Robert Citino, The Wehrmacht Retreats:
Bu the end of the day [of July 12], the two behemoths had fought themselves to a draw… the Germans had dealt out enormous punishment to the 5th Guards Tank Army, but they had lost something: their momentum, along with a full day….
Manstein argues that Army Group South was on the verge of a complete operational breakthrough…. The brawl at Prokhorovka had virtually destroyed the strongest Soviet tank army…. [But] even if II SS Panzer [Corps] could have broken through… break through to where? In the absence of any pressure from a northern pincer, and thus any possibility of a Kesselschlacht, a panzer thrust to the east of Kursk was a drive to nowhere…. The Germans had neither the manpower nor the logistical network to support it….
On Tuesday, July 13, Hitler summoned his army group commanders…. It was time for a talk.
Hitler's decision to call off Operation Citadel… makes sense if we view it through the prism of traditional German military culture…. Every German officer knew that an offensive undertaken under conditions of a Stellungskrieg would burn enormous amounts of time and energy, destroy a mountain of equipment, and generate an unacceptably high number of friendly casualties. The staff officers had all learned these lessons as young men… a lifetime of exercises, maneuvers, and war games had pounded it into the heads of the field commanders. The roots ran all the way back to the Prussian army… using high mobility, aggression, and surprise to overcome the armies of his larger and more prosperous adversaries…. This was an army that wanted to fight Bewegungskrieg and had an aversion to Stellungskrieg…. Now, in 1943, they had all become so intent on the Kesselschlacht, on surrounding their enemy and then destroying him through a series of aggressive concentric operations, that they had become blind to the absurdities of trying to achieve one under these circumstances. They could literally see no other way of proceeding beyond a rote devotion to the historical German way of war, even when it no longer had a chance of success…