And elements of the XXIX Tank Corps….

In addition to elements of the XVIII Tank Corps being engaged with Totenkopf SS Division, also, elements of the XXIX Tank Corps were engaged with the Das Reich SS Division.

As I report on page 329 of my Prokhorovka book (or page 940 of my Kursk book — This account was slightly revised for my newer book with one sentence added and two sentences adjusted in the third paragraph):

On the other side of the railroad track, the 25th Tank Brigade, with two batteries of the 1446th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment made more progress. They attacked through Stalinskoye Otdeleniye Sovkhoz and by 1400 (Moscow time) they had taken Storozhevoye and overcome the German fire resistance from Ivanovskii Vyiselok and the groves 1.5 kilometers northeast of Yasnaya Polyana. They also are reported to have taken significant casualties from air and artillery fire (this is Rotmistrov’s claim) but no mention is made of the losses from tank fire. Their attack then stalled somewhere around Storozhevoye, tangled up with the Das Reich SS Division.

The Das Reich reported in the morning an attack against the small forest east of Ivanovskii Vyiselok with 18 to 20 tanks and against its defenses west of Storozhevoye with infantry and tanks. It reported at 1140 Soviet attacks with tanks and infantry against the II Battalion, Deutschland SS Regiment. After this attack was defeated, at 1255 the battalion attacked Storozhevoye. It reported nine Soviet tanks were destroyed. At 1340, the II Battalion then took the south part of Storozhevoye as well as the little woods south of there. At 1505, the battalion was in the north part of Storozhevoye attacking to the east.

The 53rd Motorized Rifle Brigade, with the 271st Mortar Regiment, meanwhile had advanced into the woods north of Storozhevoye and were able to reach the “glade.” Elements of the brigade along with at least 15 T-34s from the first tank battalion of the 32nd Tank Brigade had already penetrated to Komsomolets Sovkhoz in the original attack. Even though two attacking Soviet tank brigades were stalled in front of the German positions around height 252.2, elements of the tank corps had been able to bypass this point and take Komsomolets Sovkhoz. The railroad and the woods north of Storozhevoye probably served to cover the brigade’s right flank as it continued forward. After “fierce fighting,” by 1400 (Moscow time), they were able to take Komsomolets Sovkhoz. Still, as none of the other armor of the XXIX Tank Corps had been able to come forward with this brigade, they were left in an untenable position and the Das Reich SS Division was attacking Storozhevoye, behind them.

There is more, but you get the picture. It is clear that significant elements of the XXIX Tank Corps were primarily engaged with Das Reich SS Division.

Therefore, we have parts of the XVIII Tank Corps engaging the Totenkopf SS Division and parts of the XXIX Tank Corps engaging the Das Reich SS Division. This is a little more complicated picture than just the two corps attacking the LSSAH Division. It is not as simple as a 5-to-200+ or even a 19-to-240 exchange. Here are the figures we used in the engagement sheets created from the Kursk Data Base (from pages 954-956 in the Kursk book, and pages 345-347 in the Prokhorovka book):

Totenkopf SS:

…..134 tanks (0 light) versus 70 Soviet tanks (33 light)

…..28 German tanks lost versus 33 Soviet tanks lost

LSSAH:

…..99 tanks (6 light) versus 260 Soviet tanks (83 light)

…..19 German tanks lost versus 155 Soviet tanks lost (!!!)

DR SS:

…..108 tanks (0 light) versus 251 Soviet tanks (103 light) *

…..1 German tanks lost versus 121 Soviet tanks lost

 

This is a little fuzzier picture. Because of the poor quality of record keeping on this day (which does happen when people get busy), there is some confusion as to what some people were doing during parts of the battle. Lining up exactly who was facing who for each division fight requires a little guess work.

 

* This engagement sheet also covers the attacks by the II Guards Tank Corps and the afternoon attack by the II Tank Corps.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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9 Comments

  1. Did the Soviets really use Roman numerals? I’m pretty sure that was German custom, in no literature I’ve read so far have I encountered Soviet corps described with Roman numerals.

  2. So in my books (for example Glantz’s Barbarossa Derailed) it’s different, as the Soviets themselves did not use Roman numerals. It makes it easier to distinguish Soviet and German corps 🙂

  3. Well, I gather not using the U.S. standards for U.S. books started with the Sovietology community (and it may have started with Glantz). I have chosen not to do that (or more to the point, I chose to remain with the original standard), the same as I have chosen not to use the Library of Congress transliteration for Russian words.

    • Maybe it’s part of the German outlook imparted on Americans after the Allies captured those German generals and ordered them to write memories 🙂 I think Germans used Roman numbers on certain levels of command, probably to reduce confusion between “parent”, “child”, and “sibling” units. Other armies were not so clever…

      Anyway, it’s good that most books I have seen, web pages (like Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_corps_(Soviet_Union) ), and other sources use numbers in the original form, as the Soviets used them. In my mind Roman numeral = German corps, it makes reading this page really hard. I wonder why I haven’t seen this earlier. Are none of my books from the U.S. only U.K. or Australia?

  4. Well, I am looking at Great Battles on the Eastern Front, by Trevor N. Dupuy and Paul Martell, copyright 1982. The Soviet armies are spelled out (i.e. Twelfth Army) and the Soviet corps are in Roman numerals (XIX Mechanized Corps). So this was clearly the standard in the 1980s.

    In a broader sense though, we do work on a whole lot more than just German and Soviets armies. Our various reports (like on urban warfare, enemy prisoner of war capture rates and medium weight armor) use data from a large variety of armies: U.S., UK, German, Russian, Italian, Japanese, Egyptian, Syrian, Israeli, South African, Iraqi, etc. Should I use a unique numbering system for each and every armed force, or use a standard system? I opted for a standard system. I was well aware of the “new” numbering system being used by the Sovietology community.

    Wikipedia was launched in 2001. The Kursk Data Base project was started in 1993 and my Kursk book was started in 1999 and almost complete by 2003.

    • I guess in the last 40 years standards may have changed to something more accurate, respecting original designations (maybe because of the opening of many archives during that time). Most of my books are indeed newer than 1995. There are not so many numeral systems in military use, basically arabic and roman. It’s not hard to use the same format as was really used by given army. And nobody wants to see unit names in their original language (Hungarian unit names give me chills), just the numbers 🙂

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