*Sponsored* by Wargaming! Download World of Tanks: bit.ly/1PzXXIU
Twelve days of ferocious battle wore both sides down to the bone. Each German push was met with a Soviet counterattack in places like Ponyri and Prokhorovka, until finally the Allied invasion of Sicily forced Hitler to recall his troops. --- (Episode details below)
Support Extra History on Patreon! bit.ly/EHPatreon
Subscribe for new episodes every Saturday! bit.ly/SubToEC
Watch the full Kursk series: bit.ly/1TL1FWr
Grab your Extra Credits gear at the store! bit.ly/ExtraStore
Play games with us on Extra Play! bit.ly/WatchEXP
Talk to us on Twitter (@ExtraCreditz): bit.ly/ECTweet
Follow us on Facebook: bit.ly/ECFBPage
Get our list of recommended games on Steam: bit.ly/ECCurator
Why doesn't this series use the Nazi swastika symbol? James explains: bit.ly/1Pzy1k5
German divisions had not expected the level of resistance they met from the Soviets, and their planned advance was behind schedule. At the same time, the Soviets were concerned by the breaches in their first level of defense and by the Tiger tanks which so decisively outgunned their T-34. Fighting on the north side of the Kursk salient came to focus on the small Russian town of Ponyri, where the Germans saw an opportunity to break through and encircle the Soviet defenders. But every time they took control, the Soviets countered and took it back, until finally it became clear that they would never hold Ponyri and could only hope to divert troops from reinforcing the Soviet line elsewhere. But in the south, General Vatutin of the USSR had come up with a clever strategy: he literally buried his T-34 tanks up to the turrets, making them fortified anti-tank guns whose small profile negated the range advantage of the Tiger. His methods were extremely effective, but the Germans continued to fight forward inch by bloody inch. The Soviets needed to hold until reinforcements arrived. An attempted counterattack failed, but managed to slow the Germans, as did the sudden arrival of rainy weather that bogged down their materiel. In the midst of this, the brutal war criminals in the SS Division fought on with a ferocity best exemplified by Joachim Krüger, who once ripped off his pants to escape a smoke grenade and charged bare-assed at a Russian tank. But this wild back and forth could not continue. On July 12, 1943, the Germans sought a decisive outcome through a hard push at Prokhorovka. They did not get it, and the tides quickly turned against them. The Allies invaded Sicily, pressuring Hitler. He gave the command to withdraw the troops at Kursk, over his commanders' objections. His general, Erich von Manstein, attempted one final assault just as Stalin's long-planned counterattack rolled out in full force. The Soviets routed the Germans and collapsed their Eastern Front. Over the course of the war, they continued to push the German forces back - all the way to Berlin in 1945.
♫ Get the intro music here!
*Music by Demetori: bit.ly/1AaJG4H
♫ Outro music provided courtesy of Wargaming!
"Reading 'Stars and Stripes'" by Sergey Khmelevsky
28 Mar 2016