During the battle near Kursk on August 3-23, 1943 the Belgorod-Khar’khov offensive operation took place. It was effected by the armies of Vorornezhsky (General N.F. Vatutin) and Stepnoy (Colonel General I.S. Konev) fronts under a code name “Commander Rumyantsev”. The Soviet armies were opposed by the 4th tank army, the operative group “Kempf” that belonged to the group of “South” armies (General-Field marshal E. Manshtain) and the aviation of the 4th airfreight. In total from the side of Germans participated about 300 thousand of people, over 3 thousand of ordnance and mortars, about 600 tanks and assault ordnance and over 1000 of planes; from the Soviet side – over 980 thousand of people, over 12 thousand of ordnance and mortars, 2400 tanks and self-propelled mountings and about 1300 of battle planes.
During the operation the Soviet armies made a counterblow at the moment when the enemy was worn-out and did not have enough time to take up a defensive position. In order to shorten the terms of the operation preparation the main blows had been made against a strong, not a weak, part of the enemy’s defense by the powerful shock troops at narrow areas of the front with a density of 230 ordnance and mortars and 70 tanks and self-propelled mountings for 1 km of the front.
On August 23 the armies of Stepnoy, Voronezhsky and South-western fronts freed Khar’kov providing a possibility to free Left-bank Ukraine. As a result of Rumyantsev operation 15 enemy divisions including tank ones were defeated.
For courage and bravery demonstrated during Khar’kov liberation ten shooting divisions of Stepnoy front were named “Khar’kovskie”; two shooting divisions and one air regiment for liberation of Belgorod received the name “Belgorodskie”.
Lit.: Боев М. В боях за Белгород. Воронеж, 1973; Голиков С. Выдающиеся победы Советской армии в Великой Отечественной войне. М., 1954; История военного искусства. Т. 2. М., 1963; Манагаров И. Ф. В сражении за Харьков. Харьков, 1983.
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