Kursk, Battle of
(July 5–Aug. 23, 1943) Unsuccessful German assault on the Soviet salient around Kursk, in western Russia, in World War II. The salient was a bulge in the Soviet lines that protruded 100 mi (160 km) westward into the German lines. The Germans planned a surprise attack to trap the Soviet forces but encountered Russian-laid minefields and antitank defenses. At the height of the assault, the Soviets counterattacked and forced a German withdrawal. The Battle of Kursk was the largest tank battle in history, involving some 6,000 tanks, two million troops, and 4,000 aircraft. It marked the decisive end of the German offensive on the Eastern Front and cleared the way for the great Soviet offensives of 1944–45.
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