Allies gain momentum

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Allies gain momentum

Post by DIESEL on Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:00 am

Allies gain momentum
British troops firing a mortar during the Battle of Imphal.

In mainland Asia, the Japanese launched two major offensives. The first, started in March, 1944, was against British positions in Assam, India[132] and soon led to Japanese forces besieging Commonwealth positions at Imphal and Kohima;[133] by May however, other Japanese forces were being besieged in Myitkyina by Chinese forces which had invaded Northern Burma in late 1943.[134] The second was in China, with the goal of destroying China's main fighting forces, securing railways between Japanese-held territory, and capturing Allied airfields.[135] By June the Japanese had conquered the province of Henan and begun a renewed attack against Changsha in the Hunan province.[136]

Following the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Allies initiated several operations against Japan in the Pacific. In May, 1943, American forces were sent to eliminate Japanese forces from the Aleutians,[137] and soon after began major operations to isolate Rabaul by capturing surrounding islands, and to breach the Japanese Central Pacific perimeter at the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.[138] By the end of March, 1944, the Allies had completed both of these objectives, and additionally neutralized another major Japanese base in the Caroline Islands. In April, the Allies then launched an operation to retake Western New Guinea.[139]

In the Mediterranean, Allied forces launched an invasion of Sicily in early July, 1943. The attack on Italian soil, compounded with previous failures, resulted in the ousting and arrest of Mussolini later that month.[140] The Allies soon followed up with an invasion of the Italian mainland in early September, following an Italian armistice with the Allies.[141] When this armistice was made public on September 8, Germany responded by disarming Italian forces, seizing military control of Italian areas,[142] and setting up a series of defensive lines.[143] On September 12, German special forces further rescued Mussolini who then soon established a new client state in German occupied Italy.[144] The Allies fought through several lines until reaching the main German defensive line in mid-November.[145] In January 1944, the Allies launched a series of attacks against the line at Monte Cassino and attempted to outflank it with landings at Anzio. By late May both of these offensives had succeeded and, at the expense of allowing several German divisions to retreat, on June 4 Rome was captured.[146]
A Soviet tank during the Battle of Kursk.

German operations in the Atlantic also suffered. By May 1943, German submarine losses were so high that the naval campaign was temporarily called to a halt as Allied counter-measures became increasingly effective.[147]

In the Soviet Union, the Germans spent the spring and early summer of 1943 making preparations for a large offensive in the region of Kursk; the Soviets anticipated such an action though and spent their time fortifying the area.[148] On July 4, the Germans launched their attack, though only about a week later Hitler cancelled the operation.[149] The Soviets were then able to mount a massive counter-offensive and, by June 1944, had largely expelled Axis forces from the Soviet Union and made incursions into Romania.[150]

In November 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met with Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo and then with Joseph Stalin in Tehran. At the former conference, the post-war return of Japanese territory was determined and in the latter, it was agreed that the Western Allies would invade Europe in 1944 and that the Soviet Union would declare war on Japan within three months of Germany's defeat.

In January 1944, the Soviets expelled the German forces from the Leningrad region, ending the longest and the most lethal siege in history. The following Soviet offensive was halted on the pre-war Estonian border by the German Army Group North aided by Estonians hoping to re-establish national independence. This delay retarded subsequent Soviet operations in the Baltic Sea region.[151]

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