What is The Battle of Orel ?

This obituary for Alexander Solzhenitsyn says:

“He was present at the Battle of Orel, the second great Russian victory of the war (in August 1943).”

I’ve never heard of this battle. A google search doesn’t reveal much, is that how the Russians refer to the Battle of Kursk ? Or just part of the larger Kursk campaign ?

It appears to be part of the Battle of Kursk.

During the battle around Kursk, one key objective of the axis was to reduce a salient and straighten out their lines, so reducing the war front - easier to supply, man and move around.

The initial axis assault caused a bulge in the lines at Orel, and after huge losses during the main Kursk engagements, this area was intended to be a defensive position for the axis.

The problem for the axis was compounded by their lack of preparations, especially the provision for withdrawal in the event of a failed assault - they had no proper retreat or fallback position.

As a result the axis forces were unable to hold the Orel area, the Orel battles is really part of a rolling continuation of defeat of the axis which began in Stalingrad, and culminated in Operation Bagration - the battle of Kursk was part of this and conitnued through Orel and onward - ultimately to Berlin itself.

Not easy to read, but it explains exactly why Kursk was central.

IIRC, that was not too long before he was yanked and sent off to the gulag, wasn’t it?

According to the obituary I linked to in OP it was later in the war, in February 1945 while in Prussia that he was arrested.

Ah, I’d thought it was Febuary 1944.