History World War II
By the Second World War tactics and equipment had moved on. Purpose built landing craft were used at the evacuation from Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo) and an amphibious operation was tried out at Dieppe in 1942. The operation proved a costly failure, but the lessons, hard learned, were used later. Many small-scale operations were conducted by the Allies on the Axis-held coast of Europe, including raids on the Lofoten Islands, St Nazaire and Bruneval.
Arguably the most famous amphibious assault was the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, in which British, Canadian, and US forces were landed at Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. The organizational planning of the landing itself (Operation Neptune) was in the hands of Admiral Bertram Ramsay. It covered the landing of the troops and their re-supply.
Other large amphibious operations in the European Theatre in WWII include:
Location Operation Name Date Notes
Norway Operation Weserübung 9 April 1940
Great Britain Operation Sea Lion (German: Unternehmen Seelöwe) postponed indefinitely on 17 September 1940 (not carried out)
Crete Operation Mercury (German: Unternehmen Merkur) 20 May 1941 (Initially an airborne assault)
North Africa Operation Torch 8 November 1942 (3 task forces covering the coasts of Morocco and Algeria)
Sicily Operation Husky began on the night of 9–10 July 1943
Salerno Operation Avalanche, 9 September 1943 also involved two supporting operations: in Calabria (Operation Baytown, 3rd Sept) and Taranto (Operation Slapstick, 9 September).
Anzio Operation Shingle 22 January 1944
Southern France Operation Dragoon 15 August 1944
In the Pacific Theatre, almost every campaign involved “island hopping” assaults from the sea. Some of the famous ones include:
The Philippines 1941-42 and 1944-45
Battle of Guadalcanal
Battle of Tarawa
Battle of Makin
Battle of Saipan
Battle of Peleliu
Battle of Iwo Jima
Battle of Okinawa
The war finished before the large Indian Ocean amphibious assault Operation Zipper was launched, however, small amphibious operations took place along the Arakan coast during the Burma Campaign.