The Panzers of Prokhorovka: The Myth of Hitlerâ€™s Greatest Armoured Defeat (Hardcover)
This ground-breaking new study of the battles of Kursk and Prokhorovka will transform our understanding of one of the most famous battles of the Second World War, widely mythologized as the largest tank battle in history.
'If ever there was a time for a sober, authoritative dissection of the myths the Soviets fashioned from the Eastern Front, it is now.' - Oliver Moody, Berlin Correspondent for The Times
Today in Russia there are three official sacred battlefields: Kulikovo, where the Mongols were defeated in 1380; Borodino, where Russian troops slowed Napoleon's Grande ArmĂ©e before Moscow in 1812; the third is Prokhorovka. This is widely described as the most critical tank battle of the Second World War, which saw the annihilation of Hitler's elite Panzer force in the largest armoured clash in history and left Hitler with no alternative but to halt Germany's offensive against the Kursk salient. Victory, on 12 July 1943, at Prokhorovka over Hitler's vaunted SS troops has traditionally been described as a turning point in the Second World War.
The Panzers of Prokhorovka challenges this narrative. The battle was indeed an important Soviet victory, but a very different one to that described above. Based on ground-breaking archival research and supported by hitherto unpublished images of the battlefield, Ben Wheatley argues that German armoured losses were in fact negligible and a fresh approach is required to understand Prokhorovka. As we reach the 80th anniversary of the battles of Kursk and Prokhorovka in 2023, The Panzers of Prokhorovka tackles the many myths that have built up over the years, and presents a new analysis of this famous engagement.
About the Author
Dr Ben Wheatley studied Modern European History at the University of East Anglia (doctorate in 2014) and has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the university since 2016. He is a former Teaching Fellow of the Defence Studies Department, King's College London, teaching at the Joint Services Command and Staff College. Publications include British Intelligence and Hitler's Empire in the Soviet Union, 1941â€“1945 (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017).
â€śBen Wheatley joins a very select crew of superb historians who have turned the received wisdom on its head. He has transformed what we thought we knew about history's greatest tank battle. This is a fearless commitment to scholarship, to analysing the evidence wherever it may lead.â€ť â€”Dan Snow
â€śThe Battle of Prokhorovka has attained an almost holy status in Russian narratives of the war, celebrated not only as a victory but as a monumental and decisive engagement. In this book and the underlying research Ben Wheatley provides wholly persuasive empirical evidence that the familiar story of the battle is wrong. His findings speak for themselves and his clear, calm prose and evident respect for the Red Army serve only to make them more compelling.â€ť â€”Oliver Moody, Berlin Correspondent for 'The Times'
â€śWheatley reveals the truth about the Battle of Prokhorovka in July 1943, â€śthe greatest armoured clash in historyâ€ť: it was indeed an operational victory for the Soviets, but it came at a huge cost and â€“ contrary to popular belief â€“ utterly failed to destroy Hitler's elite panzer force.â€ť â€”Saul David, historian, novelist and broadcaster
â€śA remarkable new history of the largest tank battle of the Second World War and key moment in the 1943 Kursk campaign. This is fundamental reading for anyone wanting to understand operations on the Eastern Front, it will become a template for undertaking battlefield history.â€ť â€”Dr Marcus Faulkner, Department of War Studies, King's College London