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Most epic battle of WWII?

Discussion in 'War in the Pacific' started by USMCPrice, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I don't know Brad. If you haven't read "Neptune's Inferno" you might put it on your wish list. IMO it gives a valuable new perspective on the campaign and the bravery those sailors showed was pretty darned epic if you ask me. Sailing to the attack through the wreckage and floating sailors from some of your own ships. Freakin' Norman Scott deciding he was tired of the navy getting their clocks cleaned and training his crews in gunnery so they could give better than they got. The Washington's battleship to battleship gun fight. Men staying at their battlestations even as steel burned around them. As bad as the Marines had it, if it hadn't been for sailors, regularly throwing all they had against the Japanese Navy, having their ships shot out from under them then coming back for more. It would have been a whole lot worse.
     
  2. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I would have to go with D-Day. If the Allies were pushed back, it would put off a 'true' second front for another year if not more. Though the Germans would be able to focus on the war in the East, I believe the Soviets were strong enough to continue the push Westwards. This in turn would have put the Soviets in a stronger bargaining position at the table when discussing the division of Europe. Even with additional resources direct to Italy, it would have been an uphill fight.
     
  3. efestos

    efestos Member

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    BoB ... "the few" where fighting at HOME, ... Moscow ... Leningrad... Midway ...??????
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I kind of agree with both Price and Brad. Whereas the Marines had to fight hand-to-hand, the Navy had to deal with having nowhere to go if their ship was disabled. That's why I say my mind keeps changing with everything I read. I think "epic" really is in the eye of the viewer.
     
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  5. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    Mr. Mace,

    Great writing style and observations. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks very much, for your contributions here and most importantly in the Pacific during those hellish times. A grateful Nation and World salutes you (not nearly as much as we all should, for what you all accomplished) and your brethren. Semper Fi, Sir.

    From an Old Salt.
     
  6. DangerousBob

    DangerousBob New Member

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    My list and reasons why. In order of date.

    Fall of France - Greatest military achievement ever. A world power topples in weeks.

    Stalingrad - Unique Urban Warfare. Arguable the largest battle of the War.

    Kursk -Germanys best v Russias best. Arguable the largest battle of the War.

    Midway -Largest Naval Battle.

    D-Day -Breaking the 'invincible' Atlantic Wall. The great siege of Fortress Europe.

    Bulge - Germany takes America head on. America finally experiences the Blitzkrieg.

    Fall of Berlin - An Empire falls. "The burning of Troy."

    Iwo Jima - Possible more intense then the Bulge for the Americans. Die hard defenders.

    The Bomb - The Atomic age begins.




    I can't pick one. If your going by logistics and not personal favorites, it would be a toss up between D-day, Kursk, and Stalingrad.
     
  7. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean by "epic"?


    And,why would Stalingrad be "hell on earth" and "barbaric" and Kursk not ?
     
  8. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

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    Or Battle of Moscow , Siege of Leningrad , Siege of Malta , Battle of Britain , El Alamein ? Just considering Guadalcanal Campaign as "most epic" of entire world wide conflict would be gross injustice to other campaigns and operations around the globe. Guadalcanal was important. But it was not a vital campaign. Japanese military was stumbling by then and bound to falter more due to its over expansion. It was not even a strictly US Marine Corps operation-though to give credit to due they performed best in Guadalcanal Campaign-Australians in Papua New Guinea and Kokoda Track were also making a heroic stand against Japanese advance there also at the same time.
     
  9. SKYLINEDRIVE

    SKYLINEDRIVE Member

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    I'm terribly sorry, but I have to totally disagree with you! Alltough I might concur that the BoB was an epic Battle. First of all there was not much, if any, professionalism left in the german army on December 16th 1944. The Germans didn't even come near to reaching any of the objectives they had set for the third day of the offensive! There was any Chance at all, not even the slightest, that the offensive could have succeeded! The only one who took any advantage of it was Stalin!
     
  10. SKYLINEDRIVE

    SKYLINEDRIVE Member

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    Sorry again, and no offense meant, but the BoB was as far away from "Blitzkrieg" then a Mexican Bordello from a Nunnery!
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    A few comments on the list.
    Not the first time that has happened. William the Bastard did it with one battle in 1066. The Campaigns of Timujin are IMO far more impressive.

    More intense that Iwo Jima or Okinawa? How about Anzio?

    What are your criteria for defineing "largest"? Didn't Stalingrad involve more forces?

    If Leyte Gulf is considered a battle I think you will find there were more ships and more tonnage of ships involved. If you look at the number of ships actually engaged other battles may also surpass Midway, the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" for instance.

    The US had experianced Blitzkrieg or German attempts at it far earlier. Kasserine Pass comes to mind.

    I'm not sure I can consider dropping one bomb an epic battle even if it was an atomic bomb.
     
  12. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

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    Sorry I also forgot to mention Battles of Imphal and Kohima in 1944. Definetely epic battles that saved a considerable chunk of Indian frontier and sustained supply of Nationalist Chinese armies possible. Why Burma Campaign gets short shift I have no idea.
     
  13. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Dogfather beat me to it, well played sir. Stalingrad, if we are talking ETO. I would also put Anzio high on thelist, the entire push through Italy. Not the most brutal by sheer numbers, but when complete battalions are decimated fighting in the mountains against the SS, it can't be ignored.
     
  14. DangerousBob

    DangerousBob New Member

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    The BoB was not a Blitz on the size or scale of previous ones. But it was a Blitzkrieg none the less. It employed the same tactic of speed, surprise, penetration and rear encirclement that was standard for the Blitz. Even though Germany lacked the resources to pull it off at this point.
     
  15. DangerousBob

    DangerousBob New Member

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    This list is just my personal opinion. Of course its arguable. :)
    The only thing I will say is that Kursk and Stalingrad could both qualify as Largest Battle of the War.
    Stalingrad was unique for its type of urban warfare.
    And I'd defiantly put Iwo Jima up on that list too.
     
  16. DangerousBob

    DangerousBob New Member

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    I was just saying that Stalingrad was unique for its type of urban warfare.
     
  17. Big Daddy

    Big Daddy Member

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    When I hear the word "epic" used, I think of the literal definition...an epic is in fact a long poem. Though there is nothing poetic about it, the sustained bombing campaign by the allied air forces over the course of the war definitely was long (and deadly). I can't rhyme off the losses suffered by the American campaign but know all too well the damage done to the personnel of RAF Bomber Command. Of the 120,000 who served, 55,573 were killed. Of those who were flying at the beginning of the war, only ten percent survived. It is a loss rate comparable only to the worst slaughter of the First World War trenches. Only the Nazi U-Boat force suffered a higher casualty rate. On the night of March 31,1944 alone, during a raid on Nuremberg, 106 aircraft were lost, each with a crew of seven. The losses Bomber Command suffered on that single raid outstripped all of those suffered by Fighter Command during the entire Battle of Britain.

    I once read a comment by a surviving RAF airman who said, "Most soldiers only saw two or maybe three major battles during the entire war. We faced one every night." The lifespan of an average RAF bomber crew was about 6 weeks or 12 missions and a tour of duty was 35. The mental strain alone was more than many could bear, climbing into a cramped bomber night after night for another 7, 8 or 10 hour mission, knowing that each successful raid brought you closer to that magic number.

    Every one of the battles mentioned so far in this thread were indeed bloody and savage and crucial to the outcome of the war but, in my humble opinion, none were more epic than that fought in the skies every night over Europe by the young men of Bomber Command.
     
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  18. SKYLINEDRIVE

    SKYLINEDRIVE Member

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    Hitler dreamed about these things, I keep on dreaming about J-Lo's bum...but in real life I will never get to lay a hand on it.

    It's not a question of scale! There was no possibility to apply Blitzkrieg tactics until you had secured Bastogne and, to the north, the Meuse river crossings. Then the Wehrmacht would have had to build enough bridges over the Our and Sauer rivers and keep the Ardennes roads, that were in an horrible shape, open for the logistical effort to keep the advancing tanks supplied! Even if the Germans had succeeded in this, they had not even a tenth of the trucks needed to keep supplies flowing. Then tell me what forces were supposed to stabilize the shoulders of the attack? Was Ike supposed to fall asleep for two months?

    Be aware that even in May 1940 there was no Blitzkrieg in the Ardennes!! There was an unopposed road march on a road net in peace time conditions during dry weather!
     
  19. DangerousBob

    DangerousBob New Member

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    Ummm.. ok. Like I said Germany lacked the resources to pull it off. But even with the lack of what they had they still managed to inflict a lot of damage to the American lines.
     
  20. SKYLINEDRIVE

    SKYLINEDRIVE Member

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    Sorry, it's nothing personal, I feel silly always contradicting you! But they did a lot less damage to the US Army then losses they suffered themselves, as well in personnel as in material. For the Germans it was their last few chips to bargain with where as for the US they were able to replace their losses in a few weeks or a month time. But it was a huge shock for the US Army and had the potential to end in a huge blow to the Allied morale, fortunately the propaganda effort of the Allied war machine was quite efficient! But it was an important Battle of WWII, the biggest in the ETO! For me personally, as I lived my whole life on the Bulge Battlefield, studied the subject for more then thirty years and met many US veterans, or nowadays their children and grandchildren, it sure is an epic one.
     

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