Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev (Russian: Полководец Румянцев literally: "Regiment leader Rumyantsev", after 18th-century Field Marshal Peter Rumyantsev) was a code name for the Belgorod-Kharkov Strategic Offensive Operation conducted by the Red Army between 3 August 1943 and 23 August 1943 against the Wehrmacht's 4th Panzer Army and Army Group Kempf during World War II. The operation was conducted by the Voronezh and Steppe Fronts in the Belgorod (southern) sector of the Kursk Bulge. In one German source by Wilhelm Keitel this operation is referred to as the "Fourth Battle of Kharkov" although it is unrelated to the Third Battle of Kharkov.
The operation began in early hours of 3 August, 1943, with the objective of following up the defensive success against German Army Group South's northern flank during the failed Operation Citadel. The operation was immediately successful, pushing back the German defenders and liberating Belgorod and Kharkov. By 12:00 in the morning of August 23, 1943 the Soviet divisions of the Voronezh and Steppe Fronts had successfully liberated the city from German forces, annihilating most of the defending forces. It was the last time that Kharkov changed hands during the Soviet-German War. The operation led to the retreat of the German forces in Ukraine behind the Dnepr River, and it set the stage for the liberation of Kiev in autumn 1943.
The operation included several sub-phases:
- Belgorod-Bogodukhov Offensive Operation 23 July 1943 - 14 August 1943
- Belgorod-Khar'kov Offensive Operation 12 August 1943 - 23 August 1943
- Zmiez Offensive Operation 12 August 1943 - 23 August 1943
The Mirgorod direction offensive (Russian: наступление на Миргородском направлении) was part of this operation that resulted in the liberation of Akhtyrka on the 23 August 1943. As part of this offensive a tank battle was fought between the 11 and 17 August by the 1st Tank Army and elements of the 4th Guards Army 10 km south-east of the city in the vicinity of sovkhoz "Udarnik" against three German panzer divisions (from Bogodukhov area) where the 1st Tank Army suffered heavy casualties. A further German counter-attack between 18 and 20 August was directed against the Red Army's 27th Army by the 3rd Panzer and 2nd Motorised divisions from Akhtyrka itself. These were halted by the use of massive air attacks, and commitment of the 4th Guards and 47th Armies from the Stavka Reserve.