Effects of Cold War on Europe

Sample Essay on Battle of Kursk

Sample Essay on Battle of Kursk

Battle of Kursk refers to an armed engagement between the Soviet and German forces during the Second World War at the Eastern Front around Kursk. Kursk is about 250 miles or 450 kilometers southwest of Russian capital, Moscow. This battle took place from July to August in 1943. Kursk acted as the largest tank battle during the Second World War. This battle led to a severe crisis in the war machine of Nazi Germany in Russia.

The code name given to the German offensive was Operation Citadel and it led to what is considered as having been one of the largest known armored clashes in the history of man. These clashes were called the battle of Prokhorovka. Two counter offensives of the Soviet countered German offensive.

These were the Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev and the Operation Kutuzov. For Germans, this battle was a representation of the final and strategic offensive that they could mount on the eastern side. For the Soviet on the other hand, it was a decisive victory that gave Red Army a strategic initiative needed during the entire war.

The aim of the Germans was to weaken the offensive of the Soviet to ruin its potential in the 1943 summer. Germans hoped to achieve this reducing the number of the forces that Soviet would have at the Kursk salient that would be assembling and getting ready for an offensive move. Germans thought that they would also make the defense lines shorter for the Soviets by simply eliminating the Kursk salient. This would take off the strain from their already overstretched forces.

This plan envisioned the envelopment using pincers to break through the southern and northern flanks of these salient. Hitler wanted a victory so that he can reassert the strength of Germany and also improve prestige with the allies that were at the time considering a withdrawal from the Second World War. He hoped that he would capture Soviet prisoners in large numbers and use them for slave labor in the armament industry of Germany.

However, Soviets got intelligence about the intentions of the Germans which in parts was offered by the British intelligence and the Tunny intercepts. As such, they built a strong defense that was designed in a way that enabled it to wear the panzer spearheads of the Germans down. The Soviet moved mobile formations from the Salient while using its reserve force for strategic counteroffensives. Battle of Kursk marked the first time when strategic offensive of Germany was halted before breaking via the defenses of the enemy and penetrating to strategic depths.

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