the battle of kursk the history and legacy of the biggest tank battle of world war ii

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The Battle Of Kursk

Author : Charles River Charles River Editors
ISBN : 1542731852
Genre :
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*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the battle by generals and soldiers on both sides *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "The Russians have learnt a lot since 1941. They are no longer peasants with simple minds. They have learnt the art of war from us." - Wehrmacht Generaloberst Hermann "Papa" Hoth at Kursk (Healy, 1992, 90) "On the German side, the reserves which will become so desperately necessary as the war situation develops [...] will be tied down and thrown away uselessly. I consider the operation that has been planned a particularly grave error, for which we shall suffer later." - Colonel Reinhard Gehlen, Wehrmacht intelligence analyst, writing about Operation Citadel (Fowler, 2005, 66). The vast expanses of southern Russia and the Ukraine provided the Eastern Front arena where the armies of Third Reich dictator Adolf Hitler and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin wrestled lethally for supremacy in 1943. Endless rolling plains - ideal "tank country" - vast forests, sprawling cities, and enormous tracts of agricultural land formed the environment over which millions of men and thousands of the era's most formidable military vehicles fought for their respective overlords and ideologies. The winner could expect to reap very high stakes indeed. If Hitler's Wehrmacht smashed the Red Army, he could no longer hope for a lightning conquest, but the Fuhrer could expect the Soviet strongman to sue for peace on terms advantageous to Germany. If, conversely, the Red Army triumphed, Stalin could continue rallying the Soviet Union and move closer to expelling the loathed "Nemets" invaders from Russian soil - and perhaps carve out a Soviet empire in Central Europe. Asserting that changes in the military leadership style of the two contending dictators explains the outcome of Kursk oversimplifies the actual situation. Logistics, the emergence of a body of experienced junior officers in the Red Army, American Lend-Lease shipments, German production problems, and other issues all contributed to the observed result. However, the overarching factor tying everything together remained the changing approach of each leader to their army. At the start of the war, Hitler gave his commanders considerable initiative while Stalin fatally micromanaged his, and the Germans ripped vast hordes of Soviets to shreds with comparative ease. In late 1942 and moving into 1943, Hitler commenced micromanaging the Wehrmacht, and Stalin adopted a more "hands-off" approach permitting his commanders considerable initiative: "At the heart of the Red Army's lopsided tank losses was an amateurish and self-destructive style of decision imposed by Stalin [...] In November 1942 there was a subtle shift in the Red Army, as months of military disasters finally caused Stalin to reduce some of his interference [...] and allow quiet professionals such as Vasilevsky, Vatutin and Rokossovsky to prepare proper offensives." (Forczyk, 2013, 257). Though the Wehrmacht remained too formidable and professional to collapse as readily as the appallingly low-quality Red Army had in 1941 and early 1942, the Red Army slowly got the upper hand and achieved strategic offensive momentum. That the shift occurred at the moment when Hitler hamstrung his generals with his melodramatic obstructionism while Stalin gave his some operational breathing room probably represents no accident. Kursk represented the transitional battle during which the Red Army first demonstrated its new capabilities. The Soviets possessed better commanders than at the start of the war, a numerous soldiery, good-quality equipment (in particular, the T-34 tank), and the beginnings of a professional officer corps. Nevertheless, it required personal, ham-handed intervention by Adolf Hitler to transform Kursk from a probable hard-won Wehrmacht victory into a marginal but highly significant defeat.

Historical Dictionary Of World War Ii

Author : Anne Sharp Wells
ISBN : 9780810879447
Genre : History
File Size : 83. 4 MB
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This dictionary covers the complex and costly conflict that began when Germany, ruled by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, invaded neighboring Poland on 1 September 1939; and concluded when Germany surrendered on 7–9 May 1945, leaving much of the European continent in ruins and its population devastated. The war against Germany, Italy, and the other European Axis members was fought primarily in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, East and North Africa, and the Atlantic Ocean. The Axis powers were defeated by the Allies, led by the “Grand Alliance” of Great Britain, the United States, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Historical Dictionary of World War II: The War against Germany and Italy relates the history of this war through a chronology, an introductory essay, maps and photos, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has more than 300 cross-referenced entries on the countries and geographical areas involved in the war, as well as the nations remaining neutral; wartime alliances and conferences; significant civilian and military leaders; and major ground, naval, and air operations. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about World War II.

A Traveller S History Of Russia And The Ussr

Author : Peter Neville
ISBN : IND:30000000721534
Genre : Soviet Union
File Size : 32. 6 MB
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For those who need more historical background information on a country that what can be found in a simple travel guide, this comprehensive survey of Russia and the USSR provides a welcome insight into this enigmatic country, from its earliest days to the times of perestroika and glasnost. Historical maps. A-Z Gazetteer. Illustrations.

Armor And Blood The Battle Of Kursk

Author : Dennis E. Showalter
ISBN : 9780812994650
Genre : History
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One of America’s most distinguished military historians offers the definitive account of the greatest tank battle of World War II—an epic clash of machines and men that matched the indomitable will of the Soviet Red Army against the awesome might of the Nazi Wehrmacht. While the Battle of Kursk has long captivated World War II aficionados, it has been unjustly overlooked by historians. Drawing on the masses of new information made available by the opening of the Russian military archives, Dennis Showalter at last corrects that error. This battle was the critical turning point on World War II’s Eastern Front. In the aftermath of the Red Army’s brutal repulse of the Germans at Stalingrad, the stakes could not have been higher. More than three million men and eight thousand tanks met in the heart of the Soviet Union, some four hundred miles south of Moscow, in an encounter that both sides knew would reshape the war. The adversaries were at the peak of their respective powers. On both sides, the generals and the dictators they served were in agreement on where, why, and how to fight. The result was a furious death grapple between two of history’s most formidable fighting forces—a battle that might possibly have been the greatest of all time. In Armor and Blood, Showalter re-creates every aspect of this dramatic struggle. He offers expert perspective on strategy and tactics at the highest levels, from the halls of power in Moscow and Berlin to the battlefield command posts on both sides. But it is the author’s exploration of the human dimension of armored combat that truly distinguishes this book. In the classic tradition of John Keegan’s The Face of Battle, Showalter’s narrative crackles with insight into the unique dynamics of tank warfare—its effect on men’s minds as well as their bodies. Scrupulously researched, exhaustively documented, and vividly illustrated, this book is a chilling testament to man’s ability to build and to destroy. When the dust settled, the field at Kursk was nothing more than a wasteland of steel carcasses, dead soldiers, and smoking debris. The Soviet victory ended German hopes of restoring their position on the Eastern Front, and put the Red Army on the road to Berlin. Armor and Blood presents readers with what will likely be the authoritative study of Kursk for decades to come. Advance praise for Armor and Blood “The size and the brutality of the vast tank battle at Kursk appalls, this struggle that gives an especially dark meaning to that shopworn phrase ‘last full measure.’ Prepare yourself for a wild and feverish ride over the steppes of Russia. You can have no better guide than Dennis E. Showalter, who speaks with an authority equaled by few military historians.”—Robert Cowley, founding editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History “A fresh, skillful, and complete synthesis of recent revelations about this famous battle . . . As a myth buster, Armor and Blood is a must-read for those interested in general and military history.”—David M. Glantz, editor of The Journal of Slavic Military Studies “Refreshingly crisp, pointed prose . . . Throughout, [Showalter] demonstrates his adeptness at interweaving discussions of big-picture strategy with interesting revelations and anecdotes. . . . Showalter does his best work by keeping his sights set firmly on the battle at hand, while also parsing the conflict for developments that would have far-reaching consequences for the war.”—Publishers Weekly

The Battle Of The Tanks

Author : Lloyd Clark
ISBN : 0802145965
Genre : History
File Size : 31. 65 MB
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A chronicle of the pivotal World War II tank battle offers insight into Kursk's strategic importance and the agendas of both German and Red Army forces, drawing on veteran interviews and newly released Russian archival sources to describe the course of the battle, its extensive casualties and its decisive outcome.

International History Of The Twentieth Century

Author : Antony Best
ISBN : 9781134622207
Genre : History
File Size : 34. 41 MB
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This major new global history of the twentieth century is written by four prominent international historians for first-year undergraduate level and upward. Using their thematic and regional expertise, the authors have produced an authoritative yet accessible account of the history of international relations in the last century, covering events in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. They focus on the history of relations between states and on the broad ideological, economic and cultural forces that have influenced the evolution of international politics over the past one hundred years. Among the areas this book covers are: the decline of European hegemony over the international order the diffusion of power to the two superpowers the rise of newly independent states in Asia and Africa the course and consequences of the three major global conflicts of the twentieth century: the Great War, the Second World War and the Cold War. This is an absolutely essential book in the study of twentieth century history. Students will find themselves lacking without it.


Author : Mike Syron
ISBN : 9781472107800
Genre : History
File Size : 35. 27 MB
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For many people the very image of Blitzkrieg is of massed columns of tanks sweeping through Europe, smashing all resistance and leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. Indeed, it was the Panzers' achievements in battle that were largely responsible for Germany's early run of success in the Second World War and, once the tide of war began to turn against the Reich, the Panzers subsequently became the backbone of its defence. The dramatic story of Hitler's tank divisions is brought to life in this authoritative narrative. Panzerkrieg vividly describes the evolution, exploits and eventual destruction of this superlative fighting force in immensely readable fashion. Particularly accessible to the general reader who wants to know more about Germany's Second World War tank forces, the authors dispense with technical jargon and pedantic detail to give a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the subject, both human and technical. The book gives particular emphasis to the men who fought in and led the Panzer divisions: great generals like Guderian, Rommel and Manstein, tank masters like Wittmann and Bake, and inspired commanders like Balck and Bayerlein. The whole vast canvas of the war emerges from this narrative, as it follows the titanic struggles which ranged between the bocage country of France, the desert wastes of North Africa, and the limitless steppes of Russia. The evolution of German fighting vehicles and tactics is fully charted, and the many myths, fallacies and misconceptions that have grown up around the Panzerwaffe are exploded. Extensive research, reference to the memoirs of the leading participants, and original new conclusions all contribute to a comprehensive account that critically examines the achievements, failures, and ultimate legacy of the Panzer divisions. Features INCLUDE: The secret pre-war birth and development of the Panzerwaffe The lightning campaigns in Poland and France The four bloody years of the Russian campaign, the greatest clash of arms the world has ever seen The exploits of Rommel and his Africa Corps Hitler's increasingly disastrous influence on the Panzerwaffe Disputes between the Panzer officers and their High Command Portraits of the Panzerwaffe's leaders Detailed analysis of the great tank battles such as Kursk and the Battle of the Bulge, with clear maps Comparative rank and organizational charts Information on the technical evolution of Germany's armoured fighting vehicles, including the development of the mighty Tigers and Panthers Unique sections on uniforms, crew functions and how German tanks were built Rare coverage of how the Panzer leaders fared after the war The legacy of the Panzers

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