1941 - 2015

Prokhorovskoe pole

Museum of Prokhorovskoe Pole

12 July of 1943
The Battle of Kursk made history of the Great Patriotic War as a turning point on the way to the great Victory. The Battle of Prokhorovka was its crucial part.

On 12 July 1943, a massive tank battle took place to the west and south of Prokhorovka, with more than 1,200 tanks and self-propelled guns involved on both sides. A museum was established in Prokhorovka in 1973 to commemorate those events.

Discovered during a dig in the vicinity of height 252.2, belonged to the radio gunner of the 181st tank brigade of the 18th tank corps of the 5th Tank Army Salim Khazieyevich Abdalov (a Bashkir). His remains were buried in a communal grave in the village of Shakhovo of the Prokhorovka District in 2007.

A. S. Zhadov was an army general and a Hero of the Soviet Union. He was born on 30 March 1901 in the village of Nikolskoe in what is now the Sverdlovsk District of the Oryol Region. In July 1943, the 5th Guards Army (part of the Voronezh Front) under his command repelled the massive attack by the Nazi troops in the vicinity of Prokhorovka. His army’s actions were critical in the situation on the southern face of the Battle of Kursk, in which the 5th army and its commander showed unprecedented courage.

P. I. Shpetny, a Hero of the Soviet Union.T
he platoon of anti-tank riflemen under the command of senior lieutenant Pavel Ivanovich Shpetny was deployed at height 226.6. Seven tanks of the SS Panzer Division Totenkopf approached their trenches. Six were knocked down by Shpetny’s platoon, and the final one was destroyed by the senior lieutenant, who threw himself under the machine with two antitank bombs. P. I. Shpetny was made a Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously.

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.

Nikolai Fyodorovich Vatutin was an army general. He was born on 13 December 1901 in the village of Chepukhino of what is currently the Valui District of the Belgorod Region. In 1943, during the holding battle on the Kursk Bulge, he took command of the Voronezh Front. Under his command, the Voronezh Front troops successfully repelled enemy attacks and, when switched from defense to offense, N. F. Vatutin showed the example of forming powerful shock troops. In February 1944, he was heavily wounded. He died in a hospital in Kyiv on 15 April 1944 and was buried in Kyiv. N. F. Vatutin was made a Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously.

Echoes of War
A Swiss-made pocket watch made in 1940 was discovered at height 252.2, where a tank battle took place in 1943.

T.Mi.35 German antitank mines were planted in armored approach routes, often in several rows and lines and alternated with Smi-35 antipersonnel mines. Trigger force — 90–200 kilograms.

Belonged to A. G. Kravchenko, the commander of the 5th Guards Stalingrad Tank Corps, a two-time Hero of the Soviet Union.

The remains of a soldier and the soldier’s identification tag to the name of V. I. Vozdvizhensky were discovered during a construction project in the village of Malo-Yablonovo.

Consisted of two three-millimeter upper and lower steel plates, because a soldier would have been unable to bend or crouch in a single-piece breastplate. The breast armor protected well against splinters, but could be pierced by a rifle of machine gun shot.

Discovered on the tank battlefield. The inscription “To Dad from Vanya.”

There is a folk belief that when you leave for the frontline, you should borrow a coin from your neighbor or take a key with you in order to return.

Seventy to one hundred flamethrowers were placed in a line when enemy infantry was approaching. The weapons had an effective range of 100–110 meters. This flamethrower was discovered after the war in the Prokhorovka District.

During the war, Pyotr Andreyevich sent his family about 150 letters from the frontline.

Belonged to the stationmaster of the 12th guards mechanized brigade of the 5th Guards Tank Army A. G. Sklyarov. Originally taken as a trophy from a German sergeant-major.

12 July 1943. The letter includes the lines: “Dear Avochka, I’m writing to you to the thunder of the battle. I have no time to finish the letter today, and I don’t know about tomorrow.” The postscript written by someone else reads: “Batalin was wounded and sent to hospital, where he died.”

Year after year, the museum has gained increasing popularity by featuring exciting and creative displays. On 2 May 2010, the Third Battlefield of Russia memorial complex was unveiled to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War.

The new complex included four independent displays. It is one of Russia’s first new generation museums that make use of state-of-the-art information technologies.

The museum’s collections with more than 20,000 exhibits keep the memories of the past and present...

...photographs, documents, posters, leaflets, decorations, weapons and many other relics tell us about people who left their mark in history.

Post-war years
In 1945, returning veterans and Prokhorovka residents who had survived the occupation began work on rebuilding the economy destroyed during the war. By 1948 much had been rebuilt, and the citizens turned to peacetime construction.

The post-war development of the region centered on agricultural production and processing industry. From 1947 to 1956, thirty Prokhorovka residents were awarded the highest award in the Soviet Union—the Order of Lenin—for their outstanding labor achievements. These included agricultural workers, doctors, teachers, as well as railway and transportation workers.

Now the museum is one of the most accessible and popular institutions, combining a repository of cultural artifacts, a scientific and educational center, and a cultural and intellectual activity space. The monuments and objects in the museum commemorate the achievements of the Russian people in the struggle against fascism. The museum’s mission is to preserve the memory of the Great Patriotic War (World War II), and the heroic deeds of the defenders of our native land.

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