SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Battle of Kursk

The Battle of Kursk was a Second World War engagement between German and Soviet forces on the Eastern Front near Kursk in the Soviet Union, during July and August 1943. The battle began with the launch of the German offensive Operation Citadel, on 5 July, which had the objective of pinching off the Kursk salient with attacks on the base of the salient from north and south simultaneously. After the German offensive stalled on the northern side of the salient, on 12 July the Soviets commenced their Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Kutuzov against the rear of the German forces in the northern side. On the southern side, the Soviets launched powerful counterattacks the same day, one of which led to a large armoured clash, the Battle of Prokhorovka. On 3 August, the Soviets began the second phase of the Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev against the German forces in the southern side of the Kursk salient; the battle was the final strategic offensive that the Germans were able to launch on the Eastern Front.

Because the Allied invasion of Sicily began during the battle, Adolf Hitler was forced to have troops training in France diverted to meet the Allied threat in the Mediterranean, rather than use them as a strategic reserve for the Eastern Front. Hitler canceled the offensive at Kursk in part to divert forces to Italy. Germany's extensive losses of men and tanks ensured that the victorious Soviet Red Army enjoyed the strategic initiative for the remainder of the war; the Germans hoped to weaken the Soviet offensive potential for the summer of 1943 by cutting off the forces that they anticipated would be in the Kursk salient. The Kursk salient or bulge was 250 kilometres long from north to south and 160 kilometres from east to west; the plan envisioned an envelopment by a pair of pincers breaking through the northern and southern flanks of the salient. Hitler believed that a victory here would reassert German strength and improve his prestige with his allies, whom he thought were considering withdrawing from the war.

It was hoped that large numbers of Soviet prisoners would be captured to be used as slave labour in the German armaments industry. The Soviet government had foreknowledge of the German intentions, provided in part by the British intelligence service and Tunny intercepts. Aware months in advance that the attack would fall on the neck of the Kursk salient, the Soviets built a defence in depth designed to wear down the German armoured spearhead; the Germans delayed the offensive while they tried to build up their forces and waited for new weapons the new Panther tank but larger numbers of the Tiger heavy tank. This gave the Red Army time to construct a series of deep defensive belts; the defensive preparations included minefields, artillery fire zones and anti-tank strong points, 300 km deep. Soviet tanks were moved out of the salient to form a large reserve force for counter-offensives; the Battle of Kursk was the first time in the Second World War that a German strategic offensive was halted before it could break through enemy defences and penetrate to its strategic depths.

The maximum depth of the German advance was 8–12 kilometres in the north and 35 kilometres in the south. Though the Red Army had succeeded in winter offensives their counter-offensives after the German attack at Kursk were their first successful summer offensives of the war; as the Battle of Stalingrad ground to its conclusion, the Red Army moved to a general offensive in the south, in Operation Little Saturn. By January 1943, a 160 to 300 km wide gap had opened between Army Group B and Army Group Don, the advancing Soviet armies threatened to cut off all German forces south of the Don River, including Army Group A operating in the Caucasus. Army Group Center came under significant pressure as well. Kursk was retaken by the Soviets on 8 February 1943, Rostov on 14 February; the Soviet Bryansk and newly created Central Fronts prepared for an offensive which envisioned the encirclement of Army Group Centre between Bryansk and Smolensk. By February 1943 the southern sector of the German front was in strategic crisis.

Since December 1942 Field Marshal Erich von Manstein had been requesting "unrestricted operational freedom" to allow him to use his forces in a fluid manner. On 6 February 1943, Manstein met with Hitler at the headquarters in Rastenburg to discuss the proposals he had sent, he received an approval from Hitler for a counteroffensive against the Soviet forces advancing in the Donbass region. On 12 February 1943, the remaining German forces were reorganised. To the south, Army Group Don was placed under Manstein's command. Directly to the north, Army Group B was dissolved, with its forces and areas of responsibility divided between Army Group South and Army Group Centre. Manstein inherited responsibility for the massive breach in the German lines. On 18 February, Hitler arrived at Army Group South headquarters at Zaporizhia just hours before the Soviets liberated Kharkov, had to be hastily evacuated on the 19th. Once given freedom of action, Manstein intended to utilise his forces to make a series of counterstrokes into the flanks of the Soviet armoured formations, with the goal of destroying them while retaking Kharkov and Kursk.

The II SS Panzer Corps had arrived from France in January 1943, refitted and up to near full strength. Armoured units from the 1st Panzer Army of Army Group A had pulled out of the Caucasus and further strengthened Manstein's forces; the operation was hastily pr

Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon was an Israeli general and politician who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Israel from March 2001 until April 2006. Sharon was a commander in the Israeli Army from its creation in 1948; as a soldier and an officer, he participated prominently in the 1948 Palestine war, becoming a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade and taking part in many battles, including Operation Bin Nun Alef. He was an instrumental figure in the creation of Unit 101 and the reprisal operations, as well as in the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Six-Day War of 1967, the War of Attrition, the Yom-Kippur War of 1973. Yitzhak Rabin has called Sharon "the greatest field commander in our history". Upon retirement from the military, Sharon entered politics, joining the Likud party, served in a number of ministerial posts in Likud-led governments in 1977–92 and 1996–99; as Minister of Defense, he directed the 1982 Lebanon War. An official enquiry found that he bore "personal responsibility" for the Sabra and Shatila massacre and recommended that he be removed as Defense Minister.

His role in the massacre led to him being known as the "Butcher of Beirut" among Arabs. From the 1970s through to the 1990s, Sharon championed construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, he became the leader of the Likud in 2000, served as Israel's prime minister from 2001 to 2006. However, as Prime Minister, in 2004–05 Sharon orchestrated Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Facing stiff opposition to this policy within the Likud, in November 2005 he left Likud to form a new party, Kadima, he had been expected to win the next election and was interpreted as planning on "clearing Israel out of most of the West Bank", in a series of unilateral withdrawals. After suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006, Sharon remained in a permanent vegetative state until his death in January 2014. Sharon was born on 26 February 1928 in Kfar Malal, an agricultural moshav in Mandatory Palestine, to Shmuel Scheinerman of Brest-Litovsk and Vera Scheinerman of Mogilev, his mother, was from a family of Russian Subbotnik Jewish origin.

His parents met while at university in Tiflis, where Sharon's father was studying agronomy and his mother was studying medicine. They immigrated to Mandatory Palestine in 1922 in the wake of the Russian Communist government's growing persecution of Jews in the region. In Palestine, Vera Scheinerman went by the name Dvora; the family settled in Kfar Malal, a socialist, secular community. Although his parents were Mapai supporters, they did not always accept communal consensus: "The Scheinermans' eventual ostracism... followed the 1933 Arlozorov murder when Dvora and Shmuel refused to endorse the Labor movement's anti-Revisionist calumny and participate in Bolshevik-style public revilement rallies the order of the day. Retribution was quick to come, they were expelled from the local health-fund village synagogue. The cooperative's truck wouldn't make deliveries to their farm nor collect produce."Sharon spoke both Hebrew and Russian. Four years after their arrival at Kfar Malal, the Sheinermans had Yehudit.

Ariel was born two years later. At age 10, he joined the youth movement HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed; as a teenager, he began to take part in the armed night-patrols of his moshav. In 1942 at the age of 14, Sharon joined the Gadna, a paramilitary youth battalion, the Haganah, the underground paramilitary force and the Jewish military precursor to the Israel Defense Forces. Sharon's unit of the Haganah became engaged in serious and continuous combat from the autumn of 1947, with the onset of the Battle for Jerusalem. Without the manpower to hold the roads, his unit took to making offensive hit-and-run raids on Arab forces in the vicinity of Kfar Malal. In units of thirty men, they would hit at Arab villages and bases, as well as ambush the traffic between Arab villages and bases. Sharon wrote in his autobiography: "We had become skilled at finding our way in the darkest nights and we built up the strength and endurance these kind of operations required. Under the stress of constant combat we drew closer to one another and began to operate not just as a military unit but as a family....

E were in combat every day. Ambushes and battles followed each other until they all seemed to run together."For his role in a night-raid on Iraqi forces at Bir Adas, Sharon was made a platoon commander in the Alexandroni Brigade. Following the Israeli Declaration of Independence and the onset of the War of Independence, his platoon fended off the Iraqi advance at Kalkiya. Sharon was regarded as a hardened and aggressive soldier, swiftly moving up the ranks during the war, he was shot in the groin and foot by the Jordanian Arab Legion in the First Battle of Latrun, an unsuccessful attempt to relieve the besieged Jewish community of Jerusalem. Sharon wrote of the casualties in the "horrible battle," and his brigade suffered 139 deaths. Jordanian field marshal Habis Al-Majali claimed that Sharon was among 6 Israeli soldiers captured by the Jordanian 4th battalion during the battle, that Habis took them to a camp in Mafraq and the 6 were traded back. Sharon denied the claims. "Sharon is like a grizzly bear," he grumbled.

"I captured him, I healed his wounds." In 1994 and during the peace treaty signing ceremony with Jordan, Sharon wanted to get in touch with his for

Ford M. Fraker

Ford M. Fraker, of Massachusetts, was a U. S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, he died on Monday September 2017 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. He was president of the Middle East Policy Council and Chairman, Merrill Lynch Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Prior to his nomination, Fraker was serving as chairman of the Trinity Group Limited, a private investment banking firm in the United Kingdom, as consultant for Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation in Boston. Fraker graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, he has served as a banker in the Middle East for more than thirty years. He began his career with Chemical Bank, where he worked from 1972 to 1979, he worked in Lebanon, the UAE, Bahrain, ending as a Vice President and Regional Manager for the bank’s Bahrain office. He joined the Saudi International Bank in 1979, worked for SIB until 1991, holding positions of increasing management responsibility in the bank’s General Banking and Client Development units; when he left SIB in 1991, Fraker was serving on the bank’s Management Committee.

He founded Fraker & Co. in 1991, in 1993, he joined MeesPierson Investment Finance Limited, where he was the managing director responsible for placing U. S. and European investment products with European and Middle Eastern institutional and private investors. In 1997, he co-founded Trinity Group Limited, continued to serve as managing director and chairman until his nomination by President Bush. In 2009, he was named a Senior Advisor at private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and in 2013 he joined the Board of Directors of the Middle East Policy Council; as of 1990, Fraker has three children. He was born in Princeton, New Jersey, spoke French and Arabic. Boston Globe, February 13, 2007 U. S. State Dept. biography Passing of Ford M. Fraker