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5 Forgotten Battles of World War 2

August 16, 2007

These are often overshadowed by more famous battles (follow the links for more info):

1). Khalkin Gol (May-August, 1938)-This series of skirmishes between Russian and Japanese Armies ended in the latter’s defeat, and brought to prominence the Soviet hero/general Zhukov. Technically fought before the war, the Japanese failure before superior Russian tactics led to Tokyo’s decision not to participate in the German invasion of 1941.

2). Operation Compass (December, 1940-March, 1941)-British General Wavell’s North African Offensive against the Italians. Conducted by Lt. General O’Connor’s Western Desert Force of never more than 3 divisions and 30,000 troops destroyed an enemy force of 9 divisions and captured 130,000 Italians. This huge early victory by the British was soon dimmed by the German counteroffensive led by the famed General Erwin Rommel.

3). Milne Bay (August 25-September 5, 1942)-Australian troops turned back a Japanese amphibious invasion, inflicting first major land defeat on the Jap Army, thus buying time for General MacArthur’s long road back to the Philippines.

4). Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (November 12-15, 1942)-A series of sea fights between American/Japanese carrier and surface forces, also included one of the last battleships vs. battleship engagements in history. Americans won effective control of the waters around the island, insuring victory in the land battle.

5). Battle of Tunisia (May 3-13, 1943)-Allied assault on the last Axis stronghold in North Africa is often overshadowed by the earlier Battle of Stalingrad. A similar number of enemy troops were bagged by British/US forces, including 275,000 versus 300,000 for Russia.

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