Russian Soldier: Comrades, Supreme Command has learned that the Germans, in a state of desperation, are pinning all their hopes on one final assault against our Central Front. By achieving a victory here, they hope to overcome their crushing loss to the heroic defenders of Stalingrad, to again regain the offensive. Its should come as no surprise that our great leader, Comrade Stalin, has decreed that this must not happen. Fortunately for us, our highly placed source within the ranks of German High Command has uncovered critical details of their plans. We know, for example, that the specific target for their offensive - codenamed Operation Citadel - is our deceptively exposed salient near the outskirts of Kursk. I say deceptively because for the past several weeks we have secretly built up layer upon layer of fortified, defensive earthworks where we have deployed the greatest concentration of anti-tank weapons ever committed to a single position. We will need these, for it has come to our attention that the Germans are committing all their available armor to the upcoming offensive, including some new and experimental models. We have been steadily building up our forces, and even now, trainloads of fresh reserves are arriving at the scene. Comrades, our goal is to break the back of the German armored forces, leaving them incapable of ever again mounting an effective offensive. Once this has been accomplished, our final victory will be assured.
A letter written by Yuri Petrenko.
Cherkasskoye, July 4, 1943
They loaded us in the trains late last night. The only thing the Commissars would tell us is that we were going to the front where we would serve our motherland with unfailing bravery... pretty words. Vassili says that the fascists are planning some major offensive at Kursk. Sgt. Antonov believes it is their last desperate attempt to maintain a foothold. Whatever happens, I don't expect it to be pleasant. Most of the men are afraid as they have never even seen combat. The only ones who don't show fear are Vassili and Sgt. Antonov. They both served in Stalingrad, though they don't seem to like talking about it. If we all stick close to them, we just may make it through alive.
[Approaching the Frontline of Kursk, Near Botovo]
[July 4, 1943]
Russian soldiers exit the train as it stops.
Russian Soldier: Move it! Fast! Into the trucks, go! Move it! Move!
They begin moving towards the parked trucks.
Russian Soldier: Comrades! Check your weapons and harden your hearts! We must stand our ground and drive the fascists out of the Motherland!
Yuri climbs onto the back of a truck with other soldiers.
Russian Soldier: Keep moving!
Russian Soldier: Alright, we're full. Let's go!
The truck begins moving out. A Stuka flies past the truck and bombs the train the soldiers rode in on.
Ramazanov: My god... They hit the train!
Korolov: This is madness! And you tell me the front is worse?!
Kulikov: Steady, comrades... defeat your fear, the enemy will be easy.
The truck continues on. More Stukas fly overhead.
Ramazanov: Stukas! They're coming back!
They drive into a small village.
Kulikov: Once we clear this village, we'll take up positions in the forward trenches. Move fast and keep your heads down.
Another Stuka flies overhead.
Kulikov: Keep your heads down!
The truck exits the village and keeps moving. Artillery explodes around their path.
Kulikov: Artillery... Get down! Hang on!
The truck stops, and the soldiers exit the truck.
Kulikov: Get your ammunition, and we'll meet up on the other side of the bunker. Out of your trucks, and into the trenches!
The soldiers move through the trenches and enter a bunker.
Kulikov: Get your ammunition from the bunker.
A commissar inside will say one of these lines.
Commissar: Grab your ammunition and move to the right flank.; Quit stalling, keep moving!; Keep moving forward.
The soldiers get in a line up to get ammunition from the soldier passing it out. He says these lines.
Russian Soldier: Fight bravely, comrade.; Make mother Russia proud.; Good luck, comrade.
All the soldiers get their ammunition and continue through the bunker until they reach outside.
Kolikov: Take up defensive positions!
Artillery falls around the trenches they are in.
Kolikov: Keep moving forward! Go go go! They must not breach our lines!
Yuri goes to a weapons cache and is shellshocked. Korolov helps him up.
Korolov: Are you alright? Shake your head out! Don't stop now!
The area outside of the trench is heavily hit with artillery. It eventually stops.
Ramazanov: Thank god... They've stopped!
Kolikov: For now... next they attack.
A whistle is heard.
Kolikov: Wait for it, comrades... hold your fire... wait for it... machine guns!
Korolov: Machine guns ready!
German soldiers fire at the trenches.
Kolikov: There they are - fire!
The Russian soldiers fire back.
Kolikov: Right flank, keep firing!
Ramazanov: Incoming Panzer!
The firefight continues.
Kolikov: They're still coming, comrades - fire! ... Keep firing - don't let them overrun us!
A flaming Stuka flies towards the trench.
Kolikov: Incoming Stuka!
It flies past the trench.
Kolikov: He's coming around! Oh my God, look out!
It crashes into the field, violently exploding and destroying the panzer.
Antonov: The Germans have broken through! Reinforce the left flank. Follow me!
The soldiers follow Antonov through the trenches, and encounter enemy soldiers in the bunker.
Kolikov: Enemy! Fire!
They pass through the bunker and see enemy flamethrowers.
Kolikov: Flamethrowers! Clear them out!
The soldiers clear the area.
Antonov: Good job, comrades - follow me!
They go back through the bunker.
Antonov: Through here!
They go back to the right flank area, which is overrun by tanks.
Antonov: Yuri - Elefant tanks! Go out there and plant your charges on them. You men provide covering fire! Regroup on the far side of the trenches when you're done.
With the help of the other soldiers, Yuri plants charges on each tank and destroys them.
Kolikov: Good work! Let's go. The sergeant is waiting for us.
The soldiers regroup with Antonov at the trench entrance.
Antonov: Well done comrades, but we are not through. The Germans are moving out through the village, trying to flank us. We have been ordered to drive them out.
All except Antonov move out up a hill. They encounter more German soldiers.
Kolikov: They are coming over the hill.
A Russian soldier is seen taking cover behind a tank.
Kolikov: He's pinned down! Drive them back!
They continue through the trench area and approach the village.
Kolikov: Up ahead - that mill! We have to get in there! Go!
They enter the mill and find Frolov along with other soldiers.
Frolov: Good to see you, comrades. We must clear this village and defend this bridge until our reinforcements arrive. If the Germans take it, we will be surrounded. Ready? Let's go.
The soldiers fight through the village. They defend the main road for two minutes until the reinforcements arrive.
Frolov: Our tanks - they're here!
The reinforcements clear most of the German soldiers out.
Frolov: Alright, they are good. Everyone assemble, now!
The soldiers regroup with Frolov and listen to him speak.
Frolov: Excellent work, my friends, you fought shoulder to shoulder with courage and strength, proving on the field of battle that the so-called Invincible German Army can and will be defeated. Comrade Stalin would be proud of each and every one of you - as I am proud of you, for you have won a great victory here.