World War II was the single most brutal and destructive conflict in human history. It not only changed the map of the world and led to an era of mutual hostility, but it also was the battleground for some of the most horrifying and cruel battles of all time. Whether the European, Asian or Mediterranean theater, millions were killed in operations and defenses which, whilst proving either tactically superior or inferior, were costly in terms of humans lives. Some battles were worse than others, however, and have remained in the memories of those involved (and who survived) for years since. They have also, more often than not, proved to be crucial in determining the outcome of the conflict. They also demonstrated how little remorse or care was shown to both soldiers and civilians. This list will try to show how brutal these battles were and remember just how much they cost in human lives.
8. Battle Of The BulgeThe invasion of Normandy had proved to be very successful for the Western Allies in breaching Nazi-occupied Europe in June 1944. By the winter of 1944, it looked as if the war would be over in a matter of months, if not weeks, if the Americans, British and French could break through a supposedly broken and demoralized defence in Belgium, which had been occupied by German troops since 1940. However, what occurred was a surprise Axis counterattack on the 16th December 1944, which was undoubtedly helped by the grounding of Allied air support due to the bad winter weather. Catching the Allies completely off-guard, the Germans pushed miles into into the Allied lines, helped by preoccupation and overconfidence on the Allied side, and it seemed as if the counterattack would give the Axis forces an advantage on the Western Front. However, by Christmas and early New Year, the Allies found that the battle had turned decisively in their favour improved weather allowed logistical strikes on supply lines and depots, German troops became cut-off from reinforcements and the Allies were pushing back to the densely-forested Ardennes, the original line, meaning the Germans had failed to gain the advantage which they so desperately needed. But what is important to remember is the losses suffered by both sides. The Americans on the Allied side suffered what is claimed to be 'their worst loss rate in the whole war', with 19,000 US soldiers being killed in action and 70,000 being injured or gravely wounded. The British did not suffer as badly as the Americans (of 12,000 casualties only 200 were killed), in comparison with the Wehrmacht, which had 100,000 casualties and would never recover on the Western Front as a result.