World War II Operation Citadel

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However, Hitler had delayed and delayed, waiting for the new Panthers and Tiger tanks which he regarded as war winning weapons.

The Daily Chronicles of World War II

Manstein had argued that they were losing the element of surprise. He had also argued that the precarious situation in Tunisia meant that they would soon face a new threat from the west. The German attacks at Kursk inflicted heavy casualties but they found themselves stuck in the well prepared defences of the Red Army, built in successive layers.

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Then the invasion of Sicily unnerved Hitler and he decided that he wanted to move substantial armoured divisons west. On the 13th July he had called a conference. It was a reversal of the usual position where Hitler demanded that his Generals attack and they argued for the freedom to make some strategic withdrawals. Now Manstein, commanding Army Group South, argued for just a little more time to finish off the Soviet reserves.

But by the 16th July he was denied even that. His frustration is recorded in his memoirs:. Speaking for my own Army Group, I pointed out that the battle was now at its culminating point, and that to break it off at this moment would be tantamount to throwing a victory away.

Battle of Kursk - HISTORY

On no account should we let go of the enemy until the mobile reserves he had committed were completely beaten. As a matter of fact not even this could be accomplished, for only a few days later the Army Group was ordered to hand over several armoured divisions to Central Army Group. The assault groups of both formations had to be withdrawn to their original start-lines. And so the last German offensive in the east ended in a fiasco, even though the enemy opposite the two attacking armies of Southern Army Group had suffered four times their losses in prisoners, dead and wounded.

Erich von Manstein: Lost Victories. From this point on the Germans would be on the retreat in both the East and the West. The process unfolded only gradually and there would be reverses. But this point marked the final end of German hopes for an offensive strategy. Oh Manstein… if only you had known. The Russians were not about to give the Germans a break.

On August 3, , the Red Army attacked Kursk and overwhelmed the troops that had been on the attack a month earlier. The Germans were on the run.

The Problem

Ignoring pleas for reinforcements, Hitler instead ordered the creation of a fortified line, the East Wall — not to give his troops a place to fall back to and hold, but rather to prevent a retreat. German forces never again threatened Moscow and, from that point on, the Russians seized the initiative and did not let up until reaching Berlin.

Sources: Bard, Mitchell G. Download our mobile app for on-the-go access to the Jewish Virtual Library. The German Military. War Theatre Maps. Maps of the Allied Offensives. The British Mandate Prepares for War. Excerpts from the Report of the Surrender of Gen. Declarations of War. Australia vs Japan. Canada vs Japan. Germany vs USA.

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