The Second World War saw the biggest ground battles in the history of humankind. In places like Stalingrad and Leningrad, millions and millions of troops fought and died as the Allies and Axis desperately fought for survival. But the war spread to the oceans, too, where thousands of ships large and small tried to sink each other using mines, torpedoes and aircraft launched from flight decks. In this water-soaked quiz, what do you really know about the naval battles of World War II?
World War II was truly a total war, one in which countries amassed all of their resources in order to defeat their enemies. By land, by air and by sea, they fought with modern weapons of all kinds. But one kind of ship in particular made an immense impact on the war, particularly in the Pacific Theater. Do you know which ship it was? It was, of course, the aircraft carrier, deployed by both Japan and the United States, these monstrous ships became icons of the fight.
Aircraft carriers allowed navies to extend their reach and influence by hundreds of miles. Suddenly, navy battles weren’t limited to the range of a ship’s guns – the battles raged far from the ships themselves, as fighters and dive bombers tangled in the skies. Do you recall major ship battles that were decided by air power?
From Pearl Harbor to the Battle of the Java Sea, the Imperial Navy looked unstoppable. Plunge into the waters of this WWII navy battles quiz now!
What was the single biggest naval battle of World War II?
Battle of Okinawa
Battle of the Bulge
Battle of Leyte Gulf
The Battle of Leyte Gulf wasn't just the biggest naval battle of WWII. It may also have been the biggest naval battle in human history. Its consequences were equally massive.
How many total ships took part in the massive Battle of Leyte Gulf?
Roughly 400 ships fought at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and most of them belonged to the Americans. The Americans hoped that a victory there would help them later launch an invasion of Japanese-held islands in the South Pacific.
At the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Japanese hurled everything they had at the Americans. Why?
to damage U.S. public morale
to thwart an invasion
to defeat the Americans and force them to quit the war
The Japanese knew an American invasion was imminent. They used every navy ship they had left in an effort to stop the American advance. The resulting battle involved 200,000 men and sprawled over about 100,000 square miles.
Which type of weapon did the Germans deploy en masse during the Battle of the Atlantic?
In the Battle of the Atlantic, German U-boats (submarines) prowled the seas, sinking military and merchant ships by the hundreds. Allied captains feared "wolfpacks" of German U-boats, which used coordinated attacks.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first battle in which ______ attacked each other.
Fought in May 1942, the Battle of the Coral Sea was the first naval battle ever in which aircraft carriers duked it out. But the ships never even laid eyes on each other, instead using air power to fight.
Which major battle took place six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor?
Battle of the Bulge
Battle of Midway
With the devastation of Pearl Harbor still fresh in their minds, U.S. sailors were very motivated at the Battle of Midway, which took place six months later. Midway was an incredible turning point of WWII.
At the Battle of Leyte Gulf, how was the USS St. Lo sunk?
During Leyte Gulf, the USS St. Lo earned a sad place in history -- it was the first major ship ever to be sunk by a kamikaze attack. The planes struck an area where aircraft were being refueled, causing massive chain-reaction explosions.
The "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" is a nickname for the lopsided aerial fight that was part of which naval battle?
Battle of Iwo Jima
Battle of Midway
Battle of the Philippines Sea
During the Battle of the Philippine Sea, American forces blasted hundreds of Japanese planes out of the sky. It was such a lopsided victory that the Americans called it the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot."