What If Stalin and Hitler Had Called a Truce During World War II?
Warfare History Network
Could it have happened?
Key point: Several things would have had to have happened at the same time in order for Berlin and Moscow to come to a separate peace.
At daybreak on Monday, July 12, 1943, SS Sturmbannführer Christian Bachmann, the panzer group commander of the 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Division, ordered his unit to cross the Psel River and attack. The Germans drove north toward the east-west road connecting the towns of Karteschewka and Prokhorokva.
After fighting through several Soviet defensive positions and advancing nearly five miles, the panzer group reached the road around midnight. The plan for the next day was to attack the rear of the Soviet forces defending the town of Prokhorokva, just three miles to the east. The Soviets would either be encircled or forced to retreat, and the Germans would break through one of the last major defensive belts protecting the Russian town of Kursk, the objective of Operation Citadel, the effort to encircle a large number of Red Army troops that occupied a salient, or bulge, deep in the German front line.
Success would mean the death or surrender of thousands of Soviet soldiers, and Operation Citadel had reached a critical stage. Would one last successful German attack toward Prokhorokva unhinge the extensive Soviet defenses?
The attack toward the Karteschewka-Prokhorokva road had cost Bachmann’s panzer group 45 tanks destroyed or damaged, nearly 50 percent of its total strength. Coupled with sheer exhaustion, mounting personnel losses, and the arrival of massive Soviet reinforcements, the panzer group could go no farther. In fact, all the German forces participating in the offensive were in the same situation. Operation Citadel had been stopped. The Karteschewka-Prokhorokva road was the closest the German’s got to Kursk, and it was also the last gasp of the last major German summer offensive on the Russian Front in World War II.
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