"Tank Battle" -- At the end of February 1943, after months of retreats and defeats against the Red Army, Axis forces suddenly took the initative back. In the southern sector, General Manstein gathered several divisions, including elements of SS-Panzerkorps, and prepared a counteroffensive. Units of the Voronej Front stopped exhausted and unsupplied a few dozen miles from the Dniepr, while the Stavka believed the enemy was falling back. On 20th February, the SS and forces of the 47.PanzerKorps began a pincer movement on the lead Soviet elements. On the 24th, their assault carried on while to the east the 40.PanzerKorps destroyed the Popov mobile group. Nevertheless, the Russians tried to fall back, keeping a continuous front, aided by the meagerness of assaulting forces. But on the 25th, the 17.PanzerDivision found a breach and broke through towards the Barvenkovo-Lozovaya Railway.