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11 July 2014

[Event] When Steel crushed Steel: The Battle of Prokhorovka

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Join the “Prokhorovka battle” event!

Take part in the Realistic tanks-only battles on four Eastern front maps. Only the vehicles that were actually used in the Prokhorovka battle are allowed. The mission is available in the “Events” mode (“Events” button at the top right of the main screen) until 10:00 GMT July 14th.


Participating vehicles:

                             
                             
  • Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. L
  • Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M
  • Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. N
  • Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F2
  • Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. G
  • Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H
  • Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. F
  • Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. H1 Tiger
  • T-70
  • Т-34 1941
  • Т-34 1942
  • Su-76M
  • Su-122
  • Su-152
  • KV-1 Zis-5
  • KV-1E

The Prokhorovka battle was part of the German ‘Unternehmen Zitadelle’ (Operation Citadel), the last major German offensive on the Eastern Front against the defensive positions of the Soviet troops near the city of Kursk. Many consider the battles of the Citadel operation decisive for the outcome of the war on the Eastern front, with the battle of Prokhorovka being its key episode and the largest tank engagement ever. A mere overgrown village with a few thousand inhabitants was found in the middle of a clash of two colossal forces.

The Germans accumulated the most well-equipped and notorious 1st, 2nd and 3rd SS tank divisions and 3rd Panzer Corps with nearly 600 tanks and tank destroyers at their disposal, including 38 heavy Pz.Kpfw. VI Tigers. The Soviet troops were ready to confront them with a several kilometers deep echeloned defense; the anti-tank guns, ditches and pillboxes were backed up by a massive tank reserve - over 800 tanks and SPGs.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 101III-Groenert-019-23A / Grönert / CC-BY-SA

In the early morning of June 12th the Soviet tank divisions launched an attack on German positions, but were stopped by heavy artillery fire and a swift German counterattack. Neither of the sides expected the enemy to have a major tank force in the area. The meeting engagement of hundreds of tanks soon became chaotic, battle formations were crushed in a matter of minutes. German tanks were technically superior, but the Soviet troops had the advantage in the air. By 2pm the Germans had to start falling back; by evening the Soviet tanks were 10 to 12 kilometers ahead of their initial positions. The battle was won, but at a terrible cost.

No less than 7000 Soviet soldiers were killed that day, over 300 tanks were destroyed. The German losses were much lower (approximately 800 people killed and 70 fighting vehicles destroyed), but their advancement was stopped. The Wehrmacht troops lost their initiative on this part of the front and eventually in the entire Kursk operation


The War Thunder Team

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