Here is the original passage:
Yerokhin and the Elephants
During the battles of the Kursk salient, Lieutenant Aleksey Yerohkin, managed to destroy six Elephants over the course of two days.
'On the evening of July 11 1943, the tank company under the command of Lieutenant Cherneg moved out to take up it's initial combat positions. The T-34 of Lieutenant Yerohkin moved ahead of the rest of the battalion, since it was part of the forward patrol of the advance guard. Suddenly his patrol found itself under enemy fire. He and his crew knew at once that tank was under direct fire, not indirect fire. Yerohkin immediately directed the tank to roll behind a copse, then climbing out of the turret and moving forward, he began scanning the area. Roughly one and half kilometers away he spotted a German vehicle on top of a small hill. It was also soon clear that this weapon was on the move, in the direction of the German offensive.
'They closed the distance to German combat vehicle - perhaps it was somewhere around 1400 meters. At that range they opened fire. One round, then a second...the T-34 commander put three rounds "on the way" into the glacis of the Elephant. But as it turned out they were three ineffective shots. After maneuvering closer he fired two more rounds, after which the German began to burn. But now let us hear the words of Lieutenant Yerokhin as to how he carried this out.
"After that we knew that even as powerful a machine as this could burn", he recalled, "and the battalion began to deploy, taking up positions to the left and right of the place where we were supposed to provide support to the infantry in case of a German attack. We were soon able to see things pretty well through the smoke clouds (caused by the burning elephant) on our right flank., where we spotted several more of the huge German machines. The first of these was now silhouetted on the top of the same hill. We immediately gave it a company salvo. It was hit and halted. The rest of their unit deployed and once on line to the front began firing back at us from the halt. After getting permission from my commander, I began to move my tank to the left, taking advantage of the dips and hills until I could take the Germans in their right flank. I was successful in getting into position and moving up onto a small hill and using great care and skill, put five aimed rounds one after the other into the nearest of the German machines. It began to smoke after the fifth round. The other Elephants , sensing what had happened, began to withdraw, as they could not turn their turrets and my appearance on their flank placed them at a disadvantage. If they turned to engage me, then the rest of our tanks could shoot at their vulnerable sides and if they stayed in their present positions, then their opposite flank was open to my fire. Therefore, they elected to pull back. It was soon obvious that the German attack had been broken up."
'Things remained this way all night, as the Soviet tanks remained in their positions. While that took place and once things were quiet, Lieutenant Yerokhin and one of his crew members went out to familiarize themselves with the machine they had destroyed. This is what they found: four of their shots had gouged the armoured side over the running gear and left big pits. Considering that they were shooting at the thick armour at a range of 1400 meters this wasn't surprising. But yet the machine had caught fire. Why? The reason was obvious once Yerokhin and the crewman looked in through a round hatch in the rear armour plate. Right were Yerokhin had hit the vehicle with his shells was an auxiliary fuel tank. The violent shell strikes had caused the fuel to ignite and the burning fuel was what had burned out the tank, even though it's armour had not been penetrated. He also saw that there was no way any tank shell would penetrate the vehicle's glacis. But the sides could be penetrated at close range and at longer distances, the next best thing was to shoot for the area of the auxiliary fuel tank. And once this was determined the fate of the Elephant was sealed. These conclusions were proven on July 12th, when combat started up once again. On that day Lieutenant Aleksey Yerohkin increased his score of destroyed German SP guns. But first he would have to encounter one of the German tank aces, fighting in an Elephant with an experienced commander and crew. The first shot from his vehicle blew up a Soviet light tank., the second took out a T-34. Yerohkin never gave him a chance to take his third shot.
In a short period of time he fired a large number of shells, the bulk of which hit their target. After his second direct hit the Elephant fell silent and when it took it's fourth direct hit, the top hatch flew open and the crew bailed out. The T-34 commander decided to play the game to the end, since up to now the Elephant had not begun to smoke or catch fire so he kept firing until it did. Six of the heavy German Elephant weapons eventually fell to Lieutenant Aleksey Yerohkin. A truly unique accomplishment!
Now you know what I have to go on. We'll see what we can find out about this legendary action.
< Message edited by Mad Russian -- 1/6/2012 1:09:05 AM >
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Founder of HSG scenario design group for Combat Mission.
Panzer Command Ostfront Development Team.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Development Team.