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1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot?

 
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1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/24/2011 1:15:37 PM   
rolypoly


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Has anyone managed to pull that one off?

edit - against human of course.

< Message edited by rolypoly -- 3/24/2011 1:19:29 PM >
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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/24/2011 2:06:08 PM   
BigAnorak


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Not in any test AAR I have seen. I have tried every angle of attack, but the Soviet counter attack just crushes me. I have switched to a mobile defence strategy, and evacuating from the Orel salient.

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/24/2011 2:38:32 PM   
cap_and_gown


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Against the AI I don't think it is a good idea. Against a human I would guess a German offensive would just be a gift to the Soviets. Even without running a German offensive, the Soviet offensive is still quite powerful.

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/24/2011 2:50:04 PM   
Speedy

 

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Agreed. My tests of this have never lead me to be successful. I can push through the SU defences but at such a steep cost to my Armour that you will ironically lose ground quicker when the SU counter-attacks.....

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/24/2011 4:35:41 PM   
rolypoly


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Thanks for the info guys

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/29/2011 4:15:53 AM   
bevans

 

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Agree with the analysis but recently read a book that provided me with a very different perspective on the actual battle:

- the Germans came much closer to actually winning than is appreciated

- permanent Axis AFV losses (permanent is the key word, the Germans got most of their damaged tanks out and were very good at getting them back into service) were much lower than I, at least, had thought

- total losses in men, guns and AFVs were all very favourable to the Germans

- Kursk cannot be considered less than a tactical victory for the Germans (compared to the strategic disaster I had always considered it to be).

It was the Russian offensive that won the war; not the Kursk offensive that lost it. Arguably Kursk was a gamble that the Axis had to take. That or a mobile defense and that wasn't going to happen.

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/29/2011 1:31:30 PM   
Commanderski

 

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quote:

Agree with the analysis but recently read a book that provided me with a very different perspective on the actual battle


What book was that? I have one from Glantz that I am re-reading through on Kursk, but that was a Soviet study that he published in 1999.

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/29/2011 1:35:44 PM   
Tarhunnas


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bevans

Agree with the analysis but recently read a book that provided me with a very different perspective on the actual battle:

- the Germans came much closer to actually winning than is appreciated

- permanent Axis AFV losses (permanent is the key word, the Germans got most of their damaged tanks out and were very good at getting them back into service) were much lower than I, at least, had thought

- total losses in men, guns and AFVs were all very favourable to the Germans

- Kursk cannot be considered less than a tactical victory for the Germans (compared to the strategic disaster I had always considered it to be).

It was the Russian offensive that won the war; not the Kursk offensive that lost it. Arguably Kursk was a gamble that the Axis had to take. That or a mobile defense and that wasn't going to happen.


Maybe it could be argued that the Germans "won" the battle of Kursk iteslf in a tactical sense, if this is confined to the fighting in the penetrations on the north and south sides of the Bulge itself, but with the front coming apart both further to the north and to the south of the Kursk bulge, all the Germans were going to accomplish was putting their head further into the noose.

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/29/2011 1:55:03 PM   
Klydon


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Interesting. v Manstein had always insisted that he was very close to a huge win at Kursk when troops were withdrawn to deal with the landings in Sicily. He felt he had burned through most of the Russian armored reserves (he had) and he still had a trump left to play with a fresh panzer corps, but never got a chance to do it. The Russians lost half their operational tank force at Kursk, so it hurt regardless.

I have always read that the Germans lost Kursk as far as the Luftwaffe goes as well, but then read something within recent years that while the Luftwaffe suffered huge losses around the time of Kursk, it was not in the Kursk area, but rather other areas of the front where they took heavy casualties. The Luftwaffe actually did quite well at Kursk in terms of inflicting casualties on the Red Airforce and also on Russian ground troops.

The interesting thing with Kursk is what would have happen had they launched Kursk even a month earlier and not been interrupted by the Sicily invasion.

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/29/2011 3:03:20 PM   
delatbabel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon
I have always read that the Germans lost Kursk as far as the Luftwaffe goes as well, but then read something within recent years that while the Luftwaffe suffered huge losses around the time of Kursk, it was not in the Kursk area, but rather other areas of the front where they took heavy casualties. The Luftwaffe actually did quite well at Kursk in terms of inflicting casualties on the Red Airforce and also on Russian ground troops.


My understanding, from both Glantz and Krivosheyev, is that the Luftwaffe didn't actually "lose" at Kursk, but they didn't "win" either. Kursk saw an unleashing of the newer and up-armoured versions of planes like the Il-2 in concentrations that hadn't previously been experienced by the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe maintained a technical edge in terms of the capability of fighters and experience of the pilots, but the Il-2s appeared in such numbers that the Luftwaffe was no longer able to keep them away from the Wehrmacht. Krivosheyev draws a comparison between the percentages of VVS planes lost at Kursk and those in similar and earlier engagements, and that a good number of VVS planes (in particular Il-2s) grounded due to air combat during the campaign were up and flying again within a few days at worst. That told in terms of what the Wehrmacht was able to achieve on the ground.


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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 3/29/2011 5:19:47 PM   
bevans

 

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The book was Hitler's Panzers by Dennis Showalter. Interesting book and covers the whole war (and prewar), not just the Eastern Front, although it is mostly about the WitE.

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 4/18/2011 12:51:09 PM   
Cyclop


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The battle at Kursk had a major goal to close down and join major German bulges in the areas around Orel and Kharkov. Kursk was their joining point.
This Zitadelle plan was known to russians, even von Manstein traveled to Bukurest on 3rd of July in one of attempts to "hide" the major offensive and the germans were "concentrating" tank models south of Donbas . Offensive was set to start at 3AM, but russian forces suprised germans with huge artillery counter attack  40 minutes earlier - at 2:20AM. This artillery attack broke down german artillery and communication systems. This offensive made the germans postpone their offensive for two hours later.
Within the range of german offensive, Hoth's strike group  didnt manage to take Bojansk, and Model's group made progress only 8-12km. By 11th July this group was out of order with losses of 20 000 men.
It was very difficult to penetreate in those areas because russians have made the defence area around 150-190 km with almost 10 000 km of trenches, and russians managed to set the german advance course on a specific area: through mine fields (they didnt take Bojansk, so they had to cross over Prohorovka). This made the collapse in german forces.
T-34 had a significant advantage over Tiger tanks in such kind of close battles (Maultier support was minor).
While the battles lasted von Manstein and von Kluge flew to Hitlers command residence and Hitler himself ordered to stop Zitadelle offensive!! Even 2nd SS corps was transfered to Yugoslavia.

But, the major turn over was in "long term" plans even before the offensive. Russians made a furious counter offensive that was impossible to stop:
they gathered 2 300 000 men, 34 500 artillery and mortars, 5000 tanks and 3700 aircrafts. German forces were significantly lower: 900 000 men, 1600 tanks, 9500 artillery and 1700 aircrafts.


We can't (in any way) state that this was a tactical victory or the Germans came much closer to actually winning than is appreciated. It was a big defeat for the germans. Major conclusion about german loss is that soviet intelligence and command knew about this german offensive months before. Soviets didn't only plan the defence, they even concentrated forces for a major breakthrough to Gomel, Chernigov and Kiev. On 3rd of August soviet offensive made "the gate" to Ukrain and Donbas.


< Message edited by Cyclop -- 4/18/2011 1:12:28 PM >

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 4/19/2011 5:36:25 PM   
Pelton

 

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There is also another book that was writen just a few yrs ago based on the Russian losses ect that have only become avalible to the west the last 10 yrs.

The germans could have won, but Hitler pulled the plug and sent the reserve SS Corp to Italy. The last huge tank battle everyone claimed for decades the Russian won was a huge loss for them. They sent in 1200ish or so tanks vs 300ish german and got there asses handed to them. IF Manstein would have been able to throw the last fresh SS corps into the hole the russians had NO tanks left in reserve close to the front.

Manstein could have closed the pocket and had the tanks to stop any counter attack for a while. This would have given the germans time to wipe most of the pocket and had the troops to handle the other counter attacks. At this point the Russians would have been reacting to the Germans an been forsed to pull out reserves from other parts of the front to try and save the men in the pocket. Attacking strong German positions no matter the odds would have been huge loses for the russians, because unless they were able to plan out an attack months in avdvance they would have been sending in their reserves a little at a time.

It would have been a big win, but still not have changed the out come of the war in the east. Also Italy would have gotten rolled allot faster then it did, so Hitler probably did the right thing by pulling the SS Corps.

I will dig out the book and post the title and athur. PM me if I dont post it withen a few days.



< Message edited by Pelton -- 4/19/2011 5:49:49 PM >

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 4/20/2011 11:11:15 AM   
Cyclop


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I really dont think we can say that the germans could have won.
Crucial reasons (trying to argument the debate):
- up to 11th of July Models strike group invaded only 10-12 km in russian defence and it had severe losses. After that it was forced to defend.
- 10th of July Hitler still ordered to continue this operation
- Hoth's group couldn't take Obojansk and turned via Prohorovka - 12th of July
- Manstein and Kluge met with Hitler on 17th July, so the 2nd SS corps were transfered to Yugoslavia on that date, and therefore they were active on 12th July.
- russian counter offensive started with West and Bryansk front units on 12th of July, and on 15th of July Central front units joined the offensive. This is the point when german advance started to retreat rapidly. Two days after it was all clear and thats when the transfer os 2nd SS was ordered. It was clear for germans that their offensive was lost.



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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 4/20/2011 10:38:52 PM   
Pelton

 

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Name of the book is The Battle of Kursk by David M. Glantz and Jonathan M. House.

They use the GHC and SHC order of battles and then follow the dayly strengths of each unit corps/armie ect. They are then able using past inner views ect to get a clear picture of what happened. Its very indepth with then numbers of each pc of equipment and unit before and after the battle.



< Message edited by Pelton -- 4/20/2011 10:40:02 PM >

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RE: 1943 campaign - Kursk offensive worth a shot? - 4/20/2011 11:25:44 PM   
Keke


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Read Stephen Newton's "Kursk: the German view". Best book on the subject. Glantz has the Soviet side covered but is quite inaccurate with the Germans (including the odd interpretation of "Prokhorovka decision").

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