Kursk, 1943. The Battle of Kursk

The people forgets its past has no future.So once said the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.In the middle of the last century, "fifteen republics-sisters" united "Great Rus", defeated the plague mankind - fascism.Fierce battle was marked by a number of victories of the Red Army, which may be called the key.The theme of this article is one of the decisive battles of World War II - Kursk, one of the crucial battles that marked the final mastery of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers of strategic initiatives.Since that time, the German occupiers began to smash all borders.The purposeful movement of the front in the West.Since that time, the Germans have forgotten what it means to "forward to the East."

Historical parallels

Kursk confrontation happened 07/05/1943 - 08/23/1943, at the native Russian land, over which once held his shield great Alexander Nevsky.His prophetic warning to Western conquerors (who came to us with a sword) about the imminent destruction of the Russian onslaught meet their swo

rd once again had its effect.Characteristically, the Kursk something like a battle, this Prince Alexander of the Teutonic Knights on Lake Peipus 04.05.1242 year.Of course, incommensurable armies, the scope and the time of these two battles.But the scenario of both battles in something similar: the Germans were trying to break through the main forces in the center of Russian military order, but were crushed offensives flanks.

If the pragmatic attempt to say what is unique Kursk, a summary is as follows: unprecedented in history (before and after) the operational and tactical density per 1 km of the front.

disposition battle

The Red Army after the Battle of Stalingrad from November 1942 to March 1943 was marked by the defeat of the order of 100 enemy divisions, discarded from the North Caucasus, the Don, the Volga.But due to the losses incurred by our side in the beginning of spring 1943 the front stabilized.The map in the center of the fighting front line against the Germans in the direction of Hitler's army, stood projections that the military gave the name of the Kursk Bulge.1943rd spring lull brought to the front: one does not occur, both sides boosted hoarded strength to again seize the strategic initiative.

Prepare Nazi Germany

After the defeat of Stalingrad, Hitler announced the mobilization, which resulted in the Wehrmacht grew more than offset losses."Under the Gun" was 9.5 million people (including 2.3 million reservists).75% of the most combat-ready troops operating (5.3 million people) were in the Soviet-German front.

Fuehrer longed to intercept strategic initiative in the war.The turning point, according to him, had to happen exactly on that part of the front, where the Kursk Bulge.To design the headquarters of the Wehrmacht was developed by a strategic operation "Citadel".The plan involves applying converging to Kursk strokes (from the north - from the district of Orel, from the south - from the district of Belgorod).In the "pot" so got troops Voronezh and Central Fronts.

Under this operation on this sector of the front was concentrated 50 divisions including16 tank and motorized, numbering a total of 0.9 million selected, fully-equipped troops;2.7 thous. Tanks;2.5 thousand. Aircraft;10 thousand. Mortars and guns.

in this group was mainly a transition to new weapons: tanks "Panther" and "Tiger" assault guns "Ferdinand."

position of the Soviet command

When Soviet troops preparing for battle to be commended leadership talent Deputy Supreme Commander Zhukov.He, along with Chief of General Staff, Vasilevsky reported to the Supreme Commander Stalin suggested that the Kursk will be a major future site of the battle, as well as predict the approximate strength of the enemy group advancing.

On the front line fascists opposed Voronezh (commander - General Vatutin NF) and the Central Front (commander - General Rokossovsky KK) the total number of 1.34 million people.Their armament consisted of 19 thousand. Mortars and guns;3.4 thous. Tanks;2.5 thous. Planes.(As you can see, the advantage was on their side).Unbeknownst to the enemy fronts located for listed reserve Steppe Front (Commander Konev).It consisted of a tank, aircraft and five field armies, supplemented by a separate housing.

control and coordination of said groups carried out personally Zhukov and Vasilevsky.

tactical battle plan

idea of ​​Marshal Zhukov thought that the battle of Kursk will have two phases.First - defense, the second - the offensive.

was equipped with a foothold in depth (300 km depth).The total length is approximately equal to the distance the trenches "Moscow - Vladivostok."It was envisaged 8 powerful lines of defense.The aim of such a defense was to weaken the enemy, to deprive him of initiatives to maximize ease the task of advancing.In the second phase of the offensive battle was planned implementation of the two offensives.First, the operation "Kutuzov" in order to eliminate the fascist groups and the liberation of the city of "Eagle".The second, "Rumyantsev" for the destruction of the Belgorod-Kharkov grouping occupiers.

Thus, in the actual superiority of the Red Army, the battle of Kursk happened to the Soviet side "of defense."For offensive action, as taught tactics needed in two or three times superior to the number of troops.


turned out that the onset of Nazi troops was known in advance.On the eve of the German engineers began prodelyvat passages in minefields.Soviet front-line intelligence tied them fight and took prisoners.From "languages" became known in time: 05/07/1943 3-00 of

response was prompt and adequate: 05/07/1943 2-20 of Marshal Rokossovsky KK (commander of the Central Front) with the approval of the Deputy Supreme CommanderZhukov's forces frontline artillery was conducted preventive powerful shelling.It was innovation in combat tactics.By occupants were being fired hundreds of "Katyusha", 600 guns, 460 mortars.For the Nazis it was a complete surprise, they suffered losses.

only 4-30 regrouping, they were able to hold its artillery preparation, and 5-30 go on the offensive.Battle of Kursk began.

battle began

Of course, not all could predict our generals.In particular, and the General Staff, and the expected rate of the brunt from the Nazis to the south, to the town of Eagle (which protects the central front commander - General Vatutin NF).In fact, the Battle of Kursk on the part of the German forces was highlighted at the Voronezh front, from the north.For the troops of General Nikolai Fedorovich Vatutin moved two battalions of heavy tanks and eight armored divisions, Division of assault guns, one motorized division.In the first phase of the battle was the first flashpoint village of Cherkassy (virtually razed to the ground), where two Soviet rifle divisions within days restrained attack five enemy divisions.

tactics of the German offensive

martial arts nice this Great War.Kursk fully demonstrated the confrontation between the two strategies.It looked like the German offensive?Ahead of the front of attack was moving heavy equipment: 15-20 tanks "Tiger" and self-propelled guns "Ferdinand."After them followed by fifty to a hundred medium tanks "Panther", followed by the infantry.Thrown back, they regrouped and repeated attack.The attacks resembled tides, following one after another.

follow the advice of renowned military historian, Marshal of the Soviet Union, Professor Matthew Vasilyevich Zakharov, let's not idealize our defense of 1943, we set out objectively.

have to talk about the tactics of the German battle tank.Kursk (it should be recognized) demonstrated the art of Colonel-General Hermann Hoth, he "jew", if I may say about the tanks, has introduced its 4th army into battle.In this, our 40th Army with 237 tanks, artillery, equipped with the most (35.4 units per 1 km), under the command of General Kirill Moskalenko Semyonovich was much more to the left, ie,irrelevant.The counter General Gotu 6th Guards Army (commander IM Chistyakov) had a density of guns by 1 km - 24.4 with 135 tanks.Mainly for the 6th Army, not the most powerful, struck by Army Group "South", whose team was the most gifted strategist Wehrmacht Erich von Manstein.(By the way, this man was one of the few who constantly argued for the strategy and tactics of Adolf Hitler, for which in 1944, in fact, he was dismissed).

tank battle at Prokhorovka

In the current difficult situation, to eliminate the break, the Red Army were put into action the strategic reserves: 5th Guards Tank Army (commander Rotmistrov PA) and the 5th Guards Army (commander Zhadov A. C.)

Opportunity flank attack Soviet tank army near the village of Prokhorovka previously considered by the German General Staff.Therefore divisions "Totenkopf" and "Imperial Russia" impact direction was changed to 900 - for a head-on collision with the army of General Rotmistrov Cherenkov.

tanks of Kursk: the German side in the battle were 700 combat vehicles, with our - 850. The impressive and terrible picture.As recalled by witnesses, the roar was such that blood flowed from the ears.Shoot necessary in emphasis from what is collapsible tower.By accessing to the enemy from the rear and tried to fire at the tanks, causing the tanks flashed torches.Tankers were like in prostration - still alive, we had to fight.Retreat, it was impossible to hide.

Red Army in the Battle of Prokhorovka, showing heroism, still suffered great losses than the German.Technique 18 and 29 tank shells were destroyed seventy percent.

If we talk about the losses of the fronts in the Battle of Kursk, the Voronezh, Steppe and Central fronts lost 177.8 thousand. People, of which more than 70 thousand. - Killed.The Voronezh Front was "hacked" the entire depth.According to the data of historians, German losses amounted to slightly more than 20% of ours.

second phase of the operation

Absorbed by 35 km and suffered significant losses, the Germans realized that to keep a foothold won can not, and 07/16/1943, the troops started to delay.Voronezh and Steppe Fronts moved into a positional attack and restored the front line.The General Staff and the rate (we must pay tribute) finely caught "moment of truth", and entered into the battle reserves.

Suddenly the Germans "fresh" 03/08/1943, the Bryansk Front went on the offensive, supported on the flanks by the steppe and Central fronts.05/08/1943, after heavy fighting Bryansk Front was liberated Orel and Belgorod Steppe.08/23/1943 Liberation of Kharkiv was completed surgery Kursk.Map this battle include defensive phase (05-23.07.1943 g);Orel operation ("Kutuzov") 12.07-18.08.1943 g .;Belgorod-Kharkov operation ("Rumyantsev") 03-23.08.1943 of


After the victory of the Red Army over the Wehrmacht in the Battle of Kursk strategic initiative finally passed to the Red Army.Therefore, this battle is called a turning point in World War II.

course, to attack the enemy in the first phase of the operation was unreasonable (if the defense we have suffered the loss of one to five, no matter how they were upon the occurrence ?!).At the same time the Soviet troops on this battlefield was shown true heroism.100,000 people were awarded orders and medals, and 180 of them were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

In our time, the day of her graduation - August 23 - year common inhabitants of the country as the Day of Russia's military glory.