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A radical change. Five little-known facts about the battle of Kursk
Material posted: Publication date: 11-07-2013

July 5 1943, one of the largest battles of the great Patriotic war — the battle of Kursk. According to the national historiography, the battle of Kursk, along with Stalingrad is the so-called period of radical change in the war.

Of the battle, thousands of books, but many of the facts are still little known to a wider audience. AIPPI collected 5 of them.


Stalin's "Werther"

By the summer of 1943, the Soviet Union overtook Nazi Germany not only in terms of the production of armaments, but virtually in all spheres of military activities.

Brilliantly worked and the Soviet agents deep behind enemy lines. Since the beginning of 1943, Stalin and the Soviet General staff was aware of the preparation of the German command plan the summer offensive under the code name "Citadel".

12 April 1943 on the table, Stalin had translated from German the exact text of the Directive No. 6 "plan of operation "Citadel" the German high command, signed by all services of the Wehrmacht. The only thing that was not on the document, the visa is Hitler himself. He put her in three days after it got acquainted with the Soviet leader. The Fuhrer, of course, knew nothing about it.

About the man who got the Soviet command for the document, nothing is known but his code name — "Werther". Various researchers have put forward different versions about who actually was the "Werther" — some believe that the Soviet agent was the personal photographer of Hitler.


Rokossovsky Vatutin was perspicacious

Among the Soviet commanders did not have a single point of view on how one should act in the summer of 1943. Commander of the Central front Konstantin Rokossovsky proposed a transition to a deliberate defense to wear down and weaken the advancing enemy with the subsequent transition to the offensive for his final defeat. But the commander of the Voronezh front, Nikolai Vatutin insisted on the transition of our troops on the offensive without any defensive action.

Stalin, who was more appealing to view Vatutin, however, considering the opinion of the majority of the military and, primarily, Zhukov supported the position of the Rokossovskiy.

However, the Germans in early July showed a striking passivity that made Stalin doubt the correctness of the decision.

On the night of 5 July 1943, Rokossovsky, Stalin called.

– Comrade Stalin! The Germans began the offensive!

– And what do you enjoy? — asked the surprised chief.

Now victory will be ours, comrade Stalin! — replied the commander.

Rokossovsky was not mistaken.


The mysterious battle of Prokhorovka

The key moment of the battle of Kursk is considered the tank battle at Prokhorovka village.

Surprisingly, this is a massive clash of armor of the opposing sides and to this day causes fierce disputes of historians.

Classic Soviet historiography reported about 800 tanks of the red Army and the Wehrmacht 700. Modern historians tend to increase the number of Soviet tanks and reduce the number of German.

Further all went the Royal Professor of the Department of modern history at Cambridge University, Richard Evans, writing that the Germans at Prokhorovka was only 117 tanks, of which only three were lost.

According to Evans, the battle of Kursk ended is not a Soviet victory, and "Hitler's order". The same Evans who supports a lot of young Russian historians, States that by the end of the battle the Red Army lost 10,000 tanks.

This version has one extremely weak point — it is unclear why with such success, the Germans suddenly began to rapidly fall back to the West?

The losses of the red Army in the battle of Prokhorovka were more than the Nazis. The backbone of the Soviet armored corps and armies at that time were T-34, is much inferior to the newest German "Tigers" and "Panthers" — this explains the high number of Soviet losses.

However, Hitler's tanks were halted on the field at Prokhorovka, which effectively meant the failure of plans the German summer offensive.


Kutuzov and Rumyantsev"

When talking about the battle of Kursk, often referred to operation Citadel — the German offensive. Meanwhile, after the onslaught of the Wehrmacht was repelled, the Soviet troops carried out two offensive operations ended the brilliant successes. The names of these operations is much less than the Citadel.

July 12, 1943 the troops of the Western and Bryansk fronts went on the offensive in the Orel direction. Three days after its offensive began Central front. This operation was code-named "Kutuzov". During the meeting it was dealt a major defeat of German army group "Center", whose retreat only stopped on August 18 at the defensive line, "Hagen" East of Bryansk. Thanks to the "Kutuzov" were liberated the town of Karachev, Zhizdra, Mtsensk, Bolkhov, and on the morning of 5 August 1943, Soviet troops entered the eagle.

August 3, 1943, troops of the Voronezh and Steppe fronts began an offensive operation "Rumyantsev", named after another Russian commander. 5 August Soviet troops captured Belgorod and then proceeded to liberate the left-Bank Ukraine. During the 20-day operation, they defeated the opposing forces and the Nazis came to Kharkov. August 23, 1943, at 2 a.m. the troops of the Steppe front made a night assault on the city, which by dawn was a success.

Kutuzov and Rumyantsev became the cause of the first victory salute in the war — August 5, 1943 in Moscow he was held to mark the liberation of Orel and Belgorod.


Feat Maresyev

The book of the writer Boris Polevoy "the Story of a real man", which was based on a real life military pilot Alexei Maresyev, in the Soviet Union was known to almost everyone.

But not everyone knows that the glory Maresyev returned to combat aircraft after the amputation of both legs, was born during the battle of Kursk.

Arriving on the eve of the battle of Kursk in the 63rd Guards fighter aviation regiment Lieutenant Maresyev was met with disbelief. Fly with him in a couple of pilots didn't fear that the pilot of dentures will not cope in difficult times. Wouldn't let him into the fight and the commander of the regiment.

To his it took a couple of squadron leader Alexander readout. Maresyev completed the task, and in the midst of the fighting at Kursk was doing combat missions along with all.

On 20 July 1943 during the battle with the superior forces of the enemy Alexei Maresyev saved the lives of two of his comrades and personally destroyed two enemy fighters "Focke-Wulf 190".

This story immediately became known around the front, after which the regiment appeared, and the writer Boris Polevoy, has immortalized the name of the hero in his book. August 24, 1943 Maresyev was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

Interestingly, during participation in the fighting a fighter pilot Alexei Maresyev personally shot down 11 enemy aircraft: four to seven and injured — returning to action after the amputation of both legs.



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