Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

March 2006 What Next General? General Vatutin at Kursk, 1943.

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • March 2006 What Next General? General Vatutin at Kursk, 1943.

    From p. 60 of the Mar 2006 issue.

    March 2006 What Next General? General Vatutin at Kursk, 1943.


    General Nikolai Fedorovich Vatutin led the Red Army's Voronezh Front in history's greatest armored clash, the Battle of Kursk. Now you have the chance to step into his boots and defeat the Nazi attack!

    By Richard Armstrong

    Click below for full index:



    Dr. S.
    Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

    www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

    www.tabletown.co.uk

  • #2
    When one talks about the great tank battle at Kursk, there are two scopes to the battle on the southern face of the salient. One was fought at the operational level which supports the high count (on or about 1200) in tanks between the Voronezh Front reinforced by Stavka reserves and Fourth Panzer Army and Amry Detachment Kempf. The battle of Prokhorovka more tactical was essentially between parts of II SS Pz Korps and parts of 5th Gds Tk Army and other units.

    The article looks at the operational level fight.
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

    Comment


    • #3
      Counting Tanks Part I

      In the Kursk operation, the tank fights around Prokhorovka became the climatic moment as the greatest armored battle of World War II. Historians and military enthusiasts debate the tank count involved in the fight, many citing between 1,200 and 1,500 tanks. Some call the battle numbers "mythical"; others claim outright disinformation.

      Counting tanks in any operation approaches an art form when one considers the variables and judgment required. Despite the advantage of historical records with reported tank strengths, the efficacy of those numbers and their derivations require an incisive understanding. A victor on the battlefield recovers repairable tanks an dputs them back into service during the course of an operation to sustain their tank strength. Battlefield losers not only lose tanks from catastrophic hits, but also cannot revoer many tanks with mobility problems either from hit damage or mechanical failure which depletes tank strength.

      Strength reports depend on the time of day that they are reported. Maintenance through the night gave morning readiness reports more tnaks than those at the end of the day before maintenance had a crack a getting them back into service. For example, Fourth Panzer Army corps tank strength reports were submitted daily between 7 and 9 p.m. A historical not, III Panzer Corps in Army Detachment Kempf did not report daily strengths during the parts of the Kursk operation--possibly too many SS panzer units around.

      Wehrmacht panzer officers acknowledge their units often held tank strength reports low to keep form having to pass tanks to the SS panzer units.

      Attachments and detachments of ad hoc armored units will impact the unit's fighting strength during an operation.

      And when you count tanks, do you count command and flamethrower tanks withthe fighting tanks?
      Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

      Comment


      • #4
        Counting tanks Part II

        For the tank battles around Prokhorovka, the actual numbers depend on how you define the battle of Prokhorovka or the tank battles around the souther face of the Kursk salient. Based on how one scopes the battle and handles the above factors constitutes the unit's tank strength in the battle. One can begin to understand how many historians and commentators have and will continue to talk past each other.

        However, you decide to cut it, the numbers are impressive. Soviet Army practice in the calculation of correlation of forces counts tanks well into the depth (operational reserves) and in adjacent sectors for their tank count. Consequently, in Soviet military literature, the numbers are high.

        If one scopes the Prokhorovka battle as in the immediate vicinity of Prokhorovka and involves only part of the Red Army 5th Guards Tank Army and part of the German II SS Panzer Corps, then about 600 tanks fought in the meeting engagement, as recent, new Russian studies have indicated.

        Given the attrition of the penetration battle, by July 10th, II SS Panzer Corps stength had fallen to fewer than 300 tanks and assault guns (another factor), and Army Detachment Kempf's III Pz Corps numbered fewer than 200. ON the Soviet side, 5th Gds TA eventually controlled five corps totaling 830 tanks and self propelled assault guns. If the definition for the battle broadens to include the nearby XLVIII Pz Corps, the Soviet lst TA and independent tank corps, the total concentration of armor along the southern face of the Kursk bulge was probably fewer than 2,000. Of these, around 1250 (roughly 830 Soviet and 420 German) fought along the eastern part and about 572 met on the fields around Prokhorovka itself.

        As David Glantz notes, "More over, Prokhorovka was not the single titanic struggle of legend. In reality, it was a confused and confusing series of meeting engagement and hasty attacks with each side committing its forces piecemeal." A fair assessment that allows one to segment the fight on the southern face in multiple scopes.

        In conclusion, Prokhorovka represents for many a culminating one-day tank battle that was preceded by days of massed armored tank battles across the souther face of Kursk. But, one must distinguish whether one is talking about the tank battles of the Fourth Panzer Army and Army Detachment Kempf against the Voronezh Front reinforced with Stavka reserves during a week of fighting or parts of II SS Panzer Corps against parts of 5th Gds Tank Army and supporting unit on July 12th.
        Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 04 Feb 06, 13:24.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

        Comment


        • #5
          Vatutin gained a reputation among the senior German officers for doing the unexpected. For his handling of the Southwestern Front around Stalingrad, von Mellethin labelled Vatutin. "one of their ablest commanders".
          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

          Comment


          • #6
            Not tooting my horn

            Please don't consider me tooting my horn here, I don't mean that at all. I mention these because I know some of you out there enjoying the recreation of the moment with you in command.

            I did do a scenario on the Prokhorovka fight that proved to be quite challenging in SPWAW (Steel Panthers, World at War). I had a good history guru friend of mine put in the correct commander's names for the German side of the fight.
            It is titled, "Moment of Truth."

            I also collaborated in the bigger battle of Kursk in TOAW. I think it was included in the first TOAW. This one plays much longer but it allows you to see the scope of the week long engagement.

            CDV is coming out with an add on to Blitzkrieg shortly that also focuses on Kursk in a campaign type of environment. It looks pretty good.

            Combat Mission, Barbarossa offers some challenging fights on this subject and other big battles on the Eastern Front.

            These cover the fighting from operational to tactical level. Even some of the first person shooters offer some good Russian fighting. I remember playing as the Russian in "Call of Duty." I was able to win them all (some, not on the first try) but the last one

            Wild Bill
            Last edited by WildBill Wilder; 12 Feb 06, 15:48.
            Wild Bill Wilder
            Founder, Wild Bill's Raiders
            Independent Game Consultant

            Comment


            • #7
              All I can say is that the Germans were mad to attack at Kursk when they did... The Soviet commanders must have been crying of joy when the Germans actually attacked!!! The Russians had left no room for the Germans, not even to snatch a tactical victory from the steel grinder that had been set up in a couple of months....

              The first Avalon Hill style hex ww2 game that I ever played was in June 1979, when I turned nine.

              Me and my father played this game which was about the confusing fighting arround the village of Prokhorovka, where essentially the remaining panzer units of the Southern German attack, clashed with the fifth Soviet tank army rushing to give re-inforcements, this resulted in the day long battle next to Prokhorovka, and was so filled with dust that air power was meaningless, also the tankers couldnt see each other, let alone the enemy after a while, this is the classis image of Kursk that we have of thousands of tanks in a huge dogfight.

              After that day, the Germans had 'shot their bolt', and pretty soon the Cicily landings forced Hitler to call Kursk off anyway, thus the Germans had lost their strategic reserve for the summer,and were forced to retreat huge distances...


              Does anybody remember this game? It came in black covers, and it's map was not of really hard board, but thick paper, a cheap game in other words. Still, I didnt mind, I loved it!

              And later on, with me as the chief translator, me and my friends took to Avalon hill...
              Attached Files
              Last edited by 17poundr; 16 Feb 06, 00:35.
              "SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM" - " If you want peace, prepare for war".

              If acted upon in time, ww2 could have been stopped without a single bullet being fired. - Sir Winston Churchill

              Comment


              • #8
                My introduction to wargames also was with Avalon Hill, played wargames into and on active military service. I do not recall an Avalon Hill game on Prokhorovka. With a paper board, you may have had an SPI game.

                Reading accounts of the armored battles at Kursk held the same imagery for me particulalry the fighting on the southern face of the salient. The lesser known fight on the northern face, though shorter in defense than in the south, was intensive with a large number of tanks.

                I hope you are enjoying the article.
                Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 17poundr
                  Does anybody remember this game? It came in black covers, and it's map was not of really hard board, but thick paper, a cheap game in other words.
                  Judging from the date I fear that it was a version of the battle that proved to be totally false. The old tale of 850 Russian tanks charging into 700 German tanks of the SS has long been disproved. Today we know that it was perhaps 120 German tanks and assault guns versus about 500 Russian tanks in a series of engagements between the town and a state farm (can't remember the exact number) to the west. The titanic clash of armour (1500+ tanks) on a 5 mile front never happened.

                  Made for a good story though.
                  The Purist

                  Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Purist
                    Judging from the date I fear that it was a version of the battle that proved to be totally false. The old tale of 850 Russian tanks charging into 700 German tanks of the SS has long been disproved. Today we know that it was perhaps 120 German tanks and assault guns versus about 500 Russian tanks in a series of engagements between the town and a state farm (can't remember the exact number) to the west. The titanic clash of armour (1500+ tanks) on a 5 mile front never happened.

                    Made for a good story though.
                    Kind of like situation reports in combat, things are never as good or as bad as the first report.
                    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sounds like the old Panzerblitz box, as well as Panzer Leader. They were great games.

                      WB
                      Wild Bill Wilder
                      Founder, Wild Bill's Raiders
                      Independent Game Consultant

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WildBill Wilder
                        Sounds like the old Panzerblitz box, as well as Panzer Leader. They were great games.

                        WB
                        But not on paper boards.
                        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          After Manstein's back hand strike in early 1943, the Stavka appointed Vatutin to command the Voronezh Front. He was to prepare the Front for offensive or defensive operations in the Kursk southern sector. Vatutin, always aggressive and imaginative, proposed on April 12th that a pre-emptive offensive strike in the Belgorod-Kharkov direction with an ultimate objective to seize Dnieper river crossings whoud disrupt any future German offensive plans. Stalin like the idea; he could not get the Germans out of his country fast enough. Zhukov and Vasilevsky talked Stalin into taking the German blow on the defensive, wear them down and then go after them in a counteroffensive. If the Stavka would have agreed to Vatutin's plan would be an interesting alternative "what if".
                          Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            True. And von Manstein had the same idea. He urged Hitler to allow him to execute Citadel months before it took place. Hitler was reticent. He had new tanks coming out (Panther, Elephant) and he felt the German forces needed those to cement the victory.

                            If he could have, Manstein would have attacked in April or May but was forced to wait, allowing the Russians to lay great defenses in depth both north and south of Kursk. The delay proved fatal for the Germans.

                            Yes, the alternative is interesting. Of course, I don't think the outcome of the War in the East would have changed ultimately but it would have definitely been a setback for the Russians had they attacked and lost.

                            WB
                            Wild Bill Wilder
                            Founder, Wild Bill's Raiders
                            Independent Game Consultant

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by WildBill Wilder
                              True. And von Manstein had the same idea. He urged Hitler to allow him to execute Citadel months before it took place. Hitler was reticent. He had new tanks coming out (Panther, Elephant) and he felt the German forces needed those to cement the victory.

                              If he could have, Manstein would have attacked in April or May but was forced to wait, allowing the Russians to lay great defenses in depth both north and south of Kursk. The delay proved fatal for the Germans.

                              Yes, the alternative is interesting. Of course, I don't think the outcome of the War in the East would have changed ultimately but it would have definitely been a setback for the Russians had they attacked and lost.

                              WB
                              Actually, the alternative would be better served on an Alternative History thread. I raised Vatutin's proposal to illustrate his aggressiveness which is evident in his courses of action in the article.
                              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X