The Battle of the Tanks: Kursk, 1943
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The Battle of the Tanks: Kursk, 1943

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  93 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Two million men supported by 6,000 tanks, 35,000 guns, and 5,000 aircraft convened in Kursk--on the border of the Soviet Union--for an epic confrontation, the epitome of "total war." With unprecedented access to the journals and testimonials of the officers, soldiers, political leaders, and citizens who lived through it, Clark gives the definitive account of an epic showdo...more
Hardcover, 468 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published May 3rd 2011)
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'Aussie Rick'
In his book; “The Battle of the Tanks”, the author, Lloyd Clark, has provided the reader with an admirably told and well presented account of the climatic battle of WW2; Kursk, that occurred on the Russian steppe in July 1943.

The author has produced a well-researched, easy to read and easy to follow account of the massive clash between German and Russian forces at Kursk during Operation Zitadelle.

With the use of numerous first-hand accounts, diaries, letters and after-action reports the author...more
First, I'd like to address those who complain that the first third of this book is not about Kursk, but in fact covers the period after WWI for both Germany and Russia, Operation Barbarossa, the Battle of Moscow, and the Battle of Stalingrad. To these people, I'd like to point out that there is a handy little thing called a "table of contents". No one is forcing you to read the bits you don't want to read.

For myself, I liked the backstory. It's backstory that I know fairly well, but it's well st...more
I got this book because I wanted to learn more about the Battle of Kursk, which is one of, if not the, largest tank battle in history. I got a bit more than I bargained for since this book gives a brief overview of the rise to power of Hitler and Stalin, and the first two years of the Eastern Front of WWII. Since I did not know much about either of these, this didn't bother me too much. The author's intent was clearly to provide context on the larger political and military forces that led to thi...more
Battle of the Tanks is a highly accessible narrative account of the Kursk campaign in the summer of 1943 on the Russian front. It is aimed at a general reader (unlike, say, David Glantz’s densely detailed operational histories)

In Battle of the Tanks, Lloyd Clark “seeks to provide the overview that places the battle of Kursk in the context required to do justice to its pivotal position in the course of fighting on the Eastern Front” (p xviii). In other words, this is intended as much more than a...more
This is one of the better operational books of the Second World War that I have read. The battle for Kursk has always been a fascinating one for me because of the size of the armies involved and magnitude of the repercussions to the Eastern Front( there was even a CoD level :) ) For one thing the book focuses on just the one battle, which means the ground is pretty much well tramped on by the time you get through reading about the initial skirmishing. Operational books tend to be very disconcert...more
If you only read 2 books on the Eastern Front in World War II, I'd recommend this book and Michael K. Jones' "Stalingrad." Operation Zitadelle (Citadel) in July 1943 was the world's largest armored clash. Although Stalingrad is often described as a turning point in World War II, it's also been described as the end of the beginning and Kursk (Citadel) has been described as the beginning of the end. From that point on, Germany was largely on the defensive.

The author takes over 200 pages to set the...more
Rob Kitchin
In early July 1943 the largest single battle in history took place around the Kursk salient on the frontline between German and Russian armies. It involved over two and half million men and several thousand tanks and planes and lasted less than three weeks. In that time the Russians suffered 177,847 casualties and lost 1600 armoured vehicles and 460 aircraft; the Germans lost 56,872 casualties and lost 252 tanks and 159 tanks. In a pincer movement from the north and south, the Germans launched a...more
The dry data (eg. the names of each reserve unit called up to buttress a particular sector) was thankfully leavened by the inclusion of the recollections of participants, officers and grunts, in both official reports and unofficial diaries, letters, or interviews. It was the latter that kept the book readable and interesting, and not just an accounting ledger. Although the first third of the book is pre-Kursk, it is important to place the battle in context; actually, I thought the same treatmen...more
Warren-Newport Public Library
To most of us in the western world, WWII is remembered mainly through experiences endured, and stories related by our own people who were eyewitnesses to battles in our sphere. On the other hand, we remember that there also was an eastern front, but remain oblivious to the magnitude of the battles, and loss of life, military and civilian. The author describes the buildup of arms and equipment on the German and Soviet sides during the decade before the war. In retrospect, it’s clear they weren’t...more
Ron Kilik
To most of us in the western world, WWII is remembered mainly through experiences endured, and stories related by our own people who were eyewitnesses to battles in our sphere. On the other hand, we remember that there also was an eastern front, but remain oblivious to the magnitude of the battles, and loss of life, military and civilian. The author describes the buildup of arms and equipment on the German and Soviet sides during the decade before the war. In retrospect, it’s clear they weren’t...more
Anson Pham
The book The Battle of the Tanks: Kursk,1943 was somehow an interesting book for me. What intrigues me how it didn't just show one side but both Germany and Soviets side of the battlefield, and how much hardship it was for a soldier on the front line. Take for example as an acting German Commander for the 4th Panzer Division 33rd Regiment recalls"At the head of my men, I stormed the village, which was already within reach... The fighting in the town lasted about an hour before the last Russian...more
This book is supposed to be about the Battle of Kursk, but so far it is I haven't heard about the battle. I am about a third of the way through the book, but to this point is has been a reiteration of how Hitler and Stalin came to power and the 1st years of the WWII, especially on the Eastern Front, nothing about Kursk. I hoping that I will learn about the battle in the last 2/3rds of the book.
I finished the book today. Reeding it was like the Germans slogging through the Russian defenses, an e...more
David López
It is a very good book because it is not only about facts but also about the feelings and concerns of the average soldier and the leaders. But actually I will not consider this like a reference book about the battle of Kursk because there are so many pages of background and not too much about Kursk as you could have expected for the title.
Pedro Plassen
Anthony Beevor-grade writemanship.
In the first chapters, the author provides an historical context to the battle either through both countries' 21st century history or their leaders psychologic profile which dictated extensively the military strategy. This helps the reader to understand the reason and decisions behind this battle.
When entering the battle itself, the author intermixes the story with tactical information and the accounts from those actually doing the fight, either airmen, tank cr...more
Riley Leggett
The Battle Of The Tanks, written by Lloyd Clark. Me being a world war 2 fanatic, this was defiantly the best book i have probibly read i have ever read. The story was just awesome and very detailed. This book was not just pure action. This book was mostly focused on the people of Germany and how it affected them during the course of ww2 and i love that. Overall this book was a great read, 4 out of 5 stars.
Gregor Macgregor
Thoroughly researched, incredibly detailed, meticulously noted. The book does a good job at zooming in and out between the grand strategic and the tactical. The unit names and locations can become a bit overwhelming, and any book of this kind necessarily lacks enough maps, but a superb book nonetheless.
Adil Ehsan
Perhaps a bit too much of the book is spent on setup and only half of it really s about Kursk. While not in the league of Anthony Beevors works or Max Hastings it's still accessible and a good read about a conflict so large in scale but on which such little has been written.
A very well researched and vivid account of the eastern front in 1943.
Lots of eyewitness account from both sides make this one of the few books out there that deal in detail with the Kursk battles.
Makes clear how the Russians came to win and ended any last hopes for Germany.
A cracking read . Terrific narrative all the way through. This book along with Berlin : the downfall and Stalingrad both by
Anthony Beevor are must reads World War II books on the eastern front.
Excellent research presented in a gripping, fast paced story that is hard to put down. The accounts of the participants are a treasure in themselves.
Not really the book on Kursk I was looking for. This is probably better for the east front beginner. Still, not a bad vacation book.
Interesting story about the biggest tank battle in history. A little dry and not enough picture and map support but well written.
Eugene Peery

Hardly dry. We in the West know so little about the Eastern Front. We all need reminding what an abomination war is.
Walter Straus
Very well researched and written, but it reads too much like a text book to hold my interest.
I still cannot comprehend the scope of this battle. I hope it's something we never see again.
Excellent piece of work. Detailed but a real page turner. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
well done, but I was hoping for more
Alexandre Mariano
Alexandre Mariano marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
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Lloyd Clark is a senior lecturer in war studies at Great Britain's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and he has lectured on military history around the world. His special interests are the Western Front of the First World War, the Mediterranean Front of the Second World War, and airborne warfare.
More about Lloyd Clark...
Anzio: Italy and the Battle for Rome - 1944 Crossing the Rhine: Breaking into Nazi Germany 1944 and 1945-The Greatest Airborne Battles in History Arnhem: Operation "Market Garden", September 1944 World War I Orne Bridgehead

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