By Charles Duff

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By early October, 6. Armee was reporting gains of “two thirds of a block” or “about half” of a worker’s settlement. Infantry losses increased, and replacements were not available in sufficient numbers, resulting in the average battalion having about seventy-five to eighty officers and men. ”6 While German strength dissipated, the Russian reserve forces were able to supply over 180 rifle divisions and 159 tank brigades to the frontline armies in the southern sector of the front from April to October 1942.

On 5 August, Heeresgruppe Mitte eliminated a huge pocket of Soviet troops, capturing over 300,000 Russian soldiers. On the right flank, in the Ukraine, Feldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt’s Heeresgruppe Süd encountered stubborn resistance that delayed its advance. It was not until mid-July that Feldmarschall Walter von Reichenau’s 6. Armee broke through the Russian defenses, advancing to Kiev on 11 July. By early August, Heeresgruppe Süd forces encircled a huge pocket of Soviet troops at Uman, capturing hundreds of thousands of dispirited prisoners.

SS-Panzerkorps, inflicted tremendous losses on the Russians and drove them back to the east, recapturing Kharkov. The familiar pattern of successful warm-weather German offensives seemed about to repeat itself in 1943 with the culmination of the Kharkov campaign’s successful end and the dry summer weather ahead. When the spring mud brought an operational pause to the Eastern Front, a huge Russian salient projected to the west from the Kursk area. The opportunities that the Kursk bulge presented to both sides and the subsequent fighting in and around it determined the course of the war in the summer of 1943.

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