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[1,999,004] Map fighting 7th Guards Army against the Army Group “Kempf”

The Battle of Prokhorovka, and charm Ponyri overshadowed many other, no less important scenes of the Battle of Kursk. Among them – a reflection of the impact of the German subsidiary of the “Kempf” 7th Guards Army Lieutenant General M. Shumilova. It was the left wing of the Voronezh Front.

For the Germans are advancing no SS division with big names – the battle were ordinary Wehrmacht numbered connection. On the Soviet side on this site are not famous armored fighting compounds such as 1st Guards Tank Army M. Katukova or 5th Guards Tank P. Rotmistrov. And here, in this “inconspicuous” battle, the Germans failed.

to the starting line

The German command believed that the qualitative superiority of new tanks – one of the main components of the success of the operation “Citadel”. But just Werner Kempf had nothing to boast of. His army group were three tank divisions (the 6th, 7th, and 19th), united in the 3rd Tank Corps.

In contrast to the “colleagues” from the SS or divisions such famous as the “Great Germany”, the body did not receive reinforcements. To somehow strengthen parts tacky in the March battles Kempf gave the 3rd Corps 228th battalion of assault guns StuG and 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion, which had before the “Citadel” 45 “Tigers”. They had to be a battering ram and shield the upcoming offensive. According to one company of heavy tanks, each division received a body.

against the Soviet 7th Guards Army were to advance “Tigers”. The command is the degree of threat only reinforced army regiment SU-152, available to the Voronezh Front [1,999,006]

Thus, against the army Shumilova had to act “Tigers.”
In the summer of 1943 the Red Army does not have any tanks IS-2 with a 122 mm cannon, capable to fight them on equal terms. Most of the armored units that gave the command of the 7th Guards. Army consisted of “tridtsatchetvёrok” smaller – from the lungs of T-60 and T-70 heavy but obsolete HF and lend-lease tanks. With the “Tigers” such weapons to fight was difficult.

Курская дуга, «неглавное» направление
“Tigers” 503rd tank battalion on the march [1,999,006]

The command of the Voronezh Front, understands clearly the degree of threat from the new German technology, it has decided to reinforce the 7th Guards Army in 1529 th heavy self-propelled artillery regiment, consisting of 12 self-propelled guns SU-152 – the only part of this kind of a part of the front. She enrolled at the disposal of the 24th Guards Rifle Corps.

July 5th Army Group “Kempf” began the offensive, which immediately went according to plan, and every day problems with the Germans became more and more.

The first problem was the fact that the front line at the site of occurrence of the group almost all along stretched along the river Seversky Donets. The only foothold in the village Mikhaylovka, which the Germans captured in the spring, was too small to expand on it a large force. Soldiers of the 6th Armored Division, which “lucky” to attack the bridgehead, soon to ensure that the Russian is also well aware of its importance.

“Tigers” under the fiery rain

Although the “Citadel” was the German offensive, the first move in it did the Soviet troops. On the night of July 5 guns, mortars and rocket-propelled mortars Guards began artillery counter. The effect of their impact on the areas of concentration of German troops in the Soviet literature is usually called “stunning.” And this is true – including in relation to the site of the 7th Guards
Kempf rest of the troops needed to first overcome the Seversky Donets, with its two hundred meter swampy floodplain and seized a bridgehead on the east bank. Then it was necessary to bring the ferry to withstand heavy equipment and dragging them the main force. Only after that could be offensive.

Курская дуга, «неглавное» направление
Soviet artillery leads counterpreparation

In the area of ​​bridgehead Mikhailovka barrage “get” one of the two existing there crossings. The first attack from the bridgehead on Soviet positions collapsed, while the Germans tried to throw back assault guns and “Tigers”. But under one of the self-propelled guns collapsed span bridge, and the second passage, too, was incapacitated. The main battle group of the German 6th Panzer Division, together with the attached “Tigers” were on the western (German) Bank and were eventually forced to go a roundabout way – by ferry from the neighboring 19-Panzer, which got set for the construction of the bridge carrying capacity of 60 tons.

From the report of the 19th Armored Division, “Bridge to” Tigers “was half ready. At this time the well-organized Russian begin shelling with artillery, mortars and machine guns for flanking the crossing. Despite the dark, the fire was very accurate. ” Smuggle Germans still build, but faced a new disaster, which caused the commander of the 7th Panzer Division Hans von Funk generally agreed that “Tigers” safest fording. However, they went close – just before the first minefield, where he stopped in anticipation of sappers who were to clear the passage.

In fact, because of the mines and went wading Funk, and not because of the Soviet, but because of the German. Coordination between the strike groups and sappers who were to remove the mines for the passage of troops, was simply disgusting. For example, the crossing near the village of Solomatin on the site of the 19th Division was blocked by six tanks which were blown up by their own mines immediately after the exit of the bridge.

Mine curse of the 19th Division [1,999,006]

19th Division all earned “palm” in the bad luck of the day. Most of the “Tigers”, who they got, not even able to get to the east coast of the Seversky Donets. Another excerpt from the German papers: “We did not have at their disposal a card with minefields, which were built by German troops. We had only two mutually plan fields which, as it turned out, they were both wrong. ” As a result, the first two “Tiger” blown up by German mines immediately after the nomination, and two more later. And last we moved on an area that was considered free of mines.

A further explosions followed one after another. Three tanks casually snooping on the cleared minefield and out of order. Two trucks were blown up in the “cleared” the road, which then took off even 120 minutes, of which there supposedly was not to be.

Trying to push the Soviet defenses that remained of the “tiger” Company of the 19th Panzer Division, has cost dearly – for the night there was only one undamaged tank. Of course, the undermining of a mine is not guaranteed that the heavy tank will go to scrap. But in the battle of the account it was not only each unit of armored vehicles, but every minute.

Results of the first day of the offensive army group “Kempf” – a frank failure. All that was the Germans – is to seize on the east bank several bridgeheads that the evening did not even manage to combine into one large.

But that was just the beginning.

With heartfelt greetings – “Bison” and “Deerslayer”

Machinery 1529 th heavy self-propelled artillery regiment went into action on July 7. With closed positions SAU German troops fired almost broke through a second line of defense army Shumilova.

Soviet units had to hold out, the Germans – finally connect with the group, advancing on the main line. Covering her flank was the main task of the group “Kempf” which she has not yet started operating. Three days of fierce fighting as the expensive cost to the Soviet troops, and German, so that the 6 th and 19 th armored divisions is simply not strong enough.

Coincidentally, the name of the self-propelled “Deerslayer” from 1529 Regiment later became a household name for all the SU-152 [1,999,006]

The Germans planned July 8 supplement their 7th Panzer, who was still “skidded” on the right wing. But it turned out differently. At night, the Soviet Guards have started counterattack repulsed the enemy farm “farm-hand villa.” The Germans quickly realized that they would not stand Soviet infantry attack without tanks. The plan quickly “beat” in the first half of the day 7th Panzer first sent to fight their own tanks, and in the evening and give them “Tigers”.

Курская дуга, «неглавное» направление
fighting compartment SU-152 [1,999,006]

Customarily leading the battle group, “Tigers” have moved forward, not knowing that they had carefully considered through the gunner’s sight 3rd Battery SU-152. Machinery regiment had their own names, and it so happened that in the struggle with the “Tigers” joined self-propelled guns, “Bison” and “St. John’s Wort.”

Based on the premium sheet gunner “Deerslayer,” the fight was not very long. “The enemy power of up to 12 tanks and infantry battalions tried to take advantageous line (vys.191.2) in the district of our combat formations ahead of the German moved 6 tigers.

Comrade. Mikhailov imposing his instrument right on target helped rout tanks etc. Single when it was destroyed three T-6 and four light tanks damaged. ” T-6 – is the “Tigers”, as they were called in Soviet documents throughout the war.

Most likely, it was the first battle of “Tigers” and the Soviet “Hypericum”. The scale of the Battle of Kursk, he seems insignificant, but, like thousands of other small skirmishes, he undermined the German offensive. Because of the fact that on July 8, 1943 in the battle for the “Agricultural Labourers ‘cottage’ bogged down and was unable to free himself of the enemy tank division, in this day group” Kempf “and could not connect with the troops of German Gotha on the basic direction. As a result, he was forced to divert to protect the flanks of their own armored forces. Yet – while continuing to advance.

Power

Materials of the site “The feat of the people.”
Materials of the site “Memory of the people.”
Documents NARA (USA) Army Group “Kempf” and the 3rd Panzer Corps
Zamulin VN Forgotten Battles Tierra del Arcs. – Moscow: Yauza, Eksmo, 2009.
Jentz, Thomas L. Germany’s Tiger Tanks: Tiger I & II: Combat Tactics. – Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. 1997

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