The Battle of Kursk in Numbers

In a typical act of grandstanding, presumably to reassure the rest of the Axis as defeats began to mount up, Hitler announced on 15 April 1943 that victory in the Battle of Kursk would be ‘a beacon for the whole world’. The Wehrmacht was outnumbered and deficient in weapons in comparison to the Red Army, thus the German attempt to retake the initiative by attacking the vulnerable salient around Kursk represented a real gamble.

The battle took place in July and August 1943, opening with German offensive and culminating in a momentous Soviet victory.

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29 Facts About The Battle of Kursk:

  1. The battle was fought between 5 July to 23 August
  2. Salient was 150 miles across and 100 miles deep into German-held territory
  3. 285 miles south of Moscow
  4. Around 55 miles from Ukrainian border
  5. German advance halted at 10 miles in the north and 30 miles in the south
  6. Single largest tank battle in history
  7. 300,000 civilians used to construct eight lines of defences, including 9,000 km of trenches
  8. All other civilians within 25 miles of the front were evacuated
  9. Soviet defences were as deep as almost 200 miles in places
  10. 575,000 initial reserve forces at the Steppe Front
  11. Russians outnumbered Germans over 3:1 (1,900,000 vs 780,000)
  12. Approximately 5,000 Soviet tanks vs approx. 3,000 panzers
  13. 22 Soviet tanks allegedly immobilised in an hour by one SS commander
  14. Over 2,000 Luftwaffe aircraft vs up to 3,500 Soviet aircraft
  15. Tigers were adapted to carry 120 88 mm shells rather than 90
  16. Model’s Ninth Army lost 20,000 men and 200 tanks before 10 July
  17. Luftwaffe pilot Erich Hartmann shot down 7 Soviet aircraft on 7 July
  18. 100 Luftwaffe fighters and bombers shot down over the southern sector 7 July
  19. Hoth’s Fourth Panzer Army reduced from 916 panzers to under 500 within a week
  20. Approx. 200,000 Germans killed or incapacitated
  21. Over 250,000 Soviets killed and over 600,000 incapacitated
  22. 5 Soviet armoured vehicles lost for every 1 panzer destroyed
  23. Approx. 760 German tanks and assault guns destroyed
  24. 681 German aircraft shot down in July
  25. Over 6,000 Soviet tanks and assault guns destroyed or impaired
  26. Up to almost 2,000 Soviet aircraft shot down
  27. Over 5,000 infantry guns destroyed
  28. Soviets able to make territorial gains along a 1,200 mile front
  29. Operation Rumyantsev unleashed almost 1,000,000 men, over 12,000 guns and almost 2,500 tanks from the Steppe Front on 3 August

History graduate (and enthusiast) with postgraduate degrees in environmental history and heritage science.

  • disqus_j5Nj3oxoii

    Wow, never saw all the numbers like that for this battle. When you usually read books you are getting the info piecemeal. Interesting to see the numbers compiled like this.