battle of Kursk
(5–15 July 1943)
A fierce tank battle between the Red Army and German invasion forces around Kursk in the central European Soviet Union. Hitler had ordered the elimination of the important railway junction of Kursk. Under Field-Marshal Walter Model he concentrated 2700 tanks and assault guns on the city, supported by over 1000 aircraft. They were confronted by Marshal Zhukov's Tank Army, backed by five infantry armies. Many of the large German tanks were mined and others became stuck in the mud. The Russians had more guns, tanks, and aircraft, and when they counter-attacked, the Germans were forced to retreat, losing some 70,000 men, 1500 tanks, and 1000 aircraft. The battle ensured that the German army would never regain the initiative on the Eastern Front.