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Kursk 70 Years On

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23137492

It's 70 years since Kursk, the largest ever tank battle. Will there ever be another battle involving thousands of tanks on each side or has armoured warfare had its day?

Before dawn on 5 July 1943 explosions lit up the Russian sky and the earth shook to a huge bombardment. As the sun rose, waves of German panzers began rolling across fields of sunflowers and wheat. The greatest tank battle in history was underway.

The Battle of Kursk pitted almost 3,000 German tanks against more than double that quantity of Soviet heavy armour.

Hitler delayed the offensive - codenamed Operation Citadel - to wait for the arrival of the new Panther. It gave the Russians plenty of time to dig formidable defences and concentrate their own armoured units.

Antony Beevor, author of The Second World War, describes the battle as a "slogging match".

The German tanks were fewer in number but far superior in armour and firepower. Tigers and the "monster" Ferdinand tank destroyer went in first, attempting to blast their way through.

..

Kursk was a tipping point for the panzers, says Beevor. For the first time the Russian air force had "got its act together". Air power was emerging as a dominant factor, as became clear in Normandy the following year.

A battle won more by than the Soviet air force than Soviet Tanks?

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23137492

A battle won more by than the Soviet air force than Soviet Tanks?

.. or the stupidity of the German command (surprisingly, not Hitler). This was planned with some independance, as Hitler had had his confidence a bit shaken by insisting on 'no retreat' at Stalingrad.

The operation was basically telegraphed months in advance, allowing the Soviets months to fortify the salient, lay minefields, get reserves in place, etc. It was also a head-on offensive against prepared defenses - the exact opposite of Blitzkrieg doctrine, where you use massed tanks to exploit weak spots.

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.. or the stupidity of the German command (surprisingly, not Hitler). This was planned with some independance, as Hitler had had his confidence a bit shaken by insisting on 'no retreat' at Stalingrad.

The operation was basically telegraphed months in advance, allowing the Soviets months to fortify the salient, lay minefields, get reserves in place, etc. It was also a head-on offensive against prepared defenses - the exact opposite of Blitzkrieg doctrine, where you use massed tanks to exploit weak spots.

Politicains....shite then , shite now, forever shite.

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<pose pose> Me at Kursk. ;)

scan0001_zps89e9e406.jpg

how do you drive with no arms?

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No, that's the one on the main road running East-West through Kursk at the Police post at the edge of town, there are also several tanks on plinths outside shot, the whole memorial is about 200 metres long. No doubt there's more in the city itself.

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German over-engineering was also a factor. The tanks were too complicated to repair on the battlefield.

Yeah, I've read that. Plus the soviet T's were all identikit, so easy to cannibalise for repairs. Victory for central planning.

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I dont know a lot abut Kursk, but i know Hitler was doomed as soon as he invaded Russia.

A country that can afford to get men to run at mg42s until they run out of ammunition is never going to lose a war.

The Americans and British were a side show. Russia would have won the war even without them. Would have taken longer, but the outcome was inevitable.

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I dont know a lot abut Kursk, but i know Hitler was doomed as soon as he invaded Russia.

A country that can afford to get men to run at mg42s until they run out of ammunition is never going to lose a war.

The Americans and British were a side show. Russia would have won the war even without them. Would have taken longer, but the outcome was inevitable.

It is not as if there were not enough lessons from the history books to warn the Germans what was likely to happen.

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It is not as if there were not enough lessons from the history books to warn the Germans what was likely to happen.

Actually towards the end of 44 the russians were starting to run out of warm bodies. That's why Stalin was so fixated on a new front in the west in early 44.

I reckon the real German lost opportunity was to treat the liberated areas of the USSR in 41-42 as allies and treat the populations well. They would have had a lot of extra support - and did at the start - against the Russians, but brutality against the conquered wasted that chance. It's as if you invaded Iraq and then brutalised the Kurds instead of arming them against Saddam.

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It is not as if there were not enough lessons from the history books to warn the Germans what was likely to happen.

To be fair, the last invasion of Russia - by the Germans, in WW1 - was a success. Albeit helped by Russian political turmoil. Which seemed again to be the case in the late 30s, as Stalin was busy shooting a third (?) of the Red Army officers.

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What are you lot talking about ? Don't you go to the pictures ?

The yanks have won every war. And there is always a happy ending.

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I think the reason it never happened during the Cold War was a couple of small nukes would render a large tank invasion obsolete.

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To be fair, the last invasion of Russia - by the Germans, in WW1 - was a success. Albeit helped by Russian political turmoil. Which seemed again to be the case in the late 30s, as Stalin was busy shooting a third (?) of the Red Army officers.

In its history Russia has regularly suffered invasions, military disasters and even longer term occupation but somehow always wound up winning in the end. As the Teutonic knights, the Poles, the Tartars, the Lithuanians Charles XII of Sweden and Napoleon found out. The country's identity was formed by the of Mongol invasion and domination in the 13th century. It was that experience and the long and brutal struggle to escape Mongol/Tartar control which has formed Russian character. The need to resist savage invaders at huge personal cost is a lesson Russians have drummed into them from the cradle.

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Actually towards the end of 44 the russians were starting to run out of warm bodies. That's why Stalin was so fixated on a new front in the west in early 44.

I reckon the real German lost opportunity was to treat the liberated areas of the USSR in 41-42 as allies and treat the populations well. They would have had a lot of extra support - and did at the start - against the Russians, but brutality against the conquered wasted that chwereance. It's as if you invaded Iraq and then brutalised the Kurds instead of arming them against Saddam.

I think the you will find the Germans were running out of 'warm bodies' pretty quickly too from 1942 onwards. The problem for the Germans was the plan never involved treating Slavs well regardless of their attitude to Stalin. Indeed, the Nazi war machine relied on expropriating the locals food supply to feed itself and the folks back home.

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Actually towards the end of 44 the russians were starting to run out of warm bodies. That's why Stalin was so fixated on a new front in the west in early 44.

I reckon the real German lost opportunity was to treat the liberated areas of the USSR in 41-42 as allies and treat the populations well. They would have had a lot of extra support - and did at the start - against the Russians, but brutality against the conquered wasted that chance. It's as if you invaded Iraq and then brutalised the Kurds instead of arming them against Saddam.

That's where the stupidity of ideology came into it. The Germans were seen as liberators at first and should have capitalised on it.

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Actually towards the end of 44 the russians were starting to run out of warm bodies. That's why Stalin was so fixated on a new front in the west in early 44.

I reckon the real German lost opportunity was to treat the liberated areas of the USSR in 41-42 as allies and treat the populations well. They would have had a lot of extra support - and did at the start - against the Russians, but brutality against the conquered wasted that chance. It's as if you invaded Iraq and then brutalised the Kurds instead of arming them against Saddam.

I read in a history book (it may have been one of Anthony Beavers) that the modern population of Russia is 100 million short of what it 'should' be because of the horrific losses in WW1 and WW2 (not to mention Stalin's purges and famines etc.). E.g. 20-30 m dead in WW2 between 1941-1945 with a disproportionate % being breeding age young men, who never went on to have kids or grandkids.

Re the Tiger 1: It was so heavy at 65 tonnes that pretty much the only thing that could tow it on the battlefield was another Tiger. So if one broke down (which they did a lot - the transmission was overstressed) then either 2 were unavailable, or the broken down Tiger had to be blown up by its crew and abandoned. IIRC they issued orders to not tow another Tiger because the towing Tiger would often break under the strain and then 2 Tiger's were immobilised. The Tiger 1 was actually made in small numbers (<1400) and the design was abandoned after 2 years.

T34s were pretty unreliable to, but that was mainly due to poor manufacturing.

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.. or the stupidity of the German command (surprisingly, not Hitler). This was planned with some independance, as Hitler had had his confidence a bit shaken by insisting on 'no retreat' at Stalingrad.

The operation was basically telegraphed months in advance, allowing the Soviets months to fortify the salient, lay minefields, get reserves in place, etc. It was also a head-on offensive against prepared defenses - the exact opposite of Blitzkrieg doctrine, where you use massed tanks to exploit weak spots.

They went a bit OTT with the defences (as indeed would I if faced by the combined might of Army Group South and Army Group Centre); fortification and preparations extended some 300km back.

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  • 260 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
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      • up 5%



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