George Nipe: Decision in the Ukraine:
In the north, Model attacked with his infantry divisions first in order to create breakthroughs form the panzer divisions. this was a major failure of his plan of attack, which failed to utilize maneuver and caused 9. Armee's advance to slow quickly. During the initial fighting, the German infantry divisions suffered severe losses without creating sufficient gaps for the armor to exploit successfully. Model's advance ran out of steam….
At three villages, Terploye, Olkhovatka and Ponyri, the German lead divisions found themselves involved in vicious fighting against Russians entrenched in fortifications behind huge belts of minefields and barbed wire… bloodily grinding through about ten miles… halted at these three strongpoints…. Model then fed his panzer divisions' tanks into frontal assaults…. The fighting came to resemble the slaughters of World War I…. One by one, 9. Armee's spearheads exhausted themselves, tantalizingly close to the open ground beyond the range of hills and villages….
On 11 July… a formidable diversionary counterattack by the Soviet Bryansk and Wet Fronts was launched north of 9. Armee's left flank. By 12 July… Model's 9. Armee suspended offensive operations…. The Soviet penetrations… forced Kluge to divert forces… commit the few reserves… against the Orel attacks… by 13 July Kluge was already… pulling divisions out of the attack area… in order to hurriedly send them north to Orel… "there could be no question of continuing with Citadel or of resuming the operation at a later date."… Also becoming known was the presence in the north of two entire Soviet tank armies, the 3rd and 4th Tank, which on 12 July had yet to be utilized by the Russians."