Quick Book Review: Citadel: The Battle of Kursk by Robin Cross

The title is: Citadel: The Battle of Kursk by Robin Cross.

I didn’t really plan it this way, but I guess I’ve been on a bit of a WWII Eastern Front thing lately with books. Maybe it’s from too much Hogan’s Heroes as a kid.

The book chronicles the massive battle, largely armor, of Kursk on the German/Soviet Eastern front in WWII. It was preceded by a massive build-up by both sides over months, and resulted in one of the largest (perhaps the largest?) clashes in military history. The numbers of tanks, planes, and various armored vehicles destroyed on a daily basis is staggering. You quickly realize that Germany could not keep this up, and apparently most of them realized it, too.

Amazon describes it:

“This volume is an in-depth study of the largest battle of World War II. In two weeks in July 1943 the German army suffered its greatest defeat. The battle of Stalingrad had resulted in stalemate. Hitler ordered all his armour one the Eastern Front to destroy the Russians at Kursk. In what is regarded as the greatest battle ever fought, the Russian army was victorious. It was a crucial turning point in the war.”

The author spends a great deal of time, maybe 1/3 of the book or more just setting up the story. There’s a great deal of detail. I definitely wouldn’t call this title a must-read, but it’s solid if you’re interested in the topic.

Here’s a fact that really surprised me:

“For all its vaunted armoured spearheads, the German army depended on horses for over 80 percent of its motive power. Some 2.5 million horses served on the Easter Front, and, on average, 1000 of them died every day.” p. 49

Somewhere in the queue I’ve got a book that’s the diary of a Soviet soldier in WWII fighting the same battles.

Related reviews:
Quick Book Review: Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front
Book Review: Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege by Antony Beevor
Book Review: The Fall of Berlin 1945
Book Review: Tigers in the Mud by Otto Carius