Pavel Alekseyevich Rotmistrov was born in the village of Skovorovo of the Tver Governorate into a family of the village blacksmith and had eight siblings. He joined the army in 1919 and was awarded his first decoration, the Order of the Red Banner, in 1921. By the time the Great Patriotic War started, he had been promoted to colonel and was chief of staff of the third mechanized corps. During the Battle of Prokhorovka, P. A. Rotmistrov commanded Soviet tank units. It is the actions of the troops under the direct command of P. A. Rotmistrov that stopped the enemy from accomplishing any of its missions on 12 July — the Nazis failed to capture Prokhorovka, pierce defenses of the Soviet troops, and break through into open ground.