Saturday, July 05, 2008

Today In History: Operation Citadel.

On this day in 1943, German forces in Russia jumped off into the attack in what would go down in history as the largest tank battle ever. Over 2,500 German tanks and 800,000 troops were involved in the attack along a 28-mile front in the Kursk salient. Unfortunately for their plans, the Soviets had been ready and had prepared the battlefield thoroughly. Within days, the German advance had bogged down in belts of minefields, anti-tank gun positions, and Red Army counterattacks. Not until operation Desert Storm almost fifty years later would the world see armored warfare on this scale.

8 comments:

Ed Foster said...

And the clouds of dust raised on the eastern front, whipped into the stratosphere by the steppe winds, gave the world orange sunsets for the next three years. Those boys thought big.

Steve Skubinna said...

Nazis vs. Commies. Which side do you root for? Too bad they both couldn't have lost.

Well, I guess they both did, eventually.

Tam said...

That was the great thing about the Eastern Front: No matter who lost, you feel like a winner!

Anonymous said...

Funny you'd think afte rthat the Iraqi's would have seen the benefit in "preparing the battle field" better.

I mean it's not like it wasn't deathly obvious.

Of course the whole "we don't have air superiority, heck, we don;t have an airforce anymore" does put a serious crimp in setting traps.

Johnny said...

Tam, I'm forced into deducting all your points for comparing Kursk to the Gulf War turkey shoots. Kursk was proper warfare with real armies on both sides. There's never going to be tank battle that could hold a candle to Kursk.

And, in fact, festivities actually kicked off on the afternoon of the 4th of July with a bit of Stuka action preceding Hoth's 3rd Panzer Korps making a move on the Soviet positions around Savidovka, Alekseyevka and Luchanino.

That's my kind of fireworks display.

Tam said...

I was referring to the numbers of tanks on both sides.

Is it my fault that Generalissimo Hussein preferred to use his as targets for our boys in some giant, sandy Grafenwöhr?

jimbob86 said...

"Funny you'd think afte rthat the Iraqi's would have seen the benefit in "preparing the battle field" better."

I seem to recall seeing the results of a great amount of wasted effort on my swing North and then Northeast. Lots of minefields, trenches, bunkers, dug in artillery and tanks, and those nifty triangular sand forts they used to concentrate their people so we could kill a whole bunch of them with a minimum expenditure of artillery rounds......

The Iraqi Army of 1991 seemed to think it was fighting the Iranians again, and was prepared to repel human wave assaults..... I guess it never occurred to them that well directed air and artillery fire is cheaper than highly trained soldiers.....

Travlin said...

You don't have to like commies to be glad for what they did. 7/8 of all German fighting was done on the Eastern front. The USSR broke the back of the German army, and lost 27 million of their own (about 1/2 civilians) in the process.

Can you imagine a Normandy landing against the full force of Germany? After Kursk the Germans could only delay the inevitable.