Special Report

The 18 Biggest Battles of World War II

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It has been more than three-quarters of a century since the end of World War II. No conflict since then has come near to the magnitude of death and destruction wrought. During six years of battle, over 80 million people, soldiers and civilians, lost their lives. Some of the deadliest battles in human history took place during the war.

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 Museum in London, World War II battle database, and more.

Click here to see the biggest battles of World War II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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