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What are the top 5 bloodiest battles in terms of British casualties?

What are the top 5 bloodiest battles in terms of British casualties?

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I have done a bit of research and it seems the Somme, Towton and maybe Bannockburn are up there? Any more to throw into the mix?

Great site by the way!

List of battles by casualties

I have made a list using this wikipedia article named List of battles by casualties and have simply removed the ones involving Brits and put them in to order from one to five, and added one extra.

One to five

  1. Battle of the Somme. 1 July 1916 - 18 November 1916. 420,000 British casualties
  2. Spring offensive. 21 March - 18 July 1918. 418,374 British casualties.
  3. Battle of Passchendaele. 31 July - 10 November 1917. Approx 300,000 British casualties
  4. Battle of Watling street. 61 AD. 80,000 British casualties.
  5. Burma campaign. 14 December 1941 - 13 September 1945. 28,878 British killed and missing.
  6. Battle of Towton. 29 March 1461. 28,000 disputed casualties

You might want to consider following battles as bloodiest for British armies. Please note I am not considering a day-by-day casualties count, but the total casualties for a battle.

  • The Somme battle: classic, you cite that one already. A long and bloody battle, with I think some top day by day casualties count
  • Battle of Ypres (WW1 as well)
  • German Michael offensive on British forces
  • Battle of Lys, a few days after the Michael offensive
  • Battle of Normandy: long and blooy battle, because the British forces, as well as Commonwealth forces, handled so much offensives against German forces
  • Market Garden operation (Arnhem battle) : heavy losses on airborne and armoured forces

Some good candidates:

  • I suspect the Pedestal operation has suffered very high casualties, considering the high number of sunk ships and the inhability to control the battlefield after the fight
  • Battle of Gandamak, 1st war of Afghanistan: a good candidate for the Asiatic zone, with 15 000 casualties including about 4 500 soldiers.
  • 1917 year of air battles: a very hard year for the Royal Air Force, with numerous losses. A lot of deaths for air forces, but not as a number
  • Raid on Nuremberg: A lot of deaths for air forces, but not as a number

The Deadliest Battles In The History Of The World

War has existed, in some form or another, for about as long as humans have walked the Earth. It doesn't matter who you were — whether you were an early human stalking the Serengeti, a Roman senator at the height of the Empire, a peasant in feudal China, a colonist in early America — simply put, unless you're very, very lucky, you're going to be familiar with conflict.

Over the last century or so, however, mankind has truly excelled in the pursuit of death and destruction. The battles that have defined our more recent wars have been drawn out, vast, and devastating to soldiers, civilians, and the environment alike. These are the deadliest clashes in the history of the world — battles in which the death tolls reach the high hundreds of thousands, if not the millions — and every single one of them comes since the beginning of the 20th century. There are more people around to kill, plus people really have gotten good at all this killing.

5 Battle of France: 1940, World War II

On May 10, 1940 the Nazi war machine rolled into France and began Hitler’s all out assault on an historical enemy. For nearly a month and a half the Nazi’s utilized their highly successful blitzkrieg warfare and urban combat to force the French Army and members of the British Expeditionary Force to retreat all the way to the English Channel. By June 22, a mere 43 days after the battle for France began, an armistice was signed between Germany and France, carving the country into two zones, one occupied by Hitler, the other by Mussolini’s Italy. All told, the battle was decisively won by Germany, with France suffering over 350,000 casualties to Germany’s 150,000. A further 2 million French soldiers were captured and made prisoners of war. For France, the country remained occupied by the Nazi’s until D-Day in 1944.

10 of the Bloodiest Battles of World War II

When World War II swept through Europe and pulled in all of the major powers around the globe, it left oceans of blood in its wake. Having taken approximately 50 million lives, it's said to be the bloodiest war known to history [source: Chatterjee].

The war began with German dictator Adolf Hitler's rise to power and hostile invasion of Poland in 1939. Germany, Italy, Japan and other countries made up the Axis powers. The opposing side was the Allies, which consisted of powerful nations like Britain, France, the USSR and the United States. The conflict didn't end until 1945, after the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

When you consider that these world powers were using technologically advanced explosives and weapons built to be efficient killing machines, it comes as no surprise that the war featured some of the bloodiest battles ever. We've gathered some of the most significant battles of violent conflict, each one costing thousands -- and in some cases millions -- of lives.

As we go over each one, take note that the exact numbers of casualties (which can include not only the number of dead, but injured, sick and missing) are disputed and vary among sources. Also, the term "battle" isn't strictly defined. Some use it only to refer to shorter conflicts that take place in a confined area, while others have a looser definition that includes large-scale operations or military campaigns.

We'll start with one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific theater.

Although most of the battles in this list took place in the European and Russian theaters of the war, the island of Okinawa was the site for one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific theater. This conflict, which is considered the biggest land-air-sea battle ever, spanned several months and claimed the lives of thousands on each side [source: Feifer].

Controlled by the Japanese, Okinawa (the largest of the Ryukyu Islands) was a key strategic location that the United States sought in its campaign against Japan. The U.S. forces invaded in March 1945. The Japanese responded with devastating air attacks using kamikaze pilots who intentionally steered their planes into U.S. ships. The Japanese also held back on launching their major ground counterattack until U.S. troops got more inland and out of range of naval support [source: Encyclopaedia Britannica]. Although the U.S. troops eventually prevailed, it took months of bitter fighting that didn't end until June.

More than 100,000 Japanese soldiers and 12,000 American soldiers died in Okinawa. This isn't including those wounded, which for the U.S. forces amounted to 36,000 soldiers [source: Encyclopaedia Britannica]. Tragically, some estimate that Okinawan civilians made up 150,000 of the dead left in the battle's wake [source: Feifer].

9: The Invasion of Normandy

As one of the most famous battles ever, the invasion of Normandy was also among the bloodiest. This long-awaited Allied invasion into Nazi-occupied territory was a pivotal victory for the Allies.

The offensive launched on the morning of June 6, 1944, now known simply as D-Day. British, U.S. and Canadian troops landed on five beaches along the shore of Normandy. From the early morning hours, the Allies used air support to bomb the German troops stationed there. Although it was meant to be a surprise, German forces were somewhat prepared for an invasion and didn't go down without a gruesome fight. As the months wore on, the Allies fought for control of Norman towns, including Cherbourg and Caen.

The whole invasion spanned several months and lasted until the end of August. Casualties were high on both sides: Estimates peg German casualties at a staggering 320,000 (30,000 dead, 80,000 wounded and the rest missing) and Allied casualties at about 230,000 (more than 45,000 dead) [source: Encyclopaedia Britannica].

After the invasion of Normandy, things were looking up for the Allied troops as they marched into Belgium. They hoped to find a significantly weakened Nazi defense. Unexpectedly, however, the Axis forces launched a huge counteroffensive on the Allies as they were making their way through the thick Belgian forest in the bitterly cold winter of 1944.

In December 1944, Allied air support was grounded as a result of the bad weather, and Hitler's forces seized the opportunity to strike. For a few weeks, the Nazi troops and their tiger tanks prevailed, having pushed Allied forces back several miles. However, by Christmas, the tide had turned, and by mid-January, the Allies had fought their way back to their original position in the Ardennes Forest. The battle turned out to be a failed last-ditch effort on Hitler's part to regain an upper hand in the war.

Some have called this battle the bloodiest for Americans, as 19,000 U.S. soldiers lost their lives and more than 70,000 were wounded or went missing. For comparison, of the 12,000 British casualties, 200 were killed [source: Goldstein]. The Germans likewise suffered heavily with about 100,000 casualties [source: Miles].

By mid­-1942, Nazis set their eyes on Stalingrad, a city that stretches along the Volga River. It was an industrial city that not only produced military supplies but also would serve as a key strategic hold in their invasion of Russia. The Nazis attacked the city with air raids and came on the ground with more than 150,000 soldiers and about 500 tanks [source: Roberts].

The Nazi commanders expected a relatively easy win, but a relentless Soviet army held strong. The battle raged for about five months as streets filled with machine gunfire. By November, Soviets launched a significant counterattack to keep the invaders at bay. The German forces exhausted, they surrendered (against Hitler's wishes) by February 1943.

This was a decisive battle that changed the tone of the war in favor of the Allies. And although the Soviets won, they also suffered more casualties than their enemies in the process. Axis forces had about 800,000 casualties, compared to more than 1 million on the Soviet side. In addition, about 40,000 civilians died in the conflict.

Like we mentioned earlier, historians and scholars sometimes use the term "battle" loosely. Keep this in mind when we tell you that the Battle of Leningrad, also known as the Siege of Leningrad, was fought over the course of years -- a span of time commonly rounded up to 900 days. It lasted from September 1941 to January 1944.

Not just soldiers, but anyone who was able -- men, women and children -- were called upon to help build protection along the city's borders that would deter the approaching Nazi tanks. Although it took years of fierce, violent warfare, the Soviet army and civilians were able to hold back the Germans and prevent total destruction of the city.

As you might expect from a battle that lasted longer than some wars have, the number of deaths was astronomical. Most horrific is that more than 1 million civilians lost their lives as a result of the conflict [source: Collins]. This number made up about one-third of the local population at the time. Some fell victim to warfare directly, others from disease, freezing to death or starvation -- Nazi forces blockaded the city to prevent the people from receiving supplies. The Soviet army lost more than 1 million lives as well, not including more than 2 million sick or injured [source: Glantz]. The number of German casualties is disputed, but ranges in the hundred thousands.

To give you an idea of just how costly this siege was, consider this startling fact: More Russians lost their lives in Leningrad than Americans and British combined in the entire war [source: Reynolds].

The invasion of Poland was the first battle of World War II and was actually a running conflict -- a string of many battles fought through the country to Germany's east and Russia's west. But because it was frequently difficult to discern where one battle stopped and another started, many historians lump the invasion of Poland into one great, bloody rout.

Basically, the invasion was the result of a pact between Germany and Russia to overrun and divide Poland. Poland, trapped in the middle between these two ambitious powers, never really had a chance.

On Sept. 1, 1939, the Germans attacked Poland from the west, and the Polish forces retreated directly into the hands of the Russians, who were waiting to attack from behind. Caught in the crossfire of this secret pact between their neighbors and awaiting aid from France and the United Kingdom that never came, 65,000 soldiers from Poland's 950,000-strong military force were killed, more than 133,000 were wounded and the rest were considered captured. Fifty-nine thousand soldiers from the USSR and Germany were killed or wounded [source: The Atlantic Monthly].

The marriage between the USSR and Germany soon soured, and Germany took the whole of Poland and a swath of eastern USSR that extended nearly to Moscow. This meant that in 1944, as the Third Reich crumbled, the USSR was particularly enthusiastic about sticking it to its one-time ally. The bloody task of chasing Germany from eastern USSR and Poland lasted from June 22 to Aug. 19, 1944 and was called Operation Bagration.

In a way, it was the ultimate table-turning on the German forces. The USSR's push through Poland coincided with the Allies' push through France, which meant that German forces had to fight ahead and behind -- just like Poland had been forced to do in 1939.

In fact, the operation was the manifestation of an interesting, fairly new Soviet strategy called Deep Operations (among other names). With this strategy, instead of consolidating their hold on wide areas of land taken from Germany, Soviet troops stayed relatively narrow in order to push deep into German territory. Striking deep at the heart of Nazi Germany, the Soviets hoped, would do more strategically than consolidating gains at the edges.

So it was that in mid-August 1944, the Soviets reached the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland, just as the Polish resistance had itself risen up against the Nazis. All told, Operation Bagration took 350,000 German and 765,000 Soviet troops [source: History.net]. But even with the Third Reich in its death throes, it would take many more thousands of Allied and Axis lives before the war ended.

Though the number of troops killed on Iwo Jima doesn't rival some of World War II's other battles, the battle is notable for the percentage of troops killed. On Iwo Jima, Japanese troops fought to the death -- of the nearly 22,000 Japanese troops who started the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner. The rest were killed. With 26,000 U.S. troops killed or injured, the Battle of Iwo Jima is the only clash of World War II in which U.S. casualties outnumbered Japanese casualties [source: Military.com].

The battle began on Feb. 19, 1945, and it was immediately clear that U.S. troops were facing a resolute and well-prepared enemy. The island, whose name means "sulfur island" in Japanese, smelled like just that, and concealed a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Troops recalled that after fighting a bloody battle to take a hill, they would soon find themselves facing an enemy that had tunneled beneath them to the rear. Within the island's highest mountain, Mount Suribachi, at 556 feet (169 meters) above sea level, the Japanese had dug a seven-story base filled with weapons and supplies [source: History.net].

The battle for this small island took 36 days [source: History.net]. In fact, the classic picture of U.S. Marines raising a flag on Mount Suribachi was taken in the early days of the battle, with still a month to fight. As with the Vietnam War, the U.S. troops were adept at taking a defined objective like the Mount, but had more difficulty mopping up the less defined targets of underground and embedded troops.

In the early spring of 1945, the Soviet Army streamed toward Berlin, where Adolph Hitler was dug in amid the ramshackle remains of his once-great Third Reich. A trapped animal has two options -- play dead or fight -- and Hitler chose the second. Fueled by German propaganda that highlighted the wake of destruction left by Soviet troops on their march through Prussia, the German people felt their only option was to fight to the death alongside their megalomaniacal leader.

As Soviet troops encircled the city, Hitler readied Wehrmacht (defensive forces), Volkssturm (militia), Waffen-SS (elite police force), and thousands of Hitler Youth (boys age 14 to 18) for a desperate last stand. In all, there were 300,000 German troops. The Soviet forces, on the other hand, numbered in the millions [source: BBC].

On April 20th, 1945 the Soviet shelling began. If softening the target was the Soviet objective, they could take heart in knowing the target was already plenty soft: Years of allied bombing had left the German city of Berlin looking more like the idiomatic cheese from Switzerland. And so, only a couple days after shelling started, it effectively stopped as Soviet troops took the city.

Hitler and many of his followers committed suicide, and the Battle of Berlin officially ended on May 2, 1945. However, the fear of surrendering to the Soviets was so strong that the Germans continued fighting in hopes of breaking through the Soviet siege in order to surrender to Western forces instead of the USSR.

The cost to the Soviets was more than 70,000 men (many believe that number could have been fewer had Russian generals not been so eager to capture Berlin before the United States) [source: BBC]. Nearly 250,000 Germans died.

It's estimated that up to 2 million German women were raped by Red Army Soviet soldiers during the last six months of World War II, and about 100,000 of those women lived in Berlin [source: BBC]. The second wave of Red Army Soviet troops that came through Germany are blamed for the bulk of this violence.

In terms of bloody World War II battles, it's hard to leave the Eastern Front, where the clash of Germany and the USSR left nearly 15 million military dead and at least double that number of civilians. But let's leave Germany and the USSR alone for a moment to look at a very interesting World War II battle -- the Battle of Singapore.

The island of Singapore was the gold standard British outpost in Southeast Asia, but the story really starts with China. In 1942, the Japanese were deeply mired in the Second Sino-Japanese War and to their troubles the Allies added a trade embargo. Japan needed resources, and its best shot at these resources was in Southeast Asia.

In 1941 (nearly simultaneous with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), the Japanese beat the British out of Malaya and then turned their sights on Singapore. The story was this: Despite being outnumbered more than two-to-one, the Japanese had superior air power and military intelligence. It was a battle of a tactical David against a technologically inferior Goliath and unfortunately for the Allies, the British (and their Australian allies) were the bigger, slower party.

Aided by air supremacy, the Japanese exploited holes in the defense to infiltrate the island and in exactly a week -- Feb. 8 to Feb. 15, 1942 -- had taken it. Five thousand British and Australian troops were killed or wounded, but the real toll on Allied troops were the 80,000 who went to Japanese prison camps, the vast majority of whom would never make it home. In addition, after the battle, the Japanese massacred ethnic Chinese on the island [source: Asia-Pacific Journal].

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Despite being outnumbered by two Russian field armies, the Germans managed to inflict a huge defeat on the Russians at Tannenberg, decimating the second army, and annihilating the majority of the first army.

The German's ability to rapidly deploy their troops by train, was remarkable. The Russians suffered 170,000 casualties to the Germans 12,000.


9. Battle of Arras

278,000 total casualties

The Labyrinth, Arras, France. The British Army dug a huge system of tunnels beneath the German lines at Arras in preparation for an assault launched in April 1917. Photo / Getty

By 1917, the Western Front had been at a stalemate for two years. Both sides had already incurred millions of casualties, thanks in large part to battles at Verdun and the Somme. The Allied high command needed to break the German lines, so formed a plan to assault the trenches at the town of Arras. These were a maze of trenches stretching from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border.

This battle was tactically a British victory, but didn't result in the breakthrough the Allies had hoped for. The Allies lost 158,000 casualties in the assault, to a German loss of 120,000. This battle was considered indecisive.

8. The Gallipoli Campaign

473,000 total casualties

A salute to the fallen on the 99th anniversary of Gallipoli land campaign held at the New Zealand National Memorial during ANZAC day on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. Photo /Getty


During this campaign the Australian and New Zealand soldiers began to see themselves as a separate and unique country from Britain.

By 1915 casualties had mounted and the allies decided to open up a second front. Sir Winston Churchill decided on an attack on the Dardanelles in modern-day Turkey to threaten the Ottoman capital of Constantinople.

The hope was this would help break the deadlock on the Western Front, and bring relief to the beleaguered Russians by opening up a sea route for resupply.

Initial naval attacks failed and the allies decided on an assault to crush the Ottoman army. The Turkish troops resisted and the allies became bogged down on the beaches.

The Gallipoli front eventually bogged down into the same trench warfare as seen on the Western Front as British, Australian and New Zealand forces clashed with the Turks, trying to break out of their beachheads.

The allies ended up losing 220,000 men to the Turks 253,000, and the Ottoman Empire earned a stunning victory.


7. The First Battle of the Marnes

483,000 total casualties

Fought from 5-12 September, 1914, this battle put an end to the German offensive that went on for a month. It opened up the war which had by then reached the outskirts of Paris.

Six French field armies and one British counterattacked the Germans along the Marne River and forced the German Imperial Army to relinquish their push toward Paris and retreat northeast.

Despite the Allied victory, the battle was costly the allies suffered 263,000 casualties, and the Germans 220,000.

This battle forced the Germans to retreat and begin building fortifications, which resulted in the allies responding and the infamous trench warfare.

6. The Serbian Campaign

633,500+ total casualties


Unknown Soldier Tomb of Avala, Belgrade. Photo / Thinkstock

The Serbian Campaign began with the Austrian shelling of Belgrade on 29 July, 1914, followed by a military invasion of Austria-Hungary into Serbia on 12 August.

The Serbians took heavy losses during this campaign, their army of 420,000 was decimated to around 100,000.

The Serbians lost a total of 1,1000,000 during the war - soldiers and civilians. This represented about 27% of Serbia's overall population, about 60% of their male population.

5. The Battle of Passchendaele

848,614 total casualties estimated

Also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, the aim of the battle was to breakthrough at the village of Passchendaele in West Flanders, Belgium and beat back the Germans.


Soldiers fought under miserable conditions, and both sides suffered major casualties. The battle only allowed the British to acquire small territorial gains for their efforts.

Mud was a constant feature of the landscape, bogging down tanks and even drowning men. The allies lost a total of 448,614 men to the Germans 400,000.

4. The Battle of Verdun

976,000 total casualties

This battle was fought between the German and French armies between 21 February, 1916 to 18 December, 1916.

The French managed to recapture most of the ground they lost to the Germans, including Fort Douaumont, but lost some 542,000 casualties, while the Germans lost some 435,000.

Nearly 40 million artillery shells were exchanged during the battle, marking the area with craters which are still visible to this day.


Verdun was to the French and Germans what the Somme was to the British a symbol of the horrors of war, and of the futility of World War I.

3. Battle of the Somme

1,219,201 total casualties

The Battle Of The Somme. Photo / Getty

This battle took place between 1 July to 18 November, 1916. Battles took place on both sides of the Somme River in France. The Somme is remembered as an example of the senseless slaughters of the war.

The battle was an Allied victory, but they paid a heavy price of 623,906 casualties, including 100 tanks and 782 aircraft. The Germans lost nearly 600,000 men.

The British prepared for the offensive with a massive several day artillery barrage on the German lines. On the opening day of the battle, the British suffered 60,000 casualties including the death of 19,240 in one day. It was the greatest single day loss of life in the history of the British Army. The battle was strategically important to the allies, as it forced the Germans to withdraw 40 miles and later set the stage for the final victory in 1918.


2. The Spring Offensive

1,539,715 total casualties

This battle began on 21 March, 1918. During this offensive, deep advances by both sides took place.

The allies managed to halt the advance of the Germans who lost more than 680,000 because of their push toward ending the war. Most German losses were to the storm trooper units.

The allies lost more than 850,000. The Battle of Belleau Wood which occurred during this offensive became one of the most famous battles in American history. It was where the US Marines engaged the Germans and stopped them cold.

1. Hundred Days Offensive

1,855,369 total casualties

This series of offensives occurred during the final period of WWI. It began on 8 August and went until November, 1918.


The result of this offense was a resounding success for the allies which broke the German Army.

The Germans sustained heavy casualties, 785.733, but the allies paid dearly losing a total of 1,069,636 casualties, including 127,000 Americans.

The loss and collapse of the German Empire resulted in humiliating and demanding terms in the peace treaty.

Operation Bagration

With total casualties of over 1.1 million, Operation Bagration was one of the worst military disasters in history. Operation Bagration was a code name of the Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation to clear German forces from the Belorussian SSR and eastern Poland during World War II.

The operation resulted in the devastation of 28 of 38 German Army divisions. About 350,000 to 400,000 men from the German Army were killed, wounded or captured. It was treated as the defeat resulting in the most German armed forces casualties in World War II.

The Red Army suffered more than 770,000 casualties, of which 180,000 were killed or missing in the action, and over 590,000 men were wounded. The Soviet forces liberated a large amount of their territory from Germany and significantly destroyed the German Army Group Centre.

6. Serbian Campaign (633,500+ total casualties)

Just about every schoolchild knows that World War I started when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princep. They also know that shortly thereafter, Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia, causing the Russians to declare war on Austria-Hungary, and then the Germans to declare War on Russia, and then so on and so forth. The Serbian Campaign opened with the Austrian shelling of Belgrade on July 29, 1914, followed by the military invasion of Serbia on August 12. Despite being outnumbered, the Serbians managed to blunt the Austrian invasion for most of 1914 and into 1915, when the Germans and Bulgarians joined the Austrians in the effort to conquer Serbia and launched a new offensive, culminated in the Battle of Kosovo in November and December of 1915, where the Serbian army was finally broken and Serbia crushed. The campaign was horrendously bloody for both sides, with the Austrians, Germans and Bulgarians losing a combined 313,500 casualties, and the Serbians losing over 320,000.

10 of Histories Bloodiest Battles: The Battle of the Somme

Today we are looking at something a little more gory so I hope no one is squeamish. Over ten days we will be looking at ten of the most destructive and deadly battles from ancient feuds to the modern world’s bloodiest conflicts.

The Battle of the Somme (1 July – 18 November 1914)

Who fought who? – British Empire and France V German Empire
Casualties – British Empire and France: 623,907, German Empire: 400,000 – 500,000
Legacy – General Haig learned the wrong lessons and became convinced the strategy of attrition was a successful one. He also earned the nickname ‘The Butcher of the Somme.’

Seeing as it is the centenary of the First World War, The Monster thought it might be appropriate to start here.

In terms of numbers of bodies, the Battle of the Somme represents one of the bloodiest massacres in history, most due to the sheer number of troops involved on either side. By July 1916 the war had been dragging on for over two years without a breakthrough for anyone. Troops were stuck firmly in their trenches on either side of the perilous stretch of land between them, known as ‘no mans land.’

Sir Douglas Haig, Supreme commander of the British Army in the battle was convinced that the only way to break this stalemate was an all out offensive at the German trenches, the largest in the history of war. The plan was to literally blast the German army out of their trenches and into obliteration, then all the Allied forces would have to do was stroll across no man’s land and pick off the rest of the army.

The German trenches were heavily fortified and furthermore, not all of the shells fired by the Allies detonated (they are still finding them today). The barbed wire remained intact which provided another obstacle in reaching the German trenches and the Allies did literally stroll across no man’s land.

On the first day of the battle alone, 70,000 allied men were either killed or wounded when they were cut down by German machine guns or fired upon with artillery shells. Over the course of the battle the British army itself lost 420,000 soldiers, the French lost 200,000 men and the Germans lost between 400,000 – 500,000.

Whether the allies gained anything from the battle of the Somme is still up for debate. Eventually attrition wore down the Germans and eventually restricted their ability to wage war on other fronts. However the allies made no significant land gain as a direct result of the Somme. It was around a 30 mile land gain, 7 miles deep at it’s maximum.

Did the allies make a gain because of the Somme? Was it avoidable? Was the First World War even worth it in the first place? These are debates which will flying around all year. I’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below if you want to get involved.

Casualties: 1,000,000
The Battle of Moscow is the name given by Soviet historians to two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km (370 mi) sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler’s attack on Moscow, capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the largest Soviet city. Moscow was one of the primary military and political objectives for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union.

Casualties: 1,300,000
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European theatre of World War II.
Following the Vistulader Offensive of January to February 1945, the Red Army had temporarily halted on a line 60 km (37 mi) east of Berlin. On 9 March, Germany established its defence plan for the city with Operation Clausewitz. The first defensive preparations at the outskirts of Berlin were made on 20 March, under the newly appointed commander of Army Group Vistula, General Gotthard Heinrici.

Top 10 Bloodiest and Costliest Battles of World War II

World War II, the largest armed conflict in history, started in the year 1939 and ended in 1945 and spanned the entire world with its battles. With new technology and weaponry, the Second World War produced around 60 million deaths. What follows is an account of ten bloodiest battles of World War II.

World War II, the largest armed conflict in history, started in the year 1939 and ended in 1945 and spanned the entire world with its battles. With new technology and weaponry, the Second World War produced around 60 million deaths. What follows is an account of ten bloodiest battles of World War II.

Did You Know?

During the World War II, the Allies dropped around 3.4 million tons of bombs, which is an average of approximately 27,700 tons of bombs per month.

The origin of the Second World War can be traced back to the instability and conflicts created by the First World War. The World War II broke out two decades later and was fought between two groups of countries. On one side, it was the Axis Powers including Germany, Italy, and Japan and the other side had the Allies, including France, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, Canada, India, China, and the United States of America.

The Second World War started on September 1, 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. The war continued for six years after that and finally ended on September 2, 1945 with the official surrender of Japan. The war was fought in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. The conflict took many lives and destroyed cities and countries around the globe compared to the previous wars.

10 Bloodiest Battles of World War II

World War II has seen the bloodiest battles in human history creating an ocean of blood. Practically, the whole world was in a state of war and produced around 60 million deaths and countless lives destroyed. Enlisted in this Historyplex article are the ten bloodiest battles fought during the World War II.

Battle of Stalingrad

Fought Between: Germany and Soviet Union

Battle Duration: August 23, 1942 – February 2, 1943

The Battle of Stalingrad was fought between the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union to acquire Stalingrad. The battle was a major push on the Eastern front by Germany, which marked terrible losses, making it the bloodiest battle of all time. Stalingrad, being a transport hub, was a gateway to the Caucasus region, which had reserves of oil. The Germans attacked Luftwaffe through a series of bombings, which wrecked Stalingrad. This, however, made way for an unneeded landscape. Germany expected an easy win however, they were held up in a brutal house-to-house fighting with the Soviets. They had control of over 90% of the city, but they couldn’t untangle themselves from some stubborn Soviet soldiers.

In November 1942, the Red Army attacked the Germany forces, surrounding them from all sides. However, Hitler tried to hold back the German forces from making a retreat. At the same time, the intense cold weather and starvation were taking its toll on the Germans. By February 1943, when the German soldiers couldn’t break free, the Soviet Union won the battle with both sides suffering huge casualties. This battle ensued the death and capture of more than a quarter-million German soldiers, and the Caucasus region with rich oil reserves was denied to the Nazis.

Battle of Berlin

Fought Between: Germany and Soviet Union

Battle Duration: April 16, 1945 – May 2, 1945

The battle of Berlin brought along with it the end of the Second World War. The last major battle claimed a lot of lives and saw the fall of Germany along with Hitler and his followers committing suicide. The Soviet army reached River Oder by pushing their way across Poland, where they outnumbered the German soldiers in terms of men and ammunition. By the time, the Soviet soldiers made their way into Berlin, the Germans had no option but to send inexperienced youth members, people who were old, and followers of Hitler to take on the Russians. Even though the Germans had lost all the advantage, Hitler still planned the defense of the city himself by entrusting faith in the German 12th Army that had moved back from the western front.

The Germans who fought the battle were provided with anti-tank weaponry and employed hit-and-run tactics to overpower the Russian tanks. Over 2 million artillery shells were fired in Berlin, because of which Russia’s vast tanks were of little value in the debris-filled streets. The Soviets destroyed an entire building if they were attacked from within or outside the building. The devastation was too much to take, and finally, in May 1945, the city of Berlin surrendered to the Russians, bringing an end to the World War II in Europe. Germany conceded defeat without subject to any condition.

Battle of Moscow

Fought Between: Nazi Germany and Soviet Union

Battle Duration: October 2, 1941 – January 7, 1942

The capital city, Moscow was always considered an important center, both politically and militarily. Germany believed that capturing Moscow will crush the spirit of the Red Army, and Moscow will be at Germany’s mercy. The German forces code-named it as Operation Typhoon and planned two offensives. One was to the north of Moscow against Kalinin Front, while the other was to the south of Moscow Oblast. Over a million men were assigned for the operation. The 2nd, 4th, and the 9th army along with the three Panzer Groups – 2nd, 3rd and 4th – were committed for the battle. They were also supported by the Luftwaffe’s Luftflotte 2 (Air Fleet 2). The primal stages of Operation Barbarossa brought tremendous success to the Nazis and calamity to the Russians. Germany was on the brink of success – about 28 Russian divisions went out of action while another 70 odd divisions lost half of their men including equipment.

However, Hitler’s dreams were shattered as they had to face fierce and strategic resistance from Russia. The harsh winter temperatures made it impossible for Germany to take over Moscow. After weeks of harsh climatic conditions, the Red Army counterattacked and forced the German forces to retreat more than hundred miles away from Moscow. Even after Russia won the battle, both sides faced huge devastation and human loss. Before planning this battle, many of the German officials had warned Hitler about the harsh winters and reminded him of the Napoleon retreat, but all went in vain.

Battle of Narva

Fought Between: Germany and Soviet Union

Battle Duration: February 2, 1944 – August 10, 1944

The Estonian country of Narva Isthmus was a valuable territory to the Soviet Armed Forces, and both sides (Germans and Russians) were stuck in a fierce battle to take over it. The intense battle continued for some months and finally ended when Hitler evacuated all his troops from Estonia. The main reason behind this battle was that Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union wanted the Narva region to create an air base, so that he could plan the invasion of Prussia, which was not achieved.

The battle took place in the northern section of the Eastern Front, which was divided into two phases – Battle of Narva Bridgehead and the Battle of Tannenberg Line. The Estonians helped the German forces in their resistance movement with the hope of creating a national army and making their country independent. The Narva battle is known among the intense battles that World War II has seen. After fighting for several months and facing terrible losses, Hitler evacuated all his troops from Estonia. After the defensive victory of the Germans, Narva was declared as a free nation until the Soviet Union took over the territory after the war had ended.

Battle of France

Fought Between: France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Poland versus Germany and Italy

Battle Duration: May 10, 1940 – June 25, 1940

Also called the Fall of France, this battle showcased the successful invasion of the Germans into France and the Low countries. After the successful invasion of Poland, Hitler had his interests towards the West. His main goal was to invade the Soviet Union, so he began by taking small steps, defeating Low countries, like the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. The Battle of France took place at the start of the World War when neither sides were incredibly serious in terms of military actions. When the battle started, Germany was outnumbered by the Allies forces however, the German plans were so effective that the number created no changes.

Once Germany took over the Low countries, they had to face the French and British army head-on. The first operation was called Fall Gelb (Case Yellow). In this, the German units made their way through the Ardennes and surrounded the Allied units that had entered Belgium. With the British and French forces being forced to push back to the sea, the British Expeditory Force withdrew. This was followed by Germany’s second operation called Fall Rot (Case Red) wherein the Germans overpowered the depleted French forces. During the battle of France, the French and British forces were evacuated, and as a result, the western and northern regions of France were declared as German-occupied zones. After the battle, Germany was free to plan knocking-out strategies against Britain.

Battle of Kursk

Fought Between: Germany and Soviet Union

Battle Duration: German offensive: July 5-16, 1943 Soviet offensive: July 12, 1943 – August 23, 1943

The battle of Kursk took place right after the battle of Stalingrad, which recorded the largest series of tank clashes in the entire war. This battle also saw the costliest single day of aerial conflict in the warfare history. It consisted of more than 6,000 tanks and 4,000 aircraft with approximately two million fighting men. The war was actually an attempt made by the German forces to get on the offensive after their terrible loss in the battle of Stalingrad. The German forces named it as “Operation Citadel”, while the Soviet Union named it “Operation Polkovodets Rumjantsev” (for the offensive) and “Operation Kutuzov” (for the defensive).

The German forces had strategic plans to explode the Red Army, but were waiting for their new weaponry to arrive. Meanwhile, the Red Army got more time for preparing for the battle and counterattacked with their deep anti-tank defenses, wiping out the German forces. It was the first time for German forces where their strategic offensives had to be stopped and destroyed even before they could break through it.

Battle of Luzon

Fought Between: United States and Philippines versus Japan

Battle Duration: January 9, 1945 – August 15, 1945

The battle of Luzon was fought by the Allied forces of the US, Philippines, and Mexico against Japan as a part of the Pacific Theater of Operations, wherein the US and Filipinos gained victory. Capturing Philippines from Japan was of great importance, as it could have created a threat to the US. When the battle started, the US aircraft attacked the southern Luzon with the intention to deceive the Japanese forces that the attack will be from the southern side. However, the Japanese General Yamashita had already built defensive positions in northern Luzon as well.

The landing forces of the Allies had to face severe opposition from the Japanese Kamikaze aircraft. After a couple of months from when the battle started, the Allies had already taken over major parts of Luzon, but had to fight with small troops of Japan until the unconditional surrender of Japanese empire. In this battle, Japan had to face too many casualties than that of the Allied forces.

Second Battle of Kharkov

Fought Between: Germany, Romania, and Italy versus the Soviet Union

Battle Duration: May 12, 1942 – May 28, 1942

Kharkov was a pivotal location on the Eastern Front, and the city had seen a series of fights when it had been captured by the Germans. When the Red Army attacked Kharkov, unfortunately they had to face a fierce return attack from the German 6th Army. The battle started with the Soviet forces’ sudden attack from the Barvenkovo bulge (Soviet Union’s offensive staging area) in the region nearby Kharkov.

The Soviet forces underestimated the potential of the German 6th Army under the command of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus. In the initial three days, the Red Army pushed the Germans away from Moscow, but later, were encircled and destroyed with huge number of casualties. The victory of Kharkov inflated the German’s confidence to quite an extent.

Battle of the Bulge

Fought Between: France, United Kingdom, Belgium, United States, and Canada versus Germany

Battle Duration: December 16, 1944 – January 25, 1945

With the deteriorating situation on the Western Front, Hitler decided to develop a plan that will include a Blitzkrieg-style attack, so as to acquire his ultimate goal of compelling the US and Britain to sign separate peace treaties. If this goal was achieved, then the German forces could focus on taking over the Soviet Union. This battle was the last massive attack launched by Nazi Germany against the Allies. The battle had been plotted with the intention of breaking the alliance of France, the US, and Britain. The name ‘Bulge’ was given by Britain, because of the bulge in the map where the allied line was broken by the German forces.

Towards the end of World War II, the German troops launched an offensive attack through the forests of Ardennes region in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front. The Allied troops were completely caught off guard by the German attack. A fierce battle ensued wherein the Allied forces put up resistance around the Elsenborn Ridge (in the north) and around Bastogne (in the south), blocking access to northwest and north roads for the German troops, which they had depended upon for their victory. This delayed the German troops from advancing further. Also, with the weather conditions improving, the Allied forces launched air attacks on the Germans, which led to the fall of the German offensive. This battle was amongst the largest battles fought in the American war history with a lot of bloodshed.

Battle of Monte Cassino

Fought Between: Free French Forces, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Poland, New Zealand, India, and Italian Royalist Army versus Germany and Italian Social Republic

Battle Duration: January 17, 1944 – May 18, 1944

The Battle of Monte Cassino is known as one of the toughest battles to be fought in the course of the Second World War. The main reason behind fighting this war was to break the German’s Gustav Line and capture Rome. The 1,400-year-old monastery of Monte Cassino, which stood in the center of the defensive line of Germans made four divisions of battles and took place in the month of January, February, March, and finally ended in May.

The Allied forces had to face many obstacles in order to take over Rome as there were only two roads leading towards the city – via Appia and Casilina, which had impregnable German forces. At the end of the battle, the Allies took over the city of Rome but had to pay quite a huge price in terms of casualties.

* The casualty numbers are an approximate figure.

The World War II proved to be the most devastating war, taking millions of lives. The political alignment was altered, and to prevent further conflicts, the United Nations (UN) was established.

The 10 Bloodiest Battles Of World War One

2018 marks the hundred year anniversary of the conclusion of the First World War, easily one of the most important and, rather sadly, one of the bloodiest the globe has ever seen. For the very first time in history, the entire world felt the full force of modern warfare in some form or another with new strategies and technologies coupling to ramp up the size of battles and skirmishes to an entirely unimaginable level. The war that was meant to be over by christmas ended up scarring the world in ways never before imaginable.

#1 Battle of Tannenberg

Quite possibly the most lopsided and decisive battle of the entire conflict, the battle of Tannenberg dominated the Russian front in the war's first month (August 1914) and would leave a scar on the Russian military that it never truly recovered from. Led by the famous duo generals Von Hindenburg and Ludendorff, the German army defeated the numerically superior Russians, inflicting a massive 170,000 casualties on their enemy and capturing countless amounts of valuable supplies.

#2 The Battle of Arras

A largely forgotten battle when stacked next to the 'blockbuster' battles of the Somme and Verdun for example, the battle of Arras marked itself on history's blood books with a total amount of nearly 300,000 casualties on both sides. Weary of the conflict and aware of their superior numbers, it was hoped that an Allied offensive by British and French forces in 1917 would bring the vital blow that would knock Germany out of the war.

#3 Gallipoli Campaign

The most pointless slaughter in British military history, the Gallipoli campaign was a programme designed to relieve pressure on the European theatres of the war by going through and knocking out the Turkish Ottoman Empire. In a showing of military incompetence that resulted from arrogant racial beliefs about their enemies general mishandling of offensives and stubbornness towards admitting defeat, the Gallipoli campaign resulted in nearly 500,000 casualties on both sides.

#4 The First Battle of the Marne

In what would later be called the 'Miracle of the Marne' the first battle of the Marne was the battle that came to define the Western Front of the First World War. In what was essentially a last-ditch effort to halt the German advance any further into France, the battle marked the first time British forces were used in the conflict. Despite the juggernaut of the German army gaining the initial upper hand, the battle resulted in a substantial victory for the French and the Allies as both sides dug in and prepared for four years of trench warfare.

#5 The Serbian Campaign

Serbia had been right at the heart of the action in the years preluding the First World War and was the number one enemy of both the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. With the war's outbreak, it was clear that Serbia would feel the full force of the Central Powers. With support from Germany and Bulgaria on one side and Britain and France on the other, the Serbian Campaign proved to be a bloody and long-winded battle for those wishing to occupy the country, with Serbia, and all her peoples, being absolutely decimated in the process.

#6 The Battle of Passchendaele

With a total casualty list of 850,000, it seems like a crime that a battle as bloody as Passchendaele has largely been forgotten by most in society. With some of the most horrific conditions seen across the entire war, the battle is seen by many as the personification of the ineptitude of the Allied generals during the war. In a series of Allied 'bite and hold' operations of small territorial gains, the battle would also come to symbolise the grind and bloody nature of trench warfare.

#7 Battle of Verdun

Perhaps the most famous battle in the entire war along with the Somme, the Battle of Verdun was born from a German strategy of 'bleeding the French' out of the war. That is to say, inflict the maximum amount of damage on a culturally iconic spot until it is impossible for the French to remain in the war. If nothing else comes to symbolise the severe brutality of modern warfare, the Battle of Verdun's total casualty list of nearly a million men should continue to put a bloody mark on the history books for those who read them.

#8 The Battle of the Somme

The most infamous and bloody battle in British military history, the Battle of the Somme has come to symbolise the entire conflict for those on the Western trench front of the war. Losing 60,000 casualties in the first day alone, the Somme was meant to be the attack that would eventually lead to the end of the war and remains one of the most audaciously large offensives of the entire conflict. With over a million casualties across both sides of the conflict, its place in infamy is well deserved.

#9 Spring Offensive of 1918

Depleted, weary and all too aware of an incoming wave of fresh American troops, the Spring Offensive of 1918 was the German's one final roll of the dice in trying to push for a victory. Like battering against a rotten wooden door, the Germans initially made some really good progress and it looked like the fate of the war might have been decided. However, the German supply trains could not keep up with the fast paced nature of the assault and the Allies were allowed to dig in and defend their positions. In total, over the spring offensive, there was over 1.5 million casualties.

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