Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

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Andy H
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Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by Andy H » 13 Mar 2021 13:30

Hi

This fantastic piece of archival research is available for a limited time.
So get it whilst you can, print, download whatever suitS and don't forget the tables at the end.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10 ... 21.1889278

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by stg 44 » 13 Mar 2021 14:38

Thanks for sharing Andy

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by stg 44 » 24 Mar 2021 14:28

Question for anyone interested, does this potentially show that Manstein might have had a point about continuing the offensive? If the II SS Corps had that much residual armored strength and inflicted that heavy of losses on the 5th Tank army for so few casualties might they not have been able to keep going even if not in the direction occupied by the Soviet PAK front?

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by Aber » 28 Mar 2021 11:27

Andy H wrote:
13 Mar 2021 13:30
Hi

This fantastic piece of archival research is available for a limited time.
According to The Times yesterday, he has published an updated article in the Journal of Intelligence History.

From Ben Wheatley's website
The three armoured SS Sonderverbände (special units) Leibstandarte, Das Reich and Totenkopf which constituted the II SS Panzer Korps played a key role during the battle of Kursk (5.7–23.8.1943), first during Operation Citadel (5–16.7.43) and then (minus the Leibstandarte) during the defence of Kharkov (3–23.8.43). For the first time, as a result of a recent archival discovery (complete armoured inventories for 20.7.43 and 1.8.43), this article can give the exact number of armoured losses the II SS Panzer Korps sustained during Operation Citadel, which included the supposedly crippling armoured battle of Prokhorovka (12.7.43). The article also establishes the actual number of operational AFV that was available to the II SS Panzer Korps before, during and after Operation Citadel. Taken together this information allows for a detailed examination of Hitler’s strategy preceding the defence of Kharkov, including his decision to send the II SS Panzer Korps to the Mius Front (30.7–2.8.43).
From The Times
Panzer Korps lost only 16 of its 561 tanks and self-propelled guns over 10 days of the battle

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by Michael Kenny » 28 Mar 2021 12:16

Aber wrote:
28 Mar 2021 11:27


From The Times
Panzer Korps lost only 16 of its 561 tanks and self-propelled guns over 10 days of the battle

'Lost' over 10 days? A better picture of how bad it was can be found by looking at the daily 'in service' totals.

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by Aida1 » 28 Mar 2021 15:22

stg 44 wrote:
24 Mar 2021 14:28
Question for anyone interested, does this potentially show that Manstein might have had a point about continuing the offensive? If the II SS Corps had that much residual armored strength and inflicted that heavy of losses on the 5th Tank army for so few casualties might they not have been able to keep going even if not in the direction occupied by the Soviet PAK front?
There was certainly the possibility of a partial operational success as explained by Karl Heinz Frieser in Das deutsche Reich und der zweite Weltkrieg Band 8 DVA 2011 p143-144.

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by stg 44 » 28 Mar 2021 17:43

Aida1 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 15:22
stg 44 wrote:
24 Mar 2021 14:28
Question for anyone interested, does this potentially show that Manstein might have had a point about continuing the offensive? If the II SS Corps had that much residual armored strength and inflicted that heavy of losses on the 5th Tank army for so few casualties might they not have been able to keep going even if not in the direction occupied by the Soviet PAK front?
There was certainly the possibility of a partial operational success as explained by Karl Heinz Frieser in Das deutsche Reich und der zweite Weltkrieg Band 8 DVA 2011 p143-144.
Yeah, having just read that section it looks like the author agrees that Manstein was correct and Operation Roland would have forced the Soviets to abandon their summer offensive (Belgorod-Kharkov battle of August) due to losses and premature commitment of their armor units earmarked for that offensive. That would certainly change the course of 1943.

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by Cult Icon » 28 Mar 2021 19:35

stg 44 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 17:43
Yeah, having just read that section it looks like the author agrees that Manstein was correct and Operation Roland would have forced the Soviets to abandon their summer offensive (Belgorod-Kharkov battle of August) due to losses and premature commitment of their armor units earmarked for that offensive. That would certainly change the course of 1943.
seems like a dubious claim...

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by Aida1 » 28 Mar 2021 20:24

stg 44 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 17:43
Aida1 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 15:22
stg 44 wrote:
24 Mar 2021 14:28
Question for anyone interested, does this potentially show that Manstein might have had a point about continuing the offensive? If the II SS Corps had that much residual armored strength and inflicted that heavy of losses on the 5th Tank army for so few casualties might they not have been able to keep going even if not in the direction occupied by the Soviet PAK front?
There was certainly the possibility of a partial operational success as explained by Karl Heinz Frieser in Das deutsche Reich und der zweite Weltkrieg Band 8 DVA 2011 p143-144.
Yeah, having just read that section it looks like the author agrees that Manstein was correct and Operation Roland would have forced the Soviets to abandon their summer offensive (Belgorod-Kharkov battle of August) due to losses and premature commitment of their armor units earmarked for that offensive. That would certainly change the course of 1943.
That is not what Karl heinz Frieser stated. Actually he states on p144 that the soviet summer offensive would at the end still have crushed Manstein despite some initial german successes. . Delaying the russian summer offensive was the only thing that could realistically be achieved given the ratio of forces.

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by stg 44 » 28 Mar 2021 21:05

Cult Icon wrote:
28 Mar 2021 19:35
stg 44 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 17:43
Yeah, having just read that section it looks like the author agrees that Manstein was correct and Operation Roland would have forced the Soviets to abandon their summer offensive (Belgorod-Kharkov battle of August) due to losses and premature commitment of their armor units earmarked for that offensive. That would certainly change the course of 1943.
seems like a dubious claim...
Read the section in question and let us know your specific objection. The claim though was that Manstein's original plan was carried out (Glantz and wikipedia are very wrong about what Operation Roland was, they apparently confuse the link up between II SS PC and III PC as Roland. It was not, that was just a clean up operation to make it easier to free up the SS to move west of the XXXXVIII PC), which meant the entire SS panzer corps stays at Kursk instead of being withdrawn. Citadel's reserve, XXIV corps with 5th SS and 17th panzer divisions, would be committed northwest of the III panzer corps to replace the SS corps in line after its move west for Roland. This would be after the SS linked up the front with III PC after July 13th. The Mius Front would not be counterattacked and the danger of the Soviet offensive simply accepted as Manstein said should be done since May, as the Soviet offensive there to draw of armored reserves from Citadel was anticipated in the offensive's planning.

The Soviet reserves, 47th, 27th, and 53rd armies, were all earmarked for the Soviet counteroffensive against Belgorod/Kharkov, which would have had to be prematurely committed to trying to stop Op. Roland; they had about 400 AFVs between them, but that was not likely to make much of a difference given that we now know the II SS PC losses were extremely minor in stopping the 630 tanks of the 5th Guards Tank Army plus several hundred others already in the area and inflicting hundreds of losses. The 3 armies mentioned above weren't concentrated in once section of the front, so their impact would be too dispersed to even make the impression 5th Tank Army did. Meanwhile the Psel river would enhance the flank defense for the operation (in Roland they were to attack south of the river on the west side of the bulge 4th panzer army created to encircle Soviet forces there). Looks like the 1st Tank Army, part of the 6th Guards Army, 40th Army, and part of the 38th Army would be in that area; 1st Tank Army was already basically shattered by July 15th (one corps had lost 150 of its 200 AFVs) after their failed attacks against XXXXVIII PC on the 13th-15th and the other named units basically worn down or locked in with other German units.

The only threat would be the 4th Guards Tank Corps of the 27th army, which had 189 of the AFVs the Soviets had left in reserve (source Glantz "Kursk" p.348) and would have to cross the Psel to launch its counterattack. I doubt the II SS Panzer Corps had much to worry about from that low of a number of AFVs given that they destroyed more than 300 in the attack of the 5th Tank Army at Prokhorovka in a single day for the loss of no more than 16 AFVs. By the 18th of July the SS corps had 350 AFVs operations vs. 339 on 11th of July, aka more operational after Prokhorovka and the fighting until the 17th of July than before! The source for that is the article that started this thread. The 1st GMC had 204 AFVs, but was behind the 5th GTA and would only be in contact with the XXIV PC and the parts of the III and XXXXVIII PC that would likely shift to cover the gap created by the castling of the SS PC.

Glantz's "Battle of Kursk" has an awesome map on page 222 that shows the situation as of July 15th for reference.
Last edited by stg 44 on 29 Mar 2021 15:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by stg 44 » 28 Mar 2021 21:10

Aida1 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 20:24
stg 44 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 17:43
Aida1 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 15:22
stg 44 wrote:
24 Mar 2021 14:28
Question for anyone interested, does this potentially show that Manstein might have had a point about continuing the offensive? If the II SS Corps had that much residual armored strength and inflicted that heavy of losses on the 5th Tank army for so few casualties might they not have been able to keep going even if not in the direction occupied by the Soviet PAK front?
There was certainly the possibility of a partial operational success as explained by Karl Heinz Frieser in Das deutsche Reich und der zweite Weltkrieg Band 8 DVA 2011 p143-144.
Yeah, having just read that section it looks like the author agrees that Manstein was correct and Operation Roland would have forced the Soviets to abandon their summer offensive (Belgorod-Kharkov battle of August) due to losses and premature commitment of their armor units earmarked for that offensive. That would certainly change the course of 1943.
That is not what Karl heinz Frieser stated. Actually he states on p144 that the soviet summer offensive would at the end still have crushed Manstein despite some initial german successes. . Delaying the russian summer offensive was the only thing that could realistically be achieved given the ratio of forces.
That isn't really what he said. He said the Roland operation would have been successful in its goals BUT the territorial gains from the operation would eventually be nullified due to Soviet reserves and the need to shift forces. However the point of that operation wasn't to hold ground permanently it was to eliminate Soviet units, armor, equipment, and manpower as well as chew up the Soviet reserves that would be used for the Belgorod-Kharkov offensive. KHF says the operation would have achieved that goal in the section about the chances of success of Roland. Despite that success though the Soviets would eventually shove German forces further west, especially as units are shifted to deal with the Mius Front and Italy, which they would after Roland was wrapped up.

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by Aida1 » 29 Mar 2021 10:17

stg 44 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 21:10
Aida1 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 20:24
stg 44 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 17:43
Aida1 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 15:22
stg 44 wrote:
24 Mar 2021 14:28
Question for anyone interested, does this potentially show that Manstein might have had a point about continuing the offensive? If the II SS Corps had that much residual armored strength and inflicted that heavy of losses on the 5th Tank army for so few casualties might they not have been able to keep going even if not in the direction occupied by the Soviet PAK front?
There was certainly the possibility of a partial operational success as explained by Karl Heinz Frieser in Das deutsche Reich und der zweite Weltkrieg Band 8 DVA 2011 p143-144.
Yeah, having just read that section it looks like the author agrees that Manstein was correct and Operation Roland would have forced the Soviets to abandon their summer offensive (Belgorod-Kharkov battle of August) due to losses and premature commitment of their armor units earmarked for that offensive. That would certainly change the course of 1943.
That is not what Karl heinz Frieser stated. Actually he states on p144 that the soviet summer offensive would at the end still have crushed Manstein despite some initial german successes. . Delaying the russian summer offensive was the only thing that could realistically be achieved given the ratio of forces.
That isn't really what he said. He said the Roland operation would have been successful in its goals BUT the territorial gains from the operation would eventually be nullified due to Soviet reserves and the need to shift forces. However the point of that operation wasn't to hold ground permanently it was to eliminate Soviet units, armor, equipment, and manpower as well as chew up the Soviet reserves that would be used for the Belgorod-Kharkov offensive. KHF says the operation would have achieved that goal in the section about the chances of success of Roland. Despite that success though the Soviets would eventually shove German forces further west, especially as units are shifted to deal with the Mius Front and Italy, which they would after Roland was wrapped up.
Manstein had expected beforehand that there would be diversionary attacks further south and would ignore these, accepting russian breakthroughs there as he wanted to battle russian reserves around Kursk(Das deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg Band 8 p 145). There was never a compelling need to send forces to Italy and the Mius. Anything sent to Italy would arrive too late and even Hitler eventually only sent LAH which ended up not doing very much. There were certainly better ways to use DR and Totenkopf than the frontal costly counterattacks on the Mius.

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by stg 44 » 29 Mar 2021 15:00

Aida1 wrote:
29 Mar 2021 10:17
stg 44 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 21:10
That isn't really what he said. He said the Roland operation would have been successful in its goals BUT the territorial gains from the operation would eventually be nullified due to Soviet reserves and the need to shift forces. However the point of that operation wasn't to hold ground permanently it was to eliminate Soviet units, armor, equipment, and manpower as well as chew up the Soviet reserves that would be used for the Belgorod-Kharkov offensive. KHF says the operation would have achieved that goal in the section about the chances of success of Roland. Despite that success though the Soviets would eventually shove German forces further west, especially as units are shifted to deal with the Mius Front and Italy, which they would after Roland was wrapped up.
Manstein had expected beforehand that there would be diversionary attacks further south and would ignore these, accepting russian breakthroughs there as he wanted to battle russian reserves around Kursk(Das deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg Band 8 p 145). There was never a compelling need to send forces to Italy and the Mius. Anything sent to Italy would arrive too late and even Hitler eventually only sent LAH which ended up not doing very much. There were certainly better ways to use DR and Totenkopf than the frontal costly counterattacks on the Mius.
Right. There wasn't a compelling need in July to send forces from the Kursk to Mius or Italy, but there would be a point eventually where it would be absolutely necessary, probably in August (though not necessarily the divisions sent historically); after all the Soviets did eventually break the Mius Front despite the successful counterattacks by the SS corps, which promptly left to head back to Kharkov.

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by EugE » 06 Apr 2021 15:14

stg 44 wrote:
24 Mar 2021 14:28
Question does this potentially show that Manstein might have had a point about continuing the offensive?
No chanse!
Do you know how many reserves had Steppe Front?
Where they were?
Look for it and you will find it...

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Re: Citadel, Prokhorovka and Kharkov: The armoured losses of the II SS Panzer Korps

Post by stg 44 » 06 Apr 2021 15:35

EugE wrote:
06 Apr 2021 15:14
stg 44 wrote:
24 Mar 2021 14:28
Question does this potentially show that Manstein might have had a point about continuing the offensive?
No chanse!
Do you know how many reserves had Steppe Front?
Where they were?
Yes, 3 armies. Already mentioned the 27th, 53rd, and 47th. Of those only two had mechanized or tank corps and all combined had 400 AFVs between all three armies. They were spread out, so unable to present a concentrated fist against one part of the German line. Meanwhile the Germans had a fresh panzer corps in reserve they could have brought in if Manstein had his way, which included the 5th SS division which was larger than a traditional Heer panzergrenadier division, so quite a bit more powerful and able to hold a longer front while also being fresh and full strength. The 27th army would be the only one in position to potentially threaten the II SS Panzer Corps conducting Operation Roland west of the XXXVIII PC, but it would only have 189 AFVs (the SS PC managed to destroy, not simply knockout, more than that in a single day at Prokhorovka) and would have to cross the Psel to attack the right flank of the SS corps. That's an even worse situation than the Soviets faced at Prokhorovka where they had an entire tank army to counterattack with, especially against a SS PC that was barely dented from that fight.

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