Comparative Strengths and Losses in the Battle of Kursk
The Kursk Defensive Operation (1 July 1943) Red Army Strengths
Sources: G. Koltunov, "Kurskaia
bitva v tsifrakh" [The
Battle of Kursk in numbers], VIZh 6 (June 1968); 58-68;
and G. Koltunov, Kurskaia bitva [The Battle of Kursk] (Moscow: Voenizdat, 1970),
Note: Many Soviet army strengths are rough estimates based on division slices.
°See G. F. Krivosheev, Crifsekretnosti
sniat: poteri vooruzhennykh sil SSSR v voinakh, boevykh
deistviiakh i voennykh konfliktakh
[The classification secret removed; The losses of the USSR's armed
forces in wars, combat operations, and military conflicts] (Moscow: Voenizdat, 1993), 188.
'See V. N. Simvodikov, Bitva pod Kurskom, 1943 goda [The Battle of Kursk, 1943] (Moscow: Voroshilov
General Staff Academy, 1950), 20; and Armeiskaw operatsii
[Army operations] (Moscow: Voroshilov
General Staff Academy, 1989), appendix 4. Both classified secret.
'See I. Parotkin, ed., The Battle of Kursk (Moscow: Progress, 1974), supplement 6. Includes 5th Guards
Tank Army, and 5th Guards, 53d, and 27th Armies. By 12 July, however only the 150,000 troops of 5th
Guards Tank and 5th Guards Armies were engaged.
Red Army Personnel Losses
Note: B. Sokolov, "The Battle for Kursk, Orel, and Char'kov," in Cezeitenwechsel im
Zweiten Weltkrieg (Hamburg: Mittler,
79-81, challenges these official figures. He places Central Front losses at 90,000 and Voronezh and Steppe
Front losses at 227,000,
including 60,000 killed, 133,000 wounded and ill, and 34,000 prisoners, for total losses at Kursk of 317,000
out of the 1.9 million engaged.
Sources: N. Zetterling, "Loss Rates on the Eastern
Front during WWII," Journal of Slavic Military Studies
9 (4) (December 1996)
:895-907; M. Healy, Kursk
1943 (London: Osprey, 1992); and Gotthard Heinrici and Fredrick Wilhelm Hauck, Citadel
(U.S. National Archives). Note: According to Heinrici, Army Group South's total tank
strength on 5 July was 1,352, of which 1,183
were operational. Of the 1,150 tanks available for the Citadel force, 997 were operational. This included 192
Panthers and 100 Tigers.
In addition, 376 assault guns were available. The slightly higher tank figures indicated above account for
Soviet models and German
undercounting. Heinrici states that Ninth Army tank and assault gun strength was just
short of 1,000, vice the 1,081 listed above.
Source: N. Zetterling, "Loss Rates on the Eastern Front during WWII," Journal
of Slavic Military Studies 9 (4) (December 1996); 895-907.
Source; M. Kolomiets and M. Spirin, Kurshkaia duga [The Kursk bulge] (Moscow: EksPrinte
NB, 1998), 22, portions of which are confirmed
by documents contained in V. A. Zolotarev et al., eds., Russkii arkhiv: Velikaia Otechestvennai:
Kurskaia bitca: Dokumenty i
materialy, 27 marta-23 avgusta
1943 g.," T-15 (4-4) [Russian archive: The
The Battle of Kursk: Documents and materials, 27 March to 23 August 1943, vol. 15 (4-4)]
(Moscow: Terra, 1997). Note: Figures do not
include three tank regiments with Lend-Lease tanks (90—110). Summary: Total
armored strength on 6 July, 607 tanks (367 T-34s and
240 T-70s and T-60s) (including the 19th Tank Corps); operable tanks on 6 July, 456; total losses, 6-14 July, 213 tanks; irrecoverable tanks,
6-14 July, 138.
MATERIAL LOSSES OF THE VORONEZH FRONT IN DEFENSIVE COMBAT, 4-23 JULY 1943
During the period of defensive combat from 4 through 22 July 1943, the forces of the Voronezh Front suffered the
1. For the period of the enemy offensive from 4 through 16 July 1943:
a. Personnel: killed—18,097, wounded—47,272, missing in action—24,851, captured—29, total—90,249.
b. Horses: killed—1,295, wounded—333, total—1,628.
c. Armored and mechanized equipment: tanks irrevocably lost—1,204, damaged—655, total—1,859. Irrevocably
lost self-propelled guns—29.
d. Guards-mortar [multiple rocket launcher] equipment: damaged vehicles—16.
e. Aircraft: shot down and damaged—347.
f. Artillery weaponry: guns of all caliber—1,605, mortars—1,734, sub-machine guns—4,381, heavy machine
guns—1,634, PPSh [machine pistols]
—35,026, rifles—40,520, antitank rifles—3,247.
2. For the period of our forces' counteroffensive from 16 through 22 July:
a. Personnel: killed—2,481, wounded—7,155, missing—1,047, total—10,683.
b. Horses: killed—550, wounded—107, total—657.
c. Armored and mechanized equipment: tanks irrevocably lost—367, damaged—179, total—516. D. Irrevocably lost
d. Guards-mortar [multiple rocket launcher] equipment: damaged vehicles—4.
e. Aircraft: shot down and damaged—40.
f. Artillery weaponry: guns of all caliber—108, mortars—162, sub-machine
guns—399, heavy machine guns—161, PPSh—872, rifles—1,612, antitank
rifles—212. g. Vehicles—41.
Signed: Chief of Staff of the Voronezh Front, Lieutenant General Ivanov; Chief of the
Operations Department (Voronezh Front headquarters),
Major General Teteshldn1
[Revised Material Losses:]
The front's forces also suffered considerable losses as a result of
the fierce combat, chiefly from the fire of enemy tank and aircraft. This can be
seen from the following table:
Killed, wounded, and missing in action 74,500 men Damaged and destroyed tanks 1,397 Vehicles 145 Aircraft
(irrevocably lost) 387 Gun systems
of all types 672 Mortars of all caliber 622 Heavy machine guns 588 Sub-machine guns 2,152 Automatic rifles
12,434 Rifles 27,800
In spite of the losses suffered, the/ronfs forces remain fully combat capable and are
rapidly beginning to restore the most victimized of its formations
and units. By 25 July the most victimized rifle divisions of the 6th Guards Army already had up to 5,500
soldiers and command cadre and had
considerably replenished their weaponry and transport.
To replenish their losses, the tank formations have received new tanks from the country's deep rear, as well as
weapons and transport.
The aviation formations and other types of forces are also filling out and, to a considerable degree, have restored
their combat equipment and transport.
In summary, by the end of the July defensive operation the Voronezh Front's forces were fully combat ready to fulfill
active offensive missions to
destroy the enemy who had been shattered in previous battles. . ..
Signed: Senior General Staff Officer in the Voronezh Front, Colonel Kostin2
1. From Voronezh Front combat report no. 01398, dated 24 July 1943, to the General Staff concerning losses, in Russkii arkhiv: Velikaia
Otechestvennaia: Kurskaia bitva:
Dokumenty i materialy, 27 marta-23 avgusta
1943 g.," T-15 (4-4) [The Russian archive: The Great
The Battle of Kursk: Documents and materials, 27 March to 23 August 1943, vol. 15 (4-4)] (Moscow:
Terra, 1997), 272-273.
2. From a report by the Senior General Staff Officer in the Voronezh Front to the Chief of the General Staff
concerning the defensive operations
of the/four's forces from 4 through 23 July 1943, dated 23
August 1943, in Russkii arkhiv: Velikaia Otechestvennaia: Kurskaia bitva: Dokumenty
i materialy, 27 marta-23 avgusta 1943 g.," T-15 (4-4)
[The Russian archive: The Great Patriotic;
The Battle of Kursk: Documents and materials, 27 March to 23 August 1943, vol. 15 (4-4)
Terra, 1997), 387.
Source: M. Kolomiets and M. Spirin, Kurskaia duga [The Kursk bulge] (Moscow: EksPrinte NB, 1998), 48.
Summary: Total armored strength on 10 July: 680-720 tanks and self-propelled guns; operable armor on
15 July: 272-288 tanks and self-propelled guns: total losses, 10-14 July: 408^32 tanks
guns; irrecoverable tanks, 6—14 July: 138.
°29th Tank Corps figures includes as reinforcements the 5th Guards Mechanized Corps' 53d Guards
Tank Regiment (10th Guards Mechanized Brigade) and the 24th Guards Tank Brigade.
* Group Trufanov's figures includes the llth and
12th Guards Tank Brigades (54th and 55th Guards Tank
^hese TO&E and on-hand figures include the 5th
Guards Mechanized Corps strength of about 212 tanks.
Source: M. Kolomiets and M. Spirin, Kurskaia duga [The Kursk
bulge] (Moscow: EksPrinte NB, 1998), 78. Note; The first figure
denotes all tanks and self-propelled guns. The figure in parentheses denotes T-34 tanks. Of the irrecoverable figures, 31 percent are
T-34 tanks and 43 percent are T-70 tanks. "This figure is from other sources.
The Orel Offensive Operation (10 July 1943) Red Army Strengths
See G. F. Krivosheev, ed., Crif' sekretnosti sniat [The seal of secrecy removed] (Moscow: Voerizdat, 1993),
Note: Boris Sokolov, Tsera pobedy
[The price of Victory] (Moscow: Moskovskii rabachii, 1991),
82, places total Soviet
losses at 860,000 of the 1.29 million engaged.
Note: These figures do not count reinforcements dispatched by Army Group South into the
Orel region (for example,
Crossdeutschland Panzer Grenadier Division).
The Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive Operation (3 August 1943) Red Army Strength
'According to G. F. Krivosheev,
ed., Crif sekretnasti smat [The sea] of secrecy removed] (Moscow:
Voerizdat, 1993), and classified documents.
Note: Boris Sokolov, Tsera pobedy
[The price of victory] (Moscow: Moskovski rabochii, 1991), 81-82,
Soviet losses at 500,000 men of the total of 1.14 million troops engaged in the operation.
German Army losses are unavailable.
Summary of the Kursk Operation Soviet and German Strengths and Losses
Note: Boris Sokolov, Tsera pobedy [The price of victory] (Moscow: Maskovskii
rabochii, 1991), claims
losses of 1,677,000 troops.
'Without double counting Central, Voronezh, and Steppe Front forces.
Note; These calculations are based on on-hand tank, assault gun, and self-propelled gun strengths. Where
available (as with the case of German formations), data indicate somewhat lower operational strengths at
any given stage of the operation. Nevertheless, the ratios are still roughly applicable,
since Soviet operational
figures were also lower (and demonstrably more so) due to
their more severe maintenance and logistical problems.
Sources. For 4 July 1943: "Tagesmeldungen vom
4.7.43," Ceneralkommando II. SS-Pz.Koqis, 4.7.43, 1845, in NAM T-354, roll 605; and "Tagesmeldung
XXXXVIII.Pz.Korps vom 4.7.1943,"
4.Panzerarmee, in NAM T-313, roll 368.
For 8 July 1943: "Tagesmeldungen der Pz.Gren.Div. Totenkopf v.8.7.43.," Ceneralkommando) 11. SS-Pz.Kiirps, 4.7.43, 1845, in NAM T-354,
roll 605; and
"Tagesmeldungen der "lSSAH"-Pz.Gren.Div.
v.8.7.43.," Ceneralkommando II. SS-Pz.Korps,
4.7.43, 1S45, in NAM T-354, roll 605.
For 9 July 1943: "'ISSLAH,' Tagesmeldungen vom 9.7.43," Generalkommando II. SS-Pz.Korps, 4.7.43,
1845, in NAM T-354, roll 605; "SS T,'
9.7.43," Generalkommando II. SS-Pz.Korps, 4.7.43, 1845, in NAM T-354, roll 605; and "la—Tagesmeldungen, SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division 'Das Reich,' Div.Gef.St.,
9.7.43," Ceneralkommando II. SS-Pz.Korps, 4.7.43, 1845, in NAM T-354, roll 605.
For 10 July 1943: "la—Tagesmeldungen, SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division 'Das Reich,' Div. gef. St., 10.7.43," Ceneralkommando II.
SS-Pz.Korps, 4.7.43,1845, in NAM
T-354, roll 605; and "Tagesmeldung vom 10.7.43," Cen.KrIo.
II. SS-Pz Korps, in NAM T-354, roll 605.
For 11 July 1943: "Tagesmeldung vom 11.7.43," Gen.Kilo. II. SS-Fflnzer-Korps, in NAM T-354, roll
605; "Tagesmeldung II. SS Pz.Korps. 11.7.43. 18.35 Uhr,"
Panzerarmee, in NAM T-313, roll 368; and
"Tagesmeldung XXXXVIII. Pz.K. vom 11.7.43.
20.45 Uhr.," 4. Panzerarmee, in NAM
T-313, roll 368.
For 13 July 1943: "Tagesmeldung vom 13.7.43," Gen.Kdo.ZZ. SS-Pz.Korps, in NAM T-354, roll 605; "Tagesmeldung II.SS-Pz.Korps vom
13.7.43. 19.35 Uhr," 4.
Panzerarmee, in NAM T-313, roll 368; and "Tagesmeldung XXXXVIII.Pz.Korps vom 13.7.43.
20.00 Uhr," 4. Panzerarmee, in NAM T-313, roll 368.
For 15 July 1943: "Tagesmeldung vom 15.7.43, SS-Pz.Gren.Div.
•Das Reich'," Cen.Kdo.II. SS-Pz.Korps, in NAM T-354, roll 605;
"Tagesmeldung vom 15.7.43 vom SS-
Panzer-Gren. Div. •Totenkopf.',
17.05 Uhr," Gen.Kdo.lI.SS-Pz.Korps, in NAM T-354, roll 605; and
"Tagesmeldung -ISSAH'-Pz.Gren.Div. vom 15.7.1943,"
Cen.Kdo.II.SS-Pz.Korps. in NAM T-354, roll 605.
For 16 July 1943: "Tagesmeldung vom 16.7.1943," Cen.Kdo.II.SS-Pz.Korps,
in NAM T-354, roll 605.