|Battle of Chicago|
|Part of Operation: Lakewoods and the American Front|
U.S. soldiers repelling a Confederate attack during December in downtown Chicago
|Confederate States||United States|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Harry Byrd |
George S. Patton
Lucius D. Clay
| Al Smith |
Joseph T. McNarney
|~800,000 men||~900,000 men|
Marked by constant close combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as the single largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. The heavy losses inflicted on the Confederate Army make it arguably the most strategically decisive battle of the whole war. It was a turning point in the American theatre of World War II–the Confederate forces never regained the initiative in the midwest and withdrew a vast military force from the east to replace their losses.
As part of Harry Byrd's and George S. Patton's plan to split the United States in half, the keystone of Operation: Lakewoods relied on taking Chicago for the use of it's industry and resources. The initial attack by Confederate forces in late October and early November was successful, however Patton's December Offensive was a failure with Omar Bradley's men pushing Confederate forces away from the city's center, ending with a majority of downtown destroyed. While Confederate firepower and equipment was superior to the Americans, the Americans began utilizing the German MP 40 and fazing out the M1903 Springfield. The Confederates also found themselves poorly equipped for the winter and also began to run out of food and resources.
By January, units of Patton's army were encircled in many areas of Chicago, with the remnants of his army in the lower portions of the city. President Byrd ordered that his men were to continue fighting and to make no attempts in breaking out. Supplying the units from the air and breaking the encirclements were attempted. By February, the Confederates exhausted their resources and ammunition. Patton began to retreat, while many other Confederate units were captured.
By the autumn of 1942, the Confederates had successfully taken the cities of St. Louis and Indianapolis under the command of Generals George S. Patton and Lucius D. Clay. The plans of Operation: Lakewoods called for the two armies to meet up at Gary and move northwest to Chicago. However, the plan was flawed for many reasons.
One reason was that Clay's army had been engaged in Springfield, Illinois by the state militas and delayed their arrival in Gary, as well as reduced the amount of men and supplies they had. Another reason was that President Harry Byrd failed to take into account that Confederate supply routes would be overstretched at that point, and both armies would need to live off the land as much as possible. With Clay's delayed arrival in Gary, it gave the U.S. Army the chances to pick at Patton's forces, regroup in Chicago, and construct fortifications around the city.