eBook: Download Demolishing Myth Prokhorovka Operational Narrative ePub (TXT, KINDLE, PDF) + Audio Version


  • File Size: 75255 KB
  • Print Length: 664 pages
  • Publisher: Helion and Company; Reprint edition (June 27, 2011)
  • Publication Date: June 27, 2011
  • Language: English

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We acquired this book not knowing the actual myth was - but I did want to find out more on the Battle of Kursk. Author Valeriy Zamulin was raised and lives close to the town of Prokhorovka, and was the Director of Research at the Prokhorovka Battlefield Recreation area Museum for 13 years. This book is packed with data, tables of organization, information regarding weapons, which combat unit served in what area, killed, wounded, how many tanks were operational for every side on which day just to give a few examples. Given that it is an operational history, it is a day by day, often hour or minute by minute accounting of the fighting that occurred in the southern attack on the Kursk Bulge from July 5-15th. Specifically, the Voronezh Front where the combat generated the town of Prokhorovka.

Therefore , what is the myth? Right now there are several. For quite some time after WW2, the Germans and Soviets had an interest to inflate the size and scope of the battle - the Germans to save lots of face from loosing and the Soviets to make clear such high loss. Authors such as Matn Caidin, while a fantastic story teller, often did not do the research needed and perpetuated this myth. In more recent years, post cold conflict, new information has already been shed. David Glantz 1999 book The Battle of Kursk is an example. These days, I saw a web based article by Michael J. Licari that also attacks the myths of Kursk. An additional myth is that the Battle of Prokhorovka was the turning point (not really, the Northern attack had already failed and the Germans had already lost more than they could afford). The issue of the Soviet `counter attack' and who was accountable is explored as well as several others.

Amazing things about this guide - research - primary resources. The author was able to access many declassified Soviet documents from the Ministry of Defense, unpublished recollections of soldiers, after action reports, unit reviews from every day, actual requests. 75% of the Bibliography is Soviet material, 20% German archives and the balance from other creators. Zamulin knows many of these resources conflict with the other - no commander wants to admit he screwed upwards, so sometimes things are embellished or left away... especially in armies to can get shot in making mistakes.

There are many excellent B&W photographs that help show terrain, weapons, soldiers, color pages of the current view of the battlefield. Mcdougal admits the topographical map is hard to read, the CGI maps are good to see where models were which day, and they too, take researching due to the level of the map. On the other hand, they do add value to the book.

This is not light reading. It is serious, well written, great history. It can bog down a bit at times with the detail, debate over the amount of vehicles involved, but it provides a much needed view of `the other side of the hill'. It does not glorify either aspect; in fact, the author can be quite tough on the Soviets. It's pricey, but for serious historians, really worth the purchase., This is a amazing though choose study of the fight to reach Kursk from the southern salient. Even though demanding and requiring your full attention, an fanatic could read this operational treasure-trove repeatedly and never tire of it. It was intriguing but also challenging to read about the same wedding from different perspectives; usually two sometimes three different viewpoints discussed. The battling on the 12th against the LAH and the 18th and 29th Reservoir Corps was especially included. The commentary and evaluation is superb and will give the reader a much better knowledge of the campaign. This publication is Russian-centric and it spends more hours discussing Soviet plans, assaults and manuvers than on the The german language perspective.

In the introductory chapters, the author describes the political and military situation in spring 1943 when Hitler and his officers were discussing what the summer offensive should be. The Kursk salient was quickly proposed, debated and then chosen over the objections of some key people. Within the Soviet aspect summer planning was also being debated. The 2nd section provides the defensive preparations of the Soviet aspect for the southern fifty percent when it was decided to attack only after the German offensive worn out itself. Due to the value of Rotmistrov and his 5th GTA in stopping the 2nd SS PzC, the final chapter before fight coverage starts provides a profile of the overall and his Tank Army. Mcdougal also explains how Rotmistrov and his Army had just arrived in industry from almost a 2 hundred mile force march and how he had to cobble an attack plan together when he discovered Hausser was much closer to Prokhorovka than expected. On the German aspect, you will read about Hoth's decision to move the axis of his SS panzer corps from Oboyan to Prokhorovka among other background info.

The fourth chapter is a summary of the 48th PzC action on the western flank through the 9th of July as well as the starting moves of the subsequent SS PzC. (The preliminary assault by the 48th PzC on the mid-day of July 4th appears to be missing. ) A key issue discussed is how the performance of this corps in not reaching the Psel had on the 2nd SS PzC. Another issue which was liked is the terrain features the 48th PzC had to deal with that slowed their advance: The Pena, Vorskla and the Vorsklitsa Rivers and their corresponding swampland were particular deterents. The countless fortified communities and hills were an even bigger impediment. The reactions of 1st TA's and 6th GA's efforts to stop the enhance are also covered. The strengths of the two rivals are also introduced and compared. The Soviets had the advantage in men, tanks, guns, vehicles. The author also stresses here and for the rest of book of the regular entry of Soviet rearrangements into battle.
The next 402 pages with this 630 page publication involves the highly in depth events of the Russian attempts in protecting against the 2nd SS PzC from capturing Prokhorovka and the Psel River basin. The good summary of 3rd PzC's drive north and its eventual retreat through 7/16 is also incorporated.
Many key people are mentioned but the discussion details the impact these people's decisions, actions or communications had on the outcome of the battles. While some anecdotal experiences of a strictly personal nature is conveyed, the overwhelming amount of information is operational.

Also included with the narrative are 12 colored maps. These are some of the best routes I've seen though I actually do have minor criticisms which I'll make clear in a minute. Three maps are topographical and show the key villages, rivers and slopes that are included in the campaign. The highways are presented but not labeled. The last 9 maps are tactical and are divided in the following manner. The initial chart shows the German application of the Orel and Kursk salients. The following chart depicts Vatutin's estimate of the ideal route for the German offensive and succinctly shows Hoth's mistake in planning the 48th PzC's deployment. The next maps include: the transmission of the first defense line by the subsequent SS on 7/5; the advance of the DURE to the Prokhorovka axis on 7/6; combat functions southwest of Prokhorovka on 7/10 and again on 7/11; Kempf's drive through 7/11; combat functions of the Soviet counterattack on 7/12 and the last map concerns Kempf's pullback from 7/13 to 7/16.
These routes are new computer developed color maps who have great eye appeal, many details and are easy to study. The German aspect is depicted to division level while the Soviet side is shown in corps, division, regiment, escouade level as required. These kinds of are some of the most useful maps available but wish there were more maps. While these very detailed maps are the most important, showing the typical progress of the SS advance on the 7th, 8th and especially the 9th plus the advance of the 48th PzC would have already been very helpful, allowing the reader to graphically see the whole campaign in the south. Though gaining less ground than the other two SS sections, the deployment of the Das Reich division could have been more extensive.
The topographical maps are also visually appealing and helpful nevertheless they are introduced in a less than perfect layout with spaces in the terrain. Diverse mileage scales and orientations increases the confusion. Unless of course you're an expert or invest a lot of time to study these maps, it will be difficult to take advantage of them. An additional chart or two here would have been helpful concluding in a two webpage layout of the whole southern salient to tie the assortment together would have been nice. Also there are several villages and hills that are talked about in the narrative that are missing on these maps. Most are in 48th PzC sector but since these were mentioned it would have been nice to see them on the maps. The missing includes Gertsovka, Krasnyi Pochinok, Kalinin, Krasnyi Poliana, Kalinovka, Kruglik, Lutovo and especially Novoselovka. Hills missing include 260, 244 and 222. Some of these locations had bitter battle action.

The last chapter which is quite extensive. Besides summation of the campaign, the writer deals with the misconceptions and realities of the Campaign and especially on the tank battles of 7/12 who have been generrated over the decades. Mr Zamulin describes the real level of the separate tank engagements that TK, Dasjenige Reich and especially LAH found itself in as they launched their assaults that early Monday early morning towards Prokhorovka. They weren't expecting the five+ corps would be attacking them that did prevent them from accomplishing their objectives. An interesting discussion by the writer and several other historians are included on the tank casualties of both sides. The quantity of operable tanks sixth GTA had weren't as many as some declare but Rotmistrov did lose 80 pct of them over the following couple days. Individual casualties for both attributes is estimated as well. The importance of the results of this campaign for the rest of the war are also in brief discussed. There are also 34 informative data dining tables running throughout the publication concerning key statistics that will help the reader understand the scope of this campaign. (There is a handy list to help you find the data you need) There are no wild claims; in fact the writer downplays the scale of the tank battle but not the value of 5th GTA being released on the in the nick of the time.
There are many good photographs of the key people from both sides but many more Soviets, as well as battlefield scenes. It was nice attaching a face with a name that you've find out about for years. Some of the photographs have been in color and show the current areas where men died and tanks destroyed in 43.

Also appreciated is the detailed Orders of Struggle that were included. With so many units talked about, it was studied often while reading the publication. There is also a competent Notes Section and Bibliography that includes primary and secondary sources. Most entries are Russian related. The helpful Index that will speed your quest closes away the book.

Displaying a good understanding of strategy and tactics, Mr Zamulin does an outstanding job of explaining the engagements as well as providing the significant results and implications of each that will add to the reader's understanding of the campaign. The author explains the terrain features, different defensive belts, why certain days the Germans made good gains and on other days few gains. He also discusses the strategic errors produced by Hoth in planning, application of his forces and the poor utilization of the new Panther escouade that jeopardized the whole campaign. Vatutin's tactical errors that cost his armies dearly are also explained.
Numerous communiques, after action reports, divisional diaries and personal diaries from both sides are mixed nicely into the narrative. You may a real feel and understanding of what each side was thinking, experiencing.

This is a specialty book that excludes the northern salient and gives only a summary to the 48th PzC and 3rd PzC sectors but its extraordinary when it comes to the 2nd DURE PzC's drive towards Prokhorovka and its attempt to control north of the Psel River.
The summary of the resistance and escape of the remnants of 48th RC from the encirclement between two Donets Rivers when Kempf loosely linked program Das Reich was also done well as is the attempted encirclement of 48th PzC by the 6th GA and 1st TA from the 12th on.
While trying to judge this book critically, We found only trivial issues to mention. This book is solid, drastically adds to the knowledge base and would essentially complement the other serious campaign books by Mark Healy, David Glantz and Franz Kurowski and is strongly suggested to all Citadel fans.

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