Code Name Chaos: Major Operations of World War II


By: Nathan Chandler

4 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

In every war, military commanders use code names to differentiate between various operations. How much do you know about the many major operations that the Allies and Axis launched during World War II?

What was the name of the Japanese operation to attack Pearl Harbor?

In December 1941, the Japanese launched Operation Z, the attack on Pearl Harbor. The highly successful assault dragged the United States into World War II.


What was the end result of American Operation Downfall?

Operation Downfall was the planned invasion of Japan. The invasion wasn't necessary because Japan surrendered following U.S. atomic bomb attacks on the Japanese mainland.


What was the intent of the Allied operation code named "Cornflakes"?

In this operation, Allied planes dropped mail bags of propaganda in the area of air strikes. As the Germans cleaned up, it was hoped that the Nazis would deliver this fake mail to citizens, who would then read the anti-Nazi propaganda.


How did Operation Cornflakes fare?

The Allies neglected to consider one aspect of the operation -- they had already bombed many German cities into oblivion. There weren't many intact homes left to receive the fake mail.


Which area did the United States invade as part of Operation Detachment?

Operation Detachment was the invasion of Iwo Jima. The 1945 attack turned out to be one of the bloodiest encounters of the Pacific War.


What was one of the most notable aspects of Operation Citadel?

Operation Citadel was a Nazi code name for an attack on Soviet forces near Kursk. The clash is known for being one of the biggest tank battles in history.


As part of Operation Gaff, a six-member British special forces team set off to kill which person?

In the summer of 1944, the small team parachuted behind Germin lines with the intent of killing German Gen. Erwin Rommel. Upon reaching their target, they found that Rommel had already been wounded by another attack, so the men made their way back home, destroying Nazi targets along the way.


Which country devised Operation Bernhard?

Operation Bernhard was a Nazi plan intended to destablize Britain's economy by saturating England with fake currency. The fake notes were actually quite good and reappeared in circulation for years after the war.


Which Nazi operation was arranged to conduct industrial sabotage on Allied targets?

In 1942, a small group of Nazi agents (as part of Operation Pastorius) planned to blow up power plants and factories in the United States. One Nazi turned himself in and provided information leading to the arrests of the others before they could act on the plot.


Operation Ten-Go was a Japanese effort to defend which area?

In 1945, Okinawa was a vital base for Japanese forces in the Pacific Ocean. Ten-Go was an (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to prevent the United States from capturing the island.


How did the Americans thwart Operation MI, a Japanese attempt to capture Midway Island?

American codebreakers were able to decipher Japanese messages. As a result, they anticipated Japan's attack and prepared an effective naval defense against Operation MI.


Fall Weiss, or Case White, was the operational name for the Nazi invasion of which country?

Poland was the unfortunate target of Fall Weiss, the Nazi attack that opened World War II in 1939. The Polish fought bravely but the country was quickly occupied by the Germans.


What was the German name for the operation meant to invade France?

Fall Rot (Case Red) was the name of the Nazi operation to invade France. The Germans eventually occupied all of Paris.


In what year did the Nazis launch Operation Barbarossa?

The Germans initiated Operation Barbarossa in June 1941. As one of the biggest operations of the entire war, it was meant to invade and conquer the Soviet Union.


What was the end result of Operation Barbarossa?

Operation Barbarossa inflicted massive casualties on the USSR, but at a great cost to German forces. The Nazis captured vital areas of the country, but were eventually driven out by the ferocity (and numerical superiority) of Soviet military might.


What did the Allies plan to destroy as part of Operation XD?

In 1940, the Nazis were pushing east towards Belgium and the Netherlands, and their forces were approaching large stockpiles of oil. Operation XD was meant to demolish these oil installations, lest they fall into German hands.


Where did the Allies send their landing teams as part of Operation Ironclad?

Ironclad was a British mission to capture part of Madagascar. Dozens of ships were involved in the attack, which finally broke the Vichy defenses.


Operation Mascot was a British attempt to destroy a German battleship. How did the British plan to attack?

The British launched an air raid in hopes of destroying the battleship Tirpitz. A highly effective German smoke screen prevented the planes from hitting their target.


With Operation Tannenbaum, the Nazis planned to invade which country?

What did Switzerland ever do to anyone? With Tannenbaum, the Nazis planned to invade the Swiss homeland, but this invasion was eventually canceled.


What did the British capture as part of Operation Primrose?

In 1938, a British ship named the HMS Bulldog captured a German submarine. Onboard, the British found secret documents that helped the Allies partially break German secret codes.


Following the end of the war, Operation Deadlight was meant to destroy which Nazi war elements?

After the war, the British Navy took it upon themselves to scuttle German U-boats as part of Operation Deadlight. The operation sent more than 110 of these Nazi subs to the bottom of the sea.


Which operation was meant to attack the Japanese mainland?

As part of Operation Coronet, American forces planned to invade the Japanese mainland. The planned invasion was never necessary thanks to the Japanese surrender.


Operation Millenium was an Allied bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. How many bombers did the Allies use during this attack?

The aptly named Operation Millenium utilized 1,000 British bombers to blast Cologne. The bombs set the city on fire, destroying thousands of structures, yet the Allies lost only a few dozen planes.


Operation Samland was predominated by which sort of combat?

The Soviets launched Operation Samland to capture the city of Konigsberg. The operation was marked by days of horrific urban warfare that the Soviets eventually won.


Which city was attacked during Operation Gomorrah?

In 1943, American and British planes laid waste to Hamburg, Germany, during a bombing campaign that lasted more than a week. Most of the city was demolished and more than 40,000 civilians were killed.


After Operation Gomorrah, how many of the local residents decided to pack up and leave?

The bombs from the operation caused a firestorm of epic proportions along with a tornado that was literally made of fire. It's no wonder that 1 million fled the area in a panic.


In what year did the Soviets launch Operation Mars?

The USSR launched Operation Mars in 1942. The operation was meant to drive the Nazis away from Moscow, but it was a miserable failure that ended with tens of thousands of Soviet casualties.


What was the target of the Nazi's Operation Rösselsprung?

Operation Rösselsprung sent Nazi ships in pursuit of Allied ships crossing Arctic seas. The Allies desperately split up their ships to minimize losses, but instead gave the Nazis the opportunity to pick them off, one by one. It was a huge German success.


What were the Allies attempting to accomplish with Operation Alphabet?

In May of 1940, the Allies were reeling from Nazi attacks around Norway. Operation Alphabet withdrew Allied troops, ceding the area to German powers.


What was the purpose of Operation Balsam?

Britain organized Operation Balsam for photographic reconnaissance of Malaya. The photos were used to attack Japanese airfields in 1945.


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