Military Review

"Fire arc". Day of the defeat of the German troops by the Soviet troops in the Battle of Kursk

23 August is the Day of Military Glory of Russia - the Day of the defeat by the Soviet troops of the German fascist troops in the Battle of Kursk 1943 of the year. The Battle of Kursk was decisive in ensuring a radical change in the course of the Great Patriotic War. First, the Red Army on the Kursk salient repelled a powerful enemy strike by selected Hitlerite divisions. Then the Soviet forces launched a counterattack, and by August 23 1943 threw the enemy westward to 140 — 150 kilometers, liberated Orel, Belgorod and Kharkov. After the Battle of Kursk, the balance of forces at the front changed dramatically in favor of the Red Army, and it completely took the strategic initiative into its own hands. The Wehrmacht suffered heavy losses and moved to a strategic defense, trying to preserve previously captured territories.

Situation at the front

In 1943, the war developed under the sign of a radical change on the Soviet-German strategic front. Defeats in the battles for Moscow and Stalingrad significantly undermined the power of the Wehrmacht and its political prestige in the eyes of allies and opponents. At a meeting at the rate of the Wehrmacht 1 February 1943, being impressed by the outcome of the Battle of Stalingrad, Hitler said pessimistically: “The possibility of ending the war in the East through an offensive no longer exists. We must be clear about this. ”

However, having received a hard lesson on the Eastern Front, the military and political leadership of the Third Reich did not look for a way out other than to continue the war. In Berlin, they hoped that there would be some kind of change on the world stage, which would allow us to maintain our position in Europe. There is an opinion that Berlin had a secret agreement with London, so the Anglo-Saxons until the last moment delayed the opening of a second front in Europe. As a result, Hitler could still concentrate all his forces on the Russian front, hoping for a favorable outcome in the struggle against the Soviet Union. I must say that the top of the Reich until the very last moment believed and hoped that the USSR would quarrel with Britain and the USA. And this will allow the German Empire to maintain at least some of the positions.

The Germans did not consider the war against the USSR to be completely lost, and there were even greater forces and means to continue it. The German armed forces retained enormous combat potential and continued to receive the latest weapons, almost all of Europe was under German rule, and the remaining neutral countries in Europe actively supported the Third Reich economically. In February - March 1943, German troops under the command of Manstein made the first attempt to take revenge for the defeat on the Volga. The German command threw large forces into the counterattack, including large masses tanks. At the same time, Soviet troops in the southwestern direction were greatly weakened in previous battles, and their communications were greatly extended. As a result, the Germans were again able to capture Kharkov, Belgorod and the northeastern regions of Donbass just liberated by Soviet troops. The movement of the Red Army to the Dnieper was stopped.

However, the success of the Wehrmacht were limited. Arranging the Russian “German Stalingrad” - Manstein failed to break through to Kursk and surround considerable masses of Soviet troops of the Central and Voronezh fronts. The Red Army, although it had lost a number of areas that had just been liberated, but repelled the blows of the enemy. The strategic situation on the Soviet-German front has not changed. The Red Army retained the initiative and could go on the offensive in any direction. It was obvious that a decisive battle was ahead and both sides were actively preparing for it.

In Berlin, at last, they understood that it was necessary to carry out full mobilization in order to continue the war. The country carried out a total mobilization of human and material resources. This was done at the expense of removing qualified workers and other specialists from the national economy, who were replaced by foreign workers (for example, French), slaves and prisoners of war taken from the East. As a result, the Wehrmacht in 1943 was called on 2 million more than in the 1942 year. German industry significantly increased military production, the economy was completely transferred to the "war footing", before that they tried to avoid it, hoping for a "quick war". Especially accelerated the work of the tank industry, which provided troops with new heavy and medium tanks such as "tiger" and "panther", new assault guns such as "Ferdinand". Production of aircraft with higher combat qualities — Fokke-Wulf 190 fighters and Henschel-129 attack aircraft — was established. In 1943, compared with 1942, tank production increased almost 2 times, assault guns almost 2,9, aircraft more than 1,7, guns more than 2,2, mortars xNUMX times. On the Soviet front, Germany concentrated 2,3 divisions (232 million people), including 5,2 allied divisions.

"Fire arc". Day of the defeat of the German troops by the Soviet troops in the Battle of Kursk

Correspondent K. M. Simonov on the trunk of the German self-propelled gun Ferdinand, lined up at the Kursk Bulge

Operation "Citadel"

The German military-political leadership has defined a strategy for the 1943 campaign of the year. The German headquarters of the High Command proposed that the main military efforts be moved from the Eastern Front to the Mediterranean Theater, in order to eliminate the threat of losing Italy and the Allied landings in Southern Europe. The General Staff of the Army held a different opinion. It was believed that it was necessary first of all to undermine the offensive capabilities of the Red Army, after which efforts could be focused on the struggle against the armed forces of Great Britain and the USA. The same point of view was shared by the commanders of the army groups on the Eastern Front and Adolf Hitler himself. It was taken as the basis for the final development of a strategic plan and planning of military operations for the spring - summer 1943 of the year.

The German military-political leadership decided to conduct one major offensive operation in one strategic direction. The choice fell on the so-called. Kursk salient, where the Germans hoped to defeat the Soviet armies of the Central and Voronezh fronts, creating a huge gap in the Soviet front and developing an offensive. According to the calculations of the German strategists, this should lead to a general change in the situation on the Eastern Front and the transfer of the strategic initiative into their hands.

The German command believed that after the end of winter and spring thaw the Red Army would again go on the offensive. Therefore, Hitler 13 March 1943 gave the order number 5 to pre-empt the enemy offensive in certain sectors of the front, in order to seize the initiative. In other places, the German troops were to "bleed the advancing enemy." The command of Army Group "South" was to form a strong tank grouping by the middle of April north of Kharkov, and the command of Army Group "Center" - a strike force in the Orel region. In addition, an attack on Leningrad was planned in July by forces of the Army Group North.

The Wehrmacht began to prepare the offensive, concentrating strong strike forces in the areas of Orel and Belgorod. The Germans planned to inflict powerful flank attacks on the Kursk bulge, which penetrated deep into the disposition of the German troops. From the north, troops of the Army Group Center (the Oryol bridgehead) hung over it, and from the South — the forces of Army Group South. The Germans planned to cut off the Kursk bulge under the foundation with concentric blows, surround and destroy the Soviet forces defending it.

Disguised calculation machine gun MG-34, SS Panzer Division "Dead Head", near Kursk

15 On April 1943, the Wehrmacht’s headquarters gave operational order No. 6, which specified the tasks of the troops in the offensive operation, which was called the “Citadel”. The German stake was planning to go on the offensive as soon as the weather was good. This offensive was given decisive importance. It was supposed to lead to quick and decisive success, turning the tide on the Eastern Front in favor of the Third Reich. Therefore, the operation was prepared with great care and very thoroughly. In the direction of the main attacks, they planned to use selected units armed with the most modern weapons, attracted the best commanders and concentrated a large amount of ammunition. Active propaganda was carried out, each commander and soldier had to be imbued with the consciousness of the decisive significance of this operation.

The Germans pulled additional large forces into the area of ​​the planned offensive by regrouping troops from other sectors of the front and transferring units from Germany, France and other regions. In total, for the offensive on the Kursk Bulge, the length of which was about 600 km, the Germans concentrated 50 divisions, including 16 tank and motorized. These troops included about 900 thousand soldiers and officers, up to 10 thousand guns and mortars, about 2700 tanks and self-propelled guns, and over 2 thousand aircraft. Particularly great importance was attached to the armored strike fist, which was supposed to crush the Soviet defense. The German command hoped for the success of the massive use of new technology - heavy tanks "tiger", medium tanks "panther" and heavy self-propelled guns like "ferdinand". In relation to the total number of troops on the Soviet-German front, the Germans concentrated 70% of tank and 30% of motorized divisions in the area of ​​the Kursk ledge. The big role in the battle was to play aviation: Germans concentrated 60% of all combat aircraft that operated against the Red Army.

Thus, the Wehrmacht, having suffered serious losses in the winter campaign 1942-1943. and having smaller forces and resources than the Red Army, decided to deliver a powerful preemptive strike in one strategic direction, concentrating on it the elite units, most of the armored forces and aviation.

German shielded tanks Pz.Kpfw. III in a Soviet village before the start of Operation Citadel

The movement of the 3 Panzer Grenadier Division of the SS "Totenkopf" on the Kursk Bulge

The unit of the German assault guns StuG III on the march along the road in the Belgorod region.

German medium tank Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf. G 6 Tank Division of the 3 Tank Corps of the Kempf Army Group with armored tank crews in the Belgorod Region.

German tankers on a halt and a tank "Tiger" 503-th heavy tank battalion in the Kursk. Photo source:

Plans of the Soviet command

The Soviet side was also carefully preparing for a decisive battle. The Supreme High Command had the political will, large forces and means to complete a radical turn in the war, consolidating the success of the battle on the Volga. Immediately after the end of the winter campaign, at the end of March 1943, the Soviet General Headquarters began to think over the spring-summer campaign. First of all, it was necessary to determine the strategic plan of the enemy. The fronts were instructed to strengthen the defense and at the same time prepare for the offensive. Measures were taken to create strong reserves. The directive of the Supreme Commander from 5 of April gave instructions to create by April 30 a powerful Reserve Front, which was later renamed Stepnoye Okrug, and then Steppe Front.

Timely formed large reserves played a large role, first in the defensive, and then in the offensive operation. On the eve of the Battle of Kursk, the Soviet high command had huge reserves at the front: 9 army armies, 3 tank armies, 1 air army, 9 tank and mechanized corps, 63 rifle divisions. For example, the German command had all the 3 reserve infantry divisions on the Eastern Front. As a result, the troops of the Steppe Front could be used not only for counterattacks, but also for defense. The German command, in the course of the Battle of Kursk, had to withdraw troops from other sectors of the front, which weakened the general defense of the front.

A huge role was played by Soviet intelligence, which at the beginning of April, 1943, began to report on the forthcoming major enemy operation on the Kursk Bulge. It was established and the time of the enemy on the offensive. Similar data were obtained and the commanders of the Central and Voronezh fronts. This allowed the Soviet headquarters and the front command to take the most appropriate decisions. In addition, the British intelligence confirmed the British, who were able to intercept the plans of the German offensive in the Kursk area in the summer of 1943.

Soviet troops had superiority in manpower and equipment: 1,3 million people at the beginning of the operation, about 4,9 thousand tanks (with reserve), 26,5 thousand guns and mortars (with reserve), over 2,5 thousand aircraft. As a result, it was possible to preempt the enemy and organize a preventive offensive by the Soviet troops on the Kursk Bulge. Repeated exchange of views on this issue took place at the Headquarters and the General Staff. However, in the end, they accepted the idea of ​​deliberate defense followed by a counteroffensive. On April 12, a meeting was held at Headquarters, where a preliminary decision was made on deliberate defense, concentrating the main efforts in the Kursk area, followed by a counteroffensive and a general offensive. The main attack in the course of the attack was planned in the direction of Kharkov, Poltava and Kiev. At the same time, the option of going on the offensive without a preliminary defense stage was envisaged if the enemy did not take active actions for a long time.

Soviet tank KV-1, with the personal name "Bagration", shot down in the village during Operation "Citadel"

The Soviet command, through the Intelligence Agency, the intelligence of the fronts and the Central Headquarters of the partisan movement, continued to closely monitor the enemy, the movement of his troops and reserves. In late May - early June 1943, when the enemy’s plan was finally confirmed, the Headquarters made a final decision on deliberate defense. The central front under the command of K. K. Rokossovsky was supposed to repel the enemy's strike from the area south of Orel, the Voronezh Front of NF Vatutin — from the area of ​​Belgorod. They were propped up by the Steppe Front, I. S. Konev. The activities of the fronts were coordinated by representatives of the Supreme Command Headquarters Marshals of the Soviet Union G. K. Zhukov and A. M. Vasilevsky. Offensive actions were planned: on the Orel direction - by the forces of the left wing of the Western Front, Bryansk and Central Fronts (operation “Kutuzov”), on the Belgorod-Kharkov direction - by the forces of the Voronezh, Steppe Fronts and the right wing of the Southwestern Front (operation “Rumyantsev”) .

Thus, the supreme Soviet command revealed the plans of the enemy and decided to bleed the enemy with a powerful deliberate defense, and then go on the counteroffensive and inflict a decisive defeat on the German troops. Further developments showed the correctness of the Soviet strategy. Although a number of miscalculations led to great losses of the Soviet troops.

Construction of fortifications on the Kursk Bulge

Guerrilla formations played an important role in the Battle of Kursk. The guerrillas not only collected intelligence, but also violated enemy communications and conducted mass sabotage. As a result, by the summer of 1943, in the rear of the Army Group Center, the partisans of Belarus bound more than 80 to thousands of enemy soldiers, Smolensk - about 60 thousand, Bryansk - over 50 thousand. Thus, the Hitlerite command had to divert large forces to fight the partisans and protect communications.

A great deal of work has been done in the organization of defense orders. During April-June, only Rokossovsky's troops dug out more than 5 thousand km of trenches and communication lines, installed up to 400 thousand mines and land mines. Our troops prepared anti-tank areas with strong strong points as deep as 30-35 km. On the Voronezh front of Vatutin, defense in depth was also created.

Memorial "The beginning of the Battle of Kursk on the southern ledge." Belgorod region

Wehrmacht offensive

Hitler, trying to give the troops as many tanks and other weapons as possible, several times postponed the onset of the offensive. Soviet intelligence several times reported the start date of the German operation. 2 July 1943. The headquarters sent a third warning to the troops that the enemy was attacking during the period 3-6 July. The captured “tongues” confirmed that the German troops would launch an offensive in the early morning of July 5. Before dawn, in 2 hours 20 min., Soviet artillery attacked enemy concentration areas. The grand battle did not start as the Germans planned, but it was impossible to stop it.

5 July at 5 hour. 30 min. and in 6 hour. In the morning, the troops of the “Center” and “South” groups von Kluge and Manstein launched an offensive. The breakthrough of the defense of the Soviet troops was the first step towards the implementation of the plan of the German High Command. Supported by strong artillery, mortar fire and air attacks, German tank wedges attacked the Soviet defensive lines. At the cost of heavy casualties, the German forces managed in two days to penetrate the 10 km into the battle formations of the Central Front. However, the Germans were unable to break through the second lane of the 13 Army’s defense, which eventually led to the breakdown of the entire Oryol grouping. 7-8 July, the Germans continued fierce attacks, but did not achieve serious success. The following days also did not bring success to the Wehrmacht. July 12 defensive battle in the Central Front was completed. In six days of fierce battle, the Germans were able to penetrate into the defense of the Central Front in the zone up to 10 km and in depth - up to 12 km. Having exhausted all forces and resources, the Germans stopped the offensive and went over to the defensive.

The situation was similar in the south, although here the Germans achieved great success. German troops penetrated into the location of the Voronezh Front to a depth of 35 km. They could not achieve more. There were clashes of large masses of tanks (the battle of Prokhorovka). The enemy strike was repelled by the introduction of additional forces from the Steppe and Southwestern fronts. 16 July, the Germans stopped the attacks and began to withdraw troops in the area of ​​Belgorod. July 17 began to withdraw the main forces of the German group. On July 18, the troops of the Voronezh and Steppe Fronts began the pursuit and on July 23 restored the situation that was before the enemy went over to the offensive.

Soviet offensive

After bleeding the enemy’s main attack forces and depleting its reserves, our troops launched a counteroffensive. In accordance with the plan of Operation Kutuzov, which provided for offensive operations in the Oryol sector, a strike against the group of the Army Group Center was made by the forces of the Central, Bryansk and Left Wings of the Western Front. Colonel General MM Popov commanded the Bryansk Front, Colonel General V. D. Sokolovsky the West Front. On July 12, the Bryansk Front was the first to launch an offensive — 3, 61, and 63, under the command of generals A.V. Gorbatov, P.A. Belova, V.Ya. Kolpakchi, and 11-I Guards Army of the Western Front, commanded by I. H. Baghramyan.

In the very first days of the offensive, the deeply echeloned and well-equipped engineering defense of the enemy was broken. Particularly successful was the 11-I Guards Army, which was operating from the Kozelsk region in the general direction of Hotynets. At the first stage of the operation, the guardsmen of Baghramian, interacting with the 61 army, were to break the Wehrmacht’s Balkhov grouping, covering Orlovsky ledge from the north, with counter blows. On the second day of the offensive, the army of Bagramyan broke through the enemy defenses to a depth of 25 km, and the troops of the 61-th army penetrated into the defense of the enemy at 3-7 km. The 3 and 63 armies, which were advancing towards Eagle, advanced to 13-14 km by the end of 15 July.

The defense of the enemy on the Oryol ledge immediately found itself in a crisis situation. In the operational reports of the German 2 tank and 9 armies, it was noted that the center of combat operations had moved into the band of the 2 tank army and the crisis was developing with incredible speed. The command of Army Group "Center" was forced to urgently withdraw 7 divisions from the southern segment of the Orlovsky protrusion and transfer them to areas where Soviet troops threatened to break through. However, the enemy could not eliminate the breakthrough.

July 14 11-I Guards and 61-I armies approached Bolkhov from the west and east, and 3-I and 63-I armies continued to rush to the Eagle. The German command continued to reinforce the 2 Tank Army, hastily transferring troops from the neighboring 9 Army and other sectors of the front. The Soviet Headquarters discovered the rearrangement of the enemy forces and the Headquarters betrayed the Bryansk Front from its reserve 3 Guards Tank Army under the command of General P. S. Rybalko, who joined the battle of Orel in July. Also in the 20-th Guards Army strip on the left wing of the Western Front arrived the 11-I army of General I. I. Fedyuninsky, the 11-I tank army of V.M. Badanov and the 4-th Guards cavalry corps of V.V. Reserves with the move involved in the battle.

Bolkhovskaya grouping of the enemy was broken. On July 26, German troops were forced to leave the Oryol bridgehead and begin a retreat to the Hagen position (east of Bryansk). July 29, our troops liberated Bolkhov, August 5 - Orel, August 11 - Hotynets, August 15 - Karachev. By August 18, Soviet troops approached the enemy defensive line east of Bryansk. With the defeat of the Oryol group, the plans of the German command to use the Oryol bridgehead to strike eastward collapsed. The counteroffensive began to develop into a general offensive by the Soviet troops.

Soviet soldier with a banner in the liberated Orel

The central front under the command of K. K. Rokossovsky by the troops of their right wing — the 48, 13, and 70 armies — went on the offensive on July 15, acting in the general direction on Kromy. Significantly bloodless in previous battles, these troops advanced slowly, overcoming the strong defenses of the enemy. As Rokossovsky recalled: “The troops had to gnaw one position after another, pushing the Nazis, who used mobile defenses. This was expressed in the fact that while one part of his forces was defending, the other in the rear of the defenders occupied a new position, which was removed from the first on 5-8 km. At the same time, the enemy widely used counterattacks with tank forces, as well as maneuvering forces and means along internal lines. ” Thus, knocking down the enemy from the fortified lines and beating off fierce counterattacks, developing an offensive north-west in the direction of Krom, the forces of the Central Front advanced to 30 July to a depth of 40 km.

Troops of the Voronezh and Steppe Fronts, under the command of N. F. Vatutin and I. S. Konev, interacting with the South-Western Front R. Ya. Malinovsky, attacked the Belgorod-Kharkov sector. The Voronezh Front during the defensive operation withstood the strongest onslaught of the enemy, suffered heavy losses, so it was reinforced by the army of the Steppe Front. 23 July, moving away to strong defensive lines north of Belgorod, the Wehrmacht took up defense and prepared to repel the attacks of the Soviet troops. However, the enemy could not hold the onslaught of the Red Army. The troops of Vatutin and Konev delivered the main blow to the adjacent flanks of the fronts from the Belgorod region in the general direction of Bogoduhov, Valka, Novaya Vodolaga, bypassing Kharkov from the west. The 57 Army of the Southwestern Front struck, bypassing Kharkov from the southwest. All actions were envisaged by the Rumyantsev plan.

August 3 Voronezh and Steppe fronts after a powerful artillery and aviation training went on the offensive. The troops of the 5 and 6 guards armies operating in the first echelon of the Voronezh Front broke through the defenses of the enemy. The 1-i and 5-I guards tank armies, entered into the breakthrough with the support of the infantry, completed the breakthrough of the tactical defense zone of the Wehrmacht and advanced on 25-26 km. On the second day, the offensive continued to develop successfully. In the center of the front line, the 27 and 40 armies attacked the main attack force of the front. The troops of the Steppe Front — the 53, 69 and 7 Guards armies and the 1 mechanized corps — rushed to Belgorod.

5 August our troops liberated Belgorod. In the evening of August 5 in Moscow, for the first time, an artillery salute was given in honor of the troops that liberated Orel and Belgorod. It was the first salute during the Great Patriotic War, celebrating the victory of the Soviet troops. 7 August Soviet troops liberated Bogoduhov. By the end of August 11, the troops of the Voronezh Front cut the Kharkov-Poltava railway. The troops of the Steppe Front closely approached the external defensive bypass of Kharkov. The German command, in order to save the Kharkov grouping from the encirclement, threw into battle the reserves transferred from Donbass. The Germans concentrated 4 infantry and 7 armored and motorized divisions that had tanks before 600 south of Akhtyrka and south of Bohodukhiv. But the counterattacks undertaken by the Wehrmacht in the 11 — 17 period of August against the troops of the Voronezh Front in the area of ​​Bogodukhov and then in the Akhtyrka area did not lead to decisive success. Counterstrokes of tank divisions along the left wing and the center of the Voronezh front were hit by the nazis who were able to stop the forces of the 6 Guards and 1 Tank armies that had already been drained of blood. However, Vatutin threw the 5 th Guards Tank Army into battle. The 40 and 27 armies continued to move, the 38 armies launched an attack. The command of the Voronezh Front, on the right flank, threw into battle its reserve — General P. P. Korzun's 47 Army. In the area of ​​Akhtyrka, the reserve of the Headquarters was concentrated - GI Kulik's 4 Guards Army. Violent battles in the area ended with the defeat of the Nazis. German troops were forced to stop the attacks and go on the defensive.

The troops of the Steppe Front developed an offensive against Kharkov. As Konev recalled: “On the approaches to the city, the enemy created strong defense lines, and around the city, a fortified line with a developed network of strong points, in some places with reinforced concrete pillboxes, dug-in tanks and barriers. The city itself was adapted for all-round defense. To retain Kharkov, the Hitlerite command transferred the best tank divisions here. Hitler demanded to keep Kharkov at all costs, pointing out to Manstein that the capture of the city by Soviet troops poses the threat of losing Donbass. ”

German tank Pz.Kpfw. V "Panther", padded by the calculation of the senior sergeant Guard Parfenov. The outskirts of Kharkov, August 1943 year

23 August after stubborn fighting, Soviet troops completely liberated Kharkov from the Nazis. Much of the enemy grouping was destroyed. The remnants of Hitler's troops retreated. With the capture of Kharkov, the grand battle at the Kursk Bulge was completed. Moscow saluted the liberators of Kharkov 20 with volleys of 224 guns.

Thus, during the offensive on the Belgorod-Kharkov direction, our troops advanced 140 km and hung over the entire southern wing of the German front, taking an advantageous position to go to a general offensive in order to liberate Left-Bank Ukraine and reach the line of the Dnieper River.

On the Belgorod-Kharkov direction. Broken enemy technology after a raid by Soviet aviation

The population of the liberated Belgorod meets the fighters and commanders of the Red Army


The Battle of Kursk ended with a complete victory for the Red Army and led to a final radical change in the Great Patriotic War and the entire Second World War. The German command lost its strategic initiative on the Eastern Front. German troops moved to a strategic defense. It was not only the German offensive that failed, the enemy defense was broken through, the Soviet troops launched a general offensive. The Soviet Air Force in this battle finally won air supremacy.

Field Marshal Manstein assessed the outcome of Operation Citadel: “It was the last attempt to keep our initiative in the East; with its failure, equivalent to failure, the initiative finally passed to the Soviet side. Therefore, Operation Citadel is a decisive turning point in the war on the Eastern Front. ”

As a result of the defeat of significant forces of the Wehrmacht on the Soviet-German front, more favorable conditions were created for the deployment of the actions of the US-British troops in Italy, the beginning of the disintegration of the fascist bloc - the Mussolini regime collapsed, and Italy withdrew from the war on the German side. Under the influence of the victories of the Red Army, the scale of the resistance movement in the countries occupied by the German forces increased, and the authority of the USSR as the leading force of the anti-Hitler coalition became stronger.

The Battle of Kursk was one of the biggest battles of the Second World War. On both sides, more than 4 million people were involved in it, over 69 thousand guns and mortars, more than 13 thousand tanks and SPGs, up to 12 thousand aircraft. In the Battle of Kursk, the Wehrmacht 30 divisions, including the 7 tank divisions, were defeated. The German army lost 500 thousand people, up to 1500 tanks and SAU, 3000 guns and about 1700 aircraft. The losses of the Red Army were also very large: more than 860 thousand people, more than 6 thousand tanks and self-propelled guns, more than 1600 aircraft.

In the Battle of Kursk, Soviet soldiers showed courage, resilience and mass heroism. Over 100, thousands of people were awarded orders and medals, 231 people were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, 132 formations and units received the Guards rank, 26 awarded the honorary titles of the Orel, Belgorod, Kharkov and Karachevsky.

The collapse of hope. German soldier on Prokhorovsky field

Column of German prisoners of war captured in battles on Oryol direction, 1943

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  1. Abbra
    Abbra 23 August 2016 07: 18

    My uncle died there. At the beginning. Posthumously awarded the Order of the Patriotic War. And we will remember everyone.
    1. Lord of the Sith
      Lord of the Sith 23 August 2016 09: 20
      And my grandfather served on a 45 mm anti-tank gun. From the beginning of the war they retreated from the western borders to Kiev, then to Kharkov and Rostov, and there Stalingrad. In Stalingrad itself did not fight. And then it was advancing with the ZIS-3 76 mm, reached Berlin.
      1. Abbra
        Abbra 23 August 2016 11: 50
        Anti-tankists were generally considered suicide bombers. especially during the period of great battles. But they were buried, as expected, on a gun carriage. After the deadline I was retrained on the "Rapier". Your grandfather is a hero. what can I say ... Eternal glory to them all!
        1. Kenneth
          Kenneth 23 August 2016 12: 50
          My grandfather called the 45th cannon - "death to the enemy - p..dets calculation." He himself fought as a radio operator in the 23rd army.
    2. Igor V
      Igor V 23 August 2016 12: 34
      In the very heat of the Central Front, my grandfather's 1019th cp stood to death. The grandfather himself, the gunner of the mortar, was at that time in the hospital, having been wounded in the battle near Kastornaya: "... brought his mortar to an open position and destroyed 2 enemy firing points ..." - "For courage." When crossing the Dnieper, he was already in his regiment. Maybe the injury saved his life.
  2. Banishing liberoids
    Banishing liberoids 23 August 2016 07: 19
    Thank the granfather for the victory!!! Thanks to the author for the article !!!!
  3. Bloodsucker
    Bloodsucker 23 August 2016 07: 21
    Victory on the Kursk, the beginning of the complete rollback of the Nazi machine to the West.
    True, analyzing this battle, there will be a couple of three wise men who will begin to pedal the topic of 5 TA, yelling that there was no victory.
    Let them explain, "clever men" how it turned out that supposedly 5 TA had a complete failure, and the Wehrmacht rolled to the WEST.
    1. rotmistr60
      rotmistr60 23 August 2016 07: 34
      Let them explain, "smart guys" ...

      The trouble is that these "smart guys" do not want to explain anything, but they foaming at the mouth prove that everything was bad. Sometimes they refer to documents only known to them. But "Arc of Fire", no matter how hard one tries, cannot be deleted from history.
      1. dmi.pris1
        dmi.pris1 23 August 2016 07: 51
        There are always "Vsepapalschiki" on any topic .. There are a lot of such scribblers, especially there are very few witnesses and participants in the battles ..
        1. Tanya
          Tanya 23 August 2016 08: 14
          Prokhorovskoye field ... There was a real hell, but our Grandfathers survived and won.
          The participants of those battles are Eternal Memory and Glory.
          The witness of their feat - the Third Military Field of Russia - today looks like this:

    2. Vladivostok
      Vladivostok 23 August 2016 09: 01
      Comments on missing statements make a strange impression.
    3. Severomor
      Severomor 23 August 2016 12: 28
      True, analyzing this battle, there will be a couple of three wise men who will begin to pedal the topic of 5 TA, yelling that there was no victory.

      The battle was in the summer. And "General Moroz" could not help the Russians. And in the memoirs of the greatest German generals, the Red Army at the Kursk Bulge was utterly defeated. Moreover, tank reserves were knocked out for the year ahead.
      So what happened ???
      Frost? - No, autumn-spring thaw? - also no.
      The Kursk magnetic anomaly intervened. The valiant Wehrmacht soldiers, having routed the Red Army, thought that they would continue to move to the East (drag nah is left)))), but in fact, the arrows of the Compasses turned 180 degrees. And the valiant winners ran (and how else, they are advancing) to the West
    4. Kenneth
      Kenneth 23 August 2016 12: 58
      So it was 5TA suffered heavy losses, not having achieved any success, despite all the heroism of the personnel. But not only 5TA but also other formations fought there, which forced the Germans to begin the withdrawal of troops.
  4. heruv1me
    heruv1me 23 August 2016 07: 57
    Words of General Heinz Guderian:
    “As a result of the failure of the Citadel offensive, we suffered a decisive defeat. The armored forces, replenished with such great difficulty, were incapacitated for a long time due to heavy losses in equipment ... Needless to say, the Russians hastened to use their success. And there were no calm days on the Eastern Front. The initiative has completely passed to the enemy. ”

    And another General of the German Army, Walter Wenck, writes bluntly that by July 7, 1943, only one 3rd German Panzer Division had lost over 67% of its tanks. By the end of the German offensive, according to operational reports of the Germans themselves, tank losses in different parts of the Wehrmacht reached 70-80%!

    Manstein’s enemies’s memoirs aren’t worth believing, he’s also a storyteller.
    1. Alexander Romanov
      Alexander Romanov 23 August 2016 08: 15
      Manshtein wrote after the war, he had little lies .. At that time, lying, as it had not yet been accepted. Moreover, Germany itself was in such a position that she was afraid to lie.
      1. Alexey RA
        Alexey RA 23 August 2016 10: 11
        Pffff ... lying in memoirs has always been accepted. And already being defeated - even more so.
        After that war, the main task of the German generals was to please the new masters. So those of them who ended up in the West wrote memoirs about how they beat the Russians with all their might and constantly won victories - which the idiot Hitler and his Nazi entourage constantly took away from them. And also about the fact that Hitler and the SS were to blame for all the atrocities, and the army men were white and fluffy ("order of commissars", "order of special jurisdiction", army guards of prisoner-of-war camps - they were carefully silent about all this).
        Somewhere in 1944, an unrestrained stream of fantasy begins in general, when forces under the command of the same Manstein manage to destroy more Russian tanks than there were at all on this sector of the front. And after a couple of weeks, these destroyed Russian tank formations are mystically resurrected (in the spring, in Ukraine, with complete debauchery) and suddenly go on the offensive.
      2. rexby63
        rexby63 23 August 2016 10: 54
        How to say. It is possible that Manstein wrote his memoirs at the request of the winners from the West. When I read it, I got the impression that the author wants to convince (just like when reading Churchill's book): the USSR won the war "not thanks to, but in spite of."
      3. Molot1979
        Molot1979 11 October 2016 09: 29
        According to Manstein's memoirs, where "he had few lies," in the first three days of the offensive, he took 32 thousand prisoners alone. He determined his losses at 18 thousand, of which slightly more than 3 thousand were killed. Question: why did not he enter Kursk already on the 4th day?
  5. Leonid Har
    Leonid Har 23 August 2016 07: 57
    Yes. It was not 1941. The beginning of the collapse of Nazi Germany and at the same time the assertion of the might of the Soviet Army. The ridge of the German beast was broken, after which the German only draped and draped, right up to Berlin
  6. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 23 August 2016 08: 17
    Victory in the BATTLE at the Kursk Bulge is complete and unconditional. Nothing can "refute" this. The fact that there was an unsuccessful 5 TA attack - yes, so what? Were the German attacks successful? That's why the war is, that you act in a shortage of information, time, resources - and you still have to WIN. And the history is written by the WINNERS.
    1. DMB_95
      DMB_95 23 August 2016 10: 09
      The 5TA attack was not unsuccessful. In that place the Germans almost managed to break through the last line of our defense and it was necessary to prevent them from developing an offensive "at any cost". 5 TA turned out to be closer to our other reserve units to the place of the outlined German breakthrough and was forced to attack immediately after the march. Rotmistrov did not have time to develop a plan for defense or counterattack. Immediately after the transfer from the reserve, its 5th TA collided with the breakthrough German tank divisions, which had to be stopped. And in 5 TA there were at least half of the light tanks of the T-60 type. They went on the attack knowing full well that for many it is the last. And they detained the Germans, who began to retreat the next day.
      1. Alexey T. (Oper)
        Alexey T. (Oper) 23 August 2016 12: 45
        1. A counterattack by the armies of Rotmistrov and Zhadov did not bring the expected result. The Germans continued their attacks in the Prokhorovka area until the 17 of July and managed to encircle in the interfluve of the Severny and Linden Donets parts of our 48-th 69-A, which suffered heavy losses.
        Consequently, the counterattack itself was unsuccessful, although it led to the fact that the SS division "Leibstandarte", which was advancing on Prokhorovka in the center of the formation of 2 SS TC, was forced to retreat several kilometers.

        2. Counterattack 5 Guards TA and 5 Guards And it was prepared from July 9. And the order to advance to the Prokhorovka district the Rotmistrov and Zhadov received even earlier, already in the 19.00 7 of July 10 of the Lieutenant General Burkov, given to the 5 Guards. And concentrated in the specified area.
        So there was no improvisation on the part of Rotmistrov, the counterattack was carried out according to the plan of the headquarters of the front, agreed in advance at the Supreme Command.

        3. From the march of the 5 part. TAs did not attack, since they had already advanced to the area of ​​concentration by the 10 of July.

        4. The failure of the co-worker was not due to a lack of time, but for completely different reasons, which it is simply impossible to state entirely here - the communication format does not allow.
        1. Alexey RA
          Alexey RA 23 August 2016 14: 28
          Quote: Alexey T. (Opera)
          4. The failure of the co-worker was not due to a lack of time, but for completely different reasons, which it is simply impossible to state entirely here - the communication format does not allow.

          I'm afraid there’s not even enough article format here. smile

          You can give a link to 2 basic works of Zamulin - there the blow near Prokhorovka and the battle on CD were dealt with in great detail:
          Zamulin V. The Secret Battle of Kursk. - M .: Yauza; Eksmo, 2007

          Zamulin V. Kursky fracture. - M .: Yauza, Eksmo, 2007.

        2. Alexander Greene
          Alexander Greene 24 August 2016 13: 23
          Illogical "... the counterattack itself was unsuccessful," although it led to the fact that the SS division "Leibstandarte", advancing on Prokhorovka in the center of the formation of the 2nd SS TC, was forced to retreat several kilometers. "
          An unsuccessful counterattack cannot force the enemy to retreat a few kilometers.
      2. tacet
        tacet 23 August 2016 20: 20
        ... The number of tanks in the tank corps of the 5th Guards Tank Army on July 11:
        18th Panzer Corps: Churchill - 21; T-34 - 103, T-60 and T-70 - 63;
        29th tank corps: KB - 1, T-34 - 130, T-60 and T-70 - 85; SU -76 - 9; SU-122 - 12 ...
        233 "thirty-four" and 148 light tanks, useless even in close combat ...
        The Fifth Guards lost three quarters of their tanks in that battle. But she completed the task. The enemy did not enter Prokhorovka.
        On the bad thirty-fours with even more bad optics - against the first-class Wehrmacht fighting vehicles that hit our tanks from two kilometers - against the miserable five hundred meters from which the T-34 can still overpower German armor.
        1. Rusfaner
          Rusfaner 24 August 2016 12: 02
          Among the lost "thirty-fours" was the tank of my uncle Nikolai, the mechanic. The turret was blown off his tank by a shell, but he survived, only he was severely concussed. When I got out and stood next to me, trying to recover, I felt like someone was pushing in the back. I looked around. It turned out that he was pushing a German tank and a mechanic, holding out his hand and pointing with the fingers of a running man. I had to run, and the tank was pushing from behind. My uncle saw a deep rut and fell there, the tank began to bury it, broke its ribs, drove over the head and removed the scalp. When my uncle woke up, he saw the same German tank nearby. Burnt. And the mechanic behind the levers. Uncle Nikolai spent the next few months in hospitals. Burned four times. He ended the war as the commander of a section of the engineer battalion in the 3rd Belorussian battalion, and his life as a history teacher in the Perm region.
        2. vova1973
          vova1973 12 January 2017 16: 20
          And where did you get the idea that the moving tank, not on smooth asphalt, can any crew hit from two kilometers? Tank biathlon.
  7. Arkan
    Arkan 23 August 2016 08: 55
    In 1943, we were different than in 1941, so our victory in the Battle of Kurdish was logical. Glory to the winners, the eternal memory of the fallen heroes!
  8. Warrior2015
    Warrior2015 23 August 2016 10: 23
    The article traditionally for Alexander Samsonov is clearly based on Soviet propaganda materials and repeats the long-known. The meaning of her appearance?
    Quote: Alexander Samsonov
    The production of aircraft with higher combat qualities was established - Fokke-Wulf 190A fighters and Henschel-129 attack aircraft.
    Apparently, the author is a little unknown (obviously following most Soviet materials) that the Fw-190 has been successfully produced and fought for a year and a half, but only on the Western Front against the Allied Air Force.

    And the same Hs-129 was not released at all in the 1943 year, and for a long time it was in production and successfully fought on the Eastern Front for a year by the time of Kursk.

    Also, the author did not know, or for some reason forgot to note, the appearance of a real new weapon near Kursk by the German aviation - these are anti-tank versions of the Ju-87, as well as the last case of mass use of the Hs-123 and the first cases of the massive use of Hs-129.
    1. Velizariy
      Velizariy 23 August 2016 11: 24
      Yes ... the usual propaganda article, superficial, I would say even with a pea. About Fw 190A it’s still excusable, I have an article hanging in the regional military registration and enlistment office, so there Fw 190 D9!
      And also the trick of our hacks is "German submachine gunners", which are rocking waves.
      For the elementary grades of high school will go, but in VO it would be possible and somehow differently.
    2. zenion
      zenion 24 December 2016 19: 00
      Do you have your own village house? No, to write the most detailed, most truthful article. Better to criticize. As Honore Balzac wrote about such that good vinegar is obtained from bad wine, so a critic is obtained from a poor writer.
  9. Alexey T. (Oper)
    Alexey T. (Oper) 23 August 2016 12: 48
    My grandfather took part in the battle on the Kursk Bulge in the area of ​​Novosil as part of the 1444th sap RGK (self-propelled artillery regiment of the Reserve of the High Command), as part of Operation Kutuzov - an offensive operation of the Bryansk Front troops in the rear of Model's group attacking the northern face of Kursk balcony, began on 12 July 1943
  10. aviator65
    aviator65 23 August 2016 15: 02

    Memorial in Prokhorovka.
    How many times there have been, looking at the green fields around, gardens, cozy villages, it did not fit in my head that once, this land was literally burning. And these fighting vehicles torn to pieces ... What can we say about the people who won this terrible battle. How much they had to endure! Everlasting memory!
  11. Bashibuzuk
    Bashibuzuk 23 August 2016 15: 48
    What can I say, if every year during rounds and detours of the KLS tracks, we run into shells and mines every now and then.
    Especially in the area of ​​Trosny, Oryol region.
    Here we generally have a reserve of rusty weapons and ammunition.
    From the north, from Bolkhov to Trosny, in the south - there was a continuous battlefield.
    The mass of mines of the 50th caliber always always, for some reason, lies in a row or two. Rusty. We call the Ministry of Emergencies, and then we go.
    Every now and then overcoat and scraps of belts come across.
    This is how many years have passed.
    And what happened during the fighting is horror.
    Eternal glory and memory to our fighters who defended their homeland.
  12. Anatole Klim
    Anatole Klim 23 August 2016 20: 06
    The greatest tank battle, the greatest movie to watch from an early age, oh! sorry now do not remove ...
    1. Rusfaner
      Rusfaner 24 August 2016 12: 33
      The film is good, patriotic! But, unfortunately, the T-34-85 was not there, only the T-34-76 ...
  13. nnz226
    nnz226 23 August 2016 23: 54
    Here's an interesting question: why did the Wehrmacht, advancing on a deeply echeloned, pre-prepared defense, moreover deliberate and not spontaneous (in the style of 1941), suffered losses one and a half times less than the Red Army? There is no doubt about the heroism of Soviet soldiers! So the "generals" were still lousy? For all the tactical calculations that are taught in military schools, the attacking side suffers THREE TIMES more losses than the defenders! And ours attacked just on the spontaneous German defense, during the transition to the counteroffensive, because in these places the Germans were preparing to attack and their forces were "sharpened" for attacks, and not for defense. I do not take a blow from the north to the rear of the 9th Army of Model, but even there, on the northern ledge of the Wehrmacht at the Kursk Bulge, all the best forces were thrown into the breakthrough of the Soviet defense. So why are our losses 1,5 times greater ?! And the year is already 1943, and Stalingrad was and a bunch of offensive operations, and the blockade was broken ... Why ?! How many soldiers did they put in?
    1. Gunia
      Gunia 24 August 2016 15: 50
      Be attentive! The Germans attacked from July 5 to 12, and we from July 12 to August 23. And there’s no need to talk about the areas of territory capture. And the Germans’s defense was not spontaneous, it was prepared at least a year.
    2. tiaman.76
      tiaman.76 26 August 2016 09: 37
      probably our offensive operations under the eagle and Kharkov were also included in the losses .. moreover, unlike the Wehrmacht, they were successful in all directions .. consequently breaking open the German defenses of the Soviet forces and suffered most of the losses ... and even the 5th tank regiment wasn’t I sat on the defensive and dealt a counter strike, which was essentially unprepared, also suffered heavy losses .. plus armor Wehrmacht tank forces were more powerful this applies to firepower plus excellent optics .. minus only the chassis
    3. Molot1979
      Molot1979 11 October 2016 09: 36
      But the Germans always do. It is worth looking at their summary of losses, so they won or lost - it does not matter, all the same losses are 20 times less than that of the Red Army. IMHO, understated the most unscrupulous way. Then they sent this linden upstairs, and then whined in the memoirs that they had incomplete divisions. And where does the kit come from if they have declared 10-20 dead for the army for six months of the war? How much they lost, so much in replenishment and received.
    4. Rumata-estorskii
      Rumata-estorskii 1 February 2017 11: 40
      You just misunderstand the meaning. Upon the occurrence of a three-fold excess of the number of personnel before the defenders is required to achieve success, but there is no question that the advancing party suffers losses three times as much. You can write a lot here, but if briefly and roughly, then in most cases, I repeat - in most cases, the defenders suffer more losses, because they are forced to endure artillery preparation first, then the air attack, and then someone who was still alive deflects the attack with the remaining forces that are superior and already not three, but 4-5 times by enemy forces. Why do you think defense, as you say: “taught in military schools” is layered (2-4 lines of trenches, sometimes lagging from each other from 1 to 5 km)? The answer is simple - the 1st line of defense ceases to exist very quickly, the 2nd line lasts a little longer (in 41, there was no talk of any separation at all). Plus, the attacker chooses the time and place of the battle. Add a huge number of prisoners when the offensive is successfully completed. Thus, the defenders cease to exist.
      If we compare the losses of ours and the German in the war, it is clearly seen: the Germans come in 41-43 - the Soviet Union has more losses, ours occur in 44-45 - the Germans have more losses.
      Remember also the percentage of surviving our prisoners in German captivity and vice versa.
      I ask you not to throw slippers, I warned - briefly and roughly, the format is not the same.
  14. tiaman.76
    tiaman.76 26 August 2016 09: 31
    article plus for photographic material and detailed maps .. our losses are also indicated, unlike Soviet manuals where such terrible losses were hushed up. I consider this epic battle in scope and sacrifice surpassed all the battles of the Anglo-Saxon armies taken together.
  15. Semenov
    Semenov 27 August 2016 15: 29
    In an interview with the newspaper "Die Welt" the famous German historian revealed the latest complete data on the tank losses of the German troops. "During the Battle of Kursk, only three German Panzerwaffe tanks were lost," he said. This is how the myths about "in spite of" and "filled up with corpses" are obtained. People hawala, despite common sense. Goebbels rules from the other world!
  16. zenion
    zenion 24 December 2016 18: 50
    And for the Americans, there was nothing like that. The most important thing was the capture of the Japanese islet. A friend of mine from the United States during the war was promoted to major of the Marine Corps. We decided to take the islet. He told me that there was complete confusion. They landed on one part of the island, and from other ships landed on another part of the island. A shoot-out between them began. They healthyly beat their own, until the commanders realized that they were fighting among themselves, that there were no Japanese on the islet, and even that they had landed on the wrong island that they planned. But in general, the Americans won all the wars and defeated all the enemies. And when they landed in France, the Red Army fought in the rear of the Germans, like that! But the Russians didn’t, a little helped the Americans when they got stuck and that’s all.
  17. Varangian57
    Varangian57 15 March 2017 12: 49
    My father, Varinov Vasily Grigoryevich took part in the Battle of Kursk, fighting in 1444 a self-propelled artillery regiment, which was part of 63 A. Commander of the Guards regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Myachev Fedor Petrovich was awarded the Order of the Red Star for the battles of July 12-17 near Setuha. But this is the Red Star of 1943 !!!
  18. Varangian57
    Varangian57 15 March 2017 13: 31
    My father, Varinov Vasily Grigoryevich took part in the Battle of Kursk, fighting in 1444 the self-propelled artillery regiment of the RGK, which was part of 63 A. The commander of the Guards regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Myachev Fedor Petrovich was awarded the Order of the Red Star by the order of the Commander of the Bryansk Front of 12.08.43/12/17 for the battles of July 1943-XNUMX near Septukha. But this is the Red Star of XNUMX !!! For fights under the same Septuha, the Order of the Patriotic War of the II degree was awarded to Sakharov Alexander Isaevich, who fought in the neighboring artillery regiment.
  19. Sergei Mikhailov_4
    Sergei Mikhailov_4 16 February 2023 13: 05
    Again godless lies about Soviet losses. For the WHOLE III quarter of 1943, Soviet troops lost 803 people ON ALL FRONTS of the Great Patriotic War.
    Stop lying!