Unternehmen Zitadelle | The tank dogfight between the „Leibstandarte ϟϟ“ and Soviet T-34 crews continued in Prokhorovka on July 12 1943 – the high watermark of the Battle of Kursk

SS-Sturmbannführer Joachim Peiper
The Soviet third line of defence was holding up – but only just. Satisfied with their success over the Psel and in front of Prokhorovka, SS-Obergruppenführer Hausser´s staff now set about planning the following days drive to complete the piercing of the Soviet third defence line. During the evening of July 11 1943, the SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte SS mustered 52 Panzers and four Tigers. In total, II.SS-Panzerkorps had 211 operational tanks available for action (Totenkopf had 94 and Das Reich possessed 61). They had no idea that only a few kilometers from the Waffen-SS advance posts, a Soviet force of more than 850 tanks and assault guns were massing to strike at them the following morning. The three tanks corps of the Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army received orders to move westwards to engage the Waffen-SS and stop them taking a town called Prokhorovka. The force included 500 T-34s, with remainder being T-70s or lend-lease British Churchill and American General Lee tanks. Battle was joined on July 12 1943. Credit: Tim Ripley. Image: Jochen Peiper as SS-Sturmbannführer on July 11 1943, the day before the Battle of Prokhorovka. Screenshot from Die Deutsche Wochenschau (August Heißmeyer). Fair use.

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