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During WWII, from 1939 to 1945, there were over 90 battles fought. Of course, this number doesn’t count the hundreds of smaller fights that occurred virtually every hour of every day, or the smaller battles between citizens fighting for a semblance of normalcy. There are so many battles to profile, but the Battle of Kursk, the Battle of Moscow, and D-Day seem like an appropriate place to start. Each battle was incredibly significant, not only to the war, but to military history.

The Battle of Kursk (July – August 1943)

The Battle of Kursk between the Russians and the Germans is now often referred to as the greatest tank battle of WWII. The German offensive, Operation Citadel, thought that they would be able to successfully surround Russian forces as they had previously. However, Allied codebreakers informed the Russians of the German’s intent. What ensued was a month long battle using all of the advanced war machinery the era possessed, including airplanes mounted with gun pods and armored tanks. The Russians walked away successful after driving away the Germans with heavy losses.

Battle of Moscow (October 1941 – 1942)

When Hitler declared that Moscow should be razed and not captured, over one million German troops marched into the city. One month later, on November 15, 1941, their success seemed eminent; they had fought their way 18 miles into the city. Winter, however, was not on their side. The Russians, used to the harsh, sub-zero temperatures, resisted their attacks. When the German supply chain fell apart, Zhukov, a Russian marshal, took advantage of the opportunity to strike. By January, the Russian resistance had pushed the Germans over 100 miles out of Moscow.

D-Day (June 6, 1944)

Perhaps the most well known battle of WWII, D-Day was the largest amphibious operation in history. 5,000 plus ships carrying Allied troops pulled to shore on a 50-mile expanse of the Normandy coastline. Simultaneously, thousands of airborne soldiers started their assault. The Germans had been fooled by a giant deception operation, which led them to believe resistance would be light. The affront came with casualties. U.S. forces came to shore under heavy fire. 2,000 died as they tried to make their way up the beach. The Germans were unable to keep up with the number of soldiers, though. After a week, Normandy was occupied by more than 300,000 Allied troops.

Countless lives were lost between these three battles, as Allied troops fought to defeat the Germans. Despite their early deaths, the soldiers who participated are forever a part of history and the battle of good versus evil.