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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
Immense in scope, ferocious in nature, and epic in consequence, the Battle of Kursk witnessed (at Prokhorovka) one of the largest tank engagements in world history and led to staggering losses--including nearly 200,000 Soviet and 50,000 German casualties--within the first ten days of fighting. Going well beyond all previous accounts, David Glantz and Jonathan House now offer the definitive work on arguably the greatest battle of World War II. Drawing on both German and Soviet sources, Glantz and House separate myth from fact to show what really happened at Kursk and how it affected the outcome of the war. Their access to newly released Soviet archival material adds unprecedented detail to what is known about this legendary conflict, enabling them to reconstruct events from both perspectives and describe combat down to the tactical level. "The Battle of Kursk" takes readers behind Soviet lines for the first time to discover what the Red Army knew about the plans for Hitler's offensive (Operation Citadel), relive tank warfare and hand-to-hand combat, and learn how the tide of battle turned. Its vivid portrayals of fighting in all critical sectors place the famous tank battle in its proper context. Prokhorovka here is not a well-organized set piece but a confused series of engagements and hasty attacks, with each side committing its forces piecemeal. Glantz and House's fresh interpretations demolish many of the myths that suggest Hitler might have triumphed if Operation Citadel had been conducted differently. Their account is the first to provide accurate figures of combat strengths and losses, and it includes 32 maps that clarify troop and tank movements. Shrouded in obscurity and speculation for more than half a century, the Battle of Kursk finally gets its due in this dramatic retelling of the confrontation that marked the turning point of the war on the Eastern Front and brought Hitler's blitzkrieg to a crashing halt.

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"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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Most helpful customer reviews
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best on Kursk Feb. 5 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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 not only armor, a few million soldiers from both sides where involved in the fighting along with severall thousand aircraft. So its not only the largest tank campaign but also may be the largest air campaign ever fought over battlefield.

Using now available data from the Russian and German archives. This book gives a balanced view on the battle which dispels many myths about the battle.

The Soviets actually lost much more men and equipment than the Germans and the Germans can be said to have won tactically but lost strategically since the Germans threw everything they had in the battle and had to reserves to speak off while the Soviets had a lot of reserves of men and equipment at the back which won the battle for the USSR.

Also a myth dispelled in that the battle broke the back of the German military but in reality I think that while it was a significantly bad defeat of the German military, it was not a critically or catastrophic defeat(this is reserved for Stalingrad and Operation Bagration(1944)). It was significant that the Germans now lost the strategic initiative in the eastern front and this went to the Russians. Bad since the Germans lost a lot of men and materiall that they cannot really replace.

The books is very nicely written and done with a lot of maps, charts etc. and gives a nice flow to the battle though a non military enthusiast might find it hard to understand some of the terms, this book is the last authority on the battle of Kursk.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best on Kursk July 13 2004
By Mike
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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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 4 months ago by R M Wild
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost definitive
David Glantz writing the definitive assessment of the Battle for Kursk? Sounded like a dream come true. Read more
Published on Dec 3 2000 by Amazon Customer
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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