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World War II Index/Glossary of Terms

B-24 Liberator

The most commonly-used American bomber of the war. Over 18,300 B-24 Liberators were built.

B-29 Superfortress

The technologically-advanced Boeing B-29 bomber was designed in 1940 to replace the B-17s and B-24s. The first one took its maiden voyage in late 1943. They were never used in Europe, but were used extensively in the Pacific late in the war. In November 1944, B-29s began a massive bombing campaign against mainland Japan. A B-29 named the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. A B-29 named Bock's Car dropped the second atomic bomb over Nagasaki on August 9.

Bairoko Harbor

A Japanese strongpoint in the battles for New Georgia in the Pacific in mid-1943. It fell on August 25, 1943.


Common acronym for the Browning Automatic Rifle.

Barbarossa (Operation Barbarossa)

The German invasion of Russia that began in June 1941.


A peninsula in the Philippines. Site of the retreat of the U.S. Army troops in the Philippines led by General MacArthur in 1942.

Bataan Death March

The forced POW march that began on April 9, 1942 after U.S. troops on Bataan in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese.

Battle of the Bulge

A failed Nazi counter-offensive late in the war, December 1944 to January 1945.


This small western European nation was invaded by Germany in early May 1940. In late May Belgium surrendered.


The capital city of Germany. Soviet troops reached Berlin on April 23, 1945. As the Soviets were advancing through the city, Adolf Hitler killed himself. On May 2, the Soviets complete the capture.

Biak Island

An island in the southwest Pacific about 900 miles southeast of the Philippines. Invaded by an American amphibious force on May 27, 1944. The Japanese defenders of Biak fought desperately to retain the island, and General Krueger, the U.S. Sixth Army Commander, did not declare the operation over until August 20, 1944.


The Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps were liberated by Soviet troops in January 1945. The Soviets discovered hundreds of corpses from people who were recently murdered, thousands of people barely alive, and the earthly remains of approximately one million men and women.


A German battleship sunk by the British while on her maiden voyage in May 1941.

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