The next 2 slides show my initial orders, first the top half of the battlefield, then DF's sector in the south. As I said, I'm following the Axis plan. Hausser ordered all units - including TK, who had been slated to launch off earliest with their attack plans to expand the bridgehead north of the Psel - onto the defensive at first light, with an instruction to delay the planned offensive until the now anticipated Soviet offensive had ground to a halt. With only a few exceptions all units got this change of orders in time and prepared to make the most of the protected positions they were in or could find. Around OSF and Hill 252.2 there were good soviet defences available. In addition, the soviet attacks would be hampered by their own massive belts of mines cutting the road to Prokhorovka and several very significant AT ditches. Their Engineers had only had partial success in removing these obstacles during the night.
The only differences from the Axis historical plan are the two orders I've given to TK's recon Bn and their unit with 11 attached Tigers. I want these units to seal the gap, quickly.
And the southern sector:
The Stugs to the left in the above picture will have a good field of fire across the road and rail line up through the defences, when light arrives.
In the next picture the game has started and I'm 3 minutes into the battle. The picture shows Ribbentrop's company 'threat' view, at the front of the LAH lines, just between Hill 252.2 and OSF. As you can see there are plenty of targets/threats already in view. Major movement of tanks. It will be interesting to see how long my unit can last against such an onslaught, and how well the Axis defence holds up, compared to Ribbentrop's real life experience.
Next the threats/targets spotted by 9 Co of Peiper's Bn, another of the units I picked to highlight in the previous articles:
And moving south to the unit I highlighted from Der Fuhrer Regiment:
Over on the left flank of LAH, at the edge of OSF, 1 company of 1 Bn, 1st PG Reg of LAH also has contacts and targets. These are moving through the bottom end of the corridor area:
Here's a picture of their actual view (except not as much light, at this point):
You can readily appreciate part of the problem for the Soviet armour on the day, historically. The crews - fresh and inexperienced - were ordered to rapidly cross that distance above, to close with the enemy. The reason for this instruction was that Rotmistrov, in charge of 5th Guards Tank Army, was under the impression that there were at least 100 Tigers facing his forces, which were mainly T34s. The Tiger's armour, gun and optics were superior to the T34s, and to negate this superiority (which gave the Tiger a significant stand-off advantage vis a vis the T34s) he wanted crews to get in close. Understandable. But whilst closing the units couldn't fire accurately. And in addition, the T34's 4 man crew - with the commander also the gunner - meant that no one would be spotting from outside the tank. So we end up with green crews racing across that flat expanse, with no cover, unable to effectively return fire, with very poor spotting capabilities, heading towards hull-down or at the very least stationary tanks with dedicated spotting (the commander). The result is fairly predictable and terribly tragic. It remains to be seen whether the game mechanics will repeat it!This scenario is in the Resources section.
Kursk, ComOps 1, AAR, Part 3
Part 3 of this AAR. A look at my initial orders, plus some real world views