Military

The WWII Battle With The Most Infantry: All The Major Battles, Ranked

Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

World War II is by far the largest conflict that the world has ever known. Nations marshaled armies of millions that fought across Northern Africa, Europe, and the Pacific to decide the new world order. Tanks, aircraft, and naval vessels contributed to the Allied victory, but it was ultimately the troops and men that won this war. (These are World War II’s most armored American tanks.)

Here 24/7 Wall St. is taking a closer look at some of the biggest battles of the conflict. To identify the major World War II battles with the most troops, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed WWII battles from World War 2 Facts, an online database of WWII battles. We ranked these battles based on the total troops involved whether Axis or Allied, and we only included battles where we could find definitive troop numbers so not all major battles may be listed. We included supplementary information regarding total casualties on the Axis and Allied sides. We also included the start date on which these battles took place. Some supplementary information was obtained from various other military and historical sources.

One of the biggest turning points in the war was the Battle of the Bulge primarily because it was the last major offensive that Germany launched on Western Europe. Allied Forces clashed with German Panzer tanks and other Axis Forces for more than a month in the Ardennes Forest.

More than 840,000 Allied troops put a stop to the advance of 500,000 Germans with each side suffering severe casualties in what was one of the largest battles fought by U.S. troops in the war. The battle raged between Dec. 16, 1944, and Jan. 28, 1945, and resulted in nearly a combined 160,000 soldiers missing, wounded, or killed.

To give some size and scope to this global conflict and the armies raised to fight it, nearly 15 million military personnel and 38 million civilians perished over the course of the war. More than 70 million people served in the armed forces during this time as well. (These are the World War II battles with the most casualties, and it’s not even close.)

Here is a look at major World War II battles with the most troops:

27. Battle of Wake Island

Source: arcticwarrior / Flickr
  • Total troops: 3,022
  • Allied troops: 522
  • Axis troops: 2,500
  • Total casualties: 7,200 (including sunk ships and downed aircraft)
  • Allied casualties: 1,200
  • Axis casualties: 6,000
  • Date: December 1941

26. Operation Battleaxe

Source: United Kingdom Government/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons
  • Total troops: 33,200
  • Allied troops: 20,000
  • Axis troops: 13,200
  • Total casualties: 1,647
  • Allied casualties: 969
  • Axis casualties: 678
  • Date: June 1941

25. Battle of Tarawa

Source: Three Lions / Getty Images
  • Total troops: 38,000
  • Allied troops: 35,000
  • Axis troops: 3,000
  • Total casualties: 8,504
  • Allied casualties: 3,797
  • Axis casualties: 4,707
  • Date: November 1943

24. Battle of Peleliu

Source: usnavy / Flickr
  • Total troops: 39,484
  • Allied troops: 28,484
  • Axis troops: 11,000
  • Total casualties: 20,701
  • Allied casualties: 9,804
  • Axis casualties: 10,897
  • Date: September 1944

23. Battle of the Kasserine Pass

Source: MPI / Archive Photos via Getty Images
  • Total troops: 52,000
  • Allied troops: 30,000
  • Axis troops: 22,000
  • Total casualties: 12,000
  • Allied casualties: 10,000
  • Axis casualties: 2,000
  • Date: November 1943

22. Battle of Crete

Source: Imperial War Museum London, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Total troops: 71,700
  • Allied troops: 40,000
  • Axis troops: 31,700
  • Total casualties: 30,528
  • Allied casualties: 23,830
  • Axis casualties: 6,698
  • Date: May 1941

21. Warsaw Uprising

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total troops: 74,000
  • Allied troops: 49,000
  • Axis troops: 25,000
  • Total casualties: 68,660
  • Allied casualties: 36,000
  • Axis casualties: 32,660
  • Date: August 1944

20. Siege of Bastogne

Source: falcon_33 / Flickr
  • Total troops: 76,800
  • Allied troops: 22,800
  • Axis troops: 54,000
  • Total casualties: 3000 (at least)
  • Allied casualties: 3,000
  • Axis casualties: Unknown
  • Date: December 1944

19. Battle of Corregidor

Source: ajw1970 / Flickr
  • Total troops: 88,000
  • Allied troops: 13,000
  • Axis troops: 75,000
  • Total casualties: 14,900
  • Allied casualties: 12,800
  • Axis casualties: 2,100
  • Date: May 1942

18. Battle of Iwo Jima

Source: Hulton Archive / Archive Photos via Getty Images
  • Total troops: 92,060
  • Allied troops: 70,000
  • Axis troops: 22,060
  • Total casualties: 48,091
  • Allied casualties: 26,031
  • Axis casualties: 22,060
  • Date: February 1945

17. Guadalcanal Campaign

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total troops: 96,200
  • Allied troops: 60,000
  • Axis troops: 36,200
  • Total casualties: 39,100
  • Allied casualties: 7,100
  • Axis casualties: 32,000
  • Date: August 1942

16. Battle of Sajpan

Source: usmcarchives / Flickr
  • Total troops: 102,000
  • Allied troops: 71,000
  • Axis troops: 31,000
  • Total casualties: 38,234
  • Allied casualties: 13,313
  • Axis casualties: 24,921
  • Date: June 1944

15. Battle of Singapore

Source: EOSdude / iStock via Getty Images
  • Total troops: 121,000
  • Allied troops: 85,000
  • Axis troops: 36,000
  • Total casualties: 89,485
  • Allied casualties: 85,000
  • Axis casualties: 4,485
  • Date: February 1942

14. Operation Market Garden

Source: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com
  • Total troops: 151,628
  • Allied troops: 41,628
  • Axis troops: 110,000
  • Total casualties: 30,500
  • Allied casualties: 17,200
  • Axis casualties: 13,300
  • Date: September 1944

13. Operation Torch

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total troops: 167,000
  • Allied troops: 107,000
  • Axis troops: 60,000
  • Total casualties: 4,542
  • Allied casualties: 1,199
  • Axis casualties: 3,343
  • Date: November 1942

12. Battle of Anzio

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total troops: 285,000
  • Allied troops: 150,000
  • Axis troops: 135,000
  • Total casualties: 83,000
  • Allied casualties: 43,000
  • Axis casualties: 40,000
  • Date: January 1944

11. Battle of Okinawa

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images
  • Total troops: 303,000
  • Allied troops: 183,000
  • Axis troops: 120,000
  • Total casualties: 167,000
  • Allied casualties: 50,000
  • Axis casualties: 117,000
  • Date: April 1945

10. First Battle of El Alamein

Source: ksr8s / Flickr
  • Total troops: 311,000
  • Allied troops: 195,000
  • Axis troops: 116,000
  • Total casualties: 44,102
  • Allied casualties: 13,560
  • Axis casualties: 30,542
  • Date: July 1942

9. Battle of Sicily

Source: Hulton Archive / Archive Photos via Getty Images
  • Total troops: 757,000
  • Allied troops: 467,000
  • Axis troops: 290,000
  • Total casualties: 191,820
  • Allied casualties: 24,820
  • Axis casualties: 167,000
  • Date: July 1943

8. Battle of Dunkirk

Source: ajw1970 / Flickr
  • Total troops: 1,138,226
  • Allied troops: 338,226
  • Axis troops: 800,000
  • Total casualties: 81,774
  • Allied casualties: 61,774
  • Axis casualties: 20,000
  • Date: May 1940

7. Battle of the Bulge

Source: ajw1970 / Flickr
  • Total troops: 1,340,000
  • Allied troops: 840,000
  • Axis troops: 500,000
  • Total casualties: 158,100
  • Allied casualties: 90,900
  • Axis casualties: 67,200
  • Date: December 1944

6. Siege of Leningrad

Source: wwhyte / Flickr
  • Total troops: 1,655,000
  • Allied troops: 930,000
  • Axis troops: 725,000
  • Total casualties: 3,936,066
  • Allied casualties: 3,436,066
  • Axis casualties: 500,000
  • Date: September 1941

5. Battle of Normandy

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images
  • Total troops: 1,712,000
  • Allied troops: 1,332,000
  • Axis troops: 380,000
  • Total casualties: 409,000
  • Allied casualties: 209,000
  • Axis casualties: 200,000
  • Date: June 1944

4. Battle of Stalingrad

Source: Archive Photos / Archive Photos via Getty Images
  • Total troops: 1,743,000
  • Allied troops: 1,143,000
  • Axis troops: 600,000
  • Total casualties: 2,197,993
  • Allied casualties: 1,129,619
  • Axis casualties: 1,068,374
  • Date: August 1942

3. Battle of Greece

Source: Topical Press Agency / Archive Photos via Getty Images
  • Total troops: 1,937,612
  • Allied troops: 692,612
  • Axis troops: 1,245,000
  • Total casualties: 200,989
  • Allied casualties: 93,389
  • Axis casualties: 107,600
  • Date: April 1941

2. Operation Overlord

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Total troops: 2,692,299
  • Allied troops: 2,052,299
  • Axis troops: 640,000
  • Total casualties: 676,386
  • Allied casualties: 226,386
  • Axis casualties: 450,000
  • Date: June 1944

1. Battle of Berlin

Source: FPG / Archive Photos via Getty Images
  • Total troops: 3,266,750
  • Allied troops: 2,500,000
  • Axis troops: 766,750
  • Total casualties: 1,161,367
  • Allied casualties: 361,367
  • Axis casualties: 800,000
  • Date: April 1945

Take This Retirement Quiz To Get Matched With An Advisor Now (Sponsored)

Are you ready for retirement? Planning for retirement can be overwhelming, that’s why it could be a good idea to speak to a fiduciary financial advisor about your goals today.

Start by taking this retirement quiz right here from SmartAsset that will match you with up to 3 financial advisors that serve your area and beyond in 5 minutes. Smart Asset is now matching over 50,000 people a month.

Click here now to get started.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.