Item description for KURSK: The Vital 24 Hours by William Fowler...
In the early summer of 1942, following the German defeat at Stalingrad and the inconclusive battle at Kharkov, Hitler sought a decisive battle that would turn the struggle on the Eastern Front in the German's favour. Large numbers of the newly-designed Panther and Tiger tanks were rolling off the production lines, and Hitler was convinced that, with appropriate numbers, German armour could turn the tide against the advancing Soviets on the Eastern Front. Despite the reservations of his leading generals, Hitler was determined this offensive take place.
On the 5th July 1943, the German army launched Operation Citadel. Attacking with a force of 3000 tanks and assault guns, the Germans faced a well-dug in force of more than 3900 Soviet tanks, with another 1500 tanks in reserve. The tanks advanced with as many as 50 packed together per kilometre of line. What followed was the largest tank battle the world has ever seen, with heavy casualties on both sides in this titanic clash of arms.
On the 11th July, three SS divisions - Totenkopf, Das Reich and Liebstandarte - attempted to break through the Soviet lines at the village of Prokhorovka and so unhinge the Soviet defensive position. Facing them were newly deployed Fifth Guards Tanks Army. The battle raged all day, with German attack followed by Soviet counterattack. By nightfall the Germans had lost more than 300 tanks and the Fifth Guards Tanks Army 50 percent of their strength. Despite the heavy losses, the Soviet defenders had achieved their aim: the German attack had been halted and the initiative lost.
With first-hand accounts from both sides, vivid photographs, and specially commissioned maps of the combat zones, Kursk: The Vital 24 Hours is a comprehensive examination of the decisive failure of the German's last large-scale offensive on the Eastern Front.
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William Fowler has worked in journalism and publishing since 1972, specializing in military history, current affairs and defense technology. He is the author of over 30 books covering military technology and conflicts from the 19th century to the Second Gulf War.
Reviews - What do customers think about KURSK: The Vital 24 Hours?
[A real help to novice and expert alike] May 3, 2008
Kursk: The Vital 24 Hours by Will Fowler is a boon to both the general reader and the specialist. In his coverage of the largest tank battle in history, Fowler presents a remarkably thorough overview of the events of July 5, 1943 when the German and Soviet armies decided the ultimate fate of the Eastern Front.
Readers with little knowledge of the battle will find Fowler's work most helpful. Those already familiar with the basic events will find a detailed and insightful summary of the actions of the two armies and the decisions of their commanders.
Fowler manages to convey a stunning amount of detail on weapons, geography, and men without letting his work get bogged down in minutia. The maps are excellent.
Good for the casual historian Jan 11, 2007
A good resource and strong overview of the epic battle of Kursk. Hard core military historians will find it a little disappointing. Those with lighter tastes will find this a good read that provides a good setting for the crucial battles of the Kursk campaign.
Good Information, Lousy Editting Jan 17, 2006
I read the Stalingrad book and loved it for it's tidbits and good photographs. I was expecting the same with the Kursk book.
The information is there. Some nice tidbits, but most of it is the same as other books present. The photos are nice, but there is a severe lack of decently detailed maps. Even the battle of Prokhorovka map shows only the German divisions (labelled with XXX which represents a corps btw...)/Russian corps
The pictures are good. The side tidbits are nice.
The editting is terrible. This is a real pet peeve of mine... There are whole sentences (maybe even paragraphs?) that are missing. Places where they changed a word to another still has both words in the sentence. Section headings describe one thing and the text talks about something else. I could understand a couple places where this can happen, but the book runs rampant with these kinds of errors.
I would give this a 4 if the editting had been better.
Required Research Material : STRONG Recommend Sep 9, 2005
Outstanding, well written, great maps and supporting vignettes. This book is a great resource. It provides great background information on the key players and events that lead up to this great event in history; but, also places a heavy focus on the first 24 hours of the Operation and on two key players: The elite II SS Panzer Corp and the Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army during the crucial first phase of Unternehmen Zitadel (Operation Citadell). The book is rich with illustrations, maps, photos and explanations and is a rich source of information for both the novice and the experienced student of the Eastern Front. It has great appendice's, the Soviet and German Order of Battle, a great bibliography and supporting internet/web sites references.
Terry Tucker, Professor Military History/Studies (US Army, SGM,Ret)