On the 5th July 1943, the Wehrmacht launched Operation Citadel. Attacking with a force of 3,000 tanks and assault guns, the Germans faced a well dug-in force of more than 3,900 Soviet tanks, with another 1,500 tanks in reserve. What followed was the largest tank battle the world has ever seen, with both sides suffering heavy casualties. On the 11th July, three SS divisions – Totenkopf, Das Reich and Leibstandarte – attempted to break through the Soviet lines at the village of Prokhorovka, and so force the flank of the Soviet defensive position. Facing them were the newly deployed Fifth Guards Tanks Army. The battle raged all day, with German attack followed by Soviet counterattack. By nightfall the Germans had lost more than 300 tanks and the Fifth Guards Tanks Army 50 percent of their strength. Despite their heavy losses, the Soviet defenders had achieved their aim: the German attack had been halted and all hope of their regaining the initiative lost.Das Reich at Kursk has an eight-page gatefold depicting one of the brigades from the Das Reich Division in an innovative and fresh manner. This brigade is shown in battle deployment, with reconnaissance units, advance companies, the main body, the brigade command section, plus all the supporting engineers, signallers, artillery etc to provide a visual guide to exactly how many tanks and other armoured vehicles took part. The book itself is broken down by these sections, looking at each component part of the brigade in turn, their structure, equipment and their role in the battle. The description of each part includes action reports, organisation, equipment, unit commanders and much more.
About the Author
Since leaving the British Ministry of Defence in 2006 after 29 years’ service, David Porter has worked on a number of research projects, contributing articles and book reviews to the BBC History Magazine, the British Army Review and the Royal Engineers Journal.