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Drastic reversal in the war

Since mid-November 1942 the Soviet Army was in a very difficult position. Along the 6200 km long front the Soviet armed forces were confronted with 258 divisions and 16 brigades of fascist bloc in manpower of over 6,200,000, which constituted 71% of all the adversary's forces. The British-American allies hadn't yet opened the Second Front in Western Europe. That gave an opportunity to add 80 divisions to the against-Russia group of Armies. Soviet acting army numbered 7,000,000 of manpower at that moment; it had been created some dominance in manpower and the means. General Staff defined capture of strategic initiative and creation a reversal in the war as main targets of the period.

During 1942-1943 winter it was planned to put to rout the adversary's troops on the south wing of the Soviet-German front and simultaneously to improve considerably the strategic situation in Moscow and Leningrad.

At the end of the Volga battle, by early February 1943, units of Donskoy Front terminated the enemy's troops, being in the ring. 91,000 warriors were taken prisoners, including 2500 officers and 24 generals with commander-in-chief of the 6-th German Army general F. Paulus. During 6.5 months of Stalingrad Battle Germany and the allies lost up to 1,500,000 people; strategic initiative moved to the Soviet Army completely. It was the beginning of drastic reversal in the World War II. Anti-Hitler coalition strengthened.

On the Caucuses direction Soviet troops in course of offensive operations moved 500-600 km. forward by the end of 1943 summer, and liberated the bigger part of the region. In 1943 January Leningrad blockade was run.

In course of 1942/43 winter campaign Soviet Army moved 600-700 km westward, having liberated 480 square kilometres. Over 100 German divisions were made a good execution of, that constituted 40% of all German troops fighting against the USSR. To refresh the losses, Vermaht had to redeploy over 34 divisions to the Eastern Front. Obviously, the situation in Italy and in North Africa became easier for the British and Americans.

In 1943 spring a strategic truce descend upon Soviet-German front. The opposing sides were getting ready for the tobe summer-autumn campaign. On the list of Russian Army there appeared (within international aid borders) Checkoslovakian battalion, in May 1943 - the Firs Polish Division named after T. Kostyushko, French aviation squadron (later - regiment) "Normandia". Romanian and Yugoslavian units.

In 1943 Germany and its satellites carried out a total mobilisation, and simultaneously skyrocketed war products output. By early 1943 July the adversary had had over 5,300,000 of manpower at his disposal only on the Eastern front. The balance of power was to the advantage of Russians: in manpower - 1.2 as much; on cannons and minethrowers - 1.9; on tanks - 1.7; on aircrafts - 3.4 as much.

Vermaht was planning to carry out a large-scale strategic offensive operation in summer of 1943 in region of Kursk city (the so-called "Citadel" operation), with the objective to rout Soviet troops and to strike a blow at Southwest Front's rearward ("Panther" operation), and hopefully to create a threat for Moscow again.

The Soviet Army HQ accepted a plan of deliberate defence on the Kursk bulge.

During the strategic truce period in Kuban region in spring of 1943 an aviation battle was on for strategic dominance in the air. Soviet Air Force crippled the enemy seriously, having destroyed 1100 adversary's airplanes.

During fights in Kursk Bulge the enemy lost over half a million people, and a great deal of equipment. The victory in Kursk region was actually the beginning of a drastic crisis in the war, it meant that Vermaht's war policy was no longer the offensive one. Soviet Army maintained the strategic initiative in their hands up to the end of the war. After the crushing defeat that German Army had suffered in Kursk Bulge German Army leadership tried to convert the war into position forms, putting much attention to the Dnepr river forcing.

Having thrown the enemy as far as 200-300 km away from Moscow, Soviet troops began to liberate Belorussia. Since November 1942 through December 1943 Soviet Army moved forward westward as far as 500-1300 km, having liberated about half of the occupied territory. 218 German divisions suffered complete rout. Partisan units (up to 250,000 people) made great harm for the enemy at that time as well.

The achieved by the USSR turningpoint in the area of single economic combat with Germany & Co became the material fundament for the turningpoint in the field battles.

The USSR's victories in grandiose fightings on the Volga river and in Kusk region in 1943 played an important role for activating British-American actions. The successes enabled among other things to change drastically the situation in North Africa. The extrusion of German troops from Africa gave British-American Forces a possibility to start preparations for penetration into Italy. At that very time when Russian troops fought in Kursk region, Britain and America successfully carried out the well-known descent operation into Sicily (named "Khaski"), and a number of others.

On 25 July 1943 Mussolini's government was unseated, and the head of the new one P. Badolyo signed a Truce with Western allies. On 13 October Italy declared war to Germany. Decomposition of the fascist bloc began.

Moscow summit of Foreign ministers of the three countries (October 1943) was an important stage in preparation of Teheran Conference with participation of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt (October 28 - December 1, 1943). The main question there was the date of the Second Front opening. Other questions were: about partisans in Yugoslavia, about relations with Turkey, about the post-war world figuration.

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