Panzer attack at Kursk
8th July 1943: A Wehrmacht Panzer commander describes the tactics used to close with the Red Army tanks in a long day of fighting
The clash of armour across the Russian plain outside Kursk went on relentlessly as the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS Panzer Divisions hurled themselves into battle against the Soviet positions.
They now faced an army that was well trained and prepared, whose men and women were united in hatred of the invaders - and who were prepared to fight fanatically. The battlefield was so huge that many units had not yet been brought into the engagement.
Oberleutnant Prast gave the order to attack, but he was knocked out after a couple of hundred meters. Leutnant Beck, the senior platoon leader, assumed command. But that was only of short duration as well. After a few minutes, his tank was also hit. Then it was my turn. I ordered: ‘Panzer marsch!’
On the 8th July it was the turn of Panzer Regiment 35. Lieutenant Reinhard Peters1 was a platoon leader who describes a day of hard fighting that began long before dawn:
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