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Kursk and Beyond (March 1943 - May 1944)

Kursk and Beyond (March 1943 - May 1944)

The Battle of Kursk (German: Unternehmen Zitadelle) refers to German and Soviet operations on the Eastern Front of World War II in the vicinity of the city of Kursk in the Soviet Union in July and August 1943. It remains both the largest series of armoured clashes, including the Battle of Prokhorovka, and the costliest single day of aerial warfare. It was the last strategic offensive the Germans were able to mount in the east. The resulting decisive Soviet victory gave the Red Army the strategic initiative for the rest of the war.

The Germans hoped to shorten their lines by eliminating the Kursk salient (also known as the Kursk bulge), created in the aftermath of their defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad. They envisioned pincers breaking through its northern and southern flanks to achieve a great encirclement of Red Army forces. However, the Soviets had excellent intelligence of Hitler's intentions. This and German delays to wait for new weapons, mainly Tiger and Panther tanks, gave the Red Army time to construct elaborate, layered defenses and position large reserve forces for a strategic counterattack.

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Soviet BM-13 Katyusha Mobile Rocket Launcher - Summer Camouflage Soviet BM-13 Katyusha Mobile Rocket Launcher - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

Katyusha multiple rocket launchers are a type of rocket artillery first built and fielded by the Soviet Union in World War II. Multiple rocket launchers such as these deliver a devastating amount of explosives to a target area more quickly than conventional artillery, but with lower accuracy and requiring a longer time to reload.

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Soviet T-44 Medium Tank Soviet T-44 Medium Tank - Summer Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The T-44 is a medium tank first produced near the end of the World War II by the Soviet Union. It was the successor to the T-34, offering improved ride and cross-country performance and much greater armor.

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Soviet Su-76 Self-Propelled Gun - Winter Camouflage Soviet Su-76 Self-Propelled Gun - Winter Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The design work for the Su-76 began in November 1942, when the State Defense Committee was ordered to build an infantry support self-propelled gun armed with the ZiS-3 76.2-mm gun and M-30 122-mm howitzer.

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Soviet M10 Tank Destroyer Soviet M10 Tank Destroyer (1:72 Scale)

The M10 were, numerically, the most important US tank destroyer of World War II. In its combat debut in the North African campaign, the M10 was successful as its M7 3-inch gun could penetrate most German tanks then in service at long range.

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Soviet T-34/85 Medium Tank - Winter Camouflage Soviet T-34/85 Medium Tank - Winter Camouflage (1:72 Scale)

The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.

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German Sd. Kfz. 184 Ferdinand Heavy Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654 German Sd. Kfz. 184 Ferdinand Heavy Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654 (1:72 Scale)

During the development of the Tiger(P) and Tiger(H), Hitler had agitated for a turret design which would be large enough to mount the 8.8cm KwK L/71 gun. This had not materialized and on September 22nd, 1942, it was decided that the StuG with 200mm frontal armor and the long 8.8cm gun should be immediately designed, with the Tiger(P) as the basis, and part of the Tiger(P) production diverted for the vehicle.

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Captured German T-34/76 Mod 1942 Medium Tank - Oberstleutnant der Reserve Franz Bake, Panzer Regiment 11, 6.Panzer Division, Russia, 1943 Captured German T-34/76 Mod 1942 Medium Tank - Oberstleutnant der Reserve Franz Bake, Panzer Regiment 11, 6.Panzer Division, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.

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German Sd. Kfz. 184 Ferdinand Heavy Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - 1.Kompanie, schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Orel, Russia, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 184 Ferdinand Heavy Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - 1.Kompanie, schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Orel, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

During the development of the Tiger(P) and Tiger(H), Hitler had agitated for a turret design which would be large enough to mount the 8.8cm KwK L/71 gun. This had not materialized and on September 22nd, 1942, it was decided that the StuG with 200mm frontal armor and the long 8.8cm gun should be immediately designed, with the Tiger(P) as the basis, and part of the Tiger(P) production diverted for the vehicle.

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German Sd. Kfz. 251 Ausf. C Half-Track - 4.Panzer Division, Eastern Front, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 251 Ausf. C Half-Track - 4.Panzer Division, Eastern Front, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Sd. Kfz.) 251 half-track had its origins in the same requirement as the smaller and lighter Sd. Kfz. 250. Intended as an armored personnel carrier, the Sd. Kfz. 251 entered service in 1939, and quickly became the standard means of transport for the panzergrenadiers.

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German Sd. Kfz. 184 Ferdinand Heavy Tank Destroyer - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654, Kursk, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 184 Ferdinand Heavy Tank Destroyer - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654, Kursk, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

During the development of the Tiger(P) and Tiger(H), Hitler had agitated for a turret design which would be large enough to mount the 8.8cm KwK L/71 gun. This had not materialized and on September 22nd, 1942, it was decided that the StuG with 200mm frontal armor and the long 8.8cm gun should be immediately designed, with the Tiger(P) as the basis, and part of the Tiger(P) production diverted for the vehicle.

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Soviet T-34/85 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 Soviet T-34/85 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.

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German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 201, 23.Panzer Division, Russia, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 201, 23.Panzer Division, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Just one month prior to the commencement of "Operation Typhoon" (the German assault on Moscow) the Waffenamt was scheduled to begin installing the long-barreled 7.5cm KwK gun on its new Mark IV Ausf G tanks.

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German Sd. Kfz. 124 Wespe 105mm Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 124 Wespe 105mm Tank Destroyer - 5.SS Panzer Division "Wiking," Eastern Front, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Wespe was designed by Alkett early in 1942, and was chosen as the most practical self-propelled mount for the leFH18 cannon, using the PzKpfw II chassis instead of the PzKpfw III or PzKpfw IV. As an interim measure, the Wespe proved a great success and in February 1943, all further PzKpfw II chassis were ordered to be used for its production.

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German Bussing-Nag Type 4500A Cargo Truck - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 German Bussing-Nag Type 4500A Cargo Truck - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Beginning in 1942, the Bussing-NAG type 4500 A replaced the Bussing-NAG type 500 A. The engine bonnet of the type 4500 rose noticeable in direction to the driver's cab. It was horizontal on the type 500.

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German Sd. Kfz. 9 8-Ton Personnel Carrier / Prime Mover - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 9 8-Ton Personnel Carrier / Prime Mover - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Sd.Kfz. 9 (also known as "Famo" ) was a German half-track that saw widespread use in World War II. Its main roles were as a prime mover for very heavy towed guns such as the 24 cm Kanone 3 and as a tank recovery vehicle.

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Polish T-34/76 Medium Tank - 1st Infantry Division, Russia, 1943 Polish T-34/76 Medium Tank - 1st Infantry Division, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.

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Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank Soviet T-34/76 Medium Tank (1:72 Scale)

The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.

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German Steyr 1500/A01 with 2cm FlaK 38 Gun - Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland, Poltawa, Russia, 1943 German Steyr 1500/A01 with 2cm FlaK 38 Gun - Panzer Grenadier Division 'Grossdeutschland', Poltawa, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

In August 1943, Steyr-Werke indicated to the Waffenamt the possibility of using the RSO as a self-propelled carriage for the PaK40 gun. As a result, a Test Series of fifty was ordered on September 30th, 1943, to be ready within one month. Hitler saw a demonstration of this vehicle early in October, and the fifty were sent for troop trials with Army Group South.

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Soviet SU-85M Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Ukraine, 1943 Soviet SU-85M Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Ukraine, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The SU-85 (Samokhodnaya Ustanovka, "self-propelled carriage"), was a Soviet self-propelled anti-tank gun used during World War II, based on the chassis of the T-34 medium tank. Unlike earlier Soviet self-propelled guns which were meant to serve as either assault guns or anti-tank weapons, this vehicle was a dedicated tank destroyer.

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German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 201, 23.Panzer Division, Russia, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. G Medium Tank - Panzer Regiment 201, 23.Panzer Division, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Just one month prior to the commencement of "Operation Typhoon" (the German assault on Moscow) the Waffenamt was scheduled to begin installing the long-barreled 7.5cm KwK gun on its new Mark IV Ausf G tanks.

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German Steyr RSO/01 Crawling Tractor with PaK 40 Anti-Tank Gun - Poland, Eastern Front, 1943 German Steyr RSO/01 Crawling Tractor with PaK 40 Anti-Tank Gun - Poland, Eastern Front, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Raupenschlepper Ost, literally "Crawling Tractor - East", is more commonly abbreviated to RSO. This fully tracked, lightweight vehicle was conceived in response to the poor performance of wheeled and half-tracked vehicles in the mud and snow during the Wehrmacht's first winter on the Soviet Front.

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German Sd. Kfz. 231 8 Wheeled Armored Car - Unidentified Unit, Russia, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 231 8 Wheeled Armored Car - Unidentified Unit, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Leichter Panzerspahwagen (roughly "Light Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle") were a series of light 4 x 4 armored cars produced by Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1944.

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German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - schwere Panzer Abteilung 506, Lukanjowka, Russia, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - schwere Panzer Abteilung 506, Lukanjowka, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Ausf. E mounted a huge 8.8cm KwK36 L/56 cannon and featured two MG34 machine guns for close support against enemy infantry. By war's end, 1,354 vehicles had been produced, some rolling off the Wegmann assembly line.

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German Sd. Kfz. 142 Sturmgeschutz III Ausf. G Assault Gun - StuG.Abt. 911, 11.Panzer Division, Kursk, Russia, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 142 Sturmgeschutz III Ausf. G Assault Gun - StuG.Abt. 911, 11.Panzer Division, Kursk, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Five prototype assault guns were built in 1937, mounting the same short-barreled 75mm L/24 howitzer fitted to the PzKpfw IV in a limited traverse mounting on the modified chassis of the PzKpfw III Ausf. B. Constructed of soft steel, these vehicles of the "O" series were unsuitable for combat but helped towards the development of the initial production version, the StuG III Ausf. A.

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German Horch 108 Type 1A Command Car with 10.5cm le FE 18M Cannon - Artillerie Regiment 119, 11.Panzer Division, Kursk, Russia, 1943 German Horch 108 Type 1A Command Car with 10.5cm le FE 18M Cannon - Artillerie Regiment 119, 11.Panzer Division, Kursk, Russia, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

One of the problems presented by the original policy of purchasing commercially based vehicles for military usage was the vast diversity of makes taken on to the inventory, and the associated maintenance and spares supply problem. Different makes of engine, transmission, chassis, and so on meant that the stock of spares needed was immense.

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German Sd. Kfz. 124 Wespe 105mm Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 124 Wespe 105mm Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Wespe was designed by Alkett early in 1942, and was chosen as the most practical self-propelled mount for the leFH18 cannon, using the PzKpfw II chassis instead of the PzKpfw III or PzKpfw IV. As an interim measure, the Wespe proved a great success and in February 1943, all further PzKpfw II chassis were ordered to be used for its production.

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German Bussing-Nag Type 4500A Cargo Truck - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 German Bussing-Nag Type 4500A Cargo Truck - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Beginning in 1942, the Bussing-NAG type 4500 A replaced the Bussing-NAG type 500 A. The engine bonnet of the type 4500 rose noticeable in direction to the driver's cab. It was horizontal on the type 500.

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German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - 13./Panzer Regiment Grossdeutschland, Neuhammer, Germany, January 1943 German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - 13./Panzer Regiment 'Grossdeutschland', Neuhammer, Germany, January 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The Ausf. E mounted a huge 8.8cm KwK36 L/56 cannon and featured two MG34 machine guns for close support against enemy infantry. By war's end, 1,354 vehicles had been produced, some rolling off the Wegmann assembly line.

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Soviet T-34/76 Mod. 1942 Casting Turret Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Leningrad Front, 1943 Soviet T-34/76 Mod. 1942 Casting Turret Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Leningrad Front, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.

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Soviet T-34/76 Mod. 1942 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 Soviet T-34/76 Mod. 1942 Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

The first generation T-34 medium tank made its debut in combat during the summer of 1941, when the Wehrmacht launched its invasion of the Soviet Union. The T-34 easily outclassed the German PzKpfw III and IV models, thanks to its hard-hitting 76.2mm main gun, thick frontal armor, wide tracks, and overall superior mobility.

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