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Prochorowka Reloaded


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Because they were looking for excuses to end something that wasnt working maybe? And I dont think Sicily was that unimportant, springboard as it was to the Invasion of Italy. After all, remember, they were expecting the invasion to come Via Sardinia, which they had prepared for courtesy of Major Martin....

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I think that to answer that question you have to look at the strategic context surrounding the Kursk operation. Arguably, the basic concept with Kursk was to suck in and destroy as many Soviet reserves as possible in order to buy the Wehrmacht some breathing room to switch over to the defensive and accumulate a strategic reserve to counter subsequent Soviet offensives or an Allied landing in Western Europe.

 

As has already been pointed out, the Germans had no strategic reserve and were forced to switch forces around between fronts to achieve any kind of significant local advantage. It had always been planned to move forces to the West but the speed of the Allied landings combined with the rapid collapse of the Italian government accelerated the Germans' timetable and meant that units like Leibstandarte had to be pulled out of the battle to go to Italy. The Soviets also launched a major offensive, operation Kutuzov against the Orel salient North of Kursk against Ninth Army's left flank and 2nd Panzer Army and across the Mius river in Army Group South's area. Again, because of a lack of reserves to counter those offensives, the Germans were forced to pull their best units out of the Kursk battlefield to shore up the line. Das Reich and Totenkopf went to the Mius to try and pinch out a Soviet bridgehead there and IIRC Grossdeutschland went to Ninth Army.

 

Both of these Soviet offensives were carried out with units that had not been involved in the fighting at Kursk but required the transfer of German formations out of the Kursk area. The constant pressure against the Germans however meant that their best mobile divisions were already worn out by the time Operation Rumyantsev kicked off. Units like the 5th Guards Tank Army which had been pulled out of the fighting at Kursk after heavy losses were able to be rebuilt and went into the offensive fresh and more or less up to strength. This was in sharp contrast to units available to Von Manstein like 2nd, 3rd and 5th SS Panzer which had been in near constant combat and were increasingly worn out. Army Group South's front collapsed and the Soviets were able to retake most of the Ukraine.

 

tl;dr, it wasn't just Italy, but a general drawing off of German forces to other fronts that finally brought Kursk to an end.

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Because they were looking for excuses to end something that wasnt working maybe? And I dont think Sicily was that unimportant, springboard as it was to the Invasion of Italy. After all, remember, they were expecting the invasion to come Via Sardinia, which they had prepared for courtesy of Major Martin....

Exactly. It is seldom recalled that Hitler himself grew increasingly skeptical of Fall Zitadel in 1943, to the point that before its execution, he was referring to it as a "gamble." He probably sensed that nothing else would improve his situation, as peace feelers with the Russians that year in Stockholm had led to nothing and the Mediterranean was no longer Mare Nostrum, with landings feasible almost anywhere..

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I think that to answer that question you have to look at the strategic context surrounding the Kursk operation. Arguably, the basic concept with Kursk was to suck in and destroy as many Soviet reserves as possible in order to buy the Wehrmacht some breathing room to switch over to the defensive and accumulate a strategic reserve to counter subsequent Soviet offensives or an Allied landing in Western Europe.

 

As has already been pointed out, the Germans had no strategic reserve and were forced to switch forces around between fronts to achieve any kind of significant local advantage. It had always been planned to move forces to the West but the speed of the Allied landings combined with the rapid collapse of the Italian government accelerated the Germans' timetable and meant that units like Leibstandarte had to be pulled out of the battle to go to Italy. The Soviets also launched a major offensive, operation Kutuzov against the Orel salient North of Kursk against Ninth Army's left flank and 2nd Panzer Army and across the Mius river in Army Group South's area. Again, because of a lack of reserves to counter those offensives, the Germans were forced to pull their best units out of the Kursk battlefield to shore up the line. Das Reich and Totenkopf went to the Mius to try and pinch out a Soviet bridgehead there and IIRC Grossdeutschland went to Ninth Army.

 

Both of these Soviet offensives were carried out with units that had not been involved in the fighting at Kursk but required the transfer of German formations out of the Kursk area. The constant pressure against the Germans however meant that their best mobile divisions were already worn out by the time Operation Rumyantsev kicked off. Units like the 5th Guards Tank Army which had been pulled out of the fighting at Kursk after heavy losses were able to be rebuilt and went into the offensive fresh and more or less up to strength. This was in sharp contrast to units available to Von Manstein like 2nd, 3rd and 5th SS Panzer which had been in near constant combat and were increasingly worn out. Army Group South's front collapsed and the Soviets were able to retake most of the Ukraine.

 

tl;dr, it wasn't just Italy, but a general drawing off of German forces to other fronts that finally brought Kursk to an end.

 

You may have talked yourself into the last statement, but it ignores reality: The Kursk offensive ran out of gas on 16 July quite on its own. The scheduled advances proved impossible and no reserves were ready [or existed] to exploit the few successes that were obtained. It was a failure and no statistical analysis of losses can make it otherwise.

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Well there were arguably some reserves left, depending on what you want to classify as reserves. Manstein certainly thought that Army Group South had one last big push left in it and had XXIV Panzer Corps been committed then they might have broken through the last line of Soviet defenses. What that would actually have achieved is debatable but II SS Panzer corps was still operational as were the divisions on its left flank, and Manstein certainly wanted to keep banging away.

 

I'd argue that without Soviet offensives on either flank of the Kursk battle, the Germans had the manpower to continue with the offensive and absent the need to transfer forces elsewhere might eventually have succeeded. The final decision to call off the offensive entirely was directly linked to the need to redeploy Leibstandarte to Italy and Das Reich and Totenkopf to the Mius to counter the Soviet breakthrough there.

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I'd argue that without Soviet offensives on either flank of the Kursk battle, the Germans had the manpower to continue with the offensive

War could be so grandiose, if there were not always these "obstructiveness". ;)

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I'd argue that without Soviet offensives on either flank of the Kursk battle, the Germans had the manpower to continue with the offensive

War could be so grandiose, if there were not always these "obstructiveness". ;)

 

 

Damn you, reality!

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I'd argue that without Soviet offensives on either flank of the Kursk battle, the Germans had the manpower to continue with the offensive

War could be so grandiose, if there were not always these "obstructiveness". ;)

 

Had the Germans been able to extract their army more or less intact from Stalingrad, they would seem to have been in a much better position to respond to the coming Soviet offensives?

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