On July 5, Germany launched an attack against the USSR in western Russia, beginning the Battle of Kursk. The German mission was called Operation Citadel, and it was Hitler’s final bid to take down the Soviet Union.
Hitler’s armies were failing throughout Europe, and Russia was pushing them out. Hilter commanded his armies to stand firm in Kursk to keep control over western Russia.
The idea was that the soldiers there would successfully execute an offensive that would become a beacon of hope for the other armies worldwide.
Two groups from the army would be a part of the offensive, with hundreds of thousands of soldiers in tow and hundreds of tanks. With that amount of force, the pincer attack would give the Germans the upper hand.
If they succeeded in cutting off the 100-mile deep and 160-mile wide section of Russian territory, Germany would have control over crucial rail lines and would eliminate 30 divisions of Soviet soldiers in the process.
The Germans and the Soviets went all out in the battle, pulling all the stops. Russians were known for running up and dropping mines beneath their enemies’ tank treads in a nearly suicidal but effective move.
The Soviets blew through men and material, while the Germans flew through fuel and men. Hilter finally called the battle when he realized taking the territory was not worth the drop in numbers.
Under his orders, the troops withdrew on July 13th, and the Soviets moved toward Berlin. The battle used 6,000 tanks, 5,000 aircraft, and 2 million men. More than 350,000 soldiers died from the Germans and Russians.