Talk:List of theaters and campaigns of World War II

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Geographic confusion[edit]

Excuse me while I catch my breath, but where is it stated as correct that Norway is part of the Baltic states??? I realize that in some extremely wide geographical definitions of the Baltic region (even here in Wikipedia, alas) Norway is listed, but still it gives a close-to (if not totally) erroneous picture of the area. When referring to the Baltic states, however, one always means the former Soviet republics (and as of last midnight, brand new EU members) of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, located along the eastern Baltic sea coast between Russia and Poland...

I therefore strongly suggest that, in this article's list and the corresponding 'listbox', Operation Weserübung is assigned to a theatre of war called Scandinavia (or less good, Nordic region). Anything else would be totally misleading, no matter what some sources might state. --Wernher 22:32, 30 Apr 2004 (UTC)

You appear to be quite right. The correction is made and I'll make it on the msgbox that's meant to replace this page as well. Oberiko 22:57, 30 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Thanks, that was lightning quick! Just one more nitpicking maneuver: the usage is more like Invasion of Scandinavia, i.e. without the the article in it. For the listbox, just the word Scandinavia is best for denoting the Scandinavian theatre. BTW, thanks for the work on the campaign and theatre classification; it makes Wikipedia much more navigable. :-) I'm thinking of establishing some similar stuff for some other Wikipedia areas I care about. --Wernher 01:06, 1 May 2004 (UTC)

It was not an invasion of Scandinavia because Sweeden was neutral. It was an invasion of Denmark and Norway. Philip Baird Shearer 22:58, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Spanish Civil War[edit]

Why is the Spanish Civil War considered contemporaneous? DJ Clayworth 19:04, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)


I think that it is useful to put the initial phases of the European Theatre under Blitzkrieg because they were German initiated and with the exception of the Battle of Britain German victories.

  • Blitzkrieg
    • Battle of Poland (Fall Weiss)
    • Phony War
    • Invasion of Denmark and Norway (Operation Weserübung)
    • Battle of France (Fall Gelb)
    • Battle of Britain (Operation Sealion Unternehmen Seelöwe )
    • Balkans Campaign (Operation Marita)

I would not include Eastern Front because although Operation Barbarossa started as a Blitzkrieg it rapidaly became a war of attrition. Philip Baird Shearer 22:58, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I would disagree with them all being listed under Blitzkrieg, which is a method of waging war, not really a campaign or theatre in and of itself. IMO, all the campaigns listed above should be recorded seperately and indepedantly of each other. Oberiko 01:30, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Blitzkrieg is, indeed, neither a campaign nor a theater. john k (talk) 22:46, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Western Front[edit]

The North West Europe Campaign if it refers to anything was the British Canadian push of 44-45. But the Americans fought on a wide front not a narrow one. For example those troops who landed on French med coast (US Seventh Army) in operation Operation Dragoon fought on the Western Front not the "North West European Front". Also the US front stretched from Belgium to Switzerland so if WWI had a Western Front so did WWII. Philip Baird Shearer 20:06, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Sino-Sino-Japanese War[edit]

Once the Western allies came into the war they were allied with the nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek (who declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbour,) the war was not a concurrent war but part of the Allied Pacific Asian War against Japan. Indeed several Nationalist Divisions fought under the US General Stilwell in Burma alongside British, Indian, and US units. As the Sino-Japanese war started before to be consistent it could be considered as also being a Pre-WW2 Philip Baird Shearer 20:21, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Becoming US concentric[edit]

User:Oberiko Let's talk about the list of campaings for the Western Front and Italy that you are putting together because they seem like names which are very US concentric. I suggest that we talk about it on List of Talk:List_of_World_War_II_theaters_and_campaigns. Philip Baird Shearer 22:44, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

For example if you look at a web page like: you will see no mention of the Rhineland campaign and a lot about battle honours in Belgium and Dutch towns. Also you will notice that British campaign honours are all North West Europe by year. If ever you have travelled around North East France, Benelux and North West Germany, you would know that describing campaigns by country is a very artificial thing to do.

There are similar problems in my opinion with Italy.

Typically a campaign would be a pan to overcome an obstacle (either man-made or natural), onece a breakthrought is made run with it until the next obstacle is met and then start planning another campaign. --Philip Baird Shearer 23:07, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Right now we don't have any names for these actions at all. At the very least these are official names for the campaigns which apply to all Western Allies (even if US-concentric).
The North-West Europe Campaign, on the other hand, applies only to Commonwealth forces. The British naming system which has this also seems lack names for actions outside of Commonwealth forces (For example, which campaign does Operation Dragoon fall under? The Battle of Hurtgen Forest? etc.).
We're going to end up having to choose naming conventions for these campaigns at some time, as they certainly merit articles. The American ones seem to have the best system for this, as pretty much every day of the Western European Campaign is allotted into a specific campaign which, IMO, not only helps break it down considerably, but flows quite logically.
The American naming conventions also seem, to me at least, a bit more widespread then just to the US. The Canadians seem to, at the very least, aknowledge them [1].
In any case, I see no problem with articles being written up for both. The North-West European Campaign can focus on the Commonwealth's actions, where as the American names can cover the entire thing. Oberiko 01:17, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

As V-E Day came, Allied forces in Western Europe [not including Italy] consisted of 4 ½ million men, including 9 armies (5 of them American—one of which, the Fifteenth, saw action only at the last), 23 corps, 91 divisions (61 of them American), 6 tactical air commands (4 American), and 2 strategic air forces (1 American). The Allies had 28,000 combat aircraft, of which 14,845 were American, and they had brought into Western Europe more than 970,000 vehicles and 18 million tons of supplies. At the same time they were achieving final victory in Italy with 18 divisions (7 of them American). [2]

As Chuchill named Operation Dragoon (because he was dragooned into it) and British troops took part in it, I would have to check that one ;-) But seriously I am not suggesting that we use exclusivly British/Commonwelth names for the campaings. All I am saying is that I do not think that it is a good idea to shoe horn all the action into what are US campaign names. For a start US campaign names seem to be an adminstrative convinience which may or may not fit onto the operations and campaigns which took place and at best they only cover the action of 3/4 of all the allied troops which took part. In Italy it was slightly under half the troops for most of the campaign.

To use an example which are already in existance, it would look odd putting the Western Desert Campaign under the US campaign name of Egypt-Libya Campaign particularly if that start date was used!

I do not think that sperate articles should be written up for both, in the real world the Front was an intergrated one. The continual tensions between the broad front and the narrow front help to explain the dynamics of who did what when. For example Operation Market Garden slowed down the southern thrust of the, two predominatly American, southern Army Groups because they were staved of supplies. The squabble over who was crossing the Rhine when ment that the Americans did not exploit their initial crossing as they ought to have been able too. The two operations "Operation Veritable" (Canadian) and "Operation Grenade" (American) were meant to be two claws of a pincer movement, it would seem odd writing those up seperatly etc. It thing with the breakout and destruction of the German Army in France. Why do you think that American campaign names should be used to "cover the entire thing"? Do the American issue battle honours? Why not have 3 campaigns: 44; winter 44/45; and 45? Philip Baird Shearer 13:33, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

From my reading, it seems to me that just three isn't quite enough, each of the Campaigns that I've got listed so far already have entire books dedicated to them, as do most of the battles that they contain.
I agree that the front was an integrated one, that's why I like the American names in this circumstance, as I thought they covered everyone and everything (all actions under SHAEF). I'm curious though, you say that the American names only include roughly 3/4 of all action that took place. What's not included? Unless there were army groups outside of the 21st, 12th and 6th that I'm not aware of, I don't see it missing anything, not including partisans or other irregulars of course.
In your scenario of the Western Desert Campaign, for example, USAAF operations in the Egypt-Libya Campaign were contained within the WDC, and, IMO, should be listed under it. (ie, Egypt-Libya is the "child" of WDC, just as the WDC is the child of the North African Campaign).
For the most part, I don't quite understand the aversion to using the American names though. Seeing that we (argueably) can't use the Commonwealth names, we'd then end up having to use arbitrary names for the various campaigns and movements that took place. To me, it just seems a bit strange to not use the naming conventions which are already well established and understood, official (even if not to all) and non-exclusive. It's basically the same reason why I voted to change Eastern Front (WWII) to Great Patriotic War, even though I'm willing to bet the Germans, Fins and other Axis likely never called it that. Oberiko 19:20, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

You see we do things for different reasons. I voted for the move because what is there at the moment is an article on the German-Russian War. For me the Eastern Front like the Western Front includes everything that happened on that front from 1939-1945. It does not start half way through the war as it does at the moment. It also includes Partisan Yugoslavia which tied down half a dozen German divisions. Once it is renamed there can be an article like the one you wrote for NA with redirects to as many articles as are needed to cover all the conflicts which took place on that front.

I think you will find that the American names are not SHAEF names but ETOUSA which although similar are not the same thing. I will be interested to see if you have a source which says that is not so. Because campaign medals tend to get issued with the rations, and issue rations to US forces is what ETOUSA did once SHAEF was formed.

As to 3 campaigns. Campaigns by season are just a valid as campaigns by region, both of which are far better than campaign by country in Western Europe. Philip Baird Shearer 21:48, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Are there SHAEF campaign names? And since the actions of the British, Canadian and French forces are included within the given campaigns, who exactly is being excluded?
I also don't think these names are quite as limited to being only American either. Several prominant Canadian sites ([3], Veterans Affairs Canada), also seem to use the term.
Regardless, I still don't see the problem with having both. How about if we label the campaigns here that merit it as being the American naming convention and then add the other naming conventions as well?
Last, even if the Campaigns are American-named only, I still believe they merit articles. Oberiko 01:25, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I suppose it depends on how you view the fighting of 1944-1945. I tend to think it is better done by campaign season which is the traditional way that wars have been fought and discribed in Europe for generations (and there may be several campaigns within a season and a number of battles which are not in any planned campaign). You think it is better to use the American names. I do not think that we are going to agree on this. But as you are the driving force in this area at the moment you view will probably prevail.

However I would like you to consider the following which sums up why I think your method can cause confusion because you have to shoehorn in events to fit the naming convintion. In the Rhineland Campaign there is the sentence "Antwerp, a major port captured during the Northern France Campaign" which is a perfect demonstration of what I mean.

I do not think that one can talk about a "Northern France Campaign" because it covers more than just Northern France and a don't think you can talk about a Rhineland Campaign because geographically does not include north of Luxemburg through or the area near the Swiss BoarderPhilip Baird Shearer 19:23, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I was thinking about that, and I've willing to go with one of two routes: Either moving the actions of the Northern Group of Armies to the North-West European Campaign (ie: Antwerp, a major port captured earlier in the North-West European Campaign) or taking up your suggestion of breaking it down differently.
I'm not really to keen on doing it by season though, as to me a campaign is more of a phase or string of actions then a temporal thing. Would you be willing to agree to the following breakdown? (These are the phases, not names I have in mind)
  • Normandy landings + beachhead
  • Southern France landings + beachhead
  • Pursuit across France (including nations in North West Europe like Holland)
  • Battles at/around the West Wall
  • Ardennes Offensive
  • Invasion of Germany
I'll admit, it follows a similar flow layout to the ETO campaigns, as to me they seem quite logical, but I think our biggest rift currently is the naming scheme, which I would like to reach an agreement with you on.
I also think we should come up with one for the 1944-1945 Western Europe Campaign as a whole. I'm not very fond of "Western Front (1944-1945)", because at this point we're describing one continuous campaign, but I'm willing to concede if we can have a seperate page for it. Oberiko 21:01, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It is not that it is temporal view that I suggest seasons, the weather really does tend to force campaigning seasons on warfare in Europe. But I am not absolutely fixed on that naming system and no other.

So (1 2) how about taking the NFLandings and SFLandings and run them until the command of the SFL passes to SHAEF or the destruction of the Falaise pocket which ever comes later?

3) Pursuit across France/NWE through to the battles around the Weswall. BTW the British tend to call it the Siegfried Line, because there was a popular song at the start of WWII: "We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line, if the Siegfried Line's sill there". So something including "Pursuit and Breach" might be a good name. 4) Ardennes Counter-Offensive I think that is a better name :-) 5 To the Rhine (Includes the destruction of the German armies to the west of the Rhine (battle of the Rhinelands) 6 Over the Rhine/Invasion of Germany (don't forget North East Holland and Denmark).

As for the name for an overview most people I suspect would recognise the name Western Front because it was what Stalin repeatedly called for. As there is already a Western Front (WWII) document why not modify it for what is needed? If not then put it into a new document called the West European Campaign (1944-1945) AND reference it in the Western Front (WWII) document? --Philip Baird Shearer 22:17, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Nomonhan Incident[edit]

I think this should be included here, although it was very small border "war" between Japan and Soviet Union, it had it's merits inhibiting Japan to attack Soviet Union 1941 and as it was contemporary with final negotiations for Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the start of Polish campaign (Fall Weiss). --Whiskey 22:24, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure if it's considered concurrent or not, since it occurs before the Polish September Campaign. Perhaps we need some kind of "related war" category, where we could also include the Spanish Civil War. Oberiko 02:27, 4 Dec 2004

Included as Pre-WW2 Soviet-Japanese Border War (1939). It also should be mentioned because it was those troops, who with the combat experiance against the Japanese, which lead the winter counter attack in December 1941 outside Moscow. One of the most important engagements of World War II.

It should not be included as contemporary because it was all over bar the shouting by the time WWII started and to do so is confusing. Philip Baird Shearer 11:16, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It is hard to say. Zhukov's offiencive was on the way at he time negotiations for Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact were in critical phase, and even with Sorge Stalin has no way to know if Japanese were escalating the conflict. Only after the start of Polish campaign did they announce their willingness to ceasefire. So, in the worst case, Soviet Union would have faced two-front war already 1939. I'd still say contemporary, but it is only my opinion. --Whiskey 20:05, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The other problem is that it invovles the Japanese, and the starting date of the Asian Theatre of World War II is a bit sketchy. Probably safest just to leave it as pre-WWII though, since Poland is usually accepted as the beginning. Oberiko 23:25, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Theatres then Campaigns[edit]

I would like to reorganize this list so that it is sorted by theatres first, then by campaigns within that theatre.

My proposed theatres are:

  • Western Europe (France, Britain)
  • Eastern Europe (Poland, Soviet Union)
  • Scandinavia (Norway, Finland)
  • Mediterranean (North Africa, Italy, Balkans and the Mediterranean Sea)
  • Oceana
  • East / South-East Asia
  • Atlantic

I recognize that there will be overlap, but for conflicts that are part of two of the above theatres (like the Continuation War) we'll have to discuss it in both. Any comments? Oberiko 14:36, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think it would be better to organise it by Allied command/theatre. For example what about the Middle East, Iraq and Iran they are sort of part of the Mediterranean not not by that name? I suggest breaking the Mediterranean into two Middle East and Mediterranean depending where the HQ was based for a particular campaign. If Allied supreame command was in Cairo then it should be Middle East and if it was under AFHQ then in the Mediterranean.
  • It splits the Mediterranean quite neatly into the command areas for the Royal Navy early in the war, between Alexandra and Gibralta.
  • Scandinavia should be split in to the east and western fronts/theatres and not treated as one because Finland faced east whilst the Norway faced west. For example Norway was part of the Atlantic Wall while Finland was involved in the siege of Leningrad.
  • The Balkans have to be split by campaign. The early campaign fits into the Middle East theatre (because allied command was in Cairo) but the later ones should be in the East because Tito was allied to the Soviets.
  • Rumania and the rest of that area were primarily fighting the Soviets so it comes under that theatre.
  • Germany and Austria is then split into western front and eastern front.
  • Denmark from April 1945 is in the western theatre/front.
  • This would solve the problem with the Far East and the short lived ABDACOM.
  • Strategic bombing should be placed into their own theatres, Europe and Asia. See Operation Matterhorn and the Twentieth Air Force.
This is also the way most interested people in the English speaking world tend to naturally think about the split even if they do not formally think about it as designating campaign by the command structure.
It also helps to place an command structure (and/or command time line) at the start of a theatre/campaign as a seperate section, because often the command structure and organisation changed as the war progressed. Doing this cleared up the misunderstanding about whether The Med was a seperate 'theater' from the Western Europe which arose because of Dwight Eisenhower's multiple command appointments. This must be a big help for someone who learn history in a none English speaking counrty, to understand why English Wikipeadia divides up the theatres in the common English speaking world view.
If Poland can be moved into the Eastern Theatre/Front so much the better but if that is not possible (See Talk:Eastern Front (WWII) then we should keep the division between early German successes under Blitzkrieg and the later Eastern and Western Fronts. Philip Baird Shearer 20:39, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The main problem I have with the Allied command route is that it tends to be volatile, shifting considerably as the war progresses, especially since the Americans and the Commonwealth didn't always use the same system. That's why I'd rather it be more geographical based (perhaps theatre was the wrong word for me to use earlier then).
My primary motivation is for the wikireader project. I'd like a lay out that can easily be broken into chapters for the users to sort through. While I'll fully agree that the going by command theatres is more accurate, it's also more complex.
I will concede on the elimation of the Scandinavian theatre though, and place Norway and Finland in the West and East respectively. That's still mostly accurate and greatly simplifies the conflicts and combatants in both cases.
With that said, I'm still not entirely sure that geography should be a greater sorting factor then time. Logically, any book on World War II would likely start with Poland and then move on to France. The only geographical solution to that would be a Central European theatre which would then include the annexation of Autria, Czechoslovakia as well as Poland. That just leads to another problem with the latter stages of the Axis-Soviet War though.
I also concede that we may not be able to sync this list and chapter progression of the wikireader project up, as they may end up having to go by year instead of campaigns. Still, I think it's worth a shot.
Also, I'm still against the Blitzkrieg grouping, as, to me, I see that as a phase of the war (European Theatre up to (including?) Barbarossa) rather then a specific theatre/campaign. While going by time/phase is perfectly acceptable, for the remainder of the campaigns we've gone primarily by geography. It just seems a bit inconsistent to me. Oberiko 01:29, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I do not agree that there is much difference between USA and Commonwealth views because once the USA was in the war most theatres and commands were under a joint supreme commander. The problem particularly in the Med/Middle East are pre-USA entry into the war. Forget Rhineland, Austria, Czechoslovakia as they are pre-war. It seems to me that although we may look at things from different perspectives that in practice there are only a few areas where there is a substantive difference between chronology and geography, particularly if Scandinavia is split East West. I think in Europe we should use the terms eastern and western fronts because they are the popular terms. Italy remains a seperate campaign. The areas were I think we need further thought are:

  1. Poland 1939 -- As I said solve the dispute over the Eastern Front and then you can rearrange this one from Blitzkrieg. If you can come up with a way of differentiating the western front between years by campaign. Perhaps: Phony War, Invasion of Denmark and Norway, Battle of France, Battle of Britain, Raiding, Liberation of Western Europe and invasion of Germany.
  2. The Middle East -- Med
  3. Strategic bombing.
  4. Balkans (a) up to the battle of Crete. (b) Tito.
  5. ABDACOM -- I would include it in both South-West Pacific Area and South-East Asia
  6. There are reasonably good arguments for splitting the Far East into
    1. Pacific -- two major American commands/theaters
    2. South-East Asia
    3. China

What are your thoughts on these specific areas given that there is already a hiarachy of Documents as outlined in the Template:WWIITheatre

World WarII,
Pacific War, European Theatre of World War II

etc --Philip Baird Shearer 13:32, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I strongly suggest a merge...[edit]

During my work on a general template for World War II (Template:World War II) I've discovered that the information on military engagements during WWII was spread out on a number of different lists and pseudo-articles. Therefore I decided to merge all these into one single list, called List of military engagements of World War II. It is MUCH more easier to have a single comprehensive list on which we all can work together, rather than a number of lists, with different groups of people working on diferrent lists. I've seen to that the new list does not repeat itself (except certain large campaigns which act as headers for sub-battles). I have currently joined the following lists into the new list:

Therefore I strongly suggest we redirect THIS list to [[ ]], and start working on that one instead, together.

My regards, Dennis Nilsson. Dna-Dennis 21:57, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I am againts this one article in the shape it is in because it is already warns at the top of an edit "This page is 39 kilobytes long. This may be longer than is preferable; see article size." and many of the lists are by no means complete For example there were 100s of bomber raids like the one listed at the moment. Here are the major raids by the RAF for Just April 1945:
  • April 1st, Mannheim by 478 aircraft;
  • 2nd, Cologne 858 aircraft;
  • 3rd, Kamen 234, Dortmund-Ems Canal, 220;
  • 4th, small raids; 5-6th, Chemnitz 760, smaller raids 1,223;
  • 6th-7th, small raids;
  • 7-8th, Dessau 526, Hemmingstedt 256, Harburg 234 (SROT 1,276);
  • 8-9th, Hamburg 312 Kassel 262 (SROT 805);
  • 10th small raids;
  • 11th Essen 1,079 aircraft;
  • 12th Dortmund 1,079;
  • 13th Wuppertal and Barmen 354;
  • 14th, Herne and Gelsenkirchen 195, Datteln and Hattingen (near Bochum) 169;
  • 14-15th, Lützkendorf 244, Zweibrücken 230 (smaller raids 812 sorties);
  • 15-16th, Hagen 267, Misburg 257 (smaller raids 729);
  • 16-17th, Nuremburg 231, Würzburg 225 (smaller raids 171);
  • 17-18th, small day raids of total of 300 aircraft;
  • 18-19th Witten 324, 277 Hanau (smaller raids 844);
  • 19th, No. 617 Squadron RAF using six Grand Slams hit the railway viaduct at Arnsberg;
  • 20-21st, Böhlen 224, Hemmingstedt 166 (smaller raids 675).
  • 21st was 497;
  • 21-22nd was 536, the
  • 22nd daytime total was 708.
  • daylight on the 23rd, about 300 bombers carried out small raids.
  • 23-24th, 195 Lancasters and 23 Mosquitos from 5 and 8 Groups carried out the last raid on the town of Wesel. The attack was part of 537 sorties flown as tactical attacks in support of the British Army’s crossing of the Rhine on the 24th.
  • On April 25th there were attacks on towns with communication support for German troops defending the Rhine: Hanover 267, Munster 175, Osnabruck 156.
  • On the 27th, there were attacks on Paderborn 268, Hamm area 150 and smaller raids 541.
  • On the 31st Hamburg was attacked by 469 aircraft.
The page List of military engagements of World War II could become an overview like North African Campaign or the Middle East Campaign and be a useful page by giving a brief overview after a link to the main list covering a particular area. But lumping all the information into one large page is not the way to go. Philip Baird Shearer 22:43, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Philip Baird Shearer on this. Something following the structure of List of disasters would be a good idea. I believe "List of World War II theaters and campaigns" should remain separate, but the other lists Dna-Dennis mentioned could have their content moved to lists for specific countries and/or lists based on which type of unit (air, land or naval) was involved in the campaigns, operations and battles. For example: List of air battles and operations of World War II. Take care SoLando 13:05, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
FYI: "List of World War II theaters and campaigns" is now "List of theaters and campaigns of World War II". I've corrected the actual wikilink on this page, but will leave the quoted article title alone.Chidom talk  17:26, 4 October 2006 (UTC)