Battle of Prokhorovka

SS-Panzergrenadier-Division LSSAH
At the end of the day both sides had fought each other to a standstill and German strategic advance Operation Citadel had been halted. The fighting had been intense, often at point-blank range, and both sides displayed a high degree of determined courage. But the men of Hausser's SS-Panzer Corps proved the stronger, and the Soviet Chief Marshal Pavel Rotmistrov was forced to withdraw. The Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army paid a heavy price during the Battle of Prokhorovka, losing more than 400 tanks. On July 13 1943, Chief Marshal Rotmistrov admitted that his tank army could only field 100 – 150 combat-ready tanks out of the 850 committed for action at Prokhorovka on the previous day. The Leibstandarte SS alone claimed 192 Soviet tanks destroyed. SS-Obergruppenf├╝hrer Hausser could scarcely believe his eyes walking around the hulks, numbering them with chalk to confirm the kills. Waffen-SS tank losses on July 12 1943 were 70 – 80, the majority of which were lost by the Totenkopf in defensive actions against Soviet attacks on the Psel bridgehead. The Leibstandarte itself only lost 11 Panzers. Considering the Soviet losses it might be classed as one of the most disastrous actions in military history; however the Soviet counterattack had stalled the German advance and the Leibstandarte SS was pulled back. Fighting continued on July 13 1943, but the focus of the Soviet attack had shifted to the SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Totenkopf, to the left of the Leibstandarte. Image: Leibstandarte SS Panzergrenadiers riding on the deck of a Panzer after an engagement on the Kursk salient in July 1943. Photo: SS-Kriegsberichter Max B├╝schel. US National Archives and Records Administration. Fair use.

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