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The Battle of Kursk [Paperback]

David M. Glantz , Jonathan M. House
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 29 1999 Modern War Studies
This Main Selection of the History Book Club is an outstanding work on one of the most significant battles of World War II (Journal of Military History). 45 photos. 32 maps.

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The Battle of Kursk + The Korsun Pocket: The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944
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Product Description


"A good read. Looks at the traditional approach to Kursk and provides another well-founded interpretation of the battle."

From the Back Cover

"The Battle of Kursk combines the authors' encyclopedic knowledge of their subject with a panoramic narrative of military operations to challenge the 'myths of Kursk.' Drawing heavily upon hitherto classified Soviet material, as well as German sources, the work is both original and revisionist, making it a major contribution to our understanding of one of the most important operations of the Second World War."--John Erickson, author of The Road to Stalingrad

"At last we have an account of the battle of Kursk from the Soviet perspective. And what an account! It is meticulously researched, persuasively argued, full of new and important findings, and written with verve and pathos. This is operational history at its best."--Joel S. A. Hayward, author of Stopped at Stalingrad --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Bit of New Wine in Old Bottle Feb. 1 2001
The crux of this volume is new Soviet archival material on STAVKA decision-making but there is actually little new here. At less than 300 pages, this is somewhat short-shrift to a major battle. There is no discussion of air operations or partisans. Very limited profile of commanders and their forces, but excellent order of battle information. The Germans placed their faith in the 407 heavy tanks available (102 Tigers, 200 Panther and 105 Ferdinands) but they split them up too much; they should have massed their best weaponry in one sector. It is no surprise that ArmeeGruppe South made much better progress; they had much more artillery support (Center relied mostly on assault guns in direct fire mode), and much better engineer support (South had about eight corps-level engineer battalions but Center had no corps-level engineers). Glantz asks and answers several key questions: did Hitler really push Zitadelle (no, Zeitzler, Kluge and others pushed it beforehand but then blamed Hitler later), could the attack have succeeded in May (unlikely, given the weather and the disparity in forces) and what if the Germans had eschewed the attack and opted for a mobile defense (this would have bought them time, but there was no consensus for this strategy so it was highly unlikely to be adopted. It would also have required Hitler to relinquish command in the east to a CinC). Maps ok but uses cumbersome abbreviations. No terrain analysis.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best on Kursk July 13 2004
This is the definitive book on the battle of Kursk. It is by far the most complete assessment of the battle that has yet been offered. The authors do an excellent and thorough job of establishing the context of the battle (battlefield events up to the summer of 1943, as well as the situations that both armies were in, and what their leadership was trying to accomplish). Glantz and House offer a very detailed description of the fighting, often identifying regimental or battalion-level units. The description of combat is not particularly vivid or exciting, but if the reader is looking to find out where a particular regiment was and what enemy unit it was fighting on, say, July 12, the book is likely to have the answer. In this sense, the sheer volume of detail and factual material is enough to allow me to judge the book a success; it contains information that could otherwise be gained only by consulting many different sources.
That said, the real value of the book is in its assessment of several important analytical questions. Due to Glantz's unprecedented (at least on this topic) access to Soviet archives, the book is the first real assessment of Soviet troops, tactics, and plans. While Dunn's book on Kursk was able to offer some of this, Glantz and House are able to go much further. They are able to show how the Soviets used their knowledge of German plans to set their own plans. Glantz and House are also able to convincingly demonstrate, with Soviet archival sources, that the German delays did not change the result. Had they attacked earlier (May 1943), they still would have lost. Furthermore, they convincingly show that the initial period of defense against the German attack was but one step in an overarching operational plan to launch an offensive in the late summer of 1943.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive Feb. 22 2002
This book starts off with a brief look at the Eastern front situation and the opposing armies leading up the battle and the reasons it was fought.
The authors then lead us into the preparations taken by both sides and how the Germans continually delayed the offensive. The Russians, well aware of the German plans were able to plan and create an intricate network of defensives and they were defenses of depth that finally frustrated and prevented the Germans from gaining any momentum. The Germans were also forced to continuously probe the Russians for potential weak spots. Unfortunately for the Germans there were none.
The authors make a point that the German High Command placed too much faith in their new technically advanced tanks (Panthers & Tigers) and were continuously forced to divert forces to protect their flanks that were under constant counter attack.
The accounts of the battle are very detailed and at times it is easy to get lost in the description of movements of the vast number of units.
Glantz & House make good use of personal accounts, unit's history accounts and even memoirs of the leading participants such as Mainstein. Their conclusions in regards to the battle are hard to dispute after such a detailed and comprehensive research which brings together both Russian and German sources of information. Recommended reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Almost definitive Dec 3 2000
David Glantz writing the definitive assessment of the Battle for Kursk? Sounded like a dream come true. After all, colonel Glantz is the leading authority (along with the now much less active John Erickson) on the Eastern Front topic. After all, he wrote such amazing in-depth analysis on several EF campaign (from a much needed Soviet perspective) like "From Don To Donets" or "When Titans Clashed" - this one probably the best one-volume general history of the Russia's war. After all, Glantz did a wonderful job on demolishing (hard numbers at hand) a lot of Cold War fabricated myths on how good (and unlucky) were Nazi Generals, and how dumb (and lucky and faceless) where the Soviets. So, when "The Battle of Kursk" landed in my hands, I felt a comprehensible shiver of anticipation. The first thing I must say consider is that - probably following many complaints for the very dry style (someone called it a "syntactical slog") of his previous work - col. Glantz finally decided to team with someone providing him with a much needed editing work. Not to say that Mr. House's collaboration solved all the problems: we're treated here and there with repetitions and convoluted passages, and, yes, the style is still a bit on the dry side. For instance, nearly every quote from a primary source describing the actual firefight is preceded by the same "A quote for a (German/Soviet) account vividly depict the intensity of the battle", or a variation of the same. And the maps - ok, a bit more time spent on polishing and editing them would have helped immensely. But these are really minor issues. As far as the content goes, "The Battle Of Kursk" is (nearly) the definitive thing. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The battle of Kursk
I found this book almost unreadable, the battle was one of the biggest of WW2 and the author chose to write a historic thesis, which was not what I wanted. Read more
Published 2 months ago by R M Wild
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best on Kursk
Kursk is the largest tank battle ever fought but the myth is that many people think its one gigantic tank battle but actually its a series of large armored engagements and and its... Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2008 by Terence Tan Co
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative & Compelling Overview of The Battle At Kursk!
It is perhaps a considerable understatement to argue that history has not been kind in interpreting the German conduct of the war against the Russians along the Eastern front. Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2000 by Barron Laycock
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for anyone serious about the subject
Simply put, Glantz and House deliver the goods in this, their latest collaboration. Slow in places, yes, but that's due to the amount of information they're imparting to you. Read more
Published on March 20 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars The Battle of Kursk
The battle of Kursk by David M. Glantz & Jonathan M. House is the latest installment of a series of books and studies presenting Soviet archival writings of their war with Axis... Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2000 by paul blanchard
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many numbers, no human angle!
The main problem with this book is that it is largely unreadable. This is unfortunate, since the authors are obviously capable researchers who have unearthed and made use of... Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2000 by Andrew Lightfoot
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched Account of WW2 Pivotal Battle
There is no denying that this account of Kursk by David Glantz and Jonathan House is extremely well researched. Read more
Published on Dec 25 1999 by Aussie Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all deeply interested in WWII Eastern Front
"The Battle of Kursk" is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in "operational" (i.e. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 1999 by Charles A. Meconis
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