment. Feb 1943. Battle of Kasserine Pass: This battle was a tactical defeat for the Americans, but an operational failure for the Germans who are unable to follow up on their initial success. The 8th Army finally arrived in force and the two German Armies surrendered in May 1943. 10 Nov 1942: Germans occupied Southern France and Corsica as the Vichy government began to topple (due to defections in N. Africa). July 1943 Military defeats in the Balkans and North Africa severely dent confidence in Mussolini as a leader and he is ousted in July 1943 by a group of senior military and politicians with King Victor Emmanuel’s approval. Marshal Pietro Badoglio becomes Italy's prime minister 8 Sep ’43 Italy surrenders. Germany rapidly disarms the Italian forces and occupies Italy 10 Jul 1943 Operation Husky 15th Army Group (AG) with the US 7th Army (Patton) and the British 8th Army (Montgomery) invade Sicily. 505th Parachute Regt (82nd Airborne Division) and 1st British Airborne Division assist. 3 Sep ‘43 Operation Baytown: British 8th Army invaded the ‘toe’ of Italy as a diversion. 9 Sep ‘43 Operation Avalanche: The US 5th Army (Clark) then made the Allied main amphibious assault () at Salerno on, while the 1st British Airborne Division conducted a supporting amphibious assault (Operation Slapstick) at the ‘heel’ of Italy. Salerno was a very difficult operation for the allies, but poor German coordination resulted in a successful invasion. November 1942 – The allies advanced toward Tunisia to seize critical supply ports. However, the Germans rushed troops into Tunisia from Italy/Sicily and form the 5th Panzer Army. The Germans successfully halted the Allied advance just short of their goal. The British 1st Army was now forced to go on the defense and wait for supplies and reinforcements to arrive from their very long supply lines, as well as wait for better weather. A French and American Corps occupied positions to the south of the main British Corps. In early February, Panzer Army Afrika (Rommel) arrived in Tunisia after being driven from Egypt by the 8th Army. 8 Nov 1942: Operation Torch. Knowing that they are not yet strong enough for a direct assault into Europe, but realizing they must attack somewhere, the Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff decided to attack North Africa to assist the British 8th Army in destroying the German/Italian Forces that were fighting in Libya. At three landing sights, the Allies landed in Morocco and Algeria and quickly defeat the Vichy forces there. Rommel proposed that the combined German Armies attack the weak allied right flank to attempt to cut the 1st British Army from its supply lines prior to the 8th Army’s arrival in force. North Africa 1942 After two years of see-saw battles between the Italians/Germans and the British, the British 8 th Army under Montgomery finally breaks through and drives the Germans west. 14-24 Jan 1943 Casablanca Conference Churchill, Roosevelt and the Combined Joiint Staff met at Casablanca to discuss next steps. Stalin was invited but declined. With the Allies still unprepared to invade Europe, a decision was to invade Sicily. If successful, the next logical step would be the invasion of mainland Italy (the “soft underbelly of Europe”)