From: the Netherlands
In any case, I see a bit of exaggeration implicit in your last sentence. It wasn't a cake walk for the Red Army either, to push AGS all the way from Kharkov to Lvov in nine months. Actually they had to stop large-scale operations everywhere else.
No, they did not.
People keep saying this. It's just not true. 1943 was a broad front offensive that included a good 2/3 of the front. You don't hear much about the stuff up north because the Sovs didn't do as well as the Ukraine, but these fronts were active and made their own, slower, bloodier advances. Indeed, they started operations during the whole Kursk battle, by launching their own offensive on the Orel salient. Bryansk, Western, and Kalinin Fronts were quite as busy as Steppe, Voronezh, Southwestern and Southern.
Only by Leningrad did the Sovs stay put until year's end.
This is one of the things that seriously annoys me about the stock 1943 campaign, btw. It seriously underestimates the Red Army's potential by keeping virtually 3/4 of it on static at a time when 3/4 of it was active, and you don't have anything like the required amount of APs to get it moving when it should. There are some expedients around this, but it definitely reflects this preposterous old school view that the Red Army didn't do broad front offensives.
Absolutely wrong. The Red Army didn't do anything but broad front offensives until 1944.
Well, I said "Kharkov" and "Lvov", because the center of mass of the Soviet effort was certainly moving along that line during the nine months that go from July 1943 to March 1944. That's hardly "absolutely wrong" :) What I got "absolutely wrong" was not giving any indication on the frontage.
Sorry Flavio, but looking at the dates of historical (major, involving a whole front or bigger) operations, I don't buy that the Red Army launched continuous offensives all the way from Velikiye Luki to the Black Sea, non-stop, from July 1943 to March 1944... We agree that there were absolutely no major operations going on from Leningrad to 50 miles north of Smolensk (and that's almost 1/3 of the frontline, indeed) in the period that goes from July 1943 to December 1943.
Kalinin, Western and Central Fronts initiated a series of linked offensives starting on August 7th and which died out on early October, taking them up to the Vitebsk - Gomel line. And then, they stopped, or rather advanced as the Germans retreated as far as Rogachev by November 1943. Also, if we compare the forces allotted to these fronts along this three month period and compare them with the forces allocated to the Voronezh, Steppe, Southwest and Southern Fronts, we'd see there were the double of Soviet forces in the latter four Fronts than in the former three. And I'm not counting the Northern Caucasus Front and its fight on the Kuban against 17. Armee.
From early November 1943 to spring 1944 the conflict was mainly fought on the Ukraine. The operation to lift Leningrad Siege started on January 14th 1944 and ended up in late February 1944. While it was a very important operation, it was nowhere near as big and massive and what the Soviet Union threw at the Ukraine.
So yes, summer 1943 involved a Soviet offensive along 2/3 of the Eastern Front, up to late September. They managed to keep that massive operation going on for exactly roughly two months (August, September) or in WiTE terms, six turns. But also no, they restricted their operations greatly, most certainly during Winter 1943-44.
Actually, according to von Manstein, army group south was under constant pressure during winter 43/44..
"It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”
¯ Primo Levi, writer, holocaust survivo