according to The legend, Prohokorovka is the largest tank battle in history. 12. In July 1943, the southern German Stoßarm the Operation had reached the citadel of the small village. After seven days of the fiercest fighting the Germans had reached the last line of defense of the Soviets. With the Offensive in the Kursk’s front arc, Hitler wanted to win after the disaster of Stalingrad back the Initiative. The German high command offered to a relatively small front width, you have a tremendous amount of soldiers, including the Elite troops of the Empire, equipped with the new supposedly “invincible” tanks and weapons. In particular, Hitler put great hopes on these “wonder weapons”.

+++ read Operation citadel, you will also: – Offensive at Kursk – the tomb of the German tank weapon +++

However, the German Offensive was delayed and since the have been betrayed rise plans in Detail of spies, was to prepare the Soviet high command well. The Germans encountered not just on a front line, such as you had expected, but on a deep-tiered defense system, in a way the world previously had never seen.

breakthrough of the southern Zangenarms

The Northern Attack force was unable to overcome these defensive positions, but on the Morning of the 12th. July it looked as if at least the tank of the southern Zangenarms would the Russian defense system to break through. Prohokorovka was the last line of defense. As the commander Sepp Dietrich ascended on the Morning of his tank, he cried to his men that they would eat lunch in Kursk.

“Operation citadel” Offensive at Kursk – the tomb of the German tank weapon By Gernot Kramper

Up in the sixties, intoxicated with military leaders and historians were on the following idea: the village Prohokorovka the concentrated tank power of the I. SS Panzer corps would be on the T-34 the 5. Guards tank army collided. Like the knight in a medieval battle, hundreds of these giants were rolling at the same time in an Inferno of steel and explosions on each other. Everywhere burning Tanks would have been in between groups of red army soldiers and grenadiers, which would have tried the tanks of the opponent in the short range off. The Smoke was so dense that the pilot had to both sides on the field circles, because they could not distinguish in the steam friend from foe. On the ground, the Chaos was so great that the tanks could not fire at long distances. The ever-oncoming Soviets should have tried to RAM it with your better motorized T-34 the German tanks in full speed. Scenes from Dante’s Inferno. In the evening, the box glowed with the burning steel, the battle was over. The Soviets suffered tremendous losses, but they had stopped the Nazis and the so far insurmountable armor body stand rubbed Arte of Adolf Hitler up. At first glance, the story seemed plausible. Actually, the Germans came no more meters, the next day the Offensive on the orders of Hitler, has been cancelled. War memories on both sides supported the legend, in the style of the time, the participants described the battle as an action film.

+++ To the T-34 see also: battle tanks T-34 the German Tanks were easy prey +++

tag in the same way as in an action film

The read rows of the tank commanders Pavel Rotmistrov this: “We fired a few more minutes in motion, then broke through the Attack of 29. and 18. Tank corps, the ranks of the Nazis – a quick shock, literally, through the enemy ranks through it. […]

the Second world war, battle of Dubno – with 3000 tanks wanted the Red army whirled to stop the German invasion

smoke and dust over the whole field of battle. The earth shook from the powerful explosions. Tanks rammed each other and after the collision not solve and had to fight to the death, until one of them, an Explosion, flash or he with broken chains came to a halt. Tanks that had been destroyed, but their weapons worked, and fired more and more.”

according to legend, lived long in Russia until today. This could not all be true, we knew however already the 60s. Because the files of the German tank corps had survived the war. In it, there were clear messages about the readiness of the force stand. Beyond any Propaganda use of viable, damaged and lost tanks and other equipment were in the droughts of the tables listed. And there could be no question of that, the German tanks had been extinguished on the field of Prohokorovka – the I. SS Panzer corps had not even lost a handful of tanks.

legend defeated science

Scriptures of the military history research office recorded the incredible Marvel of Soviet historians and the military, as these were, for the first time insight into the files. They had believed, as well as many Western historians – of the legend. Certainly, serious historians knew that thousands of tanks were turned on each other, like in the fifties was making things up. Neither of the parties had troops in so many vehicles, yet they had found there at all place. The Russians noticed that in the messages and memories far more German tiger tanks were shot down, as in the battle were involved. It led to Excesses and a desire of the soldiers think back, in the smoke-filled confusion had confused the smaller Panzer IV with the huge Tiger.

+++ The Tiger tank also read: Tiger I – why the most powerful tank of the war, a failed design was a +++

in addition to the war diary, with its loss of messages new unmistakable evidence now showed up. The German leadership had the messages the attack is associations seem to check. After the battle, the site was overflown and photographed. These recordings have only been evaluated Recently by the military historian Ben Wheatley and document the real outcome of the battle, since the downed wrecks are still on the fields. The actual battle was not determined by a clash of all the forces. The legend said that the German tanks were just about to advance to Kursk. In fact, the troops rested, many of the soldiers slept. The Germans wanted to wait for the arrival of a further Division of the tank corps, and then work to Kursk to venture.

Incredible planning error

The Soviet T-34 the 29. Tank corps relied on a ground attack and engage in a deadly trap, which had created the Soviets even. The tanks came over a hill on the Germanchen tanks. The strategy was clear: The red army wanted to use the cover of the height 252,2, the high mobility and speed of your T-34 to be quickly decrease the distance between themselves and the Germans. At large distances the German battle were cannons and, above all, the 8.8 gun of the tiger car superior to the Soviet Tanks.

came the shock through the ranks of the Nazis, the Pavel Rotmistrov describes, it never.

Jagdpanzer 38t, The Hetzer – this Mini-tank was the last hope of the third Reich By Gernot Kramper

In the planning of the attack, the Soviets had overlooked a deep ditch, the tanks could not overcome. The moat, the Red army had dug as a tank obstacle at the top. He blocked the only gap, otherwise, a stream and a forest closed off the area. An equally inexplicable and unpardonable error, because the Soviets was the obstacle, of course, known. The entire defense in the Kursk arc based on the exact knowledge of such natural and specially designed obstacles. So a dig was one of the new defensive positions of the Red army. You put to supposedly “easy” break-through findings such – often obstacles to camouflaged–. The attack momentum of the T-34 is not led to absolute Chaos, over the ditch it went, over it you could only come across a small bridge. In the middle of the effective range of the German fire, the shaft of the 29 had. Panzer corps stop and was then shot together. The German Position was never seriously threatened. The Red army lost 235 tanks, the Wehrmacht only five.

the end of the German advance

it Is Prohokorovka one of the “lost victories”? This is the title of the German strategist Erich von Manstein was making his own legend. Certainly not, even if the German losses were low, were exhausted the troops, but to be able to the next day, the victory exploit. A later advance did not, contrary to the Soviet high command again fresh troops. The Soviets had stopped the last major offensive of the Germans in the East. This turning point of the war, however, was far less glorious and damning, as it had painted the legend of the Great Patriotic war. In an impressive manner had shown that the Red army was in the summer of 1943, though a master of defense, but she was still able to offer the Wehrmacht in motion battles to stand up.

sources: A visual examination of the battle of Prokhorovka, In Pursuit of Prokhorovka, Roman Töppel Prokhorovka, 12. July 1943: The myth is dead – the myth live!

you can also read:

– Offensive at Kursk – the tomb of the German tank weapon

battle tanks T-34 the German Tanks were easy prey.

– Tiger I – commander Otto Carius talks about the technology of the tank

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