While 41st tank Harpe’s corps stormed Ponyri, the 47th tank corps of Lemelsen tried to break into the Olkhovat direction. The commander of the 47th Corps removed a tank regiment from the 4th Panzer Division and transferred all available tanks to the 2nd Panzer Division under the command of Folrat Lubbe. The 2nd division was transferred and the 505th battalion of heavy tanks "Tiger". All tank forces were combined into the Burmeister brigade under the command of Major General Arnold Burmeister from the 2nd Panzer Division (actually commanded by Lubbe). She was directly subordinate to the headquarters of the corps. The 4th Panzer Division was transferred to the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun battalion. In fact, the 4th division ceased to be a tank.
The Burmeister Group, which included up to 180 tanks, was to break through from the Samodurivka-Kashara line southwards, towards the height 274, about 4-5 km south-west of Olhovatka. Lemelzen hoped to deliver a crushing blow and break through the Soviet defenses. However, these calculations were not justified. The defense in this sector of the front was occupied by three divisions of the 17 Guards Rifle Corps, reinforced with tanks of the two corps of the 2 Tank Army.
Soviet intelligence officers, captured serviceable PzKpfw III Ausf N and led him to the location of their troops. July 1943.
Fierce battles began on July 7 for a height of 257,0, which the Germans called "tank height." German troops could not take it. They somewhat suppressed the formations of the 6th Guards Rifle Division Dmitry Onuprienko. But they failed to bring her down, as she was supported by the 109th tank brigade, the 48th and 58th tank regiments, and the 614th anti-tank fighter regiment. All the dominant and tactically important heights were fortified by camouflaged tanks dug in the ground, which were used as armored machine-gun and cannon firing points. It was impossible to get around them from the rear. T-34, KV-1 and KV-2 had good armament, powerful armor, so from the front they could be destroyed only with the help of heavy artillery and aviation.
The German commanders regrouped their forces and in the evening the Germans attacked again, advancing in the direction of the 2 Ponyri, the height of 257,0 to the flank and the rear of the 75 Guards Rifle Division under the command of Vasily Horishny. But this attack was repelled. The divisions' joints were prudently strengthened and provided with the support of artillery units.
German armored personnel carrier SdKfz 251 / 10, hit a mine. North of Kursk, July 1943
70-I army. In the defense zone of the 70 Army, commanded by Ivan Galanin, the most stubborn battles were in the village of Kutyrki-Teploe. Here the main blow of the German armored vehicles took the 3-I fighter brigade, 140-I and 175-I infantry divisions. In the area of the settlement, two anti-tank areas were created, each containing three artillery batteries armed with 45-mm and 76-mm cannons, one mortar battery with 120-mm mortars and a battalion of anti-tank guns. Each artillery battery created an anti-tank stronghold. The entire battle formation of the 3 Brigade, under the command of Colonel V.I. Rukosuev, ranged along the front of 4 km and deep into 5 km.
6-7 July 3-I brigade restrained enemy attacks, destroying and damaging the enemy's 47 machines. By July 18, the German command, concentrating a significant number of tanks and assault guns at the junction of the 6 and 70 armies, attacked the 13 fighter brigade three times in two hours. Armored groups were thrown into battle in 3-50 units with infantry. The offensive tanks and infantry were supported by artillery and aircraft. The first blow fell on the 150 th artillery battery of Captain Igishev. The commander of the gun, senior sergeant Sklyarov, with two shots hit a heavy Tiger tank. When the German tanks came closer, the 4-I battery opened flank fire at them. Having lost their 6 machines, the Germans retreated. The second blow was struck on the 5-th battery. Now the direction of movement of the enemy’s tanks has placed them under the flank fire of the guns of the 5 battery. After a fierce battle, the enemy lost 4 tanks and retreated. Also successfully repelled the third attack. During this battle, 14 of enemy vehicles was destroyed and damaged.
The calculation of sergeant Kruglov's 45-mm guns in the 3 battles of a German tank. July 1943
An interesting tactic was used by the commander of one of the 45-mm cannon batteries - Captain Gorlicin. He positioned his guns in such a way, behind the reverse slope of the ridge of height, that they hit the bottoms of German tanks, until the enemy tanks would return fire. Thus, within a day, his battery destroyed and damaged 17 German tanks, while not losing a single weapon and a single person. On the night of July 8, the 70 Army was reinforced by the 19 Tank Corps, which was handed over to the 2 Tank Army for the organization of the July 6 counterattack.
On the morning of July 8, before 70, German tanks and assault guns with infantry on armored personnel carriers reached the outskirts of Samodurovka. Then, with the support of aviation, the Germans launched an offensive in the direction of Warmth-Molochi. Before lunch, the Soviet troops held back the enemy offensive, but by 12: 30, when the German troops launched a third attack from the Kashar area in the direction of Teploi, they were able to break through. Two batteries of the brigade (1-I and 7-I) were almost completely destroyed, the Germans captured Kasharu, Kutyrki, Pozhoreltsy and Samodurovka. The 6-i battery continued to resist - on the northern outskirts of Teploe, the 4-i battery and mortar-takers - in the 238,1 altitude, the remnants of the armored personnel unit and two tanks - on the outskirts of Kutyrka. The commander of the anti-tank area, Colonel V. I. Rukosuev, threw into battle the last reserve — the 5 battery, three light batteries of 45-mm cannons, and a battalion of anti-tank guns. The breakthrough was able to localize, the Germans could not develop success. The 3 fighter brigade personnel fought heroically. Only the 4-I battery destroyed the 19 of the German tanks for the day of the battle, but also lost all the guns. The battery commanders, Captain Igishev and First Lieutenant Kartuzov, died a brave death. The last to keep the defense was a senior sergeant Sklyarov, his regiment appointed him the commander of the battery (one damaged weapon left). Senior sergeant Sklyarov and two Red Army men repulsed the enemy attack, destroying two German tanks. A bomb hit the cannon with a direct hit, the heroes died.
Panzergrenadery and anti-tank self-propelled guns "Marder III" in the battle near the village. Kashar.
On July 10, German troops attempted to break through the defenses of the 19 tank corps. The hull that day lost the 44 tank. The 101-I tank brigade suffered particularly - losing 32 vehicles during the day of the fighting.
July 11 German troops again tried to attack in this direction. However, the defense of the 3 th fighter brigade had already strengthened the 1 th anti-tank brigade and two anti-aircraft divisions. In addition, by this time, Soviet aircraft had gained air superiority and the attacks of diving bomber mixed military order of German armored vehicles. German offensive repelled.
The powerful German offensive in the area of Ponyrey and Olkhovatka - Teply forced the command of the Central Front to enter into battle its last mobile reserve. Rokossovsky took the risk and threw it on the main line - the 9 tank corps under the command of Semyon Bogdanov. The corps was located at Kursk, covering the city from the south. July 5 The 9 Tank Corps was concentrated in the Arsenyevsky, Trubitsyn, Sergeevskoye area. By the end of 7 July, he was sent to the front line, and from 8, he participated in the battles. It was a fully equipped unit that had 23, 95, 108-tank brigades, 8-th motorized rifle brigade, 730-th separate anti-tank division. The 9 Corps was handed over to the 13 Army and transferred to Olkhovatka.
In the last days of the defensive battle on the northern face of the Kursk salient, the Western and Bryansk fronts were actively preparing for a counterattack. It should be noted that researchers note the fact that the 9-i Army Model after 9 July actually stopped the offensive with all its might and apparently was preparing to repel the Soviet strike. The model did this without consulting the commander of the Army Group Center von Kluge. Formally, July 9 was considered an operational pause before the resumption of the offensive. The model was waiting for the 10-th tankogrenadier and 12-th tank divisions, as well as the 36-th motorized division that had just arrived from the reserve. Prior to this, "attacks with limited integers" were undertaken. But, in fact, these attacks were a fierce positional battle.
New German divisions were being relocated slowly. The 10-Tankogrenadier Division arrived only on July 10 and entered the battle in the Ponyri area. The 12-I tank and 36-I motorized divisions arrived only 11 July. A new offensive was scheduled for July 13 morning. However, at that time, Soviet troops launched a counteroffensive. The German grouping in the area of the northern flank of the Kursk ledge began to hastily reorganize, turning to defense. The reaction of the command of the Army Group Center and the 9 Army to the Soviet offensive on the Oryol sector was very quick. The 12-I tank and 36-I motorized divisions were redirected to a new direction. 18-I and 20-I tank divisions, the regiment of "Ferdinand" received an order to withdraw. The strike force was dismantled, and the liberated divisions were thrown to meet the advancing Soviet troops.
German six-barreled mortar "Neblverfer" in the reflection of the Soviet counterattack.
Results of the defensive battle in the north
- 9-I German army lost during the period from 5 to 11 in July 1943, 22,2 thousand people. During the same time, the Central Front lost 33,8 thousand people. In the 9 Army, the 86 and 292 Infantry Divisions of the 41 Tank Corps, the 6 Infantry Division and the 2 Tank Division of the 47 Tank Corps suffered the highest losses. During the seven days of fighting, the German group was able to advance only 10-12 km, without breaking through the defense zone of the Central Front. In general, the soldiers of the Central Front solved their task - the blow of the Oryol grouping was reflected. The German strike forces suffered heavy losses.
- The situation on the north face of the Kursk bulge was less critical than in the defense sector of the Voronezh Front. This was due to several factors: 1) lower impact capabilities of the Oryol grouping of the enemy than the Belgorod grouping; 2) a narrower section of the front, which was convenient for the onset of German armored vehicles. Soviet command was easier to organize a dense anti-tank defense on dangerous areas. 3) is a model personality, who is suspected of not wanting to make every effort to develop an offensive, he is a bank of force for a defensive operation.
- The conduct of a defensive operation by the command of the Central Front raises many critical questions. There are many complaints about the decision on counterpreparation. Already in Soviet historiography it was rated very restrained. It is believed that the main targets for counter-training should be the accumulations of enemy infantry and equipment, command and observation posts, which leads to disorganization of the command and control system. Suppressing enemy artillery is considered an auxiliary task. Therefore, the plan for counter preparatory training and its implementation on the Central Front are more criticized than positive reviews.
The front command was mistaken with the definition of the main thrust of the German Oryol grouping. It was assumed that German troops would advance along the Orel-Kursk railway. However, the 9 Army Model delivered the main blow west of the railway line. The headquarters of the Central Front had no plan for this case and was forced to improvise.
- The actions of the Central Front once again showed the vulnerability of the defense. Even in the presence of a relatively narrow sector of the front, where the German troops delivered their strike and where they created a serious defense, in order for the 13-I army to withstand, we had to throw into battle almost all the reserves that the front had. All rifle corps were involved, including guards airborne divisions, and all tank corps. On the third day of the battle, the order to join the battle received the last reserve of the front - the 9 tank corps. With more serious enemy forces, the Central Front would have to resort to the help of other fronts and the Stakes reserve.