History is one of the most interesting subjects for many reasons. One example is the fact it tends to repeat itself. Another is the curious case that some people in high places are doomed by ignorance of this "redux" factor. Take German tanks, for instance. First, let’s rehash a little history about the steppes of Russia and Eastern Ukraine and unlearned lessons. Then we may begin to grasp how all world wars were started.
From the 5th of July 1943 until the 23rd of August 1943, the largest tank battle in history took place in what became known as the “Kursk Salient.” This was an area that stretches from the tiny town of Kirov on the Bolva River in the north through Belgorod in Russia, Kharkiv, which Ukraine currently controls, and deep into the Donbas region, the focal point of Ukraine’s new Nazi hostilities since 2014.
In World War 2, Hitler’s Operation Zitadelle (“Citadel”) was carried out over a 700-mile-long front, where the best Germans tried to outgun and outmaneuver the advancing Soviet forces. It became the largest tank battle in history, pitting the most advanced weaponry Nazi Germany had against prepared and dug-in, superior Soviet resistance. The reader will find it interesting that the German high command chose Belgorod as one of the first key objectives. Today, missile and drone strikes on that Southern Russian town are ongoing.
Moving on, numerous parallels exist between the WW2 battle of Kursk and the current Western proxy war being carried out in Ukraine. First, I’d like to deal with tanks. In 1943, Germany manufactured what can be argued as the finest medium and heavy armor of World War II. Though not numerous at Kursk, the deadly Tiger played a big role. Hitler's spanking new Panther (PzKpfw V) and the giant Ferdinand tank destroyer were also deployed, and like Germany's current Leopard, were supposed to blast the Soviets (Russians today) off the battlefield.
Ironically, many of their burning tank hulks littered the countryside once the battle ended (both then and now). The Kursk battle raged for months, with neither side gaining a clear advantage. The Soviets, not unlike their modern-day counterparts on the Russian lines, created massive defensive works to sap the German offensive until a counterattack would gain a decisive effect. And it did once Hitler turned his gaze Westward.
So, when I read the other day about almost all of the highly touted German Leopards sent to Zelensky having been destroyed, this seemed like Deja Vu as a student of history. An article in the Berliner Zeitung cited Alexander Sosnowski, who used data from pro-Ukraine media channels to determine that 41 Leopard-2s, 49 T72 tanks, 31 Bradlys, 7 German Marders, 23 howitzers, and 40 MRAP infantry fighting vehicles have already been turned to scrap by the Russians. In 1943, the great Nazi war machine faced similar despair.
But what other parallels can we draw? What is going to happen next? If you ask most experts, Europe is out of ammo, tanks, and they've been out of guts for some time now. The Germans cannot even crank up and run half their remaining Leopard 2s for lack of repair, Paris is on fire, Germans are ready for any Chancellor but Scholz, Hungary seems about ready to leave the NATO alliance, the dollar may crumble toon, and even Americans grow weary of cheering a losing team. And sadly, dangerously, the U.S. president has put the O.K. stamp on sending cluster munitions to Zelensky. In an off mic bit the other day, Biden answered the question, "Why cluster munitions now," with "We are out of ammo.
We can understand how idiotic Joe Biden’s war on Russia will end if we recollect what happened after the Kursk failure. The Germans had been progressing in fighting through the defensive layers the Soviets had built. The northern front of the pincer bogged down, and the southern one was halted by bitter Soviet resistance. Hitler, who the legendary Heinz Guderian (above) had warned against Operation Citadel, lost heart when decisive victory was not at hand and focused elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Soviets had gained momentum in the ground war and never relinquished it after Kursk. They rolled into Berlin victorious some months later.
As we know, once the Axis began its retreat from Kursk, the Soviets, and their allies from the West marched into the heart of Europe, taking Berlin and destroying the dream of Leibensraum, at least for the moment. Similarly, we find Germany’s best tanks strewn all over the battle lines in the regions reclaimed by Russia. Of course, they are not the Tigers or Panthers of legend. Four Tiger tanks held off tank brigades at Kursk. Now a lightweight drone seemed capable of knocking one out. The same seems true for NATO, a military alliance that has never shown it could beat its way out of a wet paper bag, let alone conquer Russia.
Whoever devised this genius plan to create Operation Barbarossa 2 is not even as clever as a drugged Hitler on his worst day. All that has happened is that the Russians are preparing again. Factories are shifting to creating T-14 Armata tanks instead of luxury Lada 4x4s. Far from the front, the Russians ramp up their military complex as before. For Westerners, we can only hope they do so for defensive rather than offensive operations. As the fires of discontent burn in Paris and other European towns, there is nothing behind the Donetsk River to stop the Russians if they choose to widen their breathing space.
Kursk redux. I guess somebody whispered into Joe Biden's good ear, "You can do better than Hitler, sir."
Another version of this report appeared on New Eastern Outlook
Additional image credit - Joe Biden caricature by DonkeyHotey