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The battle of kursk

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  1. The battle of kursk THE SOVIET RECONQUEST OF WESTERN RUSSIA JULY, 1943

  2. KEY INDIVIDUALS • ERICH Von MANSTEIN • GEORGI ZHUKOV • KONSTANTIN ROKASSOVSKY • NIKOLAI VATUTIN

  3. STRATEGIC SITUATION, RUSSIA - JULY, 1943 • STALINGRAD DEFEAT (FEB. ‘43) • FORCES WITHDRAWAL OF GERMAN ARMY WESTWARD • REMOVES THREAT TO CASPIAN OILFIELDS • PROBLEM? • GERMAN ARMY IS STILL POWERFUL • GERMANS INTEND TO CREATE NORTH-SOUTH DEFENSIVE LINE; PURPOSE? • BLEED RUSSIANS WHITE • ALLOW GERMAN ARMY TO REGROUP FOR 1944 OFFENSIVE • MOST GERMAN MILITARY LEADERS AGREE

  4. KURSK: ORIGINS • ERICH Von MANSTEIN ARGUES FOR SUMMER OFFENSIVE • MANSTEIN’S PLANS, HOWEVER, CALL FOR ATTACK FURTHER SOUTH • GERMAN HIGH COMMAND DECIDES ON ATTACK AGAINST KURSK“SALIENT” • WHY THERE? • SUCCESS WOULD SHORTEN GERMAN LINES • KURSK WAS A VITAL RAILWAY CITY • CUTTING OFF THE SALIENT WOULD TRAP 1/5 OF RED ARMY’S MANPOWER • ATTACK MUST BE IN SPRING/SUMMER – WHY? • MASSIVE BLITZKRIEG TACTICS WILL BE NECESSARY • VISIBILITY / MOBILITY ARE CRITICAL

  5. SOVIET SITUATION • SOVIET INTELLIGENCE IS ALREADY AWARE OF POSSIBLE GERMAN OFFENSIVE • HOW? W. EURO. SPY RING • SOVIET HIGH COMMAND HAD PREDICTED AN ATTACK AT KURSK • ZHUKOV ADVISES STALIN TO ALLOW GERMANS TO ATTACK FIRST • WHY? • IT WILL EXHAUST GERMAN FORCES • IT WILL THEN ALLOW RUSSIAN COUNTERATTACK • RESULT? • SOVIET PLAN CALLS FOR DEFENSIVE STRATEGY FOLLOWED BY COUNTERATTACK • MASSIVE DEFENSE-IN-DEPTH NETWORK IS CREATED • EXAMPLE? • 1 MILLION LAND MINES • TRENCHWORKS TO A DEPTH OF 95 MILES • 3600 TANKS • 20,000 ARTILLERY PIECES • 1 MILLION + TROOPS • 2700 AIRCRAFT

  6. SOVIET DEFENSE IN DEPTH,KURSK, 1943

  7. ORDER OF BATTLE • GERMANS: • 800,000 MEN (approx.) • 3,000 TANKS (approx.) • 10,000 ARTILLERY PIECES (approx.) • 2,000 AIRCRAFT • SOVIETS: • 1,000,000 (approx.) • 5,000 TANKS (approx.) • 25,000 ARTILLERY PIECES (approx.) • 2,800 AIRCRAFT (approx.) • GERMAN BATTLE PLAN: • ATTACK RUSSIANS ON NORTH & SOUTH FLANKS FOR SALIENT • USE ARMORED THRUSTS TO CUT OFF SALIENT • TRAP RUSSIANS INSIDE SALIENT (total of 60 Divisions)

  8. OPERATION CITADEL,UNIT DISPERSAL, JULY 1943

  9. FIELD MARSHALL ERICH Von MANSTEIN,COMMANDING OFFICER,ARMY GROUP DON, ARMY GROUP SOUTH

  10. Von Mansteinstudying battle maps prior to Battle of Kursk

  11. ERICH Von MANSTEIN,RUSSIA, 1943

  12. MARSHALL GEORGI ZHUKOV, DEPUTY COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, SOVIET HIGH COMMAND

  13. GEN. NIKOLAI VATUTIN, COMMANDING OFFICER, 1st UKRANIAN FRONT

  14. GEN. KONSTANTIN ROKASSOVSKY, COMMANDING OFFICER,CENTRAL FRONT ARMY

  15. THE KURSK SALIENT, JULY 5-12, 1943

  16. BASIC BLITZKRIEG PRINCIPLES

  17. GERMAN “TIGER” TANK

  18. GERMAN “PANTHER” TANK

  19. WAFFEN-SS TIGER TANK UNIT MOVING INTO ASSAULT POSITIONS, KURSK, JULY 5, 1943

  20. WAFFEN-SS PANZERGRENADIERS PREPARE FOR KURSK ASSAULT, JULY 5, 1943

  21. WAFFEN-SS MOVE TOWARDS ATTACK POSITIONS

  22. WAFFEN-SS TIGERS & APC MOVE INTO KURSK ASSAULT POSITIONS

  23. GERMAN TIGERS ADVANCE TOWARDS SOVIET POSITIONS, 5:00am, JULY 5, 1943

  24. THE BATTLE – “OPERATION CITADEL” • GERMAN ASSAULT BEGINS ON JULY 5TH • SIMULTANEOUS ASSAULTS ON NORTH AND SOUTH FLANKS OF THE SALIENT • SOVIETS ARE PREPARED FOR ATTACK • RED ARMY HAS PLACED MORE ARTILLERY UNITS THAN INFANTRY UNITS IN NSALIENT • ZHUKOV HAS MASSED LARGE ARMOURED RESERVES EAST OF SALIENT • DEFENSE-IN-DEPTH LINES ARE WELL DEFENDED • INITIAL GERMAN ATTACK ENJOYS SUCCESS • Ex. –SOUTHERN ATTACK PENETRATES UP TO 12 MILES • PROBLEM: • SOVIET DEFENSES ARE EFFECTIVE • RED ARMY HAS TOO MANY RESERVES • GERMANS CANNOT REPLACE HEAVY CASUALTIES

  25. TIGER TANK WEAKNESSES

  26. ARMOURED CLASH - KURSK

  27. STUKA “TANK KILLERS” IN ACTION - KURSK

  28. DESTROYED GERMAN ARMOUR - KURSK

  29. THE BATTLE • JULY 10: GERMAN ATTACK IN NORTH HAS STALLED • JULY 12: SOUTHERN FLANK • PROKOROVKHA: MASSIVE 8-HOUR TANK BATTLE • GERMANS TANKS SUPERIOR, BUT OUTNUMBERED • SOVIET DEFENSES PREVENT GERMAN INFANTRY FROM SUPPORTING TANKS • GERMAN TANKS FACE SOVIET TANKS & ARTILLERY ALONE • JULY 16: SOUTHERN ATTACK STOPS • GERMANS ARE FORCED BACK TO STARTING POSITIONS • BATTLE OF KURSK IS EFFECTIVELY OVER

  30. AFTERMATH • KURSK IS LAST MAJOR GERMAN OFFENSIVE ON THE EASTERN FRONT • GERMANS CANNOT REPLACE LOSSES • CASUALTIES: • SOVIETS: • 177,000 KIA (approx.) • 1600 TANKS DESTROYED • GERMANS: • 55,000 KIA (approx.) • 325 TANKS DESTROYED • AFTER KURSK: • GERMAN ARMY IS IN SLOW RETREAT TO GERMANY • RUSSIAN ARMY BEGINS OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS THAT CONTINUE FOR REMAINDER OF WAR

  31. WAFFEN-SS TANK CREW AFTER BATTLE OF KURSK

  32. SOVIET VICTORY POSTER, BATTLE OF KURSK

  33. THE SOVIET RECONQUEST OF WESTERN RUSSIA, 1943-44

  34. VICTORY MONUMENT, PROKOROVKHA, KURSK, RUSSIA