NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 14) – KURSK

As 78 Rifle Division was clearing the south bank of the OSKOL, 61, 59 and 41 Guards Divisions were pushing the grenadiers of 14 Panzer Division back into KURSK.

German rearguard action to cover bridge demolition at KURSK

German rearguard action to cover bridge demolition at KURSK

Despite well-prepared defences, the Germans were unable to hold ground against the Soviet steamroller. The motorised troops took full advantage of their mobility to retire over the river.

Panzergrenadiers withdraw past the demolition guard at KURSK

Panzergrenadiers withdraw past the demolition guard at KURSK

All the time, however, Soviet casualties were mounting and ammunition stocks were being depleted. Large numbers of battalions on both sides were down to company strength, with low morale.

Southern KURSK falls to the Soviets

Southern KURSK falls to the Soviets

The survivors of the Schnelle Abteilungen had redeployed to the northwest bank to cover their slower-moving infantry battalions, and as the last self-propelled artillery pieces trundled over the town centre bridges, pioneers began to connect the firing circuits to the prepared bridges. Fierce fights erupted on the river banks, and after a couple of failed attempts, both bridges were demolished in the face of the enemy.

Sturmoviks blast a path through for a river crossing

Sturmoviks blast a path through for a river crossing of the OSKOL

This did not deter the Soviets, as small parties of scouts and guardsmen slipped across the narrow river, at night, to be joined by more of their comrades as bridgeheads were established. Narrow assault bridges were thrown across the river under the cover of Sturmovik attacks.

Rearguard crosses safely but fails to prevent the Soviets crossing the OSKOL

Rearguard crosses safely but fails to prevent the Soviets crossing the OSKOL

The defenders were being pressed from the front and flanks by an enemy that could sense victory.  No help was coming from reserves, who had been committed to holding attacks on both flanks. Despite orders to stand firm, willpower alone was not enough “Wo ist die Luftwafffe?¹“.

14 Pz Div Panzer counterattack fails

14 Panzer Division Panzer Battalion counterattack fails

The single surviving Panzer battalion of 14 Panzer Division threw itself in to the battle around the bridges, but it was too late. Too few Panzergrenadiers could be pulled out of the line to support the counterattack. The Panzers withdrew having exhausted their ammunition and achieved nothing, and the last chance of holding KURSK slipped from 14 Panzer Division‘s grasp.

This concludes the 14-part battle of KURSK.

  1. Off scrounging Flugkraftstoff.

6 Comments

Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Soviet War Diary, Wargames, WWII

6 responses to “NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 14) – KURSK

  1. Have enjoyed this series of posts Chris! 🙂 And the Russians have got there in the end! Nice to see an early model Grille in there (the early model is my favourite and I’ve got a 20mm one built and primed in the painting queue). Your post also coincides with me buying and reading the Osprey Battle Orders book on the panzer divisions in Russia 1941 to 43 – I was surprised at the variation in organisation in practice and the fact that a lot of panzer divisions in 1942 were down to a single tank battalion!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the heads up and kind words, John. I must have a look at the Osprey, if it collects a heap of disparate information together. Can’t go wrong with a short fat gun bolted onto an obsolete chassis 🙂

      Regards, Chris

      Like

  2. Very nice Chris. A fight for a bridge always makes a good game.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m a retired Sapper. What can I say? Even better, on this game the OSKOL was easily crossed by infantry.

    Regards, Chris

    Liked by 1 person

  4. MGH

    Always enjoy these AARs and glad to see the Soviets hurling the evil Fascists out of the Motherland. Urrah!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hold my hands up, the prose has been pretty purple of late. 🙂

    Regards, Chris.

    Like

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