The Battle of Prokhorovka was refought over the last weekend, Liebstandarte and the Totenkopf divisions of the SS, ( over twenty heavy panzers and sixty lighter panzers) pushed hard into the rail head on the southern sector of the battle for Kursk.
One of the Panzer IV’s from Liebstandarte
Facing them was the Russian Guards 5th Army, including two Guard tank Corps, two line tank corps and a mechanised corps, altogether over 250 tanks and armoured vehicles.
The heavy companies of the Totenkopf division, Ferdinand’s in this case, move forward with the Pz IV’s
Terrain was made up of rolling steppe, so any movement onto hills was deemed very difficult going and required a skill check to negotiate them. The other main terrain feature was the steppe itself, represented by large fields of wheat, this reduced visibility and required skill checks from the Tiger’s to manoeuvre through.
The Russian T34’s of the 18th Russian Guards tank regiment take defensive positions.
The Germans opened the battle with an advance along the whole line, the Russians had deployed the 33rd Mech in front of Prokhorovka in depth, the infantry and anti-tank all dug in. Observers for the Russian artillery were deployed forward of the line to ensure the bombardment would start as early as possible!
One of the Russian observation teams for their artillery, in this case the Katyusha’s, Stalin’s Organ!
The initial rounds of combat saw limited air superiority for the Germans, the Russians maintaining a superiority. The first attacks on the Germans saw a Ferdinand destroyed, good start!
German Reconnaissance scout along the viaduct in the southern sector of the battlefield
The Russian tank Corps deployed hull down where possible, waiting for the German Armour to come into range. In the distance several armour battalions were seen negotiating the undulating steppe with what seemed to be incredible ease.
One of the German armoured infantry regiments moves up in support of Totenkopf drive on Prokhorovka
Then the Germans came into range, the Panzer IV’s and III’s opened up on the Russian armour, the tanks of the Liebstandarte punished the Russian 18th Line Corps by reducing a battalion of their T34’s to fifty percent in one turn of firing, the return fire only destroying one PIV!
The defenders around the Salient in the Russian lines.
Over the next few turns the exchange of fire increased with the Germans getting the better of the exchange!
The southern half of the battlefield had a lot of woodland and steppe, that with the hills mean’t that there was more of a cat and mouse game to be played. The T34’s here began to exchange like for like in destroyed tanks, Panzer III’s and T34’s littered the slopes of the Steppe!
One of the Russian Line Tank Regiments, hull down await the Panzers.
The salient in the viaduct here became a focus for the fighting, several P IV’s tried to break through here only to be stopped by the combined might of the Guards armour and the infantry support.
On the Northern sector of the battlefield there seemed to be a lot more German troops, the push on to Prokhorovka beagn in earnest when the Germans got their artillery and air support co-ordinated on the mechanised infantry dug in along this front. The front battalion was soon reduced to under fifty percent, the NKVD and Regimental Kommissars began their righteous work in keeping the troops in their foxholes. The line held.
German motorised infantry advance to support the Liebstandarte armours push in the southern sector.
Further north flights of Sturmoviks got through and attacked the heavy companies, although the casualties climbed as the anti-air of the SS brought down plane after plane. This must have affected the aim of those remaining, as the Pilots kept missing.
German anti-air flak units provide cover for the Liebstandarte armour in it’s attempt to reach the Russian salient.
Once the German heavy tanks got into range they began to take a heavy toll on the T34’s, reserves were rushed form the railhead to support the line, however the central attack was pressing the mech corps hard, most of their Churchills and KV I & II’s were burning and the infantry were breaking, so getting to the front line was a job in itself. One battalion losing fifty percent of it’s effective’s in one round of fire from a company of Tiger I’s!
The Luftwaffe gets through and commences a diving attack on the Russian lines.
The pressure was beginning to tell for the Russians, the Russian 2nd Tank Corps was all but wiped out, while the 18th Guards Tank Company had taken enormous casualties in getting to the front line.
In the northern sector a squadron of Sturmovik’s stalk the German armour.
The only saving grace for the Russians was the heroics of the Mech and the Guards armour in the south, they managed to destroy the only Tiger I of the game using an ISU 152, which was an excellent shot, even if I do say so myself.
Liebstandarte take the Salient, the Russian counter attack was bloody and left two Pz IV’s burning in the tunnel.
The last throw of the dice was the Liebstandarte charging into the suburbs of Prokhorovka! The rail head was lost, what consequences this may have had to the Russian war effort can only be guessed…..
Great game and many thanks to all the participants!