TANK BATTLE OF KURSK (Operation Zitadelle; ‘Citadel’): final German summer offensive; attempt to encircle and destroy 2 Russian army groups in the Kursk Salient; Hitler declares, in Order of the Day, that the operation will ‘decide the war’ and that giant new Tiger tanks will smash the Russian defences. Operation Citadel will become the greatest tank battle in military history.
|German||900,000 men (37 division, inc. 11 Panzers)||2,500||10,000||1,830|
|Russian||1,300,000 men (21 armies)||3,600||20,000||2,500|
Eastern Front: Russian forces in Kursk Salient have long been preparing to meet German onslaught thanks to British secret reports from ‘Ultra’.
Pacific – Operation Toenails: US 43rd Infantry Division lands on New Georgia. Battle of Kula Gulf (night July 5-6): 7 Japanese destroyers (1 lost) attempt to land reinforcements on New Georgia; cruiser Helena sunk.
Mediterranean: U-boat U 593 sinks 2 US LSTs and 1 merchant ship off Algerian coast.
Mediterranean: B-17 Fortress bombers and Spitfire fighters engage 100 German and Italian fighters over Gerbini airfield (Sicily); top Italian ‘ace’ Captain Lucchini (26 victories) shot down and killed.