The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of offensive operations undertaken
by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, around the city of
Kharkov, between 19 February and 15 March 1943. The German counterstroke led
to the destruction of approximately 52 Soviet divisions and the recapture of
the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod. As the German Sixth Army was encircled
in Stalingrad, the Red Army undertook a series of wider offensives against
the rest of Army Group South. These culminated on 2 January 1943, when the
Soviets launched Operation Star, which between January and early February
broke German defenses and led to the Soviet recapture of Kharkov, Belgorod
and Kursk. Despite the success of the Soviet offensive, it also resulted in
participating Soviet units over-extending themselves. Freed on 2 February by
the surrender of the German Sixth Army, the Red Army's Central Front turned
its attention west and on 25 February expanded its offensive against both
Army Group South and Army Group Center. However, months of continuous
operations had taken a heavy toll on the Soviets and some divisions were
reduced to 1,000–1,500 combat effectives. On 19 February, Field Marshal
Erich von Manstein took the opportunity to launch his Kharkov counterstroke,
using the fresh SS Panzer Corps and two panzer armies. Although the Germans
were also understrength, the Wehrmacht successfully flanked, encircled and
defeated the Red Army's armored spearheads south of Kharkov.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
King Sigismund III Vasa of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was crowned
King of Sweden, succeeding his father John III.
Peninsular War: An outnumbered French force under Édouard Mortier routed and
nearly destroyed the Spanish at the Battle of the Gebora near Badajoz,
English explorer William Smith sighted Livingston Island in the South
Shetland archipelago, a group of Antarctic islands about more than
1,000 kilometres (620 mi) south of the Falkland Islands.
World War II: In the largest attacks mounted by a foreign power against
Australia, more than 240 bombers and fighters of the Imperial Japanese Navy
bombed Darwin, Northern Territory.
The space station Mir of the Soviet space program was launched, establishing
the first long-term research station in space.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
To make reparation, compensation, or amends, for an offence or a crime one
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Now that your rose is in bloom,
A light hits the gloom on the grave,
I've been kissed by a rose on the grave. --Seal (musician)
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