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The Battle of Kursk: Myth and Reality


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Community #1 Posted 03 July 2014 - 10:18 AM

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Take a closer look at one of the most important tank battles in history!

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BioIdra #2 Posted 03 July 2014 - 10:27 AM

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Nice!

general_marcus #3 Posted 03 July 2014 - 10:36 AM

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A very good and informative article. In a way, I somewhat always had "romantic" feelings towards the battle of Kursk. I've often wondered how a small battlefield consisting of several 100 or even 1000s tanks must have looked like. Therefore, reading studies like these is a disappointment. 

_Nick11_ #4 Posted 03 July 2014 - 10:51 AM

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Finally a good historical article. Not like the previous ones which sounded pretty much like Russian propaganda...

CrowleyTaeyeonSone #5 Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:01 AM

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I prefer this version: "

Norbert Számvéber

The II SS Panzer Corps at Prohorovka, 12 and 13 July 1942

Summary

The peak of the German attack, that started on 12 July 1943 on the northern and southern wing of the Kursk front-projection, was an intensive panzer battle in the west and northwest of the Prohorovka region. The II SS Panzer Corps of the 4th Panzer Army - commanded by General Hermann Hoth - fought a grave battle against the 5th Soviet Guards Panzer Army reinforced with two panzer corps from the "Steppe Front".

The Panzer Corps consisted of three SS panzer-grenadier divisions at that time. In spite of this fact many works refer to SS panzer divisions. In contrast to the statements of a considerable part of the scientific literature, the SS Panzer Corps did not own a single Pz.V Panther tank on the day before the attack. The second important point is that the SS panzer-grenadier divisions had altogether 42 Pz.VI Tiger E heavy tanks equipped with 88 mm guns, many of which had not been available for use before the battle.

Thus the II SS Panzer Corps was in the possession of 451 tanks and assault guns on the eve of the German attack. From 5 to 10 July 1943 the XLVIII Panzer Corps and the II SS Panzer Corps of the 4th Panzer Army - after 45 kilometres of north-western advance - established a 35-40 kilometres wide 'bulge' to the west of Prohorovka, into the defence of the 6th and 5th Guards Army of the 1st Panzer Army of the Soviet Voroniesh Front. The 3rd "Totenkopf" SS Panzer-Grenadier Division also seized a bridgehead on the northern bank of River Psiol. With the approval of the Soviet general headquarters, the Voroniesh Front headquarters decided on starting a counter-attack with five armies against the 4th German Panzer Army on 12 July. The key-role in the counter-attack was played by Lieutenant-General Rotmistrov's 5th Guards Panzer Army. The Panzer Army consisting of two panzer corps and one motorised corps had been reinforced with 150 tanks under the command of Major-Generals Popov and Badanov, so Rotmistrov possessed altogether 850 tanks and assault guns.

The SS panzer-grenadier divisions preparing for the attack of 12 July were in the possession of 306 tanks and assault guns as a maximum. The four Soviet panzer corps advancing in the direction of Prohorovka started the attack with about 520 tanks and assault guns against approximately 300 German SS armoured vehicles. Thus, in the morning of 12 July, about 820 (at the very most 920) Soviet and German tanks and assault guns clashed in the western, south-western region of Prohorovka.

According to the battle-diary of the II SS Panzer Corps, the battle did not only rage between armoured vehicles. Soviet panzer brigades were in many cases supported by riflemen or, the other way round, rifle battalions attacked with tank support. German panzer formations also relied on panzer-grenadier infantrymen of their divisions. The field and antitank artillery, just like the air force took share of the active service on both sides.

In accordance with the daily report of the II SS Panzer Corps on 12 July, the continuous Soviet attacks were led against the entrenchment of the 1st and 3rd SS Panzer-Grenadier Divisions in the first place. As for the evaluation of the Corps, the obvious aim of the Soviets was to break off those units of the "LSSAH" that had forged ahead towards Prohorovka, and to drive back the bridgehead held by the 3rd "Totenkopf" SS Panzer-Grenadier Division. Apart from some Soviet invasions that had been wiped up, the former front line was possessed by the units of the SS Panzer Corps.

The panzer battle of Prohorovka ended up with a German attack late at night on 12 July. The 3rd SS Panzer-Grenadier Division occupied Vasilievka and Andreievka.

On 13 July all the battle-front of the II SS Panzer Corps was attacked by the Soviets all day long. After two days of ceaseless fighting the II SS Panzer Corps stood at the same front as they did in the evening of 11 July, however, they made the 5th Soviet Guards Panzer Army fight and caused them heavy losses. The 5th Guards Panzer Army reported 377 lost tanks and assault guns after the battle at Prohorovka. The II SS Panzer Corps had lost about 89 tanks and assault guns during the two-day fighting.

The II SS Panzer Corps left its trenches around Prohorovka only on 17-18 July, for its commander, SS-Obergruppenführer Hausser, gave a command in the evening of 16 July, according to which the SS panzer-grenadier divisions should have been employed at a new spot, in Oboiany's direction. Therefore the II SS Panzer Corps was withdrew and not driven out from the region of Prohorovka." 

http://epa.oszk.hu/0...15/07szamuk.htm

 

 



Brynd #6 Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:55 AM

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Interesting and informative article, as per usual! :great:

H_Yumma #7 Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:14 PM

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Battle of Kursk Casualties and Losses :

 

 

USSR  :

 

  • 254,470 killed, missing or captured
    608,833 wounded or sick[18][h]
  • 6,064 tanks and assault guns destroyed or damaged[19][i]
  • 1,626 [16] – 1,961 aircraft[17]
  • 5,244 guns[16]

 

Germany :

  • According to German: ~198,000 MIA, KIA, WIA (not inculd Army Group Reserve, Luftflotte 4 and Luftflotte 6's casualties)[12]
  • Estimate 760 tanks and assault guns destroyed,[13]
  • 681 aircraft (for 5–31 July)[14]

 

Link : http://en.wikipedia....Battle_of_kursk

 

The wikipedia article has more datas that this beautiful romantic story on WoT


Edited by H_Yumma, 03 July 2014 - 12:16 PM.


Shade1982 #8 Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:28 PM

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View PostH_Yumma, on 03 July 2014 - 01:14 PM, said:

Battle of Kursk Casualties and Losses :

 

 

USSR  :

 

  • 254,470 killed, missing or captured
    608,833 wounded or sick[18][h]
  • 6,064 tanks and assault guns destroyed or damaged[19][i]
  • 1,626 [16] – 1,961 aircraft[17]
  • 5,244 guns[16]

 

Germany :

  • According to German: ~198,000 MIA, KIA, WIA (not inculd Army Group Reserve, Luftflotte 4 and Luftflotte 6's casualties)[12]
  • Estimate 760 tanks and assault guns destroyed,[13]
  • 681 aircraft (for 5–31 July)[14]

 

Link : http://en.wikipedia....Battle_of_kursk

 

The wikipedia article has more datas that this beautiful romantic story on WoT

Using wikipedia to support your story and you call this story 'romantic'? Really?



X1376 #9 Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:31 PM

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Thumbs up for providing sources and keeping article neutral. Certainly an improvement in the right direction!

Edited by X1376, 03 July 2014 - 12:32 PM.


H_Yumma #10 Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:32 PM

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Shade1982 , i'm using the 309 citation  and references on wikipedia , to call this story "romantic" and yeah ....Really

Edited by H_Yumma, 03 July 2014 - 12:33 PM.


Atomic_Winter #11 Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:40 PM

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View PostH_Yumma, on 03 July 2014 - 01:32 PM, said:

Shade1982 , i'm using the 309 citation  and references on wikipedia , to call this story "romantic" and yeah ....Really


The article on Wikipedia concerns a bigger part of the Battlefield than the WG article which concentrates on a fragment of the total front. I guess the the battle of Kursk can be defined in numerous ways.   



majorko #12 Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:57 PM

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I recommend this book. Nice work by Steven H. Newton.

 

The main problem was Soviet massive attack northwards of Prochorovka -  towards German salient around Orel. This cause German forces to retreat from Prochorovka (i.e. cancellation of Citadel), althougth they weren't defeated in this part of front.


Edited by majorko, 03 July 2014 - 01:02 PM.


Leutnant_Kramer #13 Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:32 PM

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Soviet sources tend to overstate enemy casualties (well, frankly, any source overstates enemy casualties). Could it be that they had some sort of planned production target like in the factories (well, planned destruction target, really), causing them to overstate casualties in order to reach the target? It certainly seems so for partisan cells, sometimes reporting the destruction of a company or a battalion and its materiel when the official report (classified, of course, and for the purpose of getting reinforcements/resupply) spoke of moderate damage to the train and no further casualties.

 

Spreading this into historians' work was certainly helped by German sources being somewhat disinclined to disclose their numbers (or pretty much anything specific about the war in general and the eastern front in particular) for some time. And frankly, German losses in tanks and heavy tanks specifically are always overstated - total production numbers don't come close to the number of claimed kills.


Edited by Leutnant_Kramer, 03 July 2014 - 01:37 PM.


Tigerschreck #14 Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:36 PM

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Good articles quoted here :)

Edited by Tigerschreck, 03 July 2014 - 01:45 PM.


Medvetark00 #15 Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:25 PM

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The historic "reality" is always reliable from the winners...

tankillerx #16 Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:38 PM

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Thanks for posting this article

this will be very useful for my A2 Level History Coursework.



arthurwellsley #17 Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:52 PM

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Very nice article which I enjoyed.

 

But you may also want to read an article in the Tribune magazine published on 4th February 1944 written by the author George Orwell entitled "As I Please", about the difficulties of history and figures.



TheKroo #18 Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:07 PM

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Really cool to see so much positive feedback. Glad you guys enjoyed the article.

 

 



Rato_Black_Baron #19 Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:27 PM

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Strong, deep and dense tactical defences from the Soviets. Some had 32 km depth.

German attacks suffered from great attrition, before facing the charge of the Soviet armoured reserves.

The Battle was won by Soviet engineered defenses. Epic tank battle.

 

+1 for the good historical "coffee break" article. History has a place in WoT.:honoring:



TheKroo #20 Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:32 PM

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View PostRato_Black_Baron, on 03 July 2014 - 04:27 PM, said:

Strong, deep and dense tactical defences from the Soviets. Some had 32 km depth.

German attacks suffered from great attrition, before facing the charge of the Soviet armoured reserves.

The Battle was won by Soviet engineered defenses. Epic tank battle.

 

+1 for the good historical "coffee break" article. History has a place in WoT.:honoring:

 

You must have a long coffee break :P






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