List of World War II military operations

This is a list of known World War II era codenames for military operations, and missions commonly associated with World War II. As of 2008 this is not a comprehensive list, but most major operations that Axis and Allied combatants engaged in are included, and also operations that involved neutral nation states. Operations are categorised according to the theater of operations, and an attempt has been made to cover all aspects of significant events. Operations contained in the Western Front category have been listed by year. Operations that follow the cessation of hostilities and those that occurred in the pre-war period are also included. Operations are listed alphabetically, and where multiple aspects are involved these are listed inline.

Flags used are those of the time period.


Excluding North African campaigns (see below, under Me Guardafui]] lighthouse and adjacent area

Atlantic Ocean

Includes North Sea, Arctic Ocean and actions against naval vessels in harbour

Eastern Front

Mediterranean Sea


  • Alpha (1944) — improvement of the defences of Kunming against Japanese threats
  • Ichigo (1944) — Japanese campaign in eastern China to secure overland routes to Indo-China and airfields
  • Matterhorn (1944) — establishment of bases for US B-29 bomber aircraft
  • Sankō (1942–1944) — Japanese campaign in five provinces of northeastern China to crush the Chinese resistance following the Hundred Regiments Offensive

South West, South, and South East Asia

Iraq, Syria, Iran, India, Burma, Malaya and Indo-China, and the Indian Ocean

Scandinavia and Finland




  • Rädda Danmark ("Save Denmark") (1945) — Swedish plan to liberate Denmark before the country was occupied by the Soviet Union (cancelled because of German surrender)
    • Rädda Själland (1945) — Swedish landings on Zealand
    • Rädda Bornholm (1945) — Swedish landings on Bornholm

Western Front



  • Caesar (1945) — transfer of technical plans and strategic materials to Japan, using U-864.
  • Beethoven (1941–1945) — German programme to develop composite aircraft (Mistel)
  • Prüfstand XII ("Test stand") (1945) — German programme to develop submarine-launched V-2


  • Alsos ("Grove") (1940–1945) — Allied efforts to gather data on German nuclear fission developments.
    • Big (1945) — capture of an atomic pile at Haigerloch.
    • Harborage (1945) — US sweep up of German atomic assets ahead of French occupation.
    • Epsilon (1945) — Eavesdropping on incarcerated German scientists.
  • Aphrodite (1944) The use of B-17 bombers as radio-controlled missiles.
  • Backfire (1945) — launches of captured V-2 rockets.
  • Hawkeye (1944) Radar research by US Navy.
  • Lusty (1945) — US actions to capture German scientific documents, facilities and aircraft.
  • Manhattan Project (1941–1945) — program to build an atomic bomb.
  • Most III ("Bridge III") (1944) — transfer of captured V-2 components from occupied Poland to Britain. Also known as Wildhorn III.
  • Paperclip (1945–) — capture of scientists, technical and German rocketry. Originally Operation Overcast sometimes called Project Paperclip.
  • Surgeon (1945–) — Similar to Paperclip; program to exploit German aeronautical scientific advances.
  • Stella Polaris (1944–) transfer of Finnish SIGINT, equipment, and personnel to Sweden following end of Continuation war in 1944.
  • TICOM ("Target Intelligence Committee") (1945–) — seizure of intelligence apparatus, in particular cryptographic assets. See also Stella Polaris.

Partisan operations

Includes some operations by regular forces in support of partisans.

Anti-partisan operations



  • Bernhard (1944) — German plan to damage British economy using forged British banknotes.
  • Elster ("Magpie") (1944) — landings of German agents on the US east coast with objective of gathering intelligence on Manhattan Project
  • Haudegen ("Broadsword") (1944) — German intelligence collection in Spitzbergen, Norway
  • Hummer ("Lobster") series (1940 onwards) — insertion of German agents into Britain. See also Hummer I
  • Kadella (1945) — airdrop of agents near Marseilles
  • Plan Kathleen (1941) — plan sent by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to Germany seeking support for activities. Dubbed "Artus" by German Foreign Ministry. See IRA Abwehr World War II for all IRA Abwehr involvement.
  • Karneval (1945) — airdrop of agents near Brussels and Waal
  • Mosul (1944) — air drop of agents and supplies near Mosul
  • Pastorius (1942) — separate landings of German agents on the US east coast with objective of industrial sabotage.
  • Perlen-fischer (1945) — airdrop of agents near Paris
  • Salaam (1942) — insertion of German agents into the British-occupied Kingdom of Egypt
  • Seemöwe ("Seagull") series (1940 onwards) — insertion of German agents into Britain and Ireland. See also Seagull I and Seagull II.
  • Taube ("Dove/Pigeon") (1940) — mission to transport IRA Chief of Staff Seán Russell from Germany back to Ireland.
  • Wal ("Whale") (1940) — aborted German plan to foster links with Scottish and Welsh nationalist groups.
  • Walfisch ("Whale") (1940) — aborted German plan to land an agent in Ireland.



  • Alpenfestung — plan for Nazi national Redoubt in Alps.
    • Werwolf (1945–50) — guerrilla force to resist occupation by Allies.
  • Big Bang (1947) — demolition of defences of Heligoland
  • Bracelet (1942) — Churchill's flight to Cairo and Moscow.
  • Catapult (1940) — Royal Navy actions to seize, disable or destroy the French fleet after France's surrender.
  • Downfall (1945) — Proposed Allied plan for the invasion of Japan.
  • Operation Sunrise (1945) — negotiations leading to German surrender in Italy.
  • Eiche ("Oak") (1943) — German rescue from custody of Benito Mussolini
  • Frantic (1943) — The use of Soviet airfields by western Allied bombers.
  • Feuerzauber ("Fire Magic") (1936–39) — Transfer of planes, engineers, and pilots to nationalist forces during Spanish Civil War.
    • Rügen (1937) — Bombing of Guernica.
    • Bodden (1937–43) Abwehr intelligence gathering system operating from Spain and Morocco.
    • Ursula (1936–1939) Kriegsmarine U-boat operations in support of Francoist and Italian navies.
  • Gaff (1944) — attempt to kill Erwin Rommel
  • Keelhaul (1945) — forced repatriation to the Soviet Union, by the western Allies, of Soviet prisoners of war
  • Magic Carpet (1945–1946) — American post-war operation to transport US military personnel home
  • Manna (1945) — Allied air drops of food to famine-ravaged Netherlands, with German cooperation
  • Margarethe (1944) — German occupation of Hungary. Döme Sztójay, an avid supporter of the Nazis, become the new Hungarian Prime Minister with the aid of a Nazi military governor.
  • Panzerfaust/Eisenfaust ("Armored Fist") (1943) — Kidnap of Hungarian leader Miklós Horthy's son to prevent defection of Hungary from Axis.
  • Peking (1939) — removal of Polish warships to Britain, in advance of German invasion
  • Pied Piper (1939) — evacuation of children from British cities.
  • Rabat (1943) — Plan to kidnap the Pope and diplomatic corp. from Vatican City.
  • Regenbogen ("Rainbow") (1945) — rescinded order to scuttle Kriegsmarine.
  • Rösselsprung ("Knights Move") (1944) — German attempt to capture Josip Broz Tito
  • Safehaven (1944) — allied efforts to capture fleeing Nazis and seize German resources abroad
  • Symbol (1943) — Churchill's flight to Casablanca.
  • Tabarin (1943) — British Antarctic expedition.
  • Operation Walküre ("Valkyrie") (194?) — Plan to deal with general breakdown of civil order within Germany following the death of Hitler and the seizure of power by other Nazi officials or the SS; a cover for clandestine action by the German resistance.
  • Worek ("Sack") (1939) Polish naval defence of the Polish coast
  • Rainbow War Plans (1920s–30s) — Global US War planning between the World Wars.

Propaganda, war crimes, and genocide


  1. pp. 138–139, Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand
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