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Demolishing the Myth: The Tank Battle at Prokhorovka, Kursk, July 1943: An Operational Narrative (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 15. März 2011


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Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 672 Seiten
  • Verlag: Helion & Co (15. März 2011)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1906033897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906033897
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 4,4 x 16,5 x 24,1 cm
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Valeriy Zamulin is a former Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Prokhorovka Battlefield Park Museum, 1996-2009. In addition to the present book, he has written over 60 articles and two other books on the subject of the Battle of Kursk published in Russia. Recently earning a PhD in History, he is currently conducting research for a detailed study of the savage back-and-forth fighting for Ponyri on the northern shoulder of the Kursk bulge, which some have referenced as 'The Stalingrad of Kursk'. He grew up walking the battlefield, and is still active in recovering artifacts from the battlefield on behalf of the Museum, including the recent recovery of the remains of a T-34 tank which became stuck in a swamp during the battle and was later swallowed up by it. He lives in Prokhorovka. / Stuart Britton is a freelance translator and editor residing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has been responsible for making a growing number of Russian titles available to readers of the English language, consisting primarily of memoirs by Red Army veterans and recent historical research concerning the Eastern Front of the Second World War and Soviet air operations in the Korean War. Notable recent titles include Boris Gorbachevsky's Through the Maelstrom: A Red Army Soldier's War on the Eastern Front 1942-45 (University Press of Kansas, 2008) and Yuri Sutiagin's and Igor Seidov's MiG Menace Over Korea: The Story of Soviet Fighter Ace Nikolai Sutiagin (Pen & Sword Aviation, 2009). Future books will include Lev Lopukhovsky's detailed study of the Soviet disaster at Viazma in 1941, Svetlana Gerasimova's analysis of the prolonged and savage fighting against Army Group Center in 1942-43 to liberate the city of Rzhev, and more of Igor Seidov's studies of the Soviet side of the air war in Korea, 1951-1953.

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4 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Osorno am 2. September 2011
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Es spricht die andere Seite: Wenn man nur ein Buch aus moderner russischer Sicht über die Schlacht von Kursk lesen würde, dann müsste es das Buch von Zamulin sein. Endlich wird fair und objektiv dargestellt,was abseits von früherer kommunistischer Nachkriegspropagnda wirklich in jenen schicksalhaften Juli Tagen des Jahres 1943 auf Seiten der Roten Armee passiert ist. Für die deutsche Seite bei Kursk benötigt man aber andere Werke -wie das von Healy.
Die russischen Verluste waren so Zamulin im Wahrheit eklatant hoch und die der Deutschen viel,viel kleiner als heute behauptet wird.
Im Grunde hätte Manstein nach Prohorovka bloss am nächsten Tag wieder antreten müssen und der Sieg wäre der Wehrmacht und SS zugefallen. Aber er kam nicht....
Unbedingte Kaufempfehlung als Ergänzung zur vorhandenen westlichen Literatur !
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86 von 91 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Kursk - view from the other side of the hill 16. Juli 2011
Von cpt matt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I bought this book not knowing what the myth was - but I did want to learn more about the Battle of Kursk. Author Valeriy Zamulin grew up and lives near the town of Prokhorovka, and was the Director of Research at the Prokhorovka Battlefield Park Museum for 13 years. This book is packed with data, tables of organization, information regarding weapons, which combat unit served in what area, killed, wounded, how many tanks were operational for each side on what day just to give a few examples. Since it is an operational history, it is a day by day, often hour or minute by minute accounting of the fighting that occurred in the southern attack on the Kursk Bulge from July 5-15th. Specifically, the Voronezh Front where the combat led to the town of Prokhorovka.

So, what is the myth? There are several. For many years after WW2, the Germans and Soviets had an interest to inflate the size and scope of the battle - the Germans to save face from loosing and the Soviets to explain such high losses. Authors such as Martin Caidin, while a fantastic story teller, often did not do the research needed and perpetuated this myth. In more recent years, post cold war, new information has been shed. David Glantz 1999 book The Battle of Kursk is an example. Today, I saw an online article by Michael J. Licari that also attacks the myths of Kursk. Another myth is that the Battle of Prokhorovka was the turning point (not really, the Northern attack had already failed and the Germans had already lost more than they could afford). The issue of the Soviet `counter attack' and who was responsible is explored as well as several others.

Impressive things about this book - research - primary sources. The author was able to access many declassified Soviet documents from the Ministry of Defense, unpublished recollections of soldiers, after action reports, unit reports from each day, actual orders. 75% of the Bibliography is Soviet material, 20% German archives and the balance from other authors. Zamulin knows some of these sources conflict with each other - no commander wants to admit he screwed up, so sometimes things are embellished or left out...especially in armies where you can get shot for making mistakes.

There are many excellent B&W photos that help show terrain, weapons, soldiers, color pages of the current view of the battlefield. The author admits the topographical map is hard to read, the CGI maps are good to see where units were on which day, and they too, take studying due to the scale of the map. However, they do add value to the book.

This is not light reading. It is serious, well written, very good history. It can bog down a bit at times with the detail, debate over the number of vehicles involved, but it provides a much needed view of `the other side of the hill'. It does not glorify either side; in fact, the author is pretty tough on the Soviets. It's pricey, but for serious historians, worth the purchase.
85 von 90 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Remarkable Book Scrupulously Researched 15. Juli 2011
Von Dave Schranck - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is a remarkable though select study of the battle to reach Kursk from the southern salient. Though demanding and requiring your full attention, an enthusiast could read this operational treasure-trove over and over and never tire of it. It was intriguing but also challenging to read about the same engagement from different perspectives; usually two sometimes three different viewpoints discussed. The fighting on the 12th against the LAH and the 18th and 29th Tank Corps was especially involved. The commentary and analysis is superb and will give the reader a better understanding of the campaign. This book is Russian-centric and it spends more time discussing Soviet plans, assaults and manuvers than on the German perspective.

In the introductory chapters, the author describes the political and military situation in spring 1943 when Hitler and his generals were discussing what the summer offensive should be. The Kursk salient was quickly proposed, debated and then chosen over the objections of some key people. On the Soviet side summer planning was also being debated. The second chapter provides the defensive preparations of the Soviet side for the southern half when it was decided to attack only after the German offensive exhausted itself. Due to the importance of Rotmistrov and his 5th GTA in stopping the 2nd SS PzC, the final chapter before combat coverage begins provides a profile of the General and his Tank Army. The author also explains how Rotmistrov and his Army had just arrived in sector from nearly a 200 mile force march and how he had to cobble an attack plan together when he learned Hausser was much closer to Prokhorovka than expected. On the German side, you will read about Hoth's decision to shift the axis of his SS panzer corps from Oboyan to Prokhorovka among other background info.

The fourth chapter is a summary of the 48th PzC action on the western flank through the 9th of July as well as the opening moves of the 2nd SS PzC. (The initial assault by the 48th PzC on the afternoon of July 4th seems to be missing.) A key issue discussed is how the performance of this corps in not reaching the Psel had on the 2nd SS PzC. Another issue that was enjoyed is the terrain features the 48th PzC had to deal with that slowed their advance: The Pena, Vorskla and the Vorsklitsa Rivers and their corresponding swampland were definite deterents. The many fortified villages and hills were an even bigger impediment. The reactions of 1st TA's and 6th GA's attempts to stop the advance are also covered. The strengths of the two rivals are also presented and compared. The Soviets had the advantage in men, tanks, guns, vehicles. The author also emphasizes here and for the rest of book of the timely entry of Soviet reinforcements into battle.
The next 402 pages of this 630 page book revolves around the highly detailed events of the Russian attempts in preventing the 2nd SS PzC from capturing Prokhorovka and the Psel River basin. A good summary of 3rd PzC's drive north and its eventual retreat through 7/16 is also included.
Many key people are mentioned but the discussion details the impact these people's decisions, actions or communications had on the outcome of the battles. While some anecdotal experiences of a strictly personal nature is conveyed, the overwhelming amount of information is operational.

Also included with the narrative are 12 colored maps. These are some of the best maps I've seen though I do have minor criticisms which I'll explain in a minute. Three maps are topographical and show the key villages, rivers and hills that are included in the campaign. The roads are presented but not labeled. The last nine maps are tactical and are broken down in the following manner. The first map shows the German deployment of the Orel and Kursk salients. The next map depicts Vatutin's estimate of the ideal route for the German offensive and succinctly shows Hoth's error in planning the 48th PzC's deployment. The next maps include: the penetration of the first defense line by the 2nd SS on 7/5; the advance of the SS to the Prokhorovka axis on 7/6; combat operations southwest of Prokhorovka on 7/10 and again on 7/11; Kempf's drive through 7/11; combat operations of the Soviet counterattack on 7/12 and the last map concerns Kempf's pullback from 7/13 to 7/16.
These maps are new computer generated color maps that have great eye appeal, many details and are easy to study. The German side is depicted to division level while the Soviet side is shown in corps, division, regiment, brigade level as required. These are some of the most useful maps available but wish there were more maps. While these very detailed maps are the most important, showing the general progress of the SS advance on the 7th, 8th and especially the 9th plus the advance of the 48th PzC would have been very helpful, allowing the reader to graphically see the whole campaign in the south. Though gaining less ground than the other two SS divisions, the deployment of the Das Reich division could have been more extensive.
The topographical maps are also visually appealing and helpful but they are presented in a less than perfect layout with gaps in the terrain. Different mileage scales and orientations increases the confusion. Unless you're an expert or invest a lot of time to study these maps, it will be difficult to take advantage of them. An additional map or two here would have been helpful culminating in a two page layout of the entire southern salient to tie the assortment together would have been nice. Also there are several villages and hills that are discussed in the narrative that are missing on these maps. Most are in 48th PzC sector but since they were mentioned it would have been nice to see them on the maps. The missing includes Gertsovka, Krasnyi Pochinok, Kalinin, Krasnyi Poliana, Kalinovka, Kruglik, Lutovo and especially Novoselovka. Hills missing include 260, 244 and 222. Some of these locations had bitter battle action.

The last chapter which is quite extensive. Besides summation of the campaign, the author deals with the myths and realities of the Campaign and especially on the tank battles of 7/12 that have been generrated over the decades. Mr Zamulin describes the true scale of the separate tank engagements that TK, Das Reich and especially LAH found itself in as they launched their attacks that early Monday morning toward Prokhorovka. They weren't expecting the five+ corps would be attacking them that did prevent them from achieving their objectives. An interesting discussion by the author and several other historians are included on the tank casualties of both sides. The number of operable tanks 5th GTA had weren't as many as some claim but Rotmistrov did lose 80 pct of them in the next couple days. Human casualties for both sides is estimated as well. The importance of the results of this campaign for the rest of the war are also briefly discussed. There are also 34 informative data tables running throughout the book concerning key statistics that will help the reader understand the scope of this campaign. (There is a handy list to help you find the data you need) There are no wild claims; in fact the author downplays the scale of the tank battle but not the importance of 5th GTA arriving in the nick of time.
There are many good photos of the key people from both sides but many more Soviets, as well as battlefield scenes. It was nice attaching a face with a name that you've read about for years. Some of the photos are in color and show the current fields where men died and tanks destroyed in 1943.

Also appreciated is the detailed Orders of Battle that were included. With so many units discussed, it was studied often while reading the book. There is also a competent Notes Section and Bibliography that includes primary and secondary sources. Most entries are Russian related. A helpful Index that will speed your research closes out the book.

Displaying a good understanding of strategy and tactics, Mr Zamulin does an excellent job of explaining the engagements as well as providing the significant results and ramifications of each that will add to the reader's understanding of the campaign. The author explains the terrain features, different defensive belts, why certain days the Germans made good gains and on other days few gains. He also discusses the strategic errors made by Hoth in planning, deployment of his forces and the poor utilization of the new Panther brigade that jeopardized the entire campaign. Vatutin's tactical errors that cost his armies dearly are also explained.
Hundreds of communiques, after action reports, divisional diaries and personal diaries from both sides are blended nicely into the narrative. You'll get a real feel and understanding of what each side was thinking, experiencing.

This is a specialty book that excludes the northern salient and gives only a summary to the 48th PzC and 3rd PzC sectors but its extraordinary when it comes to the 2nd SS PzC's drive toward Prokhorovka and its attempt to control north of the Psel River.
The summary of the resistance and escape of the remnants of 48th RC from the encirclement between the two Donets Rivers when Kempf loosely linked up with Das Reich was also done well as is the attempted encirclement of 48th PzC by the 6th GA and 1st TA from the 12th on.
While trying to judge this book critically, I found only trivial issues to mention. This book is solid, dramatically adds to the knowledge base and would ideally complement the other serious campaign books by Mark Healy, David Glantz and Franz Kurowski and is highly recommended to all Citadel fans.
56 von 59 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Kursk in Fact and Legend 26. Juli 2011
Von Christian Potholm - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The author is one of the few scholars who has been able to examine all 60,000 pages of the Soviet era records as well as the relevant German ones covering this critical battle of World War II. His conclusions verify the importance of the Battle of Kursk overall; but in the process, he does demolish the notion that the Germans were ever close to winning it, proving among other things that the German II SS Panzer Corps did not even win the battle's opening round (as has been widely asserted).

He also disabuses us of the assumption (even more widely held) that Kursk was the largest tank battle in history with an often claimed 2500 tanks and self-propelled guns in action. Instead, his careful and meticulously documented analysis of the struggle at Prokhokovka puts the number at no higher than 1100 (670 for the Soviets, 420 for the Germans) showing that Soviet gunners clamed they destroyed far more tanks than the Germans even had in the entire theatre of operations.

Zamulin, however, does give us for the first time, exciting documentation for what was truly the largest tank battle in history: the July 1941 clash between the Soviet Southwestern Front and the 1st Panzer army and elements of the Sixth Army in the Brody-Berestechko-Dubno theatre. In that epic confrontation, he claims, the Russians counter-attacked with 5000 tanks and self propelled guns (of which they lost 2,648) while the Germans used 1000. For two years afterwards, the Germans took observers to the battlefield to show them the miles and miles of terrain filled with destroyed armor.

There are many good combat photos from the battle (most of which I had never seen before), as well as excellent but complicated operational maps which bring the battle to life. Based on a great deal of careful new research, this book is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the titanic struggle on the Eastern Front and one of its most decisive battles.
59 von 74 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A not convincing Russian response: where is the myth demolished? 28. Dezember 2011
Von F. Carol Sabin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
After many years and many (Western) books about this subject, eventually we have a new Russian response in the form of "Demolishing the myth". From the beginning I must say that I expected with great interest this book, since the title promised so much to reveal. I read the book several times and also the critique from other readers.
I was somehow dissapointed and the readers can find why below.
The book covers the battle of Kursk, southern shoulder, concentrating on the fight of II SS Pz Korps in particular; the battles of the northen pincer are not part of this book and are not discussed.

The introduction (pages 20-23) set the stage for rest of the book: it was a Russian victory. So the reader can find the conclusion even from the start.
Chapter I let us know that by the beginning of April 1943 (page 24) the balance of forces had turned in the favor of Soviets who held a 1.1 to 1 superiority in personnel". Hard to believe such correlation of forces since other authors mentioned a real ratio,something between 1.68 or 2 to 1 for Soviets. Then, the author quickly jumped to the organization for battle, with nothing new special to mention.

On page 33 Mr. Zamulin had the first oportunity to really impress us: a quick reference about the success of the Russian intelligence to find out the German intentions. Here I expected something riveting: Were the Russians forewarned about Zitadelle? Who were the sources and when the information was delivered? Did the Russians manage to break the German codes? Of course, we have no answers to such questions despite researching about 60000 pages of archive.

On page 34 we can find an old but always new Table with the Balance of Forces, where there are the same figures that you can find in all Soviet/Russian books: for the Germans 900.000 personnel (including Second Army, which took no part in operation), around 10000 artillery tubes, 2733 tanks, 2050 aircraft and a lot of notes (!).
No other variants are presented; these are the FIGURES.

On pages 51&52 two comparative tables caught my attention, between Soviet Tank (Mechanised) Corps and a German Panzer (Panzergrenadier) Division. The author simply stated that a German Panzer (or Panzergrenadier) Division had a TOE with 200 tanks!!
In order to give a "better understanding" of the German superiority the author relied on these tables (from a Russian 1995 journal). No doubt, there were no german panzer divisions (with two panzer battalions) with such number of tanks on 1 April 1943, not to mention the panzergrenadier divisions, which had only one tank battalion (it is not stated that was a SS division or GD)!
Even it is a TOE (Table, Organization and Equipment, that is the necessary equipment), one cannot simply put such numbers, since they are unrealistic. In a theater of war like Eastern front, where both Soviet and German side fought on regulary basis with depleted or reduced to mere skeletons units, the TOE meant little or even nothing! In his book (Panzer leader) Guderian described how he wanted to have a Panzer division with 400 tanks and SP Guns. Can we take also these numbers as a base for a historical discution, Mr. Zamulin? At Kursk the majority of the German divisons were lucky to have around 100 tanks, except for SS divs. and GD which have between 150-180 tanks and SP guns. Infantry units were also understrenght.
Based on the ratios presented in these tables, the author stated how inferior were the Soviet tank and mech. forces! No comment!

Starting with the Chapter IV the author, finally, introduced us to the battle. I believe this is the best part of the book, despite there are too many heroic actions, too many ID-type photos with Soviet commanders and, of course, many photos with german POWs, destroyed/captured german equipment etc etc. I was surprised to discover many old syntagmas (fascists, nazi, communists, komsomol organizer, Party member, hitlerites, high political morale and spirit etc etc), that simply have no role in a historical study, even in 2011. Too bad for Mr. Zamulin to quote and insert such cheap propaganda! The readers will be amased on seeing many useless and long tables(pages 541, 542 etc).
The first days of the battle are very well covered by the author, who identified and exposed the mistakes of the Soviet leadership and troops. Cautiously, the author praised the SS qualities and land gains. I discovered no myth so far, but the author receives high marks for the quality of battle descriptions during this part of the book, especially.

Reading the middle part of the book, actually I was surprised that the author created (not demolished) a myth": far for being defeated, the Germans were very close to win the battle!! It is the merit (or he didn't have this intention!) of Mr. Zamulin, who described the battle accurately and, despite some flaws, had the courage to do this. In this way we learned about the pressure of the SS advance, the powerless soviet troops to stop the german assault, how the soviets exhausted their operational reserves in a matter of hours from the start of the offensive, the problems caused by almost 3000 deserters, fleeing soviet troops, the semi encirclement of the Soviet 48 Corps, incredible mistakes and fratricides of the russian forces and many more.

Air operations of both sides are not covered in depth - few accounts about the performance of the VIII Air Korps and their Soviet counterparts, which made several error bombing, hitting their own troops several times. On page 287 it is a brief paragraph about an "amazing" success of the soviets airmen that took place on 12 July: 20 german planes downed for 14 own losses(according with other sources 11 german planes were lost, while soviet losses were much higher!). Again no comment!

One very positive performance is the insertion of excellent color photos of present-day views of the battlefield. Even the maps, though are difficult to read, can help orient the reader about the main places described in the book, not to mention they are colored (red against blue), truly impressive since there are few such maps available in other books.

The combat on 12 July receives particular attention from the author - normally since it's the day of Prokhorovka battle and where the myths had to be demolished. Mr. Zamulin describes very well the situation at the beginning of this battle, how decisions were made and many other details. Again many numbers are discussed and the author tries to convince us about (his) right figures. Even here no myths are demolished: of course, the author used his own assesment and carefully selected bibliography and combats other's numbers. The question of the magnitude of the Prokhorovka clash was asked well before this book(D. Glantz, Niklas Zetterling and A.Frankson, Mark Healy), here and there different numbers were shown! In his book my opinion is that Mr Zamulin tried to diminish the number of the Soviet armor and to add more tanks to the opponent. The same tactics with the losses... For me it is hard to believe Mr. Zamulin's figures.

Even harder it is to believe the conclusions of the battle: the Kursk battle was won by the Soviets and also the Prokhorovka engagement, in particular. After (1) accurately describing the performance of the SS in penetrating two long ago-prepared lines of defence (in total the germans covered 90 out of 125 km), and (2) showed the errors of the Soviet leadership in conducting the defensive battles, and (3) stating that the 5 Guards Tank Army counterattack at Prokhorovka failed to achieve its goals, with huge losses for the soviets and (4) after the germans had started their retreat to Belgorod according to their own decisions and own agenda, not due the enemy presure, and (5) stated that the germans controlled the Prokhorovka battlefield right up to the afternoon of the 17 July, the author claims without hesitation that the Soviet side won the battle. I have never seen such a wrong conclusion based on, surprisingly, true assesments!!

Even the Kursk battle, on general, cannot be proclaimed as Soviet victory: the confrontation was stalled due to Hitler's decision and other facts, among other things, the Soviet Orel offensive and Allied landing in Sicily. I think, much closer to the truth is that the result was a draw, or a tactical success for the germans and a strategic victory for the soviets or, to quote von Manstein, "a lost victory".
I raise a question: without prior knowledge about german intentions and plans and the preparation of the three lines of defence, could have soviet side stopped the germans? I belive not.

Interestingly, on page 554 the author mentioned about a really huge armor clash that can be described as counterbalance to Kursk as the largest tank battle in WW II: somewhere in Ukraine in July 1941, 5000 soviet tanks fought against 1000 german tanks, with huge losses for the soviet side (2648 tanks lost). Maybe the story of this battle can demolish the myth of Kursk as the largest tank clash in history, but since the Soviets lost the battle what's the point on revealing their own defeat?

Bottom line: as a whole this book cannot stand on its own, despite the remarkable achievements in the middle part, because of dubious figures (even from the beginning of the book!) and conclusions. For my part I did not discover the myth demolished by this book! It seems that other readers did. The author simply published some facts inspired from russian archives, which overall contributed to the knowledge about Kursk&Prokhorowka battles, but definetely he did not demolish any myth!

For all the above-mentioned reasons, I took one star for the wrong conclusions, and a star for the not necessary, let's say, old propaganda. Congratulations for Mr. Zamulin for the courage to publish such a book, but he still needs much more objectivity to really demolish some myths.
12 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Demolishing the Myth in Style 7. November 2011
Von Dr RN Watt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Zamulin's study of the southern element of the Kursk Campaign is an in-depth study which is not for beginners and I shall return to this point below. However, being very interested in the Russian point of view of the Great Patriotic War, this book highlights the fact that the course of the campaign did not run at all smoothly. Thus giving a clear indication that the Red Army still had a lot to learn even though they ultimately won this campaign. These lesson were still being learned at the highest levels and I had not realised that the senior Red Army command present had to take the risky, but in this case successful, step of deflecting Stalin away from taking too close an interest in how the defence of the southern approaches to Kursk had been undertaken. Zamulin also doesn't lose sight of the German side of the battle and gives some very interesting details from the German point of view. In particular he constructs a strong argument that the almost mythic tank battle at Prokhoroka was not a meeting engagement and that the 5th Guards Tank Army crashed into an enemy which was ready for the attack and well supplied with anti-tank artillery which combined with their own tanks wreaked significant havoc on the attacking Russian tanks. He also makes the point that to focus upon Prokhorovka is to miss the overall dogged defence mounted by the Red Army to blunt the German offensive between the 5 and 15 of July. Finally he makes a good case for the battle not being the largest tank battle of WWII.
There is a wealth of detail in the book and it is essential for the reader to keep a bookmark placed in the map section. It is very easy to get lost in the deatil but I found that most of the time if I referred back to the maps I could keep track of events. However, it should be noted that there are three topographical maps as well as the operational maps. If you can't find a location on the operational maps it pays to check the topographic maps as, in most cases, if they were not to be found on the operational maps, I did find them on the topographic maps.
Two other features I thought were very good. Zamulin has provided a number of colour photographs of the battlesite today. The one which shows the ridge defended by the Red Army where the 3rd SS Panzer Division forced a passage across the River Psel shows exactly what maps fail to show; the ridge might not be particularly high but is clearly a significant obstacle to overcome. Zamulin also includes many photographs of both Red Army Officers which I had not seen before. This was a nice touch as many operational studies mention names without providing a face to the name and I thought this a nice touch. There are a small number of typos on the captions. (p.181 claims the photo dates from 1941 when the officer concerned is wearing the uniform decreed from 1943 onwards) These errors are minimal and it is a rare military history book which gets the captions 100% correct. Most of the action photos (whether posed or not) were also new to me.
Overall, this book was well worth the effort. However, if you are new to the Kursk battle I would recommend you read 'When Titans Clashed' by Glantz/House (to get a very good overview of the Russo German War of 1941-45) and 'The Battle of Kursk' by Glantz & House for an overview of the battle of Kursk before you engage with this book. If you have the time (and money) Zetterling and Frankson's book 'Kursk 1943' and the Soviet General Staff Study (translated by Glantz & Orenstein) are also worth reading; the latter in particular makes an interesting contrast when reading Zamulin.
Overall, there are some faults as noted above, but this is a fantastic labour of love and I look forward with great interest to see this author's treatment of the northern element of the battle when (I hope) it is published.
Robert N. Watt
University of Birmingham, U.K. (please note that I have posted the same review on amazon.co.uk)
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