|Orel July 24 1943|
The Soviet Operation Kutuzov represents the final Soviet seizure of the strategic initiative in the east. With the Battle of Prokhorovka still in the balance, the massive Soviet counteroffensive near Orel (Russia) caused Hitler to order the cancellation of Operation Citadel. The German panzer forces began to withdraw from the Kursk salient to meet Operation Kutuzov. The Operation began on July 12 and ended on August 18 1943 with the destruction of the Orel bulge. The Wehrmacht were unable to stop further Soviet advances westwards and were on the defensive continually thereafter. According to official Soviet sources Soviet casualties in Operation Kutuzov were 429,890 (112,529 killed). According to German historian Karl-Heinz Frieser, Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS units suffered 86,064 casualties, including 25,515 killed and missing. Credit: Wikipedia. Image: Waffen-SS Grenadiers at Orel July 24 1943. Photographer: SS-Kriegsberichter Grönert. Fair use.