Battle of Prokhorovka: argue about historians

History 13/01/20 Battle of Prokhorovka: what the dispute historians

the Battle at Prokhorovka, without a doubt, one of the most famous battles of the great Patriotic war. But, it is one of the most unknown, speaking about a wide audience, not military historians.

In this connection in mass-media periodically there are discussions that are more political than military-historical character. And the parties usually operate on emotions, not facts.

the Position of the parties

on the one hand, is still in priority to the Soviet description of the battle, and in his “memoir” version.

According to her, in the area of Prokhorovka 12 July 1943, in the encounter battle agreed 1200 Soviet (800) and German (about 400) tanks. The battle of Prokhorovka was the largest tank battle of the war.

the Loss amounted to 500 tanks of the red Army and 300 tanks of the Wehrmacht. The Germans had a qualitative advantage, massively used “Tigers” and “Panthers” and “Ferdinands”. Despite this, German troops suffered a crushing defeat, which, in fact, determined the outcome of battle.

the Most extreme point of view of all the proposed in the West States that German losses were minimal, and the Soviet — huge. The field of battle remained with the Germans, and they had retreated only because the Anglo-Americans landed in Sicily. Any serious justifications proponents of this version are not given. Because of the losses, almost the main, a think tank ditch, which Rotmistrov army could not overcome.

the Only sensible comment of the opponents of the Soviet version is that if the battle took part 1200, or even 1500 tanks, in scale it may not even qualify for second place in the list of tank battles of the great Patriotic war.

Why are there such disputes?

Actually, the reason for any dispute in ignorance. In this CLthe case and the refusal to know. Most supporters pay more attention to the political side of the issue, depending on the views arguing that the Red Army won a heroic victory over a strong enemy, or that Stalin the Germans piled with corpses. To intervene in such disputes historians makes no sense, as the parties prefer to use only those facts that speak in favor of their theory.

the situation has arisen due to the fact that in the USSR the real story of the war and no one was going to describe.

the First question that arises is what, in fact, be considered the battle of Prokhorovka?

the Question would seem absurd, but there is no clear definition was not. In the Soviet definition it means the impact of the 5th guards tank and 5th guards armies of the 12th of July in the area of Prokhorovka against the troops of the German 2nd SS Panzer corps.

However, if, according to the definition, the battle of Prokhorovka is a counter tank battle near the village of Prokhorovka, and he came the 12th of July, that speech can go only about the offensive of the 18th and 29th tank corps of the 5th Panzer army on the positions of the German division “Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler”.

And it is not clear what constitutes the area of Prokhorovka. She Prokhorovka is one of the many settlements in the area, and speaking directly about the battle at Prokhorovka, not Edmonton or Vasilievka, it turns out something very local.

taking a broader view, taking into account the validity of the remaining divisions of the 2nd SS Panzer corps, and especially 3rd, it is necessary to consider not only the 5th tank, but the 5th guards army and the troops of the 1st tank and 69th armies. And if we continue in the same spirit, the scope will increase to the whole battle on the southern face of the Kursk bulge. And it already precisely will not go on a tank battle. Although all fronts were involved in a lot of armor, but still, when talking about a tank battle, with both sides should participate in the main tank and connections.

In addition, is not defined precisely and time frame. The fighting near Prokhorovka began on 6 July and ended on 16th-17th July.

What the documents say

Directly in the area of Prokhorovka acted only division “Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler”. In its composition the 11th of July, it was 67 tanks (4 of them “Tiger”), 10 assault guns and 20 self-propelled anti-tank units.

In the attack on the village of Andreevka and farm “October” took part of the 18th and 29th tank corps and 9th guards airborne division of the 5th guards tank army and the 42nd guards rifle division, 5th guards army.

According to the war diary of the 29th TC, on the 10th of July in case there were 258 tanks, of which 14 cars were still in the way, but by the beginning of the attack, they managed to catch up.

According to the Report of the chief of staff of the 18th tank corps from 10.7.43 in case there were 131 tank.

Just battle took could take part 389 tanks and self-propelled guns on the Soviet side and 87 armored vehicles with German. That is a total of 426 tanks and SPGs. During the battle in the 12-13th of July, German losses amounted to about 20 tanks, but not less than 10 cars by the time it was repaired. Soviet losses for the 12-th of July, according to one of the most respected historians of the battle of Kursk, V. N. Zamulina, amounted to 256 tanks, of which -152 permanently. The Soviet offensive in this area were unsuccessful.

If to speak about military operations in areas close to Prokhorovka, the South was fighting the SS division “Reich”. In its composition on the 11th of July was 68 tanks (including 1 “Tiger”), 27 assault guns, and 12 self-propelled anti-tank units. It operated against the Soviet 2nd tank and 2nd guards tank corps. They were part of 190 tanks. Division “Reich” of the 12th of July repulsed the Soviet offensive, and she went on the offensive, advancing 2 km.

the SS Division “Dead head” was acting in the bridgehead over the river Psel. On the 11th of July delisia had 101 tank (10 “Tigers”), 20 assault guns and 11 self-propelled anti-tank units.

Against the SS division “Dead head” acted 42nd, 52nd, 95th and 97th guards rifle division of 5th guards army. Behind the 5th army was the 31st tank corps of the 1st tank army (tank 64), but he was in the battles of the 12th July did not participate. In the descriptions of the battle of Kursk is mentioned that against the division “Dead head” was acting 24-I tank and 10th mechanized brigades of the 5th guards mechanized corps 5th tank army, but the document confirms the 12th of July, only a collision of parts of the 2nd SS corps with the 24th brigade (tank 64).

this Is a brief set of basic data you can learn from documents (found on the website “memory of the nation”) about the events around Prokhorovka 12th July 1943.

Apparently, with all the documentary data, it is necessary to correct the official version of the battle of Prokhorovka, which has long and unsuccessfully requests the historical society.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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