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The Battle of Kursk: Southern Front 

The Battle of Kursk comes to a climax at the Russian village of Prokhorovka in July 1943.This is the story of the largest tank battle in military history, as elite SS troops face off ... See full summary »

Director:

Paul Kilback
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Luwig Bauer Luwig Bauer ... Himself - 9th Panzer
Vasily Pavlovich Bryukov Vasily Pavlovich Bryukov ... Himself - Lieutenant 2nd Tank Corps - USSR
Saveliy Illyich Chernyshov Saveliy Illyich Chernyshov ... Himself - 623rd Artillery Regiment - USSR
Pavel Nikolaevich Eremin Pavel Nikolaevich Eremin ... Himself - 6th Tank Corps - USSR
Hans Kauert Hans Kauert ... Himself - 3rd SS Panzer Division
Alfred Rubbel Alfred Rubbel ... Himself - Staff Sargent 3rd Heavy Panzer Battelion
Robin Ward ... Narrator
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Storyline

The Battle of Kursk comes to a climax at the Russian village of Prokhorovka in July 1943.This is the story of the largest tank battle in military history, as elite SS troops face off against Russian defenders determined to stop them whatever the cost. Written by Anonymous

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Certificate:

TV-PG
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Release Date:

8 March 2010 (USA) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Big Waste.
10 July 2014 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

The Germans were retreating from the Russians after Stalingrad. Hitler managed to gather his new heavy Panthers and monstrous Tiger tanks and make a stand near the Russian city of Kursk. The Russians were using their more lightly armed T-34s, the best medium tank of the war, but they were out gunned. The Russians superiority lay in speed and numbers.

At this point in the war, the Russians had created a bulge into the German lines. The German objective was to counterattack from both the north and south in a pincer movement, cut off the bulge, and destroy the Russians.

By accident, the German columns found themselves rushing headlong into the T-34s that had been held in reserve, with the Russians equally surprised. What followed was the most deadly mêlée imaginable, with 80,000 casualties in one battle. The end was a standoff, a defeat for the Germans in that they had not completed their encirclement of the Russian bulge. Further, by this time, the Germans could hardly afford the losses, while the Russians could.

The narration keeps us up to date, and the films is a mixture of combat footage, graphics, and talking heads recalling thrilling but often tragic events. It's short and dramatic.

Yet it lacks some details essential to an understanding of the battle. For instance, the Russians knew exactly what the German plan was, right down to the time and place of the initial attack. They knew this because Allied code breakers had told them. They had more than enough time to prepare a defense in depth and, in fact, were able to mount an artillery barrage just before the attack was to start.

There is no mention of the use of "Ferdinands," a low-slung, hastily contrived, tank destroyer that Hitler had great confidence in and deployed in great numbers at Kursk. They proved unreliable and had no defense against the Russian infantrymen who climbed all over them. Nor is there any reference to the jumbo Tiger's being unreliable and so heavy that it was frequently bogged down and immobile.

"Death rained from the air," the narration tells us, but when it did, at the battle's height, it rained indiscriminately on friend and foe alike because the armor was all mixed up and running around, each tank indistinguishable from another. Air didn't play an important part at Kursk.

These weaknesses aside, the documentary gives you a general sense of what the general situation was. For a longer and more accurate picture of the battle of Kursk, you might see if you can find the episode of the "Battlefield" series. It's a big improvement.


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