The Battles of World War II Quiz


By: Staff

6 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

From the invasion of Poland to the island campaigns in the Pacific, victory in World War II was won a single battle at a time. Test your knowledge about the battles that changed the world with this Battles of World War II quiz.

At what battle were Allied troops in France almost destroyed before more than 300,000 of them were successfully evacuated to Britain?

At Dunkirk, a three-day delay by the Germans allowed the Allies to escape to Britain.


What Alaskan town, later made famous by a TV show about crab fishing, was attacked by Japanese planes in June of 1942?

The attack on Dutch Harbor was part of a campaign to control Alaska and the northern Pacific.


Operation Compass, in 1940 and 1941, was a series of battles in which British forces gained large amounts of territory in North Africa. Who were they fighting against?

British troops enjoyed a string of successes against Italy in Operation Compass.


The Battle of the Netherlands in 1940 was notable for what battlefield innovation?

The Germans used paratroopers to take several airfields ahead of the main assault, the first such use of paratroopers.


What was the codename for the Allied invasion of Normandy?

The initial assault on the beaches was Operation Neptune, but the overall plan to take control of Normandy was Operation Overlord.


What Pacific naval battle is considered the turning point in the Pacific war and one of the most significant naval battles in history?

The U.S. fleet destroyed four Japanese aircraft carriers at Midway, a decisive victory that turned the tide of the war in the Pacific.


On August 18, 1940, British and German planes battled in the skies over England, resulting in the greatest single day losses for both air forces. How do the British refer to this one-day air battle?

The battle is historically known as the Hardest Day.


The Hardest Day was part of the Battle of Britain, Germany's attempt to destroy the Royal Air Force ahead of a planned air and amphibious invasion that never happened. What was the code name of this planned invasion?

The British successfully defended themselves against Nazi air strikes and bomb attacks, preventing Operation Sea Lion from ever happening.


The invasion of what northern French port by the Allies was an utter failure (although the lessons learned helped improve planning for the later Normandy landings)?

The Dieppe Raid was a total failure and a propaganda victory for the Nazis.


Plans for the Dieppe Raid were seemingly transmitted in plain sight to the Germans using what?

The August 17th crossword contained the clue, "French port." The answer was provided on the 18th, "Dieppe." The raid occurred the next day. An investigation revealed it to be a coincidence.


The Battle of Kursk, in which the Soviets repelled a massive German attack, is also notable for what reason?

The Battle of Kursk involved more than 5,000 tanks in the largest tank-versus-tank battle ever.


What Egyptian city was the site of two important battles for control over North Africa?

It was at El Alamein that British Gen. Montgomery defeated German Gen. Rommel and effectively destroyed any hopes the Axis had of controlling the Middle East.


What island nation (at the time a British colony) was a crucial waypoint for the Allies in the Mediterranean and resisted intense German and Italian bombing, with the nation's entire populace eventually receiving the first ever collective George Cross for their bravery?

The Siege of Malta lasted for more than a year, but the Axis never gained the advantage from air attacks necessary to mount an invasion.


The 1977 film "A Bridge Too Far" is about the failed Allied invasion of the Netherlands, which required paratroopers to capture numerous bridges. The invasion plan was called…

Operation Market Garden was the northern part of a massive plan to divide the heart of Germany with Allied forces.


At what battle did the German battleship Bismarck fight and sink the British battlecruiser HMS Hood?

The Bismarck won a decisive victory at the Battle of the Denmark Strait. The British were so incensed they basically sent their entire navy to hunt and destroy the Bismarck in response.


The German siege of what Russian city resulted in the deaths of more than 1.5 million people due to starvation, extreme cold and artillery bombardment?

The Siege of Leningrad was among the war crimes German leaders were prosecuted for after the war.


In the Battle of the St. Lawrence, Canadian warships and civilian shipping were attacked by what?

German U-boats sank several Canadian ships, but Canadian forces protected most of the shipments from Canada to Europe.


What battle involved U.S. Marines taking islands such as Tulagi, Florida, Gavutu, Tanambogo and Salvo Island?

The Battle of Guadalcanal was a campaign that took several months, capturing vital islands and airfields in the area around the island of Guadalcanal.


A famous photo taken at the Battle of Iwo Jima depicts a squad of U.S. Marines doing what?

The image of Marines raising the flag is reproduced at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.


The last German city to fall was…

The Russians effectively ended the war in Europe when they captured Berlin.


How many U.S. battleships were sunk when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor?

The Arizona, Oklahoma, West Virginia and California were all sunk.


The prisoners captured at which battle in the Philippines were forced to undertake a notorious death march named for the battle?

Thousands of Filipinos and hundreds of Americans died during the Bataan Death March.


What Eastern Front battle was marked by intense city fighting between Germans and Russians and might be the largest single battle ever fought?

The Germans initially took much of Stalingrad, but were eventually surrounded and forced to surrender by the Russians.


After what battle did Gen. Douglas MacArthur famously declare, "I came through and I shall return?"

MacArthur was forced to leave the Philippines to avoid capture when it became apparent that Corregidor would fall, but the U.S. regained control of the region in 1945.


At what battle did U.S. troops make a landing south of Rome, only to endure weeks of artillery bombardment?

The invasion of Anzio was bungled by the commanding officer, allowing the Germans time to consolidate their forces, prolonging the Italian campaign.


In what part of the war was the Battle of Hel fought?

Polish forces at Hel fought for nearly a month despite being massively outnumbered.


The battle to protect troop movements and materials shipments from the U.S. to Europe from German U-boats and surface attacks was called…

The Battle of the Atlantic lasted throughout the war and was as much about code-breaking and espionage as naval warfare.


Who won the Battle of Moscow?

Russian forces successfully defended Moscow, slowing the German's rapid advance.


Operation Torch was the first time U.S troops landed in contested territory. Where did they land?

The U.S. assault on North Africa was opposed by French troops loyal to the Nazis.


What was "the bulge" in the Battle of the Bulge?

As the German counterattack pushed into Allied territory, it took on a "bulge" shape, and was described that way by the wartime press.


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