9th Army Sector
The days-long contest for the agricultural village of Ponyri and Hill 253.5. The fighting for this small settlement was likened by Germans and Russians alike to a miniature ‘Stalingrad’. Lying along the railway running from Orel to Kursk, its local importance was as a collection and distribution point for produce and machinery for the collective farms in the vicinity. For six days this ramshackle village became the focal point of immense efforts by both sides. The Germans hoped that by committing strong armoured forces the settlement could be taken, which would allow the panzers to break into the open country beyond the village, and then roll up the Soviet defence lines. The Soviets were determined to prevent this and fed in strong reserves to bolster their position.