How there was a Kursk fight?the German troops, as expected, from the North from the Eagle and from the South from Belgorod took on July 5, 1943 the offensive. “Ruptures of thousands of bombs, shells and mines, a roar of tools, a rumble of tank motors and a clang of caterpillars shook the earth“, - K. K. Rokossovsky wrote.
The strongest blow had on troops of the Voronezh front under N. F. Vatutin`s command where 8 tank divisions of the opponent (1500 tanks) worked. Against troops of the Central front of K. K. Rokossovsky 6 tank divisions (1200 tanks) worked. Approach of infantry and tanks was supported by a strong gun-fire and blows of aircraft from air.
The German troops struck blows in one, in other direction, finding weak places in our defense. In the north of an arch main blows were struck in areas Olkhovatki and Ponyrey, in the south - in the direction to Oboyan and Korochu, and then on Prokhorovka.
Our troops needed huge courage and the highest military skill to stop armor armada of the coming troops of the opponent.
On a site of the Central front in 6 days of continuous attacks the enemy promoted on distance to 12 kilometers, but could not break through defense of the Soviet troops.
At this time on July 12 by order of the Rate according to the plan of the operation “Kutuzov“ absolutely unexpectedly for the opponent took the offensive on the Eagle the Bryansk front and strengthened 11 - I am army of the Western front. Became northern group of the German troops not before approach to Kursk any more. They began to be developed against the coming Soviet troops. Having used it, the Central front turned on July 15 into counterattack. Thus, around the Eagle approach of Hitlerite troops failed.
Our coming troops had to break through nearly two years the system of defensive works strengthened by Germans. The Soviet troops could break through it, first of all, thanks to a saturation artillery and tanks.
On August 5 divisions of the Bryansk front freed the city the Eagle, and by August 18 the German troops were expelled from all Oryol ledge and the Soviet troops approached a powerful enemy boundary “Hagen“.
The environment of the German troops which were located on the Oryol ledge did not include in the plans of the Rate as the Soviet troops had no on this direction of forces and means, necessary for an environment of the opponent, and in attempt of an environment could suffer unjustified losses.
Besides, at an environment of large group the long time and derivation of significant forces for destruction of the surrounded troops is required, and it did not correspond to plans of General headquarters. I. V. Stalin, in my opinion, very truly told: “Our task is to expel rather Germans from our territory, and we when they become weaker … will surround them“.
In the south of an arch the Soviet troops conducted even more hardened fights, than in the north. “on July 9 the opponent, having concentrated on the oboyansky direction on 10 - ti a kilometer site up to 500 tanks, made desperate attempt to punch a gap in our defense. And though the commander of the Voronezh front put forward the reserves there and directed the main air forces, nevertheless by the end of day the enemy put in our defense on depth to 35 kilometers.
On Prokhorovka it was thrown 4 - I am the German tank army which had on the direction of the main blow up to 700 tanks and assault tools.
In this intense situation the Rate made the decision on transfer 5 - y Guards tank and 5 - y Guards armies of the Steppe front in structure of the Voronezh front for use in the being outlined counterstroke … it is important to
to note that the enemy aircraft during movement of these armies did not appear as ours voyenno - air forces commanded the air and did not pass the German planes for a front line. On routes of the movement of troops fighters 5 - y air army continuously patrolled and covered them. It allowed us to maneuver rather freely reserves in day conditions. Armies left to the preset area in due time and up in arm …
to Connections 5 - y Guards tank army of the general P. A. Rotmistrov and 5 - y Guards army of the general A. S. Zhadova it was necessary to make march to 300 kilometers. 5 - I Guards army had to be developed on an army strip of defense against Oboyani to Prokhorovka. 5 - y it was ordered to Guards tank army to concentrate to the north of Prokhorovki. These two well equipped completed armies, and also troops which are available as a part of the front, the commander of the Voronezh front with the consent of the Rate decided to put counterstroke.
Around Prokhorovki there was the largest tank battle. In the field of fight 1200 tanks and self-propelled tools participated. The hardened fight lasted till late evening. Powerful counterstroke of the Soviet troops, their organization and heroism of staff buried all offensive plans of Hitlerites“, - I. S. Konev wrote.
Counterstroke exhausted and exsanguinated Germans. The peak of defensive actions on the southern direction fell on July 12. G. K. Zhukov writes too that on July 12 on the Voronezh front there was the greatest fight of tankmen, gunners, shooters and pilots which is especially hardened on Prohorov`s direction.
A. M. Vasilevsky witnessed “a titanic duel of two steel armadas“. It was the largest tank battle 2 - y world war. During fight Hitlerites lost around Prokhorovki up to 400 tanks and over 10 thousand soldiers and officers the killed. And here the enemy could not break through defense of our troops.
On July 18 troops Voronezh and part of troops Steppe fronts passed to prosecution of the opponent, and by July 23 the Voronezh front took positions on which it was prior to the German approach.
The defensive part of Kursk fight came to the end. For Germany the operation “Citadel“ ended with a checkmate. Hitlerites could promote only to 12 km on northern and to 35 km on the southern farce of the Kursk arch. As it is clear from the aforesaid, by July 23 on the southern direction the opponent was rejected on former positions, and on northern - is much farther than former positions and receded under blows of the Soviet troops.
Our troops which since July 5 were not knowing neither a dream, nor rest could not take the general offensive on the southern farce of the Kursk ledge at once. Besides, considering that after unfortunate approach the southern group of the German troops departed on strongly strengthened positions near Belgorod and Kharkiv, the Soviet troops should have been prepared for approach carefully.
I. S. Konev writes: “For defense belgorodsko - the Kharkiv base Germans kept large group of troops in number of 14 infantry and 4 tank divisions. Besides, during battle on this direction the opponent threw 5 more tank, motorized and 4 infantry divisions … Not incidentally Germans gave belgorodsko - to the Kharkiv base an important strategic importance. It was the strongest bastion of the German defense in the east, the gate locking to our troops a way to Ukraine“.
3 - go August, 1943 according to the plan of the operation “Commander Rumyantsev“ approach of our troops on belgorodsko - the Kharkiv direction Voronezh, Stepnogo and Hugo - Western fronts began forces powerful artillery and aviation preparation. On August 5 troops of the Steppe front storm seized Belgorod.
Day of liberation of Belgorod coincided with day of release of the Eagle. For the first time during the Great Patriotic War Moscow noted release of the Eagle and Belgorod artillery salute. This first artillery salute in honor of fighting valor of the Soviet troops spoke about full confidence of our government in the future victories over the enemy. From this day salutes in Moscow in honor of victories of Red Army became nice tradition.
On August 23 our troops freed Kharkiv. I. S. Konev remembered: “For a long time there will be in memory of participants of liberation of Kharkiv and residents a meeting of soldiers and workers which is carried out on August 30 at T. G`s monument. Shevchenko. As we also assumed, aircraft of the enemy this day of a neistvoval.
Being going to revenge, probably, us for the fact that we broke it at capture of Kharkiv, the enemy decided to destroy Kharkiv from air. But, any enemy plane did not manage to break through fire of our antiaircraft gunners and to bypass dense cover of the city from air by forces 5 - y air army. Giving the order on cover of the city aircraft during demonstration, I told the commander 5 - y air army that it is necessary to create a reliable “protective umbrella“. All survived residents took to the streets. Kharkiv exulted“.
Due to the given facts of the Front commander, researches revolt, one may say, “the best German of 2008“ V. Gorbacha who, admiring the German data, builds all book about losses and victories of our aircraft in Kursk fight on the German data, on these Hitlerites. The Soviet military aircraft of that time in its researches appears as collecting equipment and the people not capable neither to steer planes, nor to conduct battles as equals with the opponent, lagging behind the opponent in ability to conduct battles much and more. And such researchers in our former Soviet Union as speak, “dime a dozen“.
But even one fact that Konev during Kursk fight from air by plane monitored in the afternoon march of the 5 - y Guards tank and 5 - y Guards armies to the destination of the Voronezh front and was not afraid to be brought down by the German aircraft, disproves all exaggerated data of Hitlerites. Quite right V. Goncharov wrote
that eyewash in Hitlerite army was total, that is in the data presented to higher instances excessively distorted data all from an unter - the officer to the field marshal that was not and could not be in strict Stalin time in the Soviet army.
Apparently, Kursk fight continued from July 5 to August 23, 1943 and shares on defensive (from July 5 to July 23) and offensive (from July 12 to August 23) operations. It showed to
force, power and the highest level of preparation of Red Army, General Staff, and also the fact that even on a narrow sector of the front at carefully prepared powerful defense it is impossible to keep the front from break by well armed opponent. The Voronezh front resisted only thanks to the help of the reserve Steppe front. But today`s Russian military science recognizes only defensive actions and considers them as panacea from all troubles.
Kursk fight is one of the largest fights 2 - y world war. It was an important stage on the way to a victory of the Soviet Union over fascist Germany. In this fight 30 perfect divisions of the opponent, including 7 tank were crushed, the Wehrmacht lost over 500 thousand soldiers and officers, 1,5 thousand tanks, over 3,7 thousand planes, 3 thousand tools.
The Soviet troops promoted in southern and Hugo - western the directions on 140 km, liquidated Oryol and Belgorodsko - Kharkiv bases of the opponent and created conditions for liberation of Left-bank Ukraine and an exit to Dnieper.
“Fight near Kursk which we have the right to call Great fight is characteristic huge scope, exclusive intensity and bitterness of fight. It captured the huge territory of present Oryol, Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Kharkiv and Poltava regions. 50 days went persistent, intense fights on the earth and in air. During this time both parties it was consecutive over 4 million people, more than 69 thousand tools and mortars, 13 200 tanks and self-propelled tools and to 12 thousand warplanes are entered into battle.
the tank battles Developed during fight had not equal in military history. It was the greatest tank fight in World War II“, - I. S. Konev wrote about Kursk fight.
I. V. Stalin summed up the result of Kursk fight by such words: “If the battle of Stalingrad foretold a decline German - fascist army, then fight near Kursk put it before accident“.