The Battle of Kursk

The Battle of Kursk
By Hayden and Hope
In the winter of 1942-1943 the Soviets won the
battle of Stalingrad. After loosing one of their armies
and over 800,000 troops, Hitler wanted to strike
back. This is what led them to the eastern front of
Russia where the Battle of Kursk took place.
In March Germany’s plans were made.
Germany’s ninth army would attack
southwards while their fourth army
and “Kempf” would attack
northwards. They planned to meet
near Kursk and if the offensive was
successful they planned to create a
new line at Don River far to the east.
Hitler gave the general staff a lot of
control over planning the battles. They
pushed the date of the battle until July
4th so they could order more time for
new weapons, especially the new
Panther tanks.
Soviet Plans
The Soviets had made a plan that mirrored the
Germans. They would attack in front of Orel and
Kharlov, the same areas where Germans planned to
attack. The locations of all previous German attacks
caught the soviets by surprise but this time Kursk
was the obvious target. The German’s delay in
launching their offensive attack gave Soviet’s nearly
four months to prepare. The area of Kursk became
one of the most heavily guarded points on earth
with two fronts (central and Voronezh) and the
Steppe front acted as a reserve. There were
thousands of trenches, about a million land mines
and thousands of artillery, tanks and aircraft. Stalin
took the advice of his professional intelligence and
staff officers, unlike Hitler. The ability of the Soviet
forces to move from defensive to offensive
operations due to better staff work, larger reserves
and better planning made the battle of Kursk a
turning point in the war.
Operation Citadel
Initially the battle was fought in the North and South. During the battle of the
North, Germans only advanced 10km into the Russian lines in 2 days, the
Germans lost 25,000 soldiers and 200 tanks.
A week into the battle with Germany suffering big losses, General Hoth, the
German commander in the south, decided to concentrate their remaining tanks
about 600 of them, and push past the last line of Russian defence, and into
Prokhorova which was a more suitable terrain for tank warfare.
However General Hoth didn't know that at this point Russian high command had
already predicted this since the Germans had fallen so easy in the North. The
Russian sent all of their remaining tanks and soldiers to the South to meet the
German advancement. The Russians also ordered their entire 5th Guards tank
army which so far hadn't been in battle to head to the South.
When the Russians and the Germans met, their was a thick cloud of smoke and
dust, which made it hard to see, this almost meant the Russians also advanced to
surround the Germans. This resulted in about 1500 tanks fighting in a very short
distance, this worked in the Russians advantage because the Germans could not
use their technological superiors in such short distances. The Germans lost more
than half of their remaining tanks.
The Battle was decided, and Hitler announced the end of Operation Citadel
The Aftermath
After the Battle of Kursk, the war in the
eastern front became one long Russian
advance, where the Russians went on to
all of the territories they lost to the
Germans and re conquered it. The
Russians advanced all the way to Berlin
and won the war because of the Germans
inability to stop them due to their huge
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