By Mark Healy
In July 1943, Hitler introduced Operation Zitadelle, the final German offensive at the japanese entrance. It used to be an try and shorten the German strains by means of disposing of the Kursk salient – created after their defeat at Stalingrad – and was once designed to lead to the encirclement of the purple military. in truth the German tanks got here up opposed to impenetrable Russian defences: minefields, artillery and anti-tank emplacements, unfold via traces 250km deep and manned through Russian troops whose activities usually verged at the suicidal. the best tank conflict in background, Kursk guaranteed the Nazis’ defeat and was once ‘the swan music of the German tank arm’.
Involving over 9000 tanks, 5000 plane, 35,000 weapons and mortars and 2,700,000 troops (of whom 230,000 grew to become casualties), the conflict of Kursk used to be a clash whose scale and barbarity eclipsed all different clashes in Europe. This ebook provides a transparent, concise account of these dramatic days in 1943, supported by way of a timeline of occasions and orders of conflict, and illustrated with over fifty images.
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Additional resources for Battle Story Kursk 1943
He was entrusted with greater command responsibility by Hitler, who made him a Field Marshal in 1944. Model was employed on both the Eastern and Western Fronts in effect as the ‘Führer’s fireman’ from July 1944. He committed suicide on 21 April 1945. Colonel-General Walter Model. The Soviet Commanders Army General Konstantin K. Rokossovsky (1896–1968), Commander of the Central Front It was his Polish origins that had led to the arrest, imprisonment and torture of Rokossovsky as a spy in 1937. Until then, he had risen through the ranks of the Red Army and had in the early thirties even commanded Zhukov.
Where possible, the Germans intended to use whatever roads could be secured although none in the salient were metalled and thus all-weather. Those depicted on maps were wide tracks, the black earth of which was compacted into a hard surface by the weight of the traffic moving along them. The onset of rain radically changed the consistency, turning it to mud that clung to the boots of soldiers and packed suspension units of tanks. Experience in Russia had shown how mud could unpick even the best laid offensive plan.
Only one of Model’s infantry divisions was described as being of the ‘highest offensive level’ with another four being fit for only ‘limited offensive action’. Whilst Kursk is forever linked with the clash of armour, the deterioration of the German Army is best exemplified by the state of its primary arm – the infantry. This appears to be paradoxical inasmuch as there were 51 more infantry divisions in service in 1943 than two years before, when at the launch of Barbarossa, the Heer was fielding 175 divisions.