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Introduction

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The Battle of Austerlitz by François Gérard.
War is a state of conflict between relatively large groups of people (such as nations, states, organizations, social groups) which is characterized by the use of armed lethal violence between combatants or upon civilians. Other terms for war, which often serve as euphemisms, include armed conflict, hostilities, and police action.

A common look on war is a series of military campaigns between at least two or more opposing sides involving a dispute over sovereignty, territory, resources, ideology or a host of other issues. A war to liberate an occupied country is sometimes characterised as a "war of liberation", while a war between internal elements of the same state is called as civil war.

Aside from humans and their primate brethren, ants are the only other animals known to exhibit such behavior on a large scale.

A battle is a single engagement fought between two or more parties, wherein each party or aligned group will seek to defeat their opponent. Battles are most often fought during military campaigns and can usually be well defined in time, space and action. Wars are generally the continuum of a related series of battles and are guided by strategy, whereas individual battles are the stage on which tactics are employed.

Military history is the recording and analysis of those events in the history of humanity that fall within the category of organised armed conflict, and that relate to the institutions and organizations that prosecute such conflict.

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The Second Battle of Smolensk was a major World War II Red Army offensive in western Russia, staged almost simultaneously with the Battle of the Lower Dnieper. The two-month offensive led by Generals Andrei Yeremenko and Vasily Sokolovsky was aimed at clearing the German presence from the Smolensk and Bryansk regions. Smolensk had been under German occupation since the first Battle of Smolensk in 1941. Despite an impressive German defense setup, the Red Army was able to stage several breakthroughs, liberating several major cities, including Smolensk and Roslavl, and moving into occupied Belorussia. Although playing a major military role in its own right, the Smolensk Operation was also important for its effect on the Battle of Dnieper. It has been estimated that as many as 55 German divisions were committed to counter the Smolensk Operation—divisions that were critically needed to prevent Soviet troops from crossing the Dnieper River in the south. Additionally, the operation allowed the Red Army to repulse German forces definitively from the Smolensk landbridge, historically the most important approach for an attack on Moscow from the west.

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Fight for the Bagration flèches

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USS Pennsylvania leading USS Colorado, USS Louisville, USS Portland, and USS Columbia into Lingayen Gulf before the landing on Luzon, Philippines in January 1945.

The battleship USS Pennsylvania leads USS Colorado, USS Louisville, USS Portland, and USS Columbia into Lingayen Gulf before the landing on Luzon, Philippines in January 1945. Battleships and other big gun naval vessels that served in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II were used primarily for offshore bombardment of enemy positions and as anti-aircraft screens for aircraft carriers.
Photo credit: United States Navy

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