History 03/03/20 “Voronezh Prokhorovka”: who was defeated

Of the many battles of the great Patriotic war, where he participated on both sides have armored units fighting near Voronezh in area of Zemlyansk, more than all, deserve the comparison with the battle of Prokhorovka.

on our side, it was attended by 5 Panzer army, one of the corps commanded by General Rotmistrov, the number of tanks involved was a little less than a thousand. It was in July, from 7 to 15. The nature of the fighting — we attacked, the Germans met them in defence also coincided. Unfortunately, much different result.

On the Voronezh direction

the German command had not spent Voronezh a great value. According to personal instructions of Hitler, to take the city followed only if it does not lead to significant losses. The main interests of the Wehrmacht in this operation was to the South.

the Soviet leadership on the contrary believed that the Germans would have to advance it on Voronezh, with a further turn to Moscow. A new strike on the capital in the Kremlin were very afraid until the complete victory in the battle of Kursk.

When 28 June army group “Weichs” broke through the defense of the Bryansk front, the Soviet command decided to strike the forces available in the area and additionally moving armored corps. For your organization created a task force under the leadership of the commander of armored and mechanized troops of Lieutenant-General of tank troops Ya. Fedorenko. However, to eliminate the breakthrough did not happen.

These battles showed the superiority of the new German tanks over the Soviet machine. A new long-barreled tank guns were given the opportunity to deal successfully with the T-34 and KV. The same guns were placed on assault guns also began to appear the first self-propelled anti-tank installation. In addition, for older tank guns, the Germans began actively primaraise heat shells (in the red army they were called thermite) that also could hit the armor of any Soviet tanks. The new situation has led to a sharp increase of our losses.

After the failure of the group Fedorenko was decided to attack the forces of the 5th Panzer army, major-General A. I. lizyukov. The army has just finished forming and was the first tank Union the red army, who had to fight. Tank army had just been created, their application was not yet, the best part had yet to understand.

the army lizyukova was given the task: not later than July 5, to strike at the flank of the German group, coming to Voronezh. For this the army had 641 tank, including 83 SQ, 228 T-34, 88 MK-2 (English, “Matilda”) and 242 T-60.

the Enemy of our tankers became the 24th Panzer corps Wehrmacht: the 9th and 11th Panzer divisions.

the First battles of the

To the beginning of operations of the 5th Panzer army was able to arrive only one case, the other two were still in transit or had just started unloading.

the German intelligence service worked properly, so the Soviet attack was already waiting for 9th Panzer division. The division had 87 operational tanks, combat strength 10550 people (this list 23263), in addition to standard weapons was an additional battalion of 88 mm anti-aircraft guns, which will play an important role. The division was strengthened by the battalions of 21-cm mortars and rocket launchers.

on 6 July, the attack began, the 7th armored corps of General Rotmistrov, 187 serviceable machines.

Soviet tanks met fire with artillery and rocket launchers, some times they are ambushed. As a result, one of the armored and mechanized infantry brigade ceased to exist. Per day lost 52 tanks, of which only 3 were evacuated. Although according to the Soviet records were destroyed 54 German tanks, many guns, and even 6 planes, the actual loss of the 9th division made up of 7 machines. However, in the summary of the 9th Panzer division for July 6 stated: “Lined tank about 61the adversary, of which 52 T-34.”

Despite the failure of the first day, the Soviet command decided to continue the offensive, believing that the enemy is about to die and need only to push. In addition to badly battered tank corps Rotmistrivka to fight it introduced another. The whole day passed in efforts to shape the river Mare Again. The heavy KV and malopodhodyaschimi to such conditions “Matilda” stuck in the mud. Although the losses were not so great (hit 23 tanks), but objectives were not met.

All the forces in battle

prior To July 12, 5th tank army was advancing, but very slowly, literally at a snail’s pace. Small successes have been, the team still advanced, captured some villages. But to take the task of Zemlyansk, not later than 8 July and remained an elusive goal. 10 Jul Lesukov introduced to fight another tank corps, which had 183 tank, but there was nothing he could fix this. Already on July 9 the Germans in the battle to take the 11th Panzer division (tanks 86), the next day, their defense stepped up parts of two infantry divisions.

were Active all the days of the German air force, while our troops almost left without air support.

Strongly felt the lack of heavy artillery, without which the breakthrough of the German defenses had great losses. The army, though had some Katyusha rockets, but they could not solve all the problems. And acted not always effective. A striking example is the case when a volley of 12 units covered motorized infantry battalion our tank brigade. Fortunately, no one was hurt. People are not killed, but themselves Katyusha rockets have proved to be extremely unsuccessful.

a Big issue was still the nature of the terrain with a large number of wetlands. So, only one attack bogged down in the mud 13 “Matilda”, which the crew had to leave.

on 10 July the army, despite losses, have not lost the striking force. Go left of the tank 504. However, the latest attack in what have not resulted. The Germans firmly held the Fort and abyssat this defense the tanks lizyukova and failed.

And on July 12 the Germans themselves went on the offensive. The blow was delivered by the 11th Panzer division, which, repairing most of their cars had on the go 96 tanks. The Germans do the fighting quickly recovered losses. So the 9th Panzer on July 7, remained 79 tanks on the move, but despite the loss, it 9 was 106 combat-ready tanks, and 10 on the move had only 89 cars.

Our troops had to go on the defensive. From 5-th tank army to 13 July there was almost nothing left. Only a few teams were seven to ten serviceable machines. However, restoring and collecting everything you can, tank still tried to counterattack.

on 18 July, the 5th tank army was disbanded, General Lizyukov was appointed to command the 2nd tank corps. In the same month he would die in the fighting near Voronezh. In the battles of the 5th Panzer army, according to the “Journal of fighting 5 THAT” lost 7929 personnel (1585 killed) and 489 tanks, of which irrevocably — 272 machine.

It was the first experience of the red army tank army, and although he failed, but this experience was taken into account in the formation and application of subsequent similar associations.

Cyril Shishkin

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