Talk:Third Battle of Kharkov

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Former featured article Third Battle of Kharkov is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on February 19, 2009.
Archive 1 (14 June 2006 - 19 May 2008)
Source for/Verification of Casualty figures etc · To an editor · First sentence · Third Battle of Kharkov · Casualties and strength

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Third Battle of Kharkov/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reference to number USSR Divisions is misleading and should be deleted.

A full strength WW2 German-USA-UK division was approx. 20000.

USSR divisions were smaller, and the USSR did not lose anywhere near 52 divisions worth of troops by other armies' standards in the operation.

Best to give USSR casualty numbers without mentioning the term "division".

````NCDane —Preceding unsigned comment added by NCDane (talkcontribs) 04:27, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

As the article points out, many of the Soviet divisions were severely depleted, so if they were at an average strength of only 1500 to 2000 then the figure would seem reasonable. I do take your point about the relative full strength of Soviet divisions, but saying something like '52 division headquarters were destroyed' would seem rather terse.1812ahill (talk) 18:02, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

GA Review - On Hold[edit]

This is my first GA Review in a while, so please bear with me! Here are my comments:

1. (a) Well written: Excellent, apart from a few bits and bobs:

  1. 'Although the Germans too were understrength' - 'Also' understrength, instead?
  2. 'On 19 February, Erich von Manstein took the opportunity to launch his Kharkov counterstroke, using the fresh SS Panzer Corps and two panzer armies.' - Add his rank please

(b) it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, jargon, words to avoid, fiction, and list incorporation.: Pass!

2 Factually accurate and verifiable:

(a) it provides references to all sources of information, and at minimum contains a section dedicated to the attribution of those sources in accordance with the guide to layout: Pass (b) at minimum, it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons; Nearly there, a few comments:

  1. 'Throughout 1942 German casualties totaled around 1.9 million personnel,[8] and by the start of 1943 the Wehrmacht was around 470,000 men below full strength, on the Eastern Front.[9] For example, by 23 January only 495 German tanks remained combat ready along the entire length of the German-Soviet front, most of which were older designs such as the Panzer IV and Panzer III.[10] Emboldened by their victory at Stalingrad, the Red Army launched an offensive towards the Donets river, west of the Don,[11] in an effort to destroy German forces in the area.[12]' - Could we have comparative numbers for the personnel and tanks? IE, what are these proportions of - 485 tanks out of how many?
  2. 'The success of Manstein's counterattack stunned Stavka into stopping Rokossovsky's offensive.' - 'Stunned' seems a little too OR - can it be changed?

(c) it contains no original research: Pass!

3 Broad in its coverage:

(a) it addresses the main aspects of the topic: Pass! (b) it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail: Pass!

4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias: Pass!

5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day-to-day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute: Pass!

6. Illustrated, if possible, by images: Two Image problems:

(a) images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content:

  1. Image:Ju_87D_Stukas_over_Russia.jpg has a deprecated image tag
  2. Image:Kharkov_Freedom_Square.jpg needs a new tag

(b) images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions: Pass!

So, look at the images, look at some of the prose, and then I think this can be passed! Skinny87 (talk) 19:39, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Alright, all of it should be done except for the comparative value of tanks on the Eastern Front. I don't believe I have a source which mentions what the German Army should have had in terms of mechanization at full strength (as you can tell, information on Germany's order of battle is hard to come by; a lot of German orders of battles were taken by the Soviets and have not been released to the public or given back to this day), but I can keep looking. The image tags have been changed to PD-author tags. JonCatalán(Talk) 22:13, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I put a comparison to how many tanks the Germans fielded in June 1941. JonCatalán(Talk) 22:27, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Everything is done, except for the Freedom Square image. There doesn't seem to be enough information on the tag, and it's been tagged by a bot for deletion unless the info is provided. I'm not sure if that's specifically a GA problem, but maybe you could replace it with another image? Skinny87 (talk) 06:34, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Replaced. JonCatalán(Talk) 14:13, 15 October 2008 (UTC)


Good article, but the narithmetic confuses me. It is said that SS Panzer Corps had a strength of 20,000 and near the end casualty figures are given. It is said that SSPanzer Corps lost 44% of it's strength. That is about 8,800, but the toitals for officers and elisted men onloy add up to about 3500. What about the other 5300? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:44, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

... that the 1943 German Donbas Operations led to the destruction of 52 Soviet divisions, and the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod from the Red Army? added to this page by —Ed 17 for President Vote for Ed 15:01, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Totenkopf-Kursk-01.jpg[edit]

The image Image:Totenkopf-Kursk-01.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --16:21, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Image changed. JonCatalán(Talk) 16:40, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Aftermath: Red Army losses[edit]

From the text: "The German Donets Campaign cost the Red Army fifty-two divisions,[85] including around 70,000–80,000 personnel losses. Of these troops lost, an estimated 45,200 were killed or went missing, while another 41,200 were wounded." Adding estimated KIA/MIA and wounded troops yields over 86,000 -- should the first sentence be changed to read "...including around 80,000-90,000 personnel losses."? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:22, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

No because the source cited claims 70,000, and the 80,000 was included to take into consideration the claim in the following sentence. I could change "around" to "over", though. JonCatalán(Talk) 15:59, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
If possible it'd be nice if a Soviet casualty or fatality number were in the intro where it says 52 Soviet divisions (!) were destroyed, for readers unfamiliar with the term "division". Anyone? Tempshill (talk) 01:42, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Reverse chronological order?[edit]

2 minor criticisms - the 70,000-80,000 immediately above - it's jarring when things don't add up like that. And the use of the word "hassled" seems much too informal in this context. "Distracted" might not be the right term, but I think it would be better

1 major criticism in lede "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," This looks like reverse chronological order. I'm sure if I tried harder I could figure out what's happening and why it's put in reverse order (or maybe it should be January 25?) - but I don't think the reader should have to work so hard. Smallbones (talk) 22:22, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

The problem is that Soviet and German operations tended to unfold upon themselves simultaneously... unplanned. So, although the 25 February is after 19 February, one corresponds to the Red Army while the other corresponds to the Wehrmacht. I think that putting them in chronological order would make it more confusing (since it would switch back and forth between what the Germans and Soviets were doing), and would give the false impression that one took place because of the other. JonCatalán(Talk) 05:30, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Kharkov or Kharkiv?[edit]

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 (Kharkiv), between 19 February and 15 March 1943.

The intro says "Kharkov (Kharkiv)" without explanation. I find this weird. The link shows the city is currently called "Kharkiv" but the word "Kharkov" is in a couple of places there also. In order to clarify, it'd be nice if it said "Kharkov (later Kharkiv)" or "Kharkov (also Kharkiv)". Does anyone know whence came name #2? Tempshill (talk) 01:44, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Kharkiv is the Ukrainain name and Kharkov the Russian version. Both were in use at the time but in the 1940s the Russian version was the most common one, both in Soviet Union and Germany. As you can see at the Kharkiv article the name is often discussed. But in this article I think Kharkov should be used just like we talk about the battle of Stalingrad and not Volgograd. Närking (talk) 08:13, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
I would think it would be appropriate to use "Kharkiv" in the information box, but the body of the article should use "Kharkov," as that was by far the most common name throughout the Soviet era. A good parallel is the article on the Battle of Austerlitz, near a town which was always called Slavkov u Brna by the native Czech population, but was then known to the world by its German name of Austerlitz. We call the place Slavkov today, but when referring to the context of the battle there, we refer to Austerlitz. Same goes for "Stalingrad," as Narking said. Jsc1973 (talk) 12:48, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Sounds sensible to me. ChoraPete (talk) 07:59, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Photo PD?[edit]

File:Ger Inf Russia 1941 HDSN9902655.JPEG
We spent hours posing for this shot. Are we PD or not?

File:Ger Inf Russia 1941 HDSN9902655.JPEG is tagged for deletion at the Commons with a note saying it's presumably PD in the US but isn't in Germany, and the photo should be moved to en in preparation for moving to the front page. Is it true this photo is considered PD in the US? Were Nazi records like this placed in the public domain somehow when they were taken by the US military? Tempshill (talk) 05:08, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Hi. For both of these questions, the primary contributor, User:Catalan is on a wiki-break for most of February. I'd suggest leaving any comments on his talk-page, where he's most likely to see them! Skinny87 (talk) 08:05, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

52 Soviet divisions[edit]

According to our article on Division (military), a division is 10,000-30,000 men. This article is dealing with the death/capture of far fewer than the minimum of 520,000. Is the mistake there or here, or in my reading of it? --Dweller (talk) 13:15, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Ah, I see that "some divisions were reduced to 1,000–1,500 combat effective soldiers". That makes an utter nonsense of the "52 Divisions" fact - it's a good example of where something is true but nonetheless misleading. I suggest that the 52 Divisions and the size of the 52 are bracketed together, or the 52 Divisions claim is removed from the Lead and retained only in the article where it can be better explained. --Dweller (talk) 13:19, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
My understanding was that 52 Soviet divisions were rendered combat ineffective (is that correct term?), which doesn't necessarily mean that all of their members were killed, wounded, captured, or missing. –Black Falcon (Talk) 20:47, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Hitler's two options[edit]

Third Battle of Kharkov#Aftermath: "Following the German success at Kharkov, Hitler was presented with two options."

This is a minor point, but perhaps worth raising. Did someone (a general, an advisor, the General Staff?) present to Hitler these two options during an actual meeting or communication or does the sentence just use the passive voice to convey that Hitler had two options. If it's the former, does the source indicate who did it? A very informative article, by the way, and a pleasure to read. Thank you, –Black Falcon (Talk) 21:03, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

I know that the majority of the German High Command favoured an encirclement of the Kursk salient - an unusual occasion where both Hitler and his generals were in full agreement with one another. Of course, the fact that the German military liked such an operation made it even plainly obvious to the Soviet command that it was on the cards, before even being corroborated by the lucy spy ring or defectors. --AnAbsolutelyOriginalUsername42 (talk) 20:12, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

casualties wrong?[edit]

70.000 seems to be to low. Woronesch-Charkow-Offensive (13.01.1943 - 03.03.1943) = 153.000 casualties + Charkow-Defensive (04.03.1943 - 25.03.1943) 86.469 . numbers from krivosheev. the battle box says 19 Feb - 15 March so the casualties MUST be higher. i change to 80-90.000 --HROThomas (talk) 21:21, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Back hand manoeuvre[edit]

Am surprised to see this term not used anywhere, this was the term von Manstien used for these battles and the overall offensive was it not?

Regards —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Article need major work to stay FA[edit]

This article needs a lot of work to remain a FA. Per WP:FACR a FA must be:


  • (a) well-written: ; No problems with the style that I can see
  • (b) comprehensive::
    • Major work needed. For an article that is a direct link on the Eastern Front template, it does not much describe what exactly happened between Stalingrad and Kharkov. Neither does it include any detail on the wider Soviet Kharkov Offensive, which was not limited to the area surrounding Kharkov, but included all the fighting from January 13, 1943. It does show how this was a German strategic victory (which it was, notably the last strategic victory on the Eastern Front).
    • In addition there is no good description of the area, and directions of attacks are not explaining a lot. A map or two would help.
  • (c) well-researched: Major work needed, see WP:MILMOS#SOURCES. References to Manstein's nad Mellentin's memoirs are not the sources that should be used in a FA. Clark, Cooper and Sykes are very outdated books and also inappropriate. Glantz is a good, but he has written books on the subject more recently (as recently as 2009), so using 15-19 year old books is not the best either.
  • (d) neutral: The use of poor sources makes the article include nonsense about destroying 52 Soviet divisions, back hand maneuvers and the like, and overstating the importance and genius of Manstein.
  • (e) stable: No isssues here

2. It follows the style guidelines: No problems here.

3. Media. No Problems with licensing, but the lack of any map or maps of the battle is making it difficult to follow.

4.Length. No major issues here.

I intend to put this article for WP:FAR in the next couple of weeks, but hope we can get as many issues resolved as possible before that.D2306 (talk) 23:48, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

I totally agree. No offence to those that did well to get it to FA in the first place, but the above does challange FA status. May I also add the complete lack of discussion on the massive air battles that took place. I could help should anyone choose to revamp this article. Dapi89 (talk) 12:33, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Please note I have put this on the the Milhist talk page. The replies so far agree with concerns about sources.D2306 (talk) 17:31, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Comparison of forces[edit]

"Between 13 January and 3 April 1943, an estimated 500,000 Red Army soldiers took part in what was known as the Voronezh–Kharkov Offensive.[1] In all, an estimated 6,100,000 Soviet soldiers were committed to the area, with another 659,000 out of action with wounds. In comparison, the Germans could account for 2,200,000 personnel on the Eastern Front, with another 100,000 deployed in Norway."

  • "500,000 Red Army soldiers took part in what was known as the Voronezh–Kharkov Offensive" out of a total of "6,100,000 Soviet soldiers were committed to the area"... area is wrong: it must be the entire Eastern Front.
  • "In comparison, the Germans could account for 2,200,000 personnel on the Eastern Front, with another 100,000 deployed in Norway." What has Norway to do with this? That is thousands of kilometers away from Kharkov and 2,2 million is way to low a figure, because after adding 800.000 men until
  • "May 1943, when the German armed forces were at their highest strength since the beginning of the war, with 9.5 million personnel", but then the German Army only deployed 25% of its strength in the east... out of around 9 million soldiers the Wehrmacht deployed around 5-6 million in the East.

in short: all the numbers in this sentence seem arbitrary and wrong. Can someone check them and correct them? If not I will remove the sentence in question. noclador (talk) 17:54, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

a) The 100000 in Norway are relevant to the Eastern Front as they represent General Dietls units facing the Soviets near Murmansk (mainly defending the Petsamo nickel mines). b) The '9 million' figure are not all soldiers. This is simply the total number of personnel in the Wehrmacht. The 2.2 million would represent those attached to front-line units, of which the number that are combat soldiers would be even lower. I have seen figures that show (the relatively highly efficient) German divisions managing to achieve 44% of personnel as combat soldiers, compared to 23% in the case of British divisions. The rest of personnel would presumably be involved in logistics, signals, medics etc. Also the 5-6 million figure you list would probably include personnel operating in rear areas (anti-partisan units/einsatz gruppen(RSHA)(?), railway personnel, drivers, maintanance and guard units and may or may not include the Reich Arbeits Dienst, Organisation Todt, etc. etc. that is where the confusion arises. Also, the Baltic states were under a German civil administration at the time which may further contribute to the confusion of numbers.1812ahill (talk) 17:31, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

But same principle is valid for Red Army they also have gross number of soldiers and than nett number which represent only combat why purposely put "Gross" soviet numbers and compare it to "Nett" German one? Creation of mith? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:35, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Numbers in infobox?[edit]

70,000 Russian soldiers? 11,500 casualties? Something is definitely wrong here... --Paracel63 (talk) 19:55, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Sorry – now I see that Axis is to the right and Soviet to the left. This surprised me.--Paracel63 (talk) 20:16, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Ah..ok! 70,000 Axis soldiers??? Only 2nd SS Corp with 3 full panzergrenadire division had near that number.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:37, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Nature of Hausser's disobedience?[edit]

In the article on Paul Hausser it states that he defied Hitler's order to evacuate the city, in the article on the battle however it sounds like he disobeyed Manstein's order not to attack the city directly (but to encircle it).Historian932 (talk) 19:49, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

He did both. He ordered a retreat from Kharkov on 15 February, disobeying an order from Hitler, an order from Manstein and an order from Hubert Lanz to defend the city. On 10 and 11 March Hausser ignored orders by Manstein and Hermann Hoth to encircle the city and instead attacked Kharkov directly. So in total he ignored like a dozen orders and did as he liked. noclador (talk) 20:04, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Kharkov / Kharkiv[edit]

So, are we calling it Kharkov or Kharkiv? The latter may be its official name today, but at the time I think it was known to both sides as Kharkov (Russian: Харьков; German phonetic spelling: Charkow). Sca (talk) 16:12, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

The spelling of the city name here was boldly changed on -7- 21 February with the edit summary “to reflect common English usage & for consistency within this article and with the one on Kharkiv”. I have reverted these changes, as the rationale is wholly incorrect.
First, it is highly debateable that this city's name in English is is “Kharkiv” (and here are three pages of debate on that very subject). If NYT has 365 articles which use “Kharkiv” as the spelling, it has 2,370 that use “Kharkov”; and while the BBC has 222 articles that use “Kharkiv”, most of them (146) are sports pages that re actually talking about the city’s football team. Also, whatever the common English name for the place is now, it was indisputably “Kharkov” before 1990.
Second, the result of the edits are not in any way consistent as required by WP:CONSISTENCY: the spelling in the text was changed to “Kharkiv” while the article title and the section headings were all using “Kharkov”.
Third, the guidelines actually linked to in the consistency claim is WP:NC(Geographical names), which says pretty clearly “if…the article deals only with a place in a period when it held a different name, the widely accepted historical English name should be used”. As this article is, in fact, about an occurrence in 1943, the spelling we should use is the one used in English then, and the one used in all the sources given (ie. “Kharkov”). Xyl 54 (talk) 23:38, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Addendum: The same changes were made for the articles on the First and Second Battles of Kharkov, with the same rationale: So I have reverted them for the same reasons.
Also, there was a discussion (now deleted) about this at the "On This Day" page; the content is here. Xyl 54 (talk) 00:21, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Sorry for the late response.... I had some computer problems... It seems that I incorrectly interpreted Wikipedia rules and I am sorry for doing that. Although the article did not follow Wiki standards before my edits also. Thanks for these edits; because of them the Battle of Kharkov articles are finally correct (on the "Kharkov Vs. Kharkiv" issue at least). — Yulia Romero • Talk to me! 17:57, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

PS It is not highly debateable that this city's name in current common English is is “Kharkiv”. As the New York Times 365 articles which use “Kharkiv” are about current Ukraine and the 2,370 that use “Kharkov” are all about WWII; and the BBC has used "Kharkiv" 64 times in its news items against 12 for “Kharkov”. — Yulia Romero • Talk to me! 19:03, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

The issue of the Russian tanks at Zaporizhia when Hitler was leaving . . .[edit]

This always struck me as odd, and I suspect it's historically inaccurate.

The first time I encountered this was in Irving's HItler's War and I see it's repeated in this article's cite to a separate work.

I think Irving is confusing the fact that Popov's tanks got to within 20 miles of the Donetz in mid-February, not 20 miles to Manstein.

Moscow to Stalingrad Decision in the East mentions the former but nothing about the latter.

Furthermore, the Lage Ost situation maps for February and March 1943 show no Soviet formations within 80 miles of Manstein. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:28, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

How to nominate this page ?[edit]

I've just read this page and found it to be interesting, according to the truth (such as I've read and watched TV-documentaries about) and NPOV, etc. And I have not contributed one single byte to its contence myself. But I think this article by the very least should get the green "good page". Perhaps even feutered, but I would very much like to nominate this page as "good" - but how do I progress from here ? I've never nominated any page before. Boeing720 (talk) 06:35, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for the interest to the topic. Steps to nominate an article are as follows:
  1. Wikipedia:Peer review
  2. Wikipedia:Good article nominations
As the main contributor to the Russian version of the article I will be interested to follow the discussion as well as to see the result. Сергей Олегович (talk) 15:35, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Manstein as source[edit]

Per the above (Article need major work to stay FA), I will edit the article to address some of the concerns around use of Manstein's Lost Victories

Quoting from D2306:

Article need major work to stay FA
(c) well-researched: Major work needed, see WP:MILMOS#SOURCES. References to Manstein's and Mellentin's memoirs are not the sources that should be used in a FA. Clark, Cooper and Sykes are very outdated books and also inappropriate. Glantz is a good, but he has written books on the subject more recently (as recently as 2009), so using 15-19 year old books is not the best either.
(d) neutral: The use of poor sources makes the article include nonsense about destroying 52 Soviet divisions, back hand maneuvers and the like, and overstating the importance and genius of Manstein.

--K.e.coffman (talk) 03:47, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

52 divisions[edit]

I see that this has been discussed several times before. Does anybody have access to the source and can verify what it says? 52 divisions is about half of what Army Group Center lost in the summer of 1944, so it conjures an image of a catastrophe, rather than a tactical failure from an overextended Red Army at the tail end of a long, bruising Stalingrad campaign.

In Wehrmacht Retreats, Citino mentions one army destroyed and two more badly mauled. In Glantz & House When Titans clashed, a Soviet "army" at the end of 1942 is described as having half a dozen divisions. So it's about 18 (in my calculations). The number of casualties also do not amount to a "catastrophe" (by Eastern Front standards).

Unless this source can be double checked (i.e. what time it covers, etc), I suggest removing his reference from the article. Please let me know if there are any objections. K.e.coffman (talk) 04:54, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

That's nonsense. 50 divisions would have been more than 500,000 casualties. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dona Deda (talkcontribs) 19:52, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Since there's one up vote, and not down votes, I will go ahead and remove this reference. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:05, 4 February 2016 (UTC)