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.
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.
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