Special Report

Biggest Battles of World War II

Photo by Franklin / Getty Images

More than 75 years after the final shot was fired, the human cost of World War II still defies human comprehension. Estimates range from 60 million to 80 million people killed, most of them civilians. The Soviet Union suffered the most, losing as many as 27 million people by some estimates. To place the carnage in context, these staggering losses occurred over just a six-year period, 1939 to 1945, nowhere close to the longest wars fought by mankind. These are the longest wars in history.

Many of the battles on the list are conflicts between the Soviet Union, one of the Allied powers, and Nazi Germany, the main Axis power. These battles were characterized by the size of military resources involved and the significant civilian population loss. 

The fog of war always complicates exact casualty totals. The estimates are the result of historians patching together primary documents over many years. 

24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the largest battles of World War II based on the number of casualties, which includes deaths and wounded. When available, we included civilian casualties. To create our list, we reviewed material from sources such as the Imperial War Museumin London, World War II battle database, and more.

Click here to see the biggest battles ofWorld War II

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

18. Battle of Monte Cassino
> Estimated total casualties: 75,000
> Date: January 17 to May 18, 1944
> Combatants: Western Allies and Nazi Germany

[in-text-ad]

Source: Siegman / Getty Images

17. Battle of the Rhineland
> Estimated total casualties: 113,000
> Date: February 8, 1944 to January 25, 1945
> Combatants: Western Allies and Nazi Germany

Source: Fred Ramage / Getty Images

16. Battle of the Bulge
> Estimated total casualties: 195,000
> Date: December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945
> Combatants: Western Allies and Nazi Germany

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

15. Invasion of Poland
> Estimated total casualties: 250,000
> Date: September 1 to October 6, 1939
> Combatants: Nazi Germany and Poland

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Pincornelly / Wikimedia Commons

14. Second Battle of Kharkov
> Estimated total casualties: 300,000
> Date: May 12 to May 28, 1942
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

13. The Zhejiang-Jiangxi campaign
> Estimated total casualties: 356,000
> Date: May 15 to September 4, 1942
> Combatants: China and Japanese Empire

[in-text-ad]

Source: U.S. Army / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

12. Battle of Luzon
> Estimated total casualties: 370,000
> Date: January 9 to March, 1945
> Combatants: United States and Japanese Empire

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

11. Battle of France
> Estimated total casualties: 517,000
> Date: May 10 to June 22, 1940
> Combatants: Western Allies and Nazi Germany

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10. Battle of Narva
> Estimated total casualties: 550,000
> Date: February 2 to August 10, 1944
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

9. Operation Overlord
> Estimated total casualties: 625,000
> Date: June 6 to August 30, 1944
> Combatants: Western Allies and Nazi Germany

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

8. Battle of Smolensk
> Estimated total casualties: 700,000
> Date: August 7 to October 2, 1943
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

[in-text-ad]

Source: Public Domain/wikimedia commons

7. Battle of Berlin
> Estimated total casualties: 820,000
> Date: April 16 to May 8, 1945
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B12190 / Kraagranger [Kraayvanger] / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

6. Battle of Kiev
> Estimated total casualties: 822,000
> Date: August 23 to September, 1941
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

5. Battle of Kursk
> Estimated total casualties: 1,000,000
> Date: July 5 to August 23, 1943
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

4. Operation Bagration
> Estimated total casualties: 1,080,000
> Date: June 23 to August 19, 1944
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

Source: Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images

3. Battle of Moscow
> Estimated total casualties: 1,300,000
> Date: October 2, 1941 to January 7, 1944
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

[in-text-ad]

Source: Red Army / Wikimedia Commons

2. Dnieper-Carpathian Campaign
> Estimated total casualties: 1,442,956
> Date: December 24, 1943 to April 14, 1944
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Grermany

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1. Battle of Stalingrad
> Estimated total casualties: 2,000,000
> Date: July 17, 1942 to February 2, 1943
> Combatants: Soviet Union and Nazi Germany

ALERT: Take This Retirement Quiz Now  (Sponsored)

Take the quiz below to get matched with a financial advisor today.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests.

Here’s how it works:
1. Answer SmartAsset advisor match quiz
2. Review your pre-screened matches at your leisure. Check out the advisors’ profiles.
3. Speak with advisors at no cost to you. Have an introductory call on the phone or introduction in person and choose whom to work with in the future

Take the retirement quiz right here.

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