BLUF

This article describes the Battle of Kursk, the terrible casualties and the end of Germany’s ability to launch an offensive against the Soviet Union.

Summary

The Battle of Kursk occurred in July 1943 around the Soviet city of Kursk. 
To mount the attack, Germany amassed:
  • Over 500,000 men.
  • 10,000 guns and mortars. 
  • 2,700 tanks and assault guns.
  • 2,500 aircraft. 
The Soviet Army dug in and had: 
  • 1,300,000 men.
  • 20,000 guns and mortars.
  • 3,600 tanks.
  • 2,650 aircraft. 
  • Five reserve field armies of 500,000 men and 1,500 tanks.
Other points to note are as follows:
  • Germany had Armies positioned at the North, South and West of the Kursk Bulge, prepared for a Blitzkrieg.
  • A successful blitzkrieg depends on surprise, but Germany lost that advantage because British intelligence had informed the Soviets of Germany's potential attack.
  • On 5 July, Operation Citadel was launched, despite warnings not to proceed due to the strength of the Soviet's defence systems.
  • The Germans unleashed their artillery assault, followed by infantry strikes supported by the Luftwaffe. 
  • Soviet's defences successfully halted the out-numbered and out-gunned German advance.
  • The Germans attempted an offensive in the south known as Operation Roland, but that attack also failed.
  • On 12 July, the Soviets launched a counteroffensive, Operation Kutuzov, and by 24 July, the Soviets had pushed the Germans back past Operation Citadel's original launching point.
  • The Soviet's win was costly as it is estimated Soviet casualties numbered 800,000.
  • The Germans suffered some 200,000 German casualties.
A significant point to note is that the Soviet Union was able to replaces its losses, the Germans were not able to replace theirs.