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World War II European Theatre War in Europe Much of war planning was joint BritishAmerican strategy American in favor of immediate offensive against the continent British favored a more conservative approach Scarred by 3 hard years of war Go after the “softer underbelly” of the enemy Dieppe Raid Reinforced British view August 1942- Raid by Canadian forces to test strength of German defenses in France Disastrous results Canadians incur over 3,000 casualties Good lessons Improved amphibious attack strategies Not prepared for French invasion yet Offensive in North Africa Combined British and American force attacks Heavy resistance around Casablanca Race for control of Tunisia Kasserine Pass-American inexperience shows against Afrika Corps Ultimately able to push by Rommel’s forces Battle of the Atlantic Allied strategy: Land-based air patrols Escort Carriers Escort vessels Increasingly German undersea activities became a useless drain on resources Sicily/Italy Next step after North Africa Massive Force-160,000 troops Quickly overrun Island Move on to Italy Two landings Germans had taken over most of Italian defenses Italy would be a long and bloody campaign European Air War British campaign used night-time mass bombing raids American strategy was to fly precision, daytime raids— B-24’s, B-17’s Schweinfurt-October 1943 Disrupt economy Lessen will of German people to fight Need for long-range fighter Impact of air campaign often overrated Accuracy limited-bombsights marginally accurate Bomb loads relatively small Psychological impacted limited—Battle of Britain Ground support role was very effective Invasion of France Russians had pressed for 2nd front since 1942. Germans expecting attack in 1944 Normandy-5 beaches Pas de Calais region Germans have strong beach defenses 3 Airborne divisions dropped before dawn 5 divisions—resistance light, except Omaha Beach D-Day Germans initially mistake invasion for a diversion. Unable to prevent beachhead Within 2 weeks, over 1 million men ashore Quickly turned from battle for Normandy to Battle for France By August 25th, Paris fell By Autumn 1944, German position looks hopeless Marketgarden September 1944 Allies make “leapfrog” German defenses Dropped three airborne divisions behind German lines to secure bridges over Meuse, Waal, and Rhine rivers. Fails British 1st airborne unable to hold Arnhem British armor unable to punch through German lines Battle of Bulge Hitler’s final gamble-Counteroffensive through weak center of Allied line in Ardennes Forest Winter allows for secret troop buildup Germans strike December 16 Inflict heavy losses-Encircle Bastogne Uses up German reserves Final Offensive British and American forces move into Germany Meet up with Russian forces heading West.