How the Soviet troops were prepared for fight on the Kursk arch?At meeting on April 12, 1943 the Soviet management made the decision on deliberate defense on the Kursk arch. It was clear that the one who wins Kursk fight - that wins all war. Tactical defense of our troops with trenches and the courses of the message made 15 - 20 km. Only troops of the Central front under K. K. command. Rokossovsky dug through about 5 thousand kilometers of trenches and the courses of the message.
The Soviet command had quite exact data on the plan of the German approach on the Kursk arch. The intelligence data was confirmed and supplemented with data of guerrillas on movement of the German troops. There corresponded data and to the conclusions of the Rate and the General Staff which analysed a situation and came to the same conclusions about which investigation reported. There were only no one important data, - from what direction (northern or southern) Germans prepared stronger blow.
Not at once the decision on action of our troops came, namely: to come to us or to defend. The decision was made taking into account opinion of most of large military leaders of the country. From Vatutin and Rokossovsky offers in writing were requested. Contrary to the developed opinion, it is necessary to notice that in the report K. K. Rokossovsky suggested not to defend, and to attack the Oryol group of the opponent by forces of the Western, Bryansk and Central fronts.
At meeting on April 12 in the evening representatives of the Rate in the person of I. V. Stalin, G. K. Zhukov, A. M. Vasilevsky and A. I. Antonov made the preliminary decision on deliberate defense. That is defense of our troops was not compelled, and deliberate. The purpose of creation of such defense was creation of favorable conditions for the subsequent transition to approach.
Each decision was made by the Soviet command deliberately and is thought deeply over. The Soviet troops should have won surely Kursk fight because otherwise we should make a fresh start, and it is unknown, would be enough at the country of resources for a new change of war in our party. Kursk fight was the third, final round of fight of Europe against the Soviet Union, Russia.
Grown wise two years of war our military leaders built defense with the highest degree of skill, without feeling sorry for either forces, or means. Especially the knowledge of the directions of the main blows and rather small width of the front helped to construct defense.
K. K. Rokossovsky writes that all army of its front for April - June was dug out to 5 thousand kilometers of trenches and the courses of the message, established up to 400 thousand mines and land mines, hundreds of kilometers of wire entanglements, including elektrizovanny.
Large artillery connections - divisions and cases allowed to focus the big mass of artillery on the necessary directions. Our aircraft equipped with the most modern for those times by planes became stronger.
There is an opinion that N. F. Vatutin did not focus army on the dangerous directions, and distributed evenly on a front line. But such opinion is not true.
G. K. Zhukov wrote: “I want to object to the statement that unlike the Central front command of the Voronezh front … dispersed efforts in a strip 164 kilometers wide, did not mass force and means on the direction of the main blow of the enemy. It is incorrect … in a strip 6 - y and 7 - y Guards armies (where the main blow of the German troops - L. M. was expected) almost all artillery parts and connections of a reserve of the Main Command, all tank parts and connections and all front reserves were concentrated.
Besides still “in a nape“ defenses 6 - y to army it was delivered 1 - I am the tank army which well prepared a defensive boundary, and behind a joint 6 - y and 7 - y Guards armies in depth settled down 69 - I am army at the prepared defensive boundary.
Besides, in an operational zone for 6 - y and 7 - y front reserves - 35 - y the Guards shooting case, 2 - y and 5 - y Guards tank cases were Guards armies. Therefore, the criticism of command of the Voronezh front is constructed on inexact calculation of density of forces and means in specific conditions quickly - a strategic situation“.
On 6 - y and 7 - y to Guards armies the main blow of the southern group of the German troops had. N. F. Vatutin took all possible measures for strengthening of defense on the direction of the main blow of the opponent.
Multiband defense on Kursk the direction stretched for depth of 250 - 300 kilometers. And strengthened the tactical zone of defense which depth for the first time during war reached 15 - 20 km in the presence of the developed network of trenches and the courses of the message was the most developed in the engineering relation.
“The organization of defense in Kursk fight was generalization of the extensive experience which is saved up during war. Defense was deeply echeloned, multiband with shirokorazvity anti-tank system of fire, with all types of engineering strengthenings and obstacles.
Both fronts had on hand reserves as a part of integrated combined arms and tank forces. Three months our troops strenuously were going to give worthy repulse to the enemy. Intensity of work did not weaken neither in the afternoon, nor at night. By the beginning of fights all parts including being in a reserve, were earthed; also the military equipment was earthed. In due form the military art which gained the development during war groups of troops were created and systems of fire, especially anti-tank are organized, perimeter defense of villages, villages and cities, defensive boundaries are well prepared“, - I. S. Konev wrote.
It is necessary to emphasize once again that except the specified measures for creation of strong defense in the back of our troops of the Voronezh and Central fronts there were troops of the Steppe front.
Whether “The opponent knew about the organization of strong defense in the back of our fronts? Knew. And it played a positive role. The enemy believed that we prepare only for defensive battle. Having huge number of tanks and self-propelled tools of the latest samples, Hitlerites hoped that it will be impossible to hold them … Perhaps, it is the only unprecedented case in military history when the strength which had all opportunities for approach passed to defense. The further course of events confirmed that in this case the correct decision was made. Preparation and action of fronts in Kursk fight the Rate charged to coordinate
to Marshals of the Soviet Union G. K. Zhukov and A. M. Vasilevsky“, - I. S. Konev stated.
Telling about the plan of Kursk fight, A. M. Vasilevsky emphasized that this plan was the central part of the general strategic plan accepted by the Rate on the leena - autumn campaign of 1943. Also he pays attention that the crucial role in development of the plan was played by the supreme bodies of the strategic management - the Rate of General headquarters and the General Staff.
On the Kursk arch by the beginning of the German approach had the Voronezh and Central front: over 1336 thousand people, 19,1 thousand tools and mortars, 3444 tanks and SAU and 2172 planes (and taking into account planes of distant aircraft 17 BA, Hugo - the Western front and night-intruders U - 2 - 2900 planes). The steppe front totaled 573 thousand people, 7401 tool and a mortar and 1551 tanks and SAU.
The German command began the operation “Citadel“, having as a part of two shock groups 900 thousand people, about 10 thousand tools and mortars, to 2700 tanks and assault tools and about 2050 planes.
The Soviet troops of the Central and Voronezh fronts surpassed the opponent in people by 1,4 times, in tanks and SAU - almost by 1,3 times, in tools and mortars - by 1,9 times.
The Soviet command constantly was in tension. Hitler postponed approach date three times, and our many military leaders began to incline to that to our troops to take the offensive against Oryol and Belgorodsko - the Kharkiv group of the German troops. Especially as the plan of Kursk fight which is in details developed by the Rate provided transition of the Soviet troops to approach after defense.