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View Poll Results: Would Operation Zitadelle have been a success if Hilter had allowed it to continue?

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  • Yes

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Thread: Zitadelle

  1. #1

    Question Zitadelle

    So... yes or no ?

  2. #2
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    You might wish to post a brief account of what Op Zitadelle was. For those who can't be bothered to google it, it was the Battle of Kursk.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

  3. #3
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    In my opinion a clear no, hitler should've allowed manstein to exploit his success at kharkov as early as possible, then there might have been a fair chance. Allowing such a long buildup of forces usually favors the defense and given the overall circumstances between the two opponents by that time it was stupid on epic proportions.
    Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.

  4. #4
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    I think if it had gone ahead in Mar 43 then it would have worked. Otherwise it was just a ww1 style battle attacking fixed defences..... Not very innovative for the much vaunted German Panzer force, and definately not Blitzkrieg.

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    A reverse Zitadelle where the Germans took up defensive positions and awaited a Soviet attack had supporters amongst some of Hitler's generals. As a bonus question did the German high command know of Soviet preparations for an attack out of the salient?

    Digger

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    I do not think that it would have been successful. The German attack had been blunted and the Russians were counter attacking. To continue would have been a waste.
    I think that you are right Digger. Von Manstein wanted to lure the Russians out and entrap him. The Germans would have been better off adopting something like what Von Manstein wanted to do. Allow the Russians to attack the 6th army in the south, leading them into the Donets Basin and attack from Kharkov and trap the Russians against the Sea of Azov near Rostov.

    I think the problem would have been tricking the Russian into attacking in the south and Hitler’s obession with not giving ground.

  7. #7
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    The question mark is this-if the Soviets were indeed going to launch their own offensive, rather than role with the German punch, when would they have launched the attack.

    And yes von Manstein was convinced he could defeat any Soviet offensive.

    Digger

  8. #8
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    One initial problem for germans was that position of every single division was revealed by spies.

    Manstein was already near the last Russian defence line, and there weren't that much unengaged Russian forces in the southern sector. Pavel Rotmistrov writes in his memoirs that Russian troops facing Manstein were in "very difficult position". Considering that German attack plan was completely revealed to Russians, it's amazing how Manstein beat the defence line after defence line in the southern sector.

    But of course the german northern part was doing badly, and Russian counterattack was threatening the german northern sector... So it's impossible to say how that would have played out had germans continued to push forward.



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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alephh View Post
    Considering that German attack plan was completely revealed to Russians, it's amazing how Manstein beat the defence line after defence line in the southern sector.

    _
    I think the reason of initial Manstein success was the fact the he used the Heavy tank Tiger battalion. That was firstly widely used in Kursk.It was a Hitler plan - to surprise the soviets by the newest Germans Wearponry- Panthers, Tigers and Elephants.
    While the Elephant as was proved was a too weak agains infantry becouze of lack of mashingan, Panther has a lot of "Children lacks"- the Tiger was a very good.
    It has been already tested in the outhumn-winter 1942 near the Eastern front.
    In fact the soviet basic 76-mm anti-tank gun was unable to penetrate the Tiger armor espesially on front side. I/ve read the memours of the some of Soviet generals too , they wrote that the meeting of the Tigers was very hard for the soviet artillery. Some of them has got 10-15 hits of the shells - and still was fighting.

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    I think the reason of initial Manstein success was the fact the he used the Heavy tank Tiger battalion. That was firstly widely used in Kursk
    Agreed, the Tiger forward push was too much for some russian defenses.

  11. #11
    Brehm Guest

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    NO, never

  12. #12
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    From:
    http://web.archive.org/web/200105022.../0298_text.htm

    New evidence suggests that the Germans may have been closer to victory at Kursk than previously recognized.

    ...while historians have categorized Prochorovka as a victory of improved Soviet tactics over German firepower and heavy tanks, new evidence casts the struggle at the "gully of death" in a very different light.
    +
    On the southern flank... By July 11 Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army was in position to capture the town of Prochorovka, secure a bridgehead over the Psel River and advance on Oboyan. The Psel was the last natural barrier between Manstein's panzers and Kursk.
    +
    Opposing Hausser at Prochorovka was the newly arrived and reinforced Fifth Guards Tank Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Pavel A. Rotmistrov. The Fifth Guards was the Soviet strategic armored reserve in the south, the last significant uncommitted armored formation in the sector. The Soviet operational armored reserve, General Mikhail E. Katukov's First Tank Army, was already in action against Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army south of the Psel. Katukov's army had been unable to prevent the Germans from reaching the river, however. His VI Tank Corps, originally equipped with more than 200 tanks, had only 50 left by July 10 and 11, and the other two corps of Katukov's army also had sustained serious losses.
    +
    Careful study of the daily tank strength reports and combat records of II SS Panzer Corps--available on microfilm at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.--provides information that forces a historical reappraisal of the battle. These records show, that Hausser's corps suffered only moderate losses on July 12, 1943. Considering that information, it seems that the Germans may have been near a limited success on the southern flank of the salient.
    +
    The fighting, characterized by massive losses of Soviet armor, continued throughout July 12 without a decisive success by either side--contrary to the accounts given in many well-known studies of the Eastern Front. These authors describe the battlefield as littered with hundreds of destroyed German tanks. In fact, the fighting continued around Prochorovka for several more days. Das Reich continued to push slowly eastward in the area south of the town until July 16.
    ...


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  13. #13
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    Yes soviets suffered more tank loses.Nobody dispute it.
    But this fact did not help the Nazy.....and its fascist allies
    Coz they losed in tactic. Althouth the Southern flank had a limited succes - the Nothern was stopped by the Red Army. As the resaul the main tactical aim of Germans ( to surround the Soviet positions) WAS not reached and they had no other shoice except of retreating.
    SO tactically the the Soviet had a absolute victory. Beside we had and a total strategical victory in summer of t 1943.
    After losing in Kurst the "Group army South" was forced to retreat from Ukraine and Crimea.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

  14. #14
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    While reappraisal of losses and the battle is always welcome the plain fact is that the German Army threw away its last big reserve of forces into an attrition battle that even if they could win would have been a phyrric victory. They should have gone with holding in the East in 1943 while building up their armoured reserves and dealing with any Soviet attacks by manouvre warfare. However, Hitler was never going to allow this and so once again played God with well trained soldiers lives that should have been better conserved and employed.

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