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Old 06-01-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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This is from kursk

Quote:
The Russians had also placed vast numbers of men and equipment in the Kursk bulge. 1.3 million soldiers were based there, 20,000 artillery pieces, 3,600 tanks and 2,400 planes. The Russians had guessed where the Germans would try to use their tanks in depth – and placed a large number of their anti-tank artillery guns there. Trenches and other anti-tank traps were dug. The depth of defences included the laying of 400,000 mines, which equated to 2,400 anti-tank and 2,700 anti-personnel mines every mile – more than at the Battle of Moscow and the Battle of Stalingrad. By June 1943, 300,000 civilians were helping the Russians build defences around the Kursk salient. They repaired 1,800 miles of road and dug thousands of miles of trenches.
The germans should not have squandered their key reserves on an offensive battle which everyone knew was coming, and exactly where.

The Battle of Kursk
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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After Stalingrad, Hitler was desperate to gain a victory at any cost. The unnecessary battle of the Kursk salient was probably the final turning point for the German Army in Russia. Even if the Germans fought a stalemate, as one or two writers indicate they did, they couldn't sustain the heavy losses in men and equipment.They dissipated their energies and equipment and never recovered. From that time, it was a struggle to maintain an orderly retreat back to Germany. Hitler's erratic leadership and failure to listen to his competent generals, like Guderian and Manstein, brought them defeat as much as anything.

Last edited by John Walmsley; 06-02-2010 at 03:32 PM.. Reason: Removed extraneous words
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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I think that had Hitler not flung away so much in the Kursk offensive, he could have held on the Eastern front for at least a couple of more years.
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:35 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noetsi View Post

The germans should not have squandered their key reserves on an offensive battle which everyone knew was coming, and exactly where.
Maybe. On the other hand they absolutely had to do something that summer. The soviets were building up faster than they were and very soon the soviet advantage would be insurmountable (if it wasn't already by early summer 1943). Add the threat of western allies landing in Europe. It was obvious that any hope of victory was getting dimmer with each passing moment.

Attacking at a different section of the front had its own drawbacks such as lengthening the front line, which Germans didn't really have troops to man. The central portion of the front, west of Moscow, was also well defended by the Soviets. In the north terrain wasn't suitable for mass panzer use.

The Kursk salient, with a large concentration of Soviet forces in and around it, was hard to avoid. It was a difficult decision but at the same time the Germans had pretty good idea what they were facing.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:52 PM
 
Location: Gila County Arizona
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Perhaps there are two other factors regarding the Kursk offensive.

First, the arrogance of the German military refused to consider that defeat was even possible.

Recall, Stalingrad was a defeat more associated with winter weather than defeat on the battlefield.

Add to this, Stalingrad was not a battle of maneuver, and in fact first coined the phrase Ratzkrieg, (Rats war). City fighting was not in the German Forte and was avoided as often as possible while on the offensive.

Example: During the siege of Leningrad, the German high command preferred to "starve out" the defenders rather than attack and take the city.

Second, The German army was convinced that the call up of the Soviet Siberian troops was a "last gasp".

If these forces could be defeated by the crushing weight of arms, there would be noting left available to the Soviet Union.

On this second point, I believe there is some validity to this point. However, I also don't think the German military ever recognized the size of the Siberian reserves, or their abilities in battle.

Last edited by banger; 06-02-2010 at 06:34 PM..
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:57 AM
 
Location: New York City
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The deciding phase of the battle of Stalingrad was fought in the steppe outside the city.

Also the Germans made plans to take Leningrad but they never materialized. For example, they wanted to take it in 1941, sending 2 panzer armies north. However Moscow was deemed a higher priority and both armies were recalled. In the summer of 1942, Manstein's army, after it had taken Sevastopol' was transferred north and tasked with taking Leningrad. Coincidentally, Soviets also planned an offensive in the area to de-blockade the city. Soviets broke through the German lines and Manstein had to use his troops to plug the gap. The Soviet offensive was stopped but the plans to take Leningrad had to be postponed, this time indefinitely.

Overall, the German leadership underestimated the ability of the Soviets to form and arm fresh divisions seemingly "out of thin air" to replace ones Germans managed to destroy. Siberian troops played an important part in the battle of Moscow but overall it wasn't a huge number of troops - 30 divisions or so.
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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Flammable means the same thing as inflammable. This never fails to blow my mind.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AuburnAL View Post
Flammable means the same thing as inflammable. This never fails to blow my mind.
Bimonthly can mean either twice a month or once every two months.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Flyover Country
26,211 posts, read 19,584,653 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Walmsley View Post
After Stalingrad, Hitler was desperate to gain a victory at any cost. The unnecessary battle of the Kursk salient was probably the final turning point for the German Army in Russia. Even if the Germans fought a stalemate, as one or two writers indicate they did, they couldn't sustain the heavy losses in men and equipment.They dissipated their energies and equipment and never recovered. From that time, it was a struggle to maintain an orderly retreat back to Germany. Hitler's erratic leadership and failure to listen to his competent generals, like Guderian and Manstein, brought them defeat as much as anything.
The Soviets had outstanding intelligence of German plans at Kursk. Even though this desperate gamble by Hitler was well planned and executed by his Panzer and infantry they were up against an enemy that had months to dig in.

Of course, in war, plans are usually the firs thing to go, but the preparation levels of the Soviets allowed this tank battle to effectively be considered a Soviet victory. One has to wonder how they would have fared without foreknowledge of Hitler's intentions. The same can be said for the Japanese, as their codes were also widely broken, which led to many Allied routs without Japan knowing they were compromised. Both Germany and Japan allowed their battlefield prowess and hubris to compromise their communications and keep them from considering this was happening by Allied counterintelligence.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:14 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Intelligence has many layers. The most exciting usually is the spy network where you recruit people on the inside to spill the beans of you. This type of intelligence typically has been the Soviet specialty. In the case of Kursk, apparently there was a German insider (his identity is still uncertain) in communication with the Soviets via their spies in Switzerland. Another kind if intelligence is monitoring enemy transmissions. It's great if you can break their codes, but if you can't you can still usually tell the location of their units that are transmitting. Then there is the simple aerial photo intelligence. Soviets also relied on partisans in the occupied territories to monitor train traffic to know which German units were getting reinforced.

Anyway, even though the Soviets got very detained information about the upcoming German offensive at Kursk through their spies, there were other pieces of information coming in from all the other sources. It may not have been as detailed but it was sufficient enough for them to know to concentrate their defenses in and around the Kursk salient.
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