John Cairncross may have been one of the unsung heroes of World War II.
He was born in Scotland, and educated at the University of Glasgow and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied modern languages.
Because of the work at Bletchley Park, the British knew precisely where-- over an 800 mile salient-- the Germans planned to attack the Russians in July 1943. Again, Churchill made the strategic decision NOT to warn the Russians. And many military historians assert that it wouldn’t have made much difference anyway. But I offer a parallel scenario. What if Hitler had known exactly where and when the Allies planned to land on D-Day. Do you think that would have made any difference? You’re damn right it would have.
So I contend that the so-called “treachery” of John Carincross in warning the Russians exactly where and when the German attack would be launched may have been one of the critical turning points in World War II. Had the Germans won that battle, they undoubtedly would have taken Moscow and perhaps have overthrown Stalin. The Germans then may very well have won the war. Personally, I am extremely grateful to John Carincross!
"Although often thought of as a tank battle, Kursk as a whole arguably demonstrated the triumph of artillery, infantry and engineers over armour. The Soviet plan was to soak up the German assault in a colossal web of defensive positions, and only then launch their armoured counter-attack. It was also an important air battle, in which the balance now shifted in the favour of the Soviets."
Once the German forces had exhausted themselves against the in-depth defenses, the Soviets responded with their own counteroffensives, which allowed the Red Army to retake Orel and Belgorod on 5 August, and Kharkov on 23 August, and push back the Germans across a broad front.
The battlefield in Kursk was filled with many hundreds of burnt tanks and crashed aircraft, and so many dead soldiers. The difference was that while the Russians suffered heavy losses but could continue as planned and shift from defense to a large counter attack in a wide front, the German army in the East just lost the core of its remaining force.
After the battle of Kursk, the war in the eastern front was a long Russian advance, in which the Russian army returned to all the territory it lost to the Germans, conquered all of Eastern Europe, and reached all the way to Germany and to Berlin and won the war. The Germans could no longer attack or stop the Russian advance, and were just pushed back in a long retreat.
In the summer of 1942 the German army attacked in South Russia and reached the Volga river at Stalingrad before it was stopped, and lost the strategic initiative to the recovering Russian army.
In the summer of 1943, in the battle of Kursk, the much weaker German army broke its fist and lost its best remaining units in its attempt to regain the initiative in one last major attack, for which the Russians were fully prepared (thanks primarily to John Carincross, I contend).
CARINCROSS IN FICTION
Much of the text:Wikipedia.com