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Thread: The Battle of Kursk

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    Senior Member Senior Member Yeti Sports 1.5 Champion, Snowboard Slalom Champion, Monkey Jump Champion, Mosquito Kill Champion Csargo's Avatar
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    Default The Battle of Kursk

    What was the point of this battle for the Germans? Weren't they outnumbered in every way in the battle. I just don't see the point to this battle. Can some people tell there views on this battle.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Yeti Sports 1.5 Champion, Snowboard Slalom Champion, Monkey Jump Champion, Mosquito Kill Champion Csargo's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    But in a book I read was the Germans had half of the men, tanks, artillery, supplies that the Russians had if that was me I wouldn't have done it but thats just me.
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    Member Member swirly_the_toilet_fish's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    You have to realize that the Nazi command was not in the best state of mental clarity. It was a sound strategy to flank if you could beat down your enemies position and numbers, but in actuality the Nazis could not.

    This was also because Hitler himself was not being informed of all the complete facts because all those under his command believed he would kill the bearer of bad news.
    "If I were a man I could do so much - travel the stars, learn to play the harp, conquer a foreign country and become a frustrated cartoonist."

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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    I believe it was something close to 1.4 million Russians against the 900.000 Germans. So it was not great if it came to a slugfest. Sadly for the Germans it did.

    But credit has to be given where it is due. Despite the elaborate and deep defences, superior enemy artillery and negated aircover, the Germans still managed to scare te Russians into using the strategic reserved slated for the counteroffensive, and nearly wiping that out as well. That is damned impressive. The Russians suffered quite a lot more losses in all departments. But it was the swansong of the German army.

    Had Hitler only let Manstein attack after a few weeks of rest after his counteroffensive, then it might have been different. No elaborate defences, no faulty Panthers and lumbering Ferdinands. It would have been a battle of maneuver, which the Germans were so good at still.

    Had it worked the Russians would have lost around 50% of their tanks in one battle and around 1 million troops that had been so painstakingly trained up to be better (yes, the bulge had a massive concentration of troops and tanks even prior to the Russians finding out).

    The effects of such a victory are scary to say the least, or perhaps more positive... Depending on a lot of things of course.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  5. #5

    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    The greatest battle in history... my grandfather was killed there when his panzer was hit almost point blank by hidden russian artillery.

    The soviets had their best troops in the area of Kursk and the point of the battle was to destroy them and hopefully gain the momentum they had in 41-42 back. Its really up to opinion if a complete victory for the Germans would have done this - but thats what they thought.

    What was the point of this battle for the Germans? Weren't they outnumbered in every way in the battle. I just don't see the point to this battle. Can some people tell there views on this battle.
    Hehe, when did that matter? In fact, I believe the Russians always outnumbered the Germans from Barbarossa onward. A German division could be expected to take 4-5 Russian divisions easily.


    Kraxis summed it up nicely. Kursk was Hitler's baby from the start. It went against all the Germans had learned to sit for that long and mass troops for an offensive that the enemy knew was coming. The Russians were allowed an inordinate amount of time to build huge defenses in the pocket.

    Had Hitler only let Manstein attack after a few weeks of rest after his counteroffensive, then it might have been different. No elaborate defences, no faulty Panthers and lumbering Ferdinands. It would have been a battle of maneuver, which the Germans were so good at still.
    Exactly!

    Also, it was amazing the Germans did as well as they did. I personally believe that had Hitler not have called off the operation due to the italian landings, the battle could have been won by the Germans, although it would have been a purely phyrric victory. Thats just my opinion though - oh and Manstein's.

    When the Allies landed in Sicily Hitler called von Kluge and Manstein to his headquarters and declared that he was calling Operation Zitadelle off. von Manstein was furious and argued that one final effort and the battle could be won. Hitler would have none of it particularly as the Soviets had launched a new counter offensive in the Orel sector. It was decided the Leibstandarte would be transferred to Italy and Sepp Dietrich would personally escort the deposed Mussolini's mistress Clara Pettachi to him after Skorzeny's rescue of the Duce from Gran Sasso. Sepp Dietrich was duly disgusted!
    Heres a good site about the battle..

    http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/kursk/1.html

    Here are some of my favorite pictures from Kursk...


    Das Reich Tiger


    Russian attack under fire..


    With air support...



    German assault.


    Tiger in combat!

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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    It seems that the war would have gone a lot better for the nazis had they shipped off Hitler after he succeded in rallying the population and war had began.

    Crazed Rabbit
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    Senior Member Senior Member Graphic's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Thankfully they didn't.

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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    BTW, Heres a painting that hangs in my military room of Michael Wittmann at Kursk..


  9. #9

    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Whoa..... those russians in the picture were brave men....brave men......

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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazed Rabbit
    It seems that the war would have gone a lot better for the nazis had they shipped off Hitler after he succeded in rallying the population and war had began.

    Crazed Rabbit
    That is indeed a very interesting discussion in its own right.
    Personally I doubt Germany would have gone as far without Hitler. Remember that he was the one to decide in favour of the more audacious attacks in the early war. Those attacks were opposed by the generals in general (no pun). So it was the those successes that fueled his hubris later on. It is hard to imagine what would have happened really, but the perfect time would have been at the outset of Barbarossa. Then I believe that both Leningrad and Moscow would have been taken at the cost of letting the Kiev pocket slip. But what does that matter? The ideological capital was taken and the physcial capital was taken, not to discount the fact that Moscow was the hub of nearly all traintransport north/south and east/west. The troops at Kiev could not shift around or move away faster than at marching speed because of this, thus easily overtaken later on.

    But conjecture... and we should prize ourselves that this didn't happen, or else Britain would likely have caved in after a while...
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    Senior Member Senior Member Yeti Sports 1.5 Champion, Snowboard Slalom Champion, Monkey Jump Champion, Mosquito Kill Champion Csargo's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Stalin killed more Russians while he was the dictator of Russia than the Germans killed in all of WWII.
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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Russiancsar
    Stalin killed more Russians while he was the dictator of Russia than the Germans killed in all of WWII.
    Yes, but the point is?
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    Sports Freak Member dgfred's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Great pics PanzerJager! A couple I have never seen before.

    Very interesting battle, but one that should not have ever happened with
    Germany's superior talent for battles of maneuver. Manstein could
    have possibly carried the day, but as you said it would have been pyrric
    victory at best.
    PB-PL Commander/CC2 Commander/MTW Commander

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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    the gerry's thought to surprise them and win back the eastern front, the russians somehow found out and placed trenches after threnches. the operatian got postponed due bad weather giving the russians even more time, the germans thought to see medium recistances and found death

    We do not sow.

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Great pics PanzerJager! A couple I have never seen before.
    Im glad you like them, ive gathered quite a collection over the years.

    the gerry's thought to surprise them and win back the eastern front, the russians somehow found out and placed trenches after threnches. the operatian got postponed due bad weather giving the russians even more time, the germans thought to see medium recistances and found death
    The problem with Kursk was that it wasnt even supposed to be a surprise attack. Hitler wanted his grand clash of warriors and ignored the pleas for basic military common sense by his generals. Even the vaunted German armies had a difficult time fighting such planned defenses.

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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by PanzerJager
    The problem with Kursk was that it wasnt even supposed to be a surprise attack. Hitler wanted his grand clash of warriors and ignored the pleas for basic military common sense by his generals. Even the vaunted German armies had a difficult time fighting such planned defenses.
    Yeah, I have heard he said something like "Good, let them come and we will just crush more of them" when he heard reports of the Russians building up their defences and forces.

    While that seems obviously silly to us, it has some merit. Hitler just didn't have the required ability to understand when it was good and when it was bad forthe enemy to mass for your attack.

    If the Russians had concentrated at the edge of the bulge Hitler would have been right, and a German victory would have been even bigger. To me Hitler mixed up the two cases and actually believed that the concentrating Russians would present easier targets.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  17. #17
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    He was never brilliant, and Mein Kampf is absolutely rubbish. It is boring, badly written and confusing. Basically it is everything that a book should not be to be succesful.

    What Hitler did have, was an almost magical personality and behaviour. Speer says it perfectly in his memoires. Before he saw Hitler in person (at a meeting from the back) he considered the man with a certain amount of headshaking. After that one night Speer was bought... A young, briliant and highly educated man had been captured.
    Also, his memoires clearly show when Hitler became deranged, and that was far later. In 43 he was still 'normal' if somewhat more selfimportant.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  18. #18

    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Cube
    I believe retreating entailed being shot as a traitor.

    "In the Soviet Army, in takes more courage to retreat than to advance."

    ~Stalin
    Oh, right! I forgot about that, hehehehe.

    Should've remembered that quote too, I play Call of Duty (should've also remembered those commisars gunning me down when I went back to pick up a moisin-nagant).

    Still, I think it still takes a bit of courage just to move in any direction, forward or backward, in a situation like that.

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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Cube
    IIRC, he was suffering some of the more visible signs of Parkinsons by 1943.
    Undoubtedly, but your mind does not alter until the illness is very advanced. Muhammed Ali is still Ali as we know him on the inside, and his state is very much more advanced than Hitler's condition ever was.
    It is the behaviour that should decide if he was strange not the physical problems. Speer didn't like the man at this point (yet he would time and again be spellbound by him) but he doesn't comment on his mental condition as he does in the last year and a half.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  20. #20

    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    It should also be taken into consideration that there were certain elements in the high command and Hitler's circle that would simply tell him whatever he wanted to hear.

    However, if I remember correctly, Manstein and others made their displeasure with the Kursk idea readily known to Hitler and he just disregarded it.

  21. #21
    Humanist Senior Member Franconicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Lets play Kraxis:

    This is the situation:
    German troops conquered big parts of the USSR. However they lost the battle of Stalingrad. Even though the Germans were able to stop the Russians after that it is clear that there will be no final victory in the short run.
    The USSR production is getting bigger and bigger. Together with the help from the US the Germans are getting more and more outnumbered. Not only by number, also by equipment.
    On the other side the presence of the USA is getting more and more dangerous. The submarines have big losses. The Afrika Korps is lost and there is the threat that the Allies will attack somewhere in the Med.
    The bombing war is increased. Although the German production is not effected so far this could become a problem. Production in the US is huge. Even if most numbers are American propaganda Germany will be outnumbered sooner or later. Italy is tired of this war. They will quit as soon as there is another defeat. Turkey is still undecided. They might join the Allies if they are sure that Germany wont win.

    Germany will never reach the production of the US and the USSR. So the plan is to produce better weapons and use better strategies. Better weapons are on their way: Panther and Tiger tanks, Elephants, better submarines, rockets. The new tanks will count as much as 5 Soviet and 7 US tanks. Germany has to chose the right strategy to win this war.

    Scenario 1 - Model's proposal: Mobile defense in the East. Manstein showed how to do it. Let the Russians attack and the beat them. We have enough land there, let's use it. This would minimise the losses and we can build big forces to stop any American invasion.

    Scenario 2 - Mansteins advice: Germany needs a big military success to impress our allies and the neutral states. Russia is still the right place for that. With one big strike (really big) we may be able to destroy many Soviet forces. It will take a long time until they will be able to attack again. It is no problem that Germany is outnumbered. German soldiers are still better and Soviets will never win in summer. We have to win before winter comes. Maybe they will be willing to accept peace then. They lost already 11 million soldiers. After the victory in the East Germany can send experienced troops against the west. After a big victory in the East the western allies will never be able to attack the FORTRESS EUROPE.
    Kursk/Oriel is the right place. Soviets collected big amount of troops there. Lets destroy them.

    Scenario 2a - Hitler opinion: The victory in the east has to be as big as possible. Germany has to hit the Soviets so hard that they will not be able to strike back any more. So Germany has to prepare carefully. Let's wait until the new Tiger, Panther and Elephant arrive. Also increase the airpower. The Stuka and FW190 will sweep the way. So let's delay the attack until late summer.

    No go and chose. What would you have done?

  22. #22
    Sports Freak Member dgfred's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    I'll take Model's advice 'The Lion of Defense'
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    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    I would choose Von Mannsteins advice number 2.
    Ja Mata Tosainu Sama.

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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    I would have gone for Manstein with no variation.
    I doubt a total victory would follw, but after that the Model model would soon exhaust the Soviets. And such a stance would quite possibly open up chances for more offensive strikes, as succesful counteroffensives often open the can of goodies.

    But is this Interactive History?

    I was planning on doing a Kursk, and this might expose too much of my thinking.
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  25. #25
    Amanuensis Member pezhetairoi's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Let's stop and not steal Kraxis' thunder :)

    Qualitatively the Germans still had a slight edge, I believe. The Germans could have won Kursk, technically speaking, because all Russia forces were committed in the Bulge. The one thing that turned the balance was the intelligence leak that let the Russians know the German plans. It allowed them to redeploy almost all their forces in the bulge directly in front of the avenues of German attack to stop them. The fact that the Germans got that far (almost halfway to their objectives) before being stopped testifies to what might have happened had there been less Russian defences there. As it was the Germans inflicted horrible casualties on the Russians before they pushed Zitadelle back.

    In my way of thinking Kursk was an act of military logic-an opportunity that presented itself and a calculated gamble that could have been won. If it had, the entire Russian centre would have been crushed in weeks, maybe badly weakened enough for the Germans to regain the initiative. Defeat was not yet imminent at this point--in fact, what-if? historians have postulated that if Rommel had been still alive and in command in the east, or Guderian, Germany might even have managed to force a compromise peace on Russia with Kursk, and in the extreme case I read, even when the Russians were approaching the Oder in the endgame, though I think the latter most unlikely.


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  26. #26
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    Rommel was still alive at Kursk, he was just not there.

    Anyway, Stalin's own memos (call it a diary) actually betrays his thoughts on a seperate peace in 44, I believe just after Bagration. And not just a fleeting thought, but one that he considered for a couple weeks, before he finally desided that the Germans had been bad and that he would gain a lot by going all the way.
    Had he been approached by German officials at the right time it might have been pushed further than mere thoughts.

    This coincides quite well with the attempt on Hitler's life...
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  27. #27
    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Kursk

    doh he was alive. kursk was '43 right. he was still alive in '44 D-Day right.

    We do not sow.

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