In the summer of 1943 more than 2,000,000 men and 6,000 tanks of the German and Soviet Armies faced each other near the Soviet city of Kursk. The ensuing battle was, to this day, the largest tank battle ever fought in hist... more »ory. It marked the last major offensive operation of German forces in the East and, combined with the Soviet victory at Stalingrad, was the decisive turning point on the Eastern Front. This episode is from the landmark television series Battlefield. Featuring fascinating archive footage from all over the world, the program includes a review of the political and military situation before the battle, portraits of leaders and commanders, an explanation of weapons and tactics, and the story of the battle itself. Vivid graphics place the battle into the context of the war as a whole.« less
"The original series of "Battlefield" dealing with World War II, in addition to "Battlefield Vietnam" are probably the finest film documentaries on these wars ever made. They only deal with the large, strategic view of the war, not involving personal interviews or descriptions of small scale engagements. The idea is to view the major battles of the war as they were seen by the top decision makers. Emphasis is placed on the context of the battle being examined within the entire framework of the war. Thus, they are designed for an audience that has more than just a superficial interest in the subject.
Some years after the original Battlefield series on the Second World War was made, a new series was done, focusing on other campaigns. Unfortunately, it seems they were done on a shoestring because although the general scheme of the series is maintained, it is of generally lower quality. The maps look much more amateurish and there are numerous mispellings present. However, this episode on the epic Battle of Kursk is up to the standards of the originals and it gives a very good view of this battle. As I stated above, it shows how this engagement fits in with the battles that came both before and after, giving its context within the entire Second World War, something other documentaries fail to give."
Kevin Yankowsky | Houston, Texas | 08/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Battle of Kursk is one of the only later season episodes of the Battlefield Series that completely lives up to the high standards of the original episodes. The program's organization matches the logical approach used by the first season. The level of detail regarding the battle itself is impressive. Overall, one of my favorite episodes in what is definitely my favorite World War Two series."
Comprehensive (But smelly plastic case)
Roberto Vitale | Orlando, FL USA | 05/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Far superior coverage of this battle than any other source material I know of. (Like "The World At War" ) Uses not commonly seen B&W footage of acceptable quality. It covers all aspects of the battle's preparation and development. Such as a rundown on the generals and the armament. Most importantly, it keeps referring to the strategic implications of each main event during the preparation and development of the battle. For instance; it talks about "Lucy" the British intelligence operation that supported this battle. And how the ally invasion of Sicily influenced Hitler's decision to terminate operation "Citadel". Unfortunately, the plastic case has a disgusting smell I have noted in other cheap productions. I had to throw it out immediately! This is why I gave it a 4-stars, instead of a 5-stars. "
James Koch | GERMANY | 11/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you ask most people what the largest land battle in human history was they most likely are to give you a blank stare or guess wrongly with some ancient battle in the past or mention one of the battles from WW1.Suprisingly to some,the largest battle in history was fought in 1943 in Russia at Kursk and this dvd covers the week battle in great detail and footage.This battle is of particulat interest to me as my family fought at Kursk for Germany so to watch it it is almost painful to think of what my grandfather must have experienced trying to push through 7 lines of Russian defenses during the battle.This dvd really tells the story rather well of the largest land battle in history and the most important battle of WW2.Kursk was not a important battle for the chance of a axis victory but the failure of victory at kursk guranteed the end of the Third Reich.After viewing Kursk one is left with such musings not unlike the thought of "What if General Lee had listened to Longstreet about not fighting at Gettysburg"...such thoughts of alternative histories on the Eastern front make interesting musings as Kursk was truly the Gettysburg of the Third Reich."
Useful Background, Documentary Footage
Daniel Raphael | 09/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The task of a documentary, of course, is less to entertain than to provide understanding. The significance--and outcome--of the battle are stated in the DVD's first moments, so there is no surprise or drama. Fully two-thirds of this DVD is constituted of background to the actual battle. Originally produced as a TV program, there is some repetition in the footage (almost all of which is in black and white). There are some cartoon-style diagrams in color that portray strategic designs, weapons, and so forth.
As useful as the history itself, is the showing of just what *waste* war is. The tremendous effort, resources, and lives devoted to--and lost in--this event, present a somber message to the viewer.