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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 2008 [update] 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.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
A military operation is the coordinated military actions of a state, or a non-state actor, in response to a developing situation. These actions are designed as a military plan to resolve the situation in the state or actor's favor. Operations may be of a combat or non-combat nature and may be referred to by a code name for the purpose of national security. Military operations are often known for their more generally accepted common usage names than their actual operational objectives.
Flags used are those of the time period.
Excluding North African campaigns (see below, under Mediterranean Sea)
Mogadishu, locally known as Xamar or Hamar, is the capital and most populous city of Somalia. Located in the coastal Banadir region on the Somali Sea, the city has served as an important port for millennia. As of 2017, it had a population of 2,425,000 residents. Mogadishu is the nearest foreign mainland city to Seychelles, at a distance of 835 mi (1,344 km) over the Somali Sea.
The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. and is responsible for the operation of naval aircraft. The Fleet Air Arm recently started operating the F-35 Lightning II in a Maritime Strike Role, the AW159 Wildcat and AW101 Merlin in both Commando and Anti-Submarine roles, and the BAE Hawk. Helicopters such as the Lynx and Westland Wasp were previously deployed on smaller vessels since 1964, taking over the roles once performed by biplanes such as the Fairey Swordfish.
Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats.
Berbera is a coastal city and capital of the Sahil region in the self-declared but internationally unrecognised Republic of Somaliland. It is the former capital of Somaliland.
British Somaliland, officially the British Somaliland Protectorate, was a British protectorate in present-day Somaliland. For much of its existence, the territory was bordered by Italian Somalia, French Somali Coast and Ethiopia. From 1940 to 1941, it was occupied by the Italians and was part of Italian East Africa. On 26 June 1960, British Somaliland declared independence as the State of Somaliland. On 1 July 1960, the State of Somaliland united, with the Trust Territory of Somalia to form the Somali Republic (Somalia). The government of Somaliland, a self-declared sovereign state that is internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia, regards itself as the successor state to British Somaliland.
Massawa is a city on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea located at the northern end of the Gulf of Zula beside the Dahlak Archipelago. As a historical and important port for many centuries, it was ruled by a succession of polities, including the Axumite Empire, Medri Bahri Kingdom, the Umayyad Caliphate, various Beja sultanates, the Ottoman Empire, the Khedivate of Egypt, Italy, Britain, and Ethiopia, until Eritrea's independence in 1991. Massawa was the capital of the Italian Colony of Eritrea until it was moved to Asmara in 1897.
Includes North Sea, Arctic Ocean and actions against naval vessels in harbour
Operation Magic Flute was a 1943 security operation by the German forces in the occupied Minsk, Belarus. As part of the Bandenbekämpfung security doctrine, the operation was conducted by units of the Wehrmacht and the SS Police under the command of Gerret Korsemann, the Higher SS and Police Leader for Central Russia.
Prinz Eugen was an Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruiser, the third of a class of five vessels. She served with Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down in April 1936, launched in August 1938, and entered service after the outbreak of war, in August 1940. She was named after Prince Eugene of Savoy, an 18th-century Austrian general. She was armed with a main battery of eight 20.3 cm (8.0 in) guns and, although nominally under the 10,000-long-ton (10,000 t) limit set by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, actually displaced over 16,000 long tons (16,000 t).
Operation Alacrity was the codename for a possible Allied seizure of Azores during World War II. It never took place because Portugal agreed to an Allied request for use of air bases. The islands were of enormous strategic value regarding the defeat of the German U-boats. Portugal, too weak to defend the Azores, or its large colonial empire, or even its homeland, tried to stay neutral in the war. Dictator Salazar was especially worried about a possible German invasion through Spain and did not want to provoke Hitler nor did he want to give Spain an excuse to take side with the Axis and invade Portugal due to the strategic importance of the Canary Islands. Great Britain and the United States devised plans to set up air bases regardless of Portugal's disapproval. The plans were never put into operation. Instead in 1943 Britain requested, and Portugal agreed, to allow Britain to set up bases there. Operation Alacrity was preceded by War Plan Gray.
The Azores, officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores, is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. It is an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km (850 mi) west of continental Portugal, about 1,643 km (1,021 mi) west of Lisbon, in continental Portugal, about 1,507 km (936 mi) northwest of Morocco, and about 1,925 km (1,196 mi) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.
Operation Berlin was a successful commerce raid performed by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau between January and March 1941. The commander-in-chief of the operation was Admiral Günther Lütjens, who subsequently commanded the famous cruise of Bismarck and Prinz Eugen.
Iraq, Syria, Iran, India, Burma, Malaya and Indo-China, and the Indian Ocean
Includes some operations by regular forces in support of partisans.
The Kriegsmarine was the navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the inter-war Reichsmarine (1919–1935) of the Weimar Republic. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches, along with the Heer (Army) and the Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces from 1933 to 1945.
The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in Burma, Ceylon, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indochina, Malaya and Singapore. Conflict in this theatre began when the Empire of Japan invaded French Indochina in September 1940 and rose to a new level following the raid on Pearl Harbor, and simultaneous attacks on Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaya on 7 and 8 December 1941. The main landing at Singora on the east side of the Isthmus of Kra preceded the bombing of Pearl Harbor by several hours. Action in the theatre officially ended on 9 September 1945.
Nearly every country and territory in the world participated in World War II, with the exception of only a few nations which remained neutral. The Second World War pitted two alliances against each other, the Axis powers and the Allied powers. The leading Axis powers were Nazi Germany, the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Japan; while the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union and China were the "Big Four" Allied powers.
Battle Honours are awarded by the Sovereign to Royal Air Force squadrons to commemorate the squadron's role in a particular operation.
Although Australia was remote from the main battlefronts, there was considerable Axis naval activity in Australian waters during the Second World War. A total of 54 German and Japanese warships and submarines entered Australian waters between 1940 and 1945 and attacked ships, ports and other targets. Among the best-known attacks are the sinking of HMAS Sydney by a German raider in November 1941, the bombing of Darwin by Japanese naval aircraft in February 1942, and the Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour in May 1942. In addition, many Allied merchant ships were damaged or sunk off the Australian coast by submarines and mines. Japanese submarines also shelled several Australian ports and submarine-based aircraft flew over several Australian capital cities.
Malaya was gradually occupied by the Japanese between 8 December 1941 and the Allied surrender at Singapore on 16 February 1942. The Japanese remained in occupation until their surrender to the Allies in 1945. The first Japanese garrison in Malaya to lay down their arms was in Penang on 2 September 1945 aboard HMS Nelson.
Operation Paravane was a British air raid of World War II that inflicted heavy damage on the German battleship Tirpitz. The attack was conducted on 15 September 1944 by 21 Royal Air Force heavy bombers, which flew from an airfield in the north of the Soviet Union. The battleship was struck by one bomb, and further damaged by several near misses. This damage rendered Tirpitz unfit for combat, and she could not be repaired as it was no longer possible for the Germans to sail her to a major port.
828 Naval Air Squadron was a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier based squadron formed in September 1940 as a torpedo spotter reconnaissance squadron. It operated in a number of the theatres of the Second World War, carrying out a number of attacks on enemy targets including the Tirpitz in Norway.
The Indian Ocean had long been an important maritime trade route between European nations and their colonial territories in East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, British India, Indochina, the East Indies (Indonesia), and Australia. Naval presence was dominated by the Royal Navy Eastern Fleet and the Royal Australian Navy as World War II began with a major portion of the Royal Netherlands Navy operating in the Dutch East Indies and the Red Sea Flotilla of the Italian Regia Marina operating from Massawa.
Kampfgeschwader 26 "Löwengeschwader" was a German air force Luftwaffe bomber wing unit during World War II. Its units participated on all of the fronts in the European Theatre until the end of the war. It operated three of the major German aircraft medium bomber types; the Heinkel He 111, Junkers Ju 88 and the Junkers Ju 188. The unit engaged in both strategic bombing, close air support, anti-shipping and aerial interdiction operations. The majority of its operational life – not entirely unlike another Luftwaffe wing designated KG 40 — was spent on anti-shipping missions.
Operation Mascot was an unsuccessful British carrier air raid conducted against the German battleship Tirpitz at her anchorage in Kaafjord, Norway, on 17 July 1944. The attack was one of a series of strikes against the battleship launched from aircraft carriers between April and August 1944, and was initiated after Allied intelligence determined that the damage inflicted during the Operation Tungsten raid on 3 April had been repaired.
Operation Goodwood was a series of British carrier air raids conducted against the German battleship Tirpitz at her anchorage in Kaafjord, Norway, during late August 1944. It was the last of attack on Tirpitz made by the Home Fleet during 1944, to eliminate the threat Tirpitz posed to Allied shipping by badly damaging or sinking the warship. Previous raids on Kaafjord conducted by Fleet Air Arm aircraft had involved only one air attack, in Operation Goodwood several attacks were made over a week. The Royal Navy hoped that these raids would wear down the formidable German defences.