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Old 10th July 2019, 19:02
Dan History Dan History is offline
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Lightbulb Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

I think that many members of the forum will be interested to know that Dr. Ben Wheatley, a Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History at the University of East Anglia, has used Luftwaffe reconnaissance images to demonstrate visually the disastrous defeat of the Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army at Prokhorovka on 12 July 1943, during the battle of Kursk.

The article is available online, for free:
A visual examination of the battle of Prokhorovka
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full...2.2019.1606545

Dr. Wheatley's article was published in May, and now, close to the anniversary of the battle, the historical editor of the German newspaper Die Welt has drawn wide public attention to it:

Der „Sieg“ der Roten Armee, der in Wirklichkeit eine Niederlage war
Von Sven Felix Kellerhoff
Leitender Redakteur Geschichte
https://www.welt.de/geschichte/zweit...er-Panzer.html

Stalin’s claim of Prokhorovka tank victory destroyed by hoard of pictures
Oliver Moody, Berlin correspondent for The Times.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/s...ures-jl8vbk0b7

A hysterical official Russian reaction has already followed:

Germany Should Prosecute Author Of Article About Battle Of Prokhorovka - Russian Lawmaker
https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/g...ab-666246.html

Kind regards,

Dan
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Old 10th July 2019, 20:12
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Snautzer Snautzer is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

Interesting read. Recommended
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Old 10th July 2019, 21:07
Richard Aigner Richard Aigner is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

Roman Töppel, "Kursk 1943 Die größte Schlacht des Zweiten Weltkrieges" comes to a similar conclusion, albeit w/o photographic corroboration. Also an interesting read, and recommended
Richard
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Old 10th July 2019, 21:49
sidney sidney is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

There is no doubt in my mind that statistically the German army won the Battle of Prokhorovka and did so by a significant margin.

However, in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Kursk, the Red Army launched a series of offensives in the north of the salient thereby liberating Byelgorod, in the centre, liberating Orel, and perhaps most significantly in the south, liberating Kharkov (the 3rd battle of Kharkov). The scale and ferocity of the Russian offensive after such a crippling losses in the Battle of Kursk surprised even the defensive warfare expert such as Gen. Walter Model undoubtedly was.

The point, as I see it, is that the Red Army took the strategic initiative on the eastern front, while the German Army was never again able to mount an offensive of the scale of the Battle of Kursk.

If someone was to draw a parallel with a Great War, a good candidate would be a naval battle of Jutland of 1916. The Imperial Kriegsmarine won the battle statistically, but never again challenged the supremacy of the Royal Navy.

Regards,
Sinisa
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Old 11th July 2019, 05:36
leonventer leonventer is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

Hi Dan,

Thanks a million for bringing this stuff to our attention!

Wheatley's article is an extremely well-researched review of the true events and actual outcome of this momentous encounter, and it'll serve as a useful complement to the books by Lawrence, Töppel, Glantz, et al.

I'll be making a trip to Kursk and Stalingrad in the not-too-distant future, so this material will be an invaluable guide to the Prokhorovka battlefield.

Much obliged,
Leon Venter

p.s. The Russian response is priceless!
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Old 11th July 2019, 06:43
igorrB igorrB is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan History View Post
A hysterical official Russian reaction has already followed:
Sherin is relatively small figure and he gave his personal opinion. This hardly can regard as "official reaction". Mr. Sherin belongs to populist Party LDPR.
But much indignation was caused by this phrase from Die Welt: "Eigentlich müsste dieses Denkmal sofort abgerissen werden". Monument is symbol of one big battle near Prokchorowka which lasted 12-16 July 1943, started with debacle on 12.07 and ended with German retreat on 16.07.1943.
That fact that 5 guard tank army was defeated by germans on 12.07.1943 is opened in russian historical society long time ago by very respected researcher Zamulin.
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Old 11th July 2019, 22:55
Dan History Dan History is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

Gentlemen, I am glad to see that you are interested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Aigner View Post
Roman Töppel, "Kursk 1943 Die größte Schlacht des Zweiten Weltkrieges" comes to a similar conclusion
Richard, there is in fact a body of work concerning this battle, the most important text from the Russian side being Lev Lopukhovsky's 2005 book, Prokhorovka: not classified secret. Lopukhovsky is a retired Strategic Missile Force colonel born in 1930, who lost his father in the during the destruction of the Soviet Western front at Viazma in October 1941, in the first stage of Operation Typhoon. Lopukhovsky's history of that battle has been translated into English:

The Viazma Catastrophe, 1941. The Red Army's Disastrous Stand against Operation Typhoon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Viazma-Cata...dp/1908916508/

There is also an English translation of another important work by Lopukhovsky, which highlights that contemporary official Russian figures of Soviet losses during the Second World War are very suspect:

The Price of Victory: The Red Army's Casualties in the Great Patriotic War
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Price-Victo...dp/1473899648/

The first major German work on Kursk combining German and Soviet sources was Karl-Heinz Frieser's chapter in the 2008 volume of the German official history of the war - Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg - Band 8. Die Ostfront 1943/44: Der Krieg im Osten und an den Nebenfronten
https://www.randomhouse.de/Buch/Das-...ch/e227084.rhd

The battle has also been the subject of an exceptionally thorough study by Chrstopher A. Lawrence, head of The Dupuy Institute, who compiled a database of German and Soviet primary source information over the course of many years. His 2015 book, Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka, is one of the longest books ever published.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kursk-Battl...dp/0971385254/

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidney View Post
The point, as I see it, is that the Red Army took the strategic initiative on the eastern front, while the German Army was never again able to mount an offensive of the scale of the Battle of Kursk.
Sinisa, it is true that the Red Army went over to the offensive after Kursk, but this simple statement of fact misses the reasons for this turn of events. The majority of Germany's military resources in the second half of 1943 was absorbed by the effort involved in holding the Italian mainland following the collapse of Mussolini's regime, as well as defending against the massive Allied offensive in the air. I briefly discussed some of these issues to set the context of events in July 1943 for my article about the loss of a Fw 190 now flown by the Flying Heritage Collection - https://www.afhistory.org/wp-content...-Issue_All.pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by leonventer View Post
I'll be making a trip to Kursk and Stalingrad in the not-too-distant future, so this material will be an invaluable guide to the Prokhorovka battlefield.

p.s. The Russian response is priceless!
You are very welcome, Leon. I hope you will enjoy your trip and also get to understand a little bit of what modern Russia is like. I imagine you will travel through Moscow, there will be quite a contrast between the capital and the provincial towns.

The Russian response is not just a cause for ridicule, or the loose talk of a minor official. Alexander Nikolaevich Sherin is the First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma (Parliament) Committee on Defence since October 2016. He is also a retired Airborne Captain, who was wounded in the Second Chechen War. It is a matter of concern that a senior member of Russia's Parliament feels himself free to issue threats as a rejoinder to an academic article.

Kind regards,

Dan
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Old 11th July 2019, 23:08
Dan History Dan History is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

Quote:
Originally Posted by igorrB View Post
much indignation was caused by this phrase from Die Welt: "Eigentlich müsste dieses Denkmal sofort abgerissen werden". Monument is symbol of one big battle near Prokchorowka which lasted 12-16 July 1943, started with debacle on 12.07 and ended with German retreat on 16.07.1943.
That fact that 5 guard tank army was defeated by germans on 12.07.1943 is opened in russian historical society long time ago by very respected researcher Zamulin.
Igor,

Any journalistic sensationalism that Kellerhof may have engaged in does not in the least excuse the completely inadmissible behaviour by Sherin.

The German retreat from Prokhorovka was occasioned by the collapse of the Axis defences in Sicily and by the Soviet offensive on the northern flank of the Orel Bulge held by Heeresgruppe Mitte, not by Soviet actions around Prokhorovka itself. Manstein was even asking Hitler for permission to conduct further offensive action, something which illustrates the magnitude of Soviet problems in this specific geographical area.

Zamulin has indeed followed up Lopukhovsky's pioneering study from 2005, but he has written very little about the operations around Orel, or indeed the wider strategic context of operations on other fronts.

The problems in the approach taken by many modern Russian historians are on display in the article "An Undoubted victory of the Red Army on the fields at Prokhorovka", written by the popular historian Alexei Isaev on the website of the Russian Society of Military History, as a direct response to Wheatley. Isaev states that the surprise arrival of fresh Soviet reserves, namely the 5th Guards Tank Army, marked the failure of the offensive by Heeresgruppe Süd, because the German forces were unprepared for this eventuality. This is a nonsensical argument, since the surprise counter-attack on 12 July was defeated with very heavy losses. It is not at all clear why some contemporary Russian historians and officials feel the urge to react with such rhetoric to a rather straightforward review of the Germany imagery of this battlefield.

Kind regards,

Dan
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Old 12th July 2019, 00:40
kalender1973 kalender1973 is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan History View Post
Igor,

Any journalistic sensationalism that Kellerhof may have engaged in does not in the least excuse the completely inadmissible behaviour by Sherin.

The German retreat from Prokhorovka was occasioned by the collapse of the Axis defences in Sicily and by the Soviet offensive on the northern flank of the Orel Bulge held by Heeresgruppe Mitte, not by Soviet actions around Prokhorovka itself. Manstein was even asking Hitler for permission to conduct further offensive action, something which illustrates the magnitude of Soviet problems in this specific geographical area.

Zamulin has indeed followed up Lopukhovsky's pioneering study from 2005, but he has written very little about the operations around Orel, or indeed the wider strategic context of operations on other fronts.

The problems in the approach taken by many modern Russian historians are on display in the article "An Undoubted victory of the Red Army on the fields at Prokhorovka", written by the popular historian Alexei Isaev on the website of the Russian Society of Military History, as a direct response to Wheatley. Isaev states that the surprise arrival of fresh Soviet reserves, namely the 5th Guards Tank Army, marked the failure of the offensive by Heeresgruppe Süd, because the German forces were unprepared for this eventuality. This is a nonsensical argument, since the surprise counter-attack on 12 July was defeated with very heavy losses. It is not at all clear why some contemporary Russian historians and officials feel the urge to react with such rhetoric to a rather straightforward review of the Germany imagery of this battlefield.

Kind regards,

Dan
I would suggest to close this very provocative thread. Or I oversee any connection to Luftwaffe? Dan History can count the number of destroyed soviet tanks further and celebrate german victory but may be on on this board?
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Old 12th July 2019, 03:54
Broncazonk Broncazonk is offline
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Re: Article using Luftwaffe wartime reconnaisance imagery of battle of Kursk drives media attention

Did the Luftwaffe participate in this battle: air superiority, ground attack, ISTAR?

"Low clouds in the morning and thunderstorms in the afternoon inhibited air operations over Prokhorovka for both sides.[138] Over the Prokhorovka battlefield the Luftwaffe gained control of the air. Formations of Stukas, including a small number of the G-2 variants, experimentally equipped with twin 3.7-centimetre (1.5 in) Bordkanone BK 3,7 cannon in gun pods, that were commanded by Staffelkapitän Hans-Ulrich Rudel, attacked the Soviet formations. They were joined by Fw 190 single engine fighter-bombers and Hs 129 twin-engined ground-attack aircraft, both equipped with 3-centimetre (1.2 in) anti-tank cannon.[120]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle...vka#Air_combat

Bronc
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