Operation
Barbarossa
  Operation
Citadel
  Operation
Dragoon
  Operation
Varsity
   
 
   
Operation Citadel

Background

German Forces

Famous Quotes



Citadel Facts

Citadel Maps



In the Media
   Books
   DVDs


Our Other Military Sites

World War II
Operation Barbarossa
1941 German Invasion of Russia
Operation Citadel
1943 The Battle of Kursk
Operation Dragoon
1944 Invasion of southern France
Operation Varsity
1945 Crossing the Rhine

Invasions That Never Were
Operation Sealion
1940 German invasion of England
Operation Olympic
1945 US invasion of southern Japan
Operation Coronet
1946 US invasion of northern Japan

Special Forces
Operation Entebbe
1976 Entebbe Airport Rescue
Operation Nimrod
1980 Iranian Embassy Siege

British Cold War Operations
Operation Musketeer
1956 Suez Crisis
Operation Corporate
1982 Falklands War
Operation Black Buck
1982 Vulcan raids on Port Stanley
Operation Granby
1990-91 Persian Gulf

British Post Cold War
Operation Herrick
2002- Afghanistan

 
   
Operation Citadel   >   Background

   
 

Background to Operation Citadel


Georgy Zhukov, the Soviet Deputy Supreme Commander, recommended to Stalin that Soviet forces stay on the strategic defensive, and only go on the offensive after a predicted German attack on the Kursk salient had been blunted.

Georgy Zhukov
By the Summer of 1943, the tide of war had turned against Germany:
  • Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Russia, had failed to defeat the Soviet Union in 1941, and their Summer 1942 offensive had ended with a disaster at Stalingrad (Volgograd).

  • The United States had joined the war in December 1941, and in conjunction with the British, they had driven the Axis out of North Africa, and threatened an invasion of Europe: which could arrive in Sicily or mainland Italy, Greece, Norwayor France.

  • The British and Americans had also launched an increasingly effective strategic bombing campaign against German industry and cities.
As a result of these factors, the Germans decided to primarily go over onto the defensive on the Eastern Front. Instead of attacking, they would try to inflict heavy losses on the Soviets by clever use of prepared defensive lines mixed with limited offensives.

Looking at maps of the front, the Germans identified a large Soviet salient around the city of Kursk as a potential target for one such limited limited offensive. A pincer attack from North and South could nip off the salient and trap a large amount of Soviet forces. This idea was the genesis of Operation Citadel (German: Unternehmen Zitadelle).

The Germans however spend a very long time building up forces for Operation Citadel, including awaiting for the arrival of new tank models which they believed would give them superiority.

While the Germans were building up, the Soviets were not idle. The Kursk salient was an obvious target for a German attack, and their spies and intelligence sources confirmed that one was coming in this region. The Soviets built up large defensive forces in a powerful multi-layered defense, with lots of minefields and fortifications. The Soviets planned to blunt their German attack against their fortifications, and only after it was stopped, they would launch their own counteroffensive.

Soviet troops during the Battle of Kursk


Your Comments

Please share your comments on this page:

   



 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
Note: This site is not affiliated with nor endorsed by any military or government organization.

Copyright © 2007-2017, Answers 2000 Limited

CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.
CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE,COMES FROM AMAZON EU S. r.l. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.

Disclosure: Our company's websites' content (including this website's content) includes advertisements for our own company's websites, products, and services, and for other organization's websites, products, and services. In the case of links to other organization's websites, our company may receive a payment, (1) if you purchase products or services, or (2) if you sign-up for third party offers, after following links from this website. Unless specifically otherwise stated, information about other organization's products and services, is based on information provided by that organization, the product/service vendor, and/or publicly available information - and should not be taken to mean that we have used the product/service in question. Additionally, our company's websites contain some adverts which we are paid to display, but whose content is not selected by us, such as Google AdSense ads. For more detailed information, please see Advertising/Endorsements Disclosures

Our sites use cookies, some of which may already be set on your computer. Use of our site constitutes consent for this. For details, please see Privacy.

Contact Us   Privacy   Terms of Use   Advertising/Endorsements Disclosures

In Association With Amazon.com
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
In Association With Amazon.co.uk
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.
All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
All third party content and adverts are copyright of their respective owners.