In July 1943, the German Army and Waffen-SS launched an offensive against the Russian salient at Kursk. Although they did not know this at the time, this would be the last major offensive by the German Army, in the East. The plan was for two “pincers” to close on the Russian town of Kursk, one from the North and one from the South. The idea was to surround the Russian Armies that formed the “bulge” in the German lines.
Until recently, this battle has been portrayed as a German defeat, a comprehensive one at that. By many historians, this battle was also know as the “Death Ride of the Panzers”. Citadel North goes a long way to disproving this theory and shows that the Germans did not suffer the catrastorpic losses that many have portrayed.
This book is a hard cover book that measures in at 9” x 12”. The pictures and text are printed on glossy stock paper, and the text is in English. There are 400 pages with 30 pages of four-colour artwork, maps and formation insignia. There are more than 540 photographs. The same author team of Jean Restayn and Nicole Moller who wrote this book, also worked on the first volume in this series, Citadel South. The ISBN for Citadel North is: 0-921991-72X
The book is laid out in the same fashion as the first Volume, the text is kept separate from the photographs, and contains personel recollections as well as a day by day over view of events. Also included, are tables to illustrate the order of battle for the Russian and the German sides and vehicle counts and losses for the Germans. The photos are well presented, with many being correctly identified for the first time. There are, however, several out of focus photos that, according to the authors, are included for “completism”.
The Air Forces are not ignored and there are photos of the air battle as well as the ground forces, and all planes that fought at Kursk are represented in a separate section to the photos on the ground battle. The colour plates included in this book are excellent, and should provide much help to readers who want to use this book as a modelling reference.
This book provides ample evidence of the difficulty of the struggle that faced the Northern elements. It also, surprisingly to me, provides evidence of the failure in the German Command structure. Considering how long Zitedelle was in the planning stages, I found the information about the lack of training to be most surprising and informative.
Obviously, as demonstrated in Citadel North, the Northern wing of the German pincer was going nowhere, but, as envisioned in this book, the Northern wing could have gone over to the defensive and provided the anvil for the southern hammer to pound upon.
Is this book worth the price though, that is what many people will be asking. In my opinion if you have a serious interest in the battles on the Eastern Front, then justifying the cost would not be hard. The personal recollections, the pictures of the PVIV’s, Ferdinands, PN III’s etc, will more than justify the cost. From a modellers point of view it is not so easy to justify the outlay on this title, but if you do then I feel you will be assured of some excellent reference pictures and some very good diorama ideas.
I bought this book, and many other Fedoroiczw titles and with only one exception, have thought them all to be a valuable asset in my research on the Eastern Front. I would like to thank John, at Fedoroiczw, for allowing the use of the sample pictures included in this review.