Book Review
The Battle of Prokhorovka
The Battle of Prokhorovka
  • move

by: Adie Roberts [ IN_WAR_AND_PEACE ]

Brief history

The Battle of Prokhorovka was fought on 12 July 1943 near Prokhorovka, 87 kilometres (54 mi) southeast of Kursk in the Soviet Union, during the Second World War. Taking place on the Eastern Front, the engagement was part of the wider Battle of Kursk and occurred when the 5th Guards Tank Army of the Soviet Red Army attacked the II SS-Panzer Corps of the German Wehrmacht in one of the largest tank battles in military history.
In April 1943, the German leadership began preparing for Operation Citadel, with the objective of enveloping and destroying the Soviet forces in the Kursk salient, by attacking and breaking through the base of the salient from north and south simultaneously. The German offensive was delayed several times due to the vacillation of the leadership and the addition of more forces and new equipment. The Soviet high command, Stavka, had learned of the German intentions and therefore used the delay to prepare a series of defensive belts along the routes of the planned German offensive. The Soviet leadership also massed several armies deep behind their defences as the Stavka Reserve. This army group, the Steppe Front, was to launch counteroffensives once the German strength had dissipated. The 5th Guards Tank Army was the primary armoured formation of the Steppe Front.
On 5 July 1943, the Wehrmacht launched its offensive. On the northern side of the salient, the German forces bogged down within four days. On the southern side, the German 4th Panzer Army, with Army Detachment Kempf on its eastern flank, attacked the Soviet defences of the Voronezh Front. They made slow but steady progress through the Soviet defensive lines.
After a week of fighting, the Soviets launched their counteroffensives – Operation Kutuzov on the northern side and a coinciding one on the southern side. On the southern side of the salient near Prokhorovka, the 5th Guards Tank Army engaged the II SS-Panzer Corps of the 4th Panzer Army, resulting in a large clash of armoured fighting vehicles. The 5th Guards Tank Army suffered significant losses in the attack but succeeded in preventing the Wehrmacht from capturing Prokhorovka and breaking through the third defensive belt – the last heavily fortified one. The German high command, unable to accomplish its objective, cancelled Operation Citadel and began redeploying its forces to deal with new pressing developments elsewhere.
The Red Army went on a general offensive, conducting Operation with Polkovodets Rumyantsev on the southern side and continuing Operation Kutuzov on the northern side. The Soviet Union thus seized the strategic initiative on the Eastern Front, which it was to hold for the rest of the war.


The publisher case mate UK
The author Christopher A. Lawrence Is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the executive director and president of the Dupuy Institute, an organisation dedicated to scholarly research an objective analyst of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. the Dupuy Institute provides an independent, historically based analysis of lessons learned from modern military experience he is the author of America's modern wars understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam and most recently Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka
The book is hardback we have stitched binding and a pagination 639.
Illustrations and Maps.
Chapter 1
Preparing for the showdown.
Chapter 2
The Soviets prepare.
Chapter 3
The Belgorod offensive 4th-8th July 1943.
Chapter 4
The XLVIII Panzer Cause heads West 9th to 11th July 1943.
Chapter 5
The advance on Prokhorovka 9th to the 11th July 1943.
Chapter 6
The advance on Sevenyii Donets 9th to the 11th July 1943.
Chapter 7
The situation as of the 11th of July 1943.
Chapter 8
The Air War 9th to the 18th of July 1943.
Chapter 9
The tank fields of Prokhorovka 12th of July 1943.
Chapter 10
SS Panzer Corps Attack Stalls: 13 July 1943.
Chapter 11
Soviet counterattacks against the third Panzer Corps 12 to the 13th of July 1943.
Chapter 12
Aftermath of Prokhorovka 13th of July 1943.
Chapter 13
Cleaning up the Donets triangle 14th to the 15th of July 1943.
Chapter 14
The battlefield is quiet 16th to the 17th of July 1943.
Chapter 15
The German withdrawal 18th to the 24th of July 1943.
Chapter 16


In February 1943, while the offences were still underway to restore the front Manstein and army groups self-presented a tentative plan to Hitler for strategic defensive for the summer. The plan was to wait until the Soviets started an offensive and then hit them, “hard on the backhand” At the first good opportunity. He envisioned that if the Soviets launched a pincer attack on the Donets area from the North and the South, an operation which may be supplemented by an offensive around Kharkov, Then the German front along the Donets and Mius should be given up in accordance with an agreed timetable and the enemy should be drawn down westward towards the lower the Dnepr. The plan did not appeal to Hitler. He was concerned about the economic value of the Donets basin and the political repercussions of even a temporary evacuation in Turkey and Romania. More fundamental, Hitler had a belief, reinforced by his experience in the Soviet winter offensive of 1941, that one should fight for every inch of ground. He believed that his no retreat orders in 1941, saved the German army from a Napoleonic retreat.

The Belgorod offensive started on the 4th of July 1943 the roads were reported as good. On the 3rd of July, the 4th Panzer army noted that the front was remarkably calm with minimal air activity. They also noted that their movements were going according to plan. This was also true for the first half of the 4th. The weather for this day included scattered thunderstorm showers, but the roads were still easily passable, and the movements went as scheduled. They were now ready to start the attack.
The I.II Corps, covering I front of 56.6 kilometres, consisted of two infantry divisions, the 57th infantry division on the far left (West) And the 255th infantry division on the right opposing them was the Soviet 14th army of seven rifle divisions. Then came the powerful XLVIII Panzer Corps With the 332nd infantry division on the left, then the third Panzer division, then the very large Gross Deutschland Panzer Grenadier division and the 11 Panzer division on the right added to the Gross Deutschland Panzer Grenadier division.

The Germans had been stunned by their defeat at Stalingrad. I had lost around 300,000 troops there. Although this loss did not permanently cripple the German army, for recruitment during the spring had rebuilt its strength back up to its pre-Stalingrad level, this had become a war of attrition and the losses from all these defeats were telling. The damage done to the German allies was particularly severe, and reduced presence of the allies could only be compensated for by stretching the German forces all that much thinner. Still, even with that rebuilding effort, The Germans were really, only able to assemble one strategic reserve to strike in one area. The men, formations and equipment lost at Stalingrad were to be sorely missed, as were all the losses from the Soviet winter offensive.
Attack on height 244.8 11th of July.
The level of pains division had done an exemplary job over the last six days reportedly outmanoeuvring and out fighting its opponents. He had continued to advance ahead of its more famous neighbouring divisions, The Gross Deutschland and the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, and had managed to still preserve its combat strength. Its soldiers had demonstrated considerable initiative and its overall performance had been impressive. At this stage, though, it seemed to falter, having had a lacklustre day with a slow advance on the 10th and some delays in relieving the Gross Deutschland division. What transpired on this day did not do anything to add to the commander’s credit, as the 11th Panzer divisions attack ground to a rather pathetic halt.
The effect of weather on the battlefield
Captain France, commander, Gross Deutschland Assault gun battalion.
The weather was not always favourable. I recall a few awful thunderstorms causing the soil to turn into something remotely akin to liquid concrete making any progress with track vehicles next to impossible. The Valley floors of the various gorges usually were swamp areas, to begin with, but whenever the sun repaired the temperature rose quickly as was typical for the summer in southern Russia and the soil dried out again. Today, however, I no longer recall on which day and in which action we were hampered by these terrible rainfalls.
Officer Cadet Guenther Baer, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler division.
Due to the softened terrain, we had several mechanical breakdowns relating to track tension. The radio sets had to be turned off in thunderstorms. We could not see anything in the rain, so we had to quit only the Soviet infantry kept on fighting without interruption.

The book, the battle of Prokhorovka is a comprehensive account of the tank battle at Kursk the largest clash of Armour in history. I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of maps in the book that work hand in hand with the information, this helps enormously in understanding just what it was like two have been in Russia at the height of the battle and facing a very bad winter. Surprisingly, there are also several pictures contained within the book some of these are fascinating and again gives you a visual aspect of what you are reading. Another thought crossed my mind is the pictures some of which all easier to see everything in them will give you a better example of some of the camouflage used in battles particularly good for people who like to build dioramas. Amongst the many photos is the commander section with pictures of some of the famous generals from this battle. Included is a picture of senior Soviet field commander Nikolai Fedorovich Vatutin and a picture of German air Commander Major General Hans Seidemann amongst many other Russians and Germans.


This book from casemates publishers must be one of the most comprehensive accounts of the battle of Kursk It begins giving you an account what is going to happen with the aid of a few Maps with explanations about them. author Christopher A. Lawrence has written this book particularly well, it may not be for the faint of heart as it is 638 pages that said you don't have to be a professor of military history to pick up the book read it and also enjoy it, I did it first thought that this may be a book that may be just too big to digest. However, I was completely wrong because of the way the book is written the pictures that have been added to the book I really think that this could be an invaluable aid to anyone wanting to learn more about the eastern front. It could also appeal two fellow modeller's that are interested in building accurate dioramas as the pictures in the book some of them especially useful.
Highs: The amount of information that the book contains and how it presents this in such a way that it is easy enough to read and take onboard the information
Lows: More pictures would have been great
Verdict: A serious book covering what amounts to not just one of the largest tank battles in the world but the start to the end of World War II, Truly a good read
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9780811738071
  Suggested Retail: £44.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Nov 22, 2020

Our Thanks to Casemate Publishers!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Adie Roberts (In_War_and_Peace)

I am disabled after a terrorist bomb I have in the past made models for TV and film and work with local museums making new models for display. I also take on commission builds for people

Copyright ©2021 text by Adie Roberts [ IN_WAR_AND_PEACE ]. All rights reserved.


Always great to read more about Kursk; stupid strategic blunder that it was.
NOV 22, 2020 - 10:52 AM
I have to admit I have always been fascinated by the Eastern Front, though my knowledge of it was not great the more books that I have read on Kursk, one or two have been hard going, but made me look more and more into it and so much happened blunders, the erratic weather, Russians resolve. Truly fascinating this book I found to be fantastic Frank I recommend it.
NOV 24, 2020 - 01:51 AM

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move