Kursk 1943 (Battle Story) by Mark Healy

By Mark Healy

In July 1943, Hitler introduced Operation Zitadelle, the final German offensive at the jap entrance. It was once an try and shorten the German strains via getting rid of the Kursk salient—created after their defeat at Stalingrad—and used to be designed to bring about the encirclement of the crimson military. in fact the German tanks got here up opposed to impenetrable Russian defenses: minefields, artillery, and anti-tank emplacements, unfold via strains 250km deep and manned by means of Russian troops whose activities usually verged at the suicidal. the best tank conflict in historical past, Kursk guaranteed the Nazis defeat and was once «the swan tune of the German tank arm.»

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After Kursk, relations between Hitler and Manstein steadily declined and in March 1944, having presented him with the Swords to his Knights Cross, the Führer dismissed him from his command. Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein. Colonel-General Herman Hoth (1885–1971), Commander of 4th Panzer Army Affectionately known as ‘Papa’, the diminutive Hermann Hoth was promoted to Major-General and divisional commander in 1935. He took command of XV Motorised Corps and led it in the Polish campaign. Raised to full General in July 1940, it was during Barbarossa, when he commanded 3rd Panzer Corps as part of Army Group Centre, that he came to prominence.

Although implying a hilly upland even at its highest point the land is no more than 300 metres above sea level. In general, the area is a wide plain characterised by gently rolling hills and plateaus. Much of this terrain is punctuated by ancient low burial mounds which would provide vantage points to observe enemy movements and thus would become the focus of intense fighting. Bisecting the terrain of the salient were numerous deep gorges known as balkas cut by rivers and streams such as the Oka, Sym, Psel and Pena.

The Soldiers The German Army Unsurprisingly German troops wore a variety of uniform during the course of the battle. While some landsers were still to be seen in feldgrau, the more common summer wear was the M1940 reed-green fatigue twill tunic with others dressed in the 1942 pullover style cotton shirt as outer clothing. The newer M1942 reed-green herringbone twill tunic with similar colour trousers was only appearing in quantity by the time of Kursk. Becoming more common by this date were lace-up ankle boots that were replacing the leather jackboot.

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