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World War II Index/Glossary of Terms

Russo-Finnish War

A brief war between the USSR and Finland that began in November 1939 when the Soviets invaded the small Northern European nation. Finland surrendered in March 1940, but would declare war on the USSR again after the Germans invaded Russia in June 1941.

Ryukyus (Ryukyus Islands)

A Pacific island group south of Japan. The Allied objective in the Ryukyus was to establish naval and air bases within striking distance of the Japanese home islands. The Ryukyus campaign began in March-April 1945 with the amphibious assault on Okinawa.


Part of the Marianas islands in the Pacific. U.S. troops made an amphibious assault on the Japanese-held island on June 15, 1944. The Japanese troops surrendered on July 7, 1944.


An area of southeastern New Guinea, an island nation in the Southwest Pacific, just north of Australia. Australian and U.S. Army forces under MacArthur fought back the Japanese at Gona on January 23, 1943.


The German word for "fast."

Segi Point

An area on New Georgia Island in the Solomons in the Pacific. U.S. Army forces landed here on June 20, 1943.


The common abbreviation for the rank of Sergeant. MSgt is for Master Sergeant; SSgt is for Staff Sergeant; TSgt is for Technical Sergeant.


The unofficial code name for Guadalcanal campaign (Watchtower).


The landing at Cape Torokina, Bougainville on November 1, 1943.

Sicily (Sicilian Campaign)

Sicily is the island "football" across from the toe of the "foot" of mainland Italy. The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Husky, began on July 10, 1943. It ended on August 17, 1943 with an Allied victory. Axis losses in the campaign were around 167,000 killed, wounded, and captured, including some 10,000 German casualties. Allied losses were 31,158.


World War II high-level cipher machine.


signals intelligence.

James Smith ("Horse Collar")

Marine in the 1st Raider Battalion who fought on Guadalcanal.


The Special Operations Executive. A British agency charged with managing counter-agents inside Axis countries.

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