List of World War II military operations

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This is a list of known World War II era codenames for military operations and missions commonly associated with World War II. As of 2022 this is not a comprehensive list, but most major operations that Axis and Allied combatants engaged in are included, and also operations that involved neutral nation states. Operations are categorised according to the theater of operations, and an attempt has been made to cover all aspects of significant events. Operations contained in the Western Front category have been listed by year. Operations that follow the cessation of hostilities and those that occurred in the pre-war period are also included. Operations are listed alphabetically, and where multiple aspects are involved these are listed inline.

Flags used are those of the time period.


Excludes North African campaigns

Atlantic Ocean[edit]

Includes North Sea and Arctic Ocean operations and actions against naval vessels in harbour

Eastern Front[edit]

Mediterranean Sea[edit]

South West Pacific and Pacific Ocean[edit]


South West, South, and South East Asia[edit]

Includes operations in Iraq, Syria, Iran, India, Burma, Malaya and Indo-China, and the Indian Ocean

Scandinavia and Finland[edit]




Western Front[edit]




  • Alsos ("Grove") (1940–1945) United States United Kingdom – Allied efforts to gather data on German nuclear fission developments.
    • Big (1945) – capture of an atomic pile at Haigerloch.
    • Harborage (1945) United States – US sweep up of German atomic assets ahead of French occupation.
    • Epsilon (1945) United Kingdom – Eavesdropping on incarcerated German scientists.
  • Aphrodite (1944) United States The use of B-17 bombers as radio-controlled missiles.
  • Backfire (1945) United Kingdom – launches of captured V-2 rockets.
  • Hawkeye (1944) United StatesRadar research by US Navy.
  • Lusty (1945) United StatesUnited Kingdom – US actions to capture German scientific documents, facilities and aircraft.
  • Manhattan Project (1941–1945) United States – program to build an atomic bomb.
  • Most III ("Bridge III") (1944) Poland United Kingdom – transfer of captured V-2 components from occupied Poland to Britain. Also known as Wildhorn III.
  • Paperclip (1945–) United States – capture of scientists, technical and German rocketry. Originally Operation Overcast sometimes called Project Paperclip.
  • Surgeon (1945–) United Kingdom – Similar to Paperclip; program to exploit German aeronautical scientific advances.
  • Stella Polaris (1944–) Finland Sweden transfer of Finnish SIGINT, equipment, and personnel to Sweden following end of the Continuation war in 1944.
  • TICOM ("Target Intelligence Committee") (1945–) United States – seizure of intelligence apparatus, in particular cryptographic assets. See also Stella Polaris.

Special Operations Executive[edit]

  • Operation Jedburgh (1944) United KingdomUnited StatesFree FranceBelgiumDutch government-in-exile – SOE, OSS, and Free French-Belgian-Dutch exiles parachuted into France, the Netherlands and Belgium to perform guerrilla warfare.

Partisan operations[edit]

Includes some operations by regular forces in support of partisans

Anti-partisan operations[edit]



  • Bernhard (1944) Nazi Germany— German plan to damage British economy using forged British banknotes.
  • Elster ("Magpie") (1944) Nazi Germany – landings of German agents on the US east coast with objective of gathering intelligence on Manhattan Project
  • Haudegen ("Broadsword") (1944) Nazi Germany – German intelligence collection in Spitzbergen, Norway
  • Hummer ("Lobster") series (1940 onwards) Nazi Germany – insertion of German agents into Britain. See also Hummer I
  • Kadella (1945) Nazi Germany – airdrop of agents near Marseilles
  • Plan Kathleen (1941) Nazi Germany – plan sent by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to Germany seeking support for activities. Dubbed "Artus" by German Foreign Ministry. See IRA Abwehr World War II for all IRA Abwehr involvement.
  • Karneval (1945) Nazi Germany – airdrop of agents near Brussels and Waal
  • Mosul (1944) Nazi Germany – air drop of agents and supplies near Mosul
  • Pastorius (1942) Nazi Germany – separate landings of German agents on the US east coast with objective of industrial sabotage.
  • Perlen-fischer (1945) Nazi Germany – airdrop of agents near Paris
  • Salaam (1942) Nazi Germany – insertion of German agents into the British-occupied Kingdom of Egypt
  • Seemöwe ("Seagull") series (1940 onwards) Nazi Germany – insertion of German agents into Britain and Ireland. See also Seagull I and Seagull II.
  • Taube ("Dove/Pigeon") (1940) Nazi Germany – mission to transport IRA Chief of Staff Seán Russell from Germany back to Ireland.
  • Wal ("Whale") (1940) Nazi Germany – aborted German plan to foster links with Scottish and Welsh nationalist groups.
  • Walfisch ("Whale") (1940) Nazi Germany – aborted German plan to land an agent in Ireland.



  • Alpenfestung Nazi Germany – plan for Nazi national Redoubt in Alps.
    • Werwolf (1945–50) Nazi Germany – guerrilla force to resist occupation by Allies.
  • Big Bang (1947) United Kingdom – demolition of defences of Heligoland
  • Bracelet (1942) United Kingdom – Churchill's flight to Cairo and Moscow.
  • Catapult (1940) United Kingdom – Royal Navy actions to seize, disable or destroy the French fleet after France's surrender.
  • Downfall (1945) United States – Proposed Allied plan for the invasion of Japan.
  • Operation Sunrise (1945) Nazi Germany United Kingdom Switzerland United States – negotiations leading to German surrender in Italy.
  • Eiche ("Oak") (1943) Nazi Germany – German rescue from custody of Benito Mussolini
  • Frantic (1943) – The use of Soviet airfields by western Allied bombers.
  • Feuerzauber ("Fire Magic") (1936–39) – Transfer of planes, engineers, and pilots to nationalist forces during Spanish Civil War.
    • Rügen (1937) Nazi Germany – Bombing of Guernica.
    • Bodden (1937–43) Nazi GermanyAbwehr intelligence gathering system operating from Spain and Morocco.
    • Ursula (1936–1939) Nazi GermanyKriegsmarine U-boat operations in support of Francoist and Italian navies.
  • Gaff (1944) – attempt to kill Erwin Rommel
  • Halyard (1944) – Non-combat Allied airlift behind Axis lines in Yugoslavia
  • Jericho (1944) – Allied aircraft bombed Amiens prison in German-occupied France to aid Resistance prison escape
  • Keelhaul (1945) United States United Kingdom – forced repatriation to the Soviet Union, by the western Allies, of Soviet prisoners of war
  • Magic Carpet (1945–1946) United States – American post-war operation to transport US military personnel home
  • Manna (1945) – Allied air drops of food to famine-ravaged Netherlands, with German cooperation
  • Margarethe (1944) Nazi Germany – German occupation of Hungary. Döme Sztójay, an avid supporter of the Nazis, became the new Hungarian Prime Minister with the aid of a Nazi military governor.
  • Panzerfaust/Eisenfaust ("Armored Fist") (1944) Nazi Germany – Kidnap of Hungarian leader Miklós Horthy's son to prevent defection of Hungary from Axis.
  • Peking (1939) Poland – removal of Polish warships to Britain, in advance of German invasion
  • Pied Piper (1939) United Kingdom – evacuation of children from British cities.
  • Rabat (1943) Nazi Germany – Plan to kidnap the Pope and diplomatic corp. from Vatican City.
  • Regenbogen ("Rainbow") (1945) Nazi Germany – rescinded order to scuttle Kriegsmarine.
  • Rösselsprung ("Knights Move") (1944) Nazi Germany – German attempt to capture Josip Broz Tito
  • Safehaven (1944) – allied efforts to capture fleeing Nazis and seize German resources abroad
  • Symbol (1943) United Kingdom – Churchill's flight to Casablanca.
  • Tabarin (1943) United Kingdom – British Antarctic expedition.
  • Operation Walküre ("Valkyrie") (1944) Nazi Germany – Plan to deal with general breakdown of civil order within Germany following the death of Hitler and the seizure of power by other Nazi officials or the SS; a cover for clandestine action by the German resistance.
  • Worek ("Sack") (1939) PolandPolish naval defence of the Polish coast
  • Rainbow War Plans (1920s–30s) United States – Global US War planning between the World Wars.

Propaganda, war crimes, and genocide[edit]


  1. ^ pp. 138–139, Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand [1]
  2. ^ Clemens, Peter (1998-12-01). "Operation 'cardinal': The OSS in Manchuria, August 1945". Intelligence and National Security. 13 (4): 71–106. doi:10.1080/02684529808432505. ISSN 0268-4527.
  3. ^ Streifer, Bill (2011). "Operation Cardinal: "…So You Must Be a Spy"". American Intelligence Journal. 29 (2): 75–79. ISSN 0883-072X. JSTOR 26201953.
  4. ^ Streifer, Bill. "Operation Cardinal: OSS in Manchuria". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links[edit]