This highly detailed, absorbing battlefield guide is the ideal companion for anyone considering visiting the site of Hitler's `Gotterdammerung' in April-May 1945. Using his in depth knowledge as a historian and battlefield guide, David McCormack vividly describes the apocalyptic struggle played out amongst the ruins of a once great city. The author's intimate knowledge of the ground ensures that the Wagnerian climax of the Third Reich is presented in a series of dramatic tableaux which capture the regime's final convulsive death throes. Prepare for a fascinating journey across the Berlin battlefield as it is today. The Berlin 1945 Battlefield Guide: Part Two-The Battle of Berlin-is the essential guide to understanding both Hitler's downfall in Berlin and Stalin's greatest triumph.
The Mius Front was a strong defensive line created by the Germans in the autumn of 1941 along the river of the same name. The area was the scene of fierce fighting through much of the winter, spring and summer of 1941-42, as the Soviets attempted to break through, albeit unsuccessfully. However, in the summer of 1943, in an enormous strategic offensive overshadowed in Western literature by Operation Citadel, the Soviets launched a successful attack that penetrated the German defences. This overlooked operation is described in detail by Alexei Isaev, using both Russian and German sources. The text is supported by a large number of photographs of the armoured forces involved, as well as specially commissioned maps.
The new study of Igor Nebolsin provides end to end combat history of the Soviet 6th Guards Tank Army from its formation in January 1944 till the defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945 and capitulation of Japan in September 1945.
The 6th TA had its combat baptism at Cherkassy (Korsun) in January-February 1944 where it first played an important role in encircling units of German XI and XLII Army Corps'. Then army was on the path of the German III. Panzer Corps relief attacks of Cherkassy Pocket. In March 1944 in adverse weather conditions (rasputitsa) Army crossed South Bug, Dnestr and Prut rivers and in April 1944 was one of the first Soviet units entered Bessarabia (Romania). During April - June 1944 6th Tank Army conducted heavy offensive and defensive battles in the area of Jassy in Northern Romania against armor units of Group Army South Ukraine which included 23. Panzer Division, 24. Panzer Division, 14. Panzer Division, Gross Deutschland Division. Although Army failed to capture Jassy and penetrate Romania it managed to withstand German attempt to destroy it in a strong counter-offensive.
In August 1944 6th TA played a decisive role in the Jassy - Kishinev operation which resulted in the destruction of the 6th German Army, knocking out Romania from the WW2 as an ally of Nazi Germany, capturing Ploesti oil fields, and Bucharest. In September-October 1944 6th Tank Army was engaged in the heavy combats in Transylvania and Hungary including tank battle at Debrecen.
The day by day coverage of events, honest views of the Soviet& German commanders, statistical data from both Russian and German viewpoints, and the 'human element' based on the exciting first-hand recollections of Soviet tank officers all make this study an incredibly valuable source of information. The text is fully supported by specially-commissioned color maps and an extensive selection of photographs, many from private collections.
This is the first detailed combat history of any Soviet unit available in the English language known to the author. The 2nd Tank Army was not an ordinary force; by 1945 it was an elite Guards formation which played a decisive role in the Soviet offensive operations of that year and whose tanks were the first to enter Berlin's streets.The Army commander, Colonel-General Semen Bogdanov, became a Marshal of Armored Troops and was promoted to the position of Chief Commander of all armored and tank units of the USSR shortly after the war, and remained in this position until 1953. 2nd Guards Tank Army remained in Germany until 1993, a period of 48 years. It is the only Soviet Tank Army of the war that still exists today, now named 2nd Guards Army. This study is based on the rarely available operational documents of the Army from the Central Archives of the Russian Defense Ministry and provides an analysis of every battle it fought in World War II. This includes Operation Citadel North (Kursk), Sevsk, Cherkassy, Tyrgul-Frumos and Jassy, Warsaw, Vistula-Oder, Pomerania (including Sonnenwende) and Berlin. What also differentiates this book is that it was created in cooperation with the senior army general (Anatoly Shvebig) who was an active participant in all the Army's engagements. Another unique point is that the combat operations are covered from both sides in a scope and scale that has never previously been attempted. The day by day coverage of events, honest views of the Army's commanders, full statistical data (including unit strengths, movements, and casualties for each operation from both Russian and German points of view), and the 'human element' based on the exciting first-hand reminiscences of Soviet tank officers all make this study an incredibly valuable source of information on tank battles fought on the Eastern Front 1943-1945. According to Major-General Anatoly Svebig, deputy commander of 12th Guards Tank Corps within the 2nd Guards Tank Army, this is the best study on any Soviet unit he has ever seen in his long life! Volume 1 focuses on the first half of the Army's service in the Great Patriotic War. 2nd Tank Army was created in January 1943. In spring and summer of 1943 it was engaged in the fierce battles at Sevsk and Kursk. Combat experience was heavily paid for in blood. The Army played a critical role in containing a strike of the German III. Panzerkorps in February 1944, aimed at rescuing units in the Cherkassy pocket. In March-April 1944 2nd GTA carried out a deep raid to Uman and was amongst the first Russian units that crossed the Romanian border. In May-June 1944 Army was engaged in combats at Tyrgul Frumos and Jassy against strong German armoured forces belonging to 'Grossdeutschland' and 24. Panzer-Division. The text is fully supported by specially-commissioned colour maps and an extensive selection of photographs, many from private collections in Russia. Volume 2 will provide a detailed record of the Army for the remainder of World War II, including its elevation to Guards status later in 1944.
Making use of the extensive memoirs of German and Russian soldiers to bring their story to life, the narrative follows on from On A Knife's Edge, which described the encirclement and destruction of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad and the offensives and counter-offensives that followed throughout the winter of 1942-43. Beginning towards the end of the Battle of Kursk, Retribution explores the massive Soviet offensive that followed the end of Operation Zitadelle, which saw depleted and desperate German troops forced out of Western Ukraine. In this title, Buttar describes in detail the little-known series of near-constant battles that saw a weakened German army confronted by a tactically sophisticated force of over six million Soviet troops. As a result, the Wehrmacht was driven back to the Dnepr and German forces remaining in the Kuban Peninsula south of Rostov were forced back into the Crimea, a retreat which would become one of many in the months that followed.
In the early summer of 1942, following the German defeat at Stalingrad and the inconclusive battle at Kharkov, Hitler sought a decisive battle that would turn the struggle on the Eastern Front in the Germans' favour. Large numbers of new Panther and Tiger tanks were rolling off the production lines, and Hitler was convinced that German armour could turn the tide against the advancing Soviets on the Eastern Front. Despite the reservations of his generals, Hitler was determined this offensive take place.
On the 5th July 1943, the German army launched Operation Citadel. Attacking with a force of 3000 tanks and assault guns, the Germans faced a well-dug-in force of more than 3900 Soviet tanks, with another 1500 tanks in reserve. The tanks advanced with as many as 50 packed together per kilometre of line. What followed was the largest tank battle the world has ever seen, with heavy casualties on both sides in this titanic clash of arms.
On the 11th July, three SS divisions - Totenkopf, Das Reich and Leibstandarte - attempted to break through the Soviet lines at the village of Prokhorovka and so unhinge the Soviet defensive position. Facing them was the newly-deployed Fifth Guards Tanks Army. It was the Germans' last chance to seize the initiative on the Eastern Front.
The battle raged throughout the 12th July. By nightfall the Germans had lost more than 300 tanks, and the Fifth Guards Tanks Army 50 percent of their strength. Despite the heavy losses, the Soviet defenders had achieved their aim: the German attack had been halted. Although the fighting continued into August, the Germans had lost the battle and the initiative.
With first hand accounts from both sides, vivid photographs, and specially commissioned maps of the combat zones, Kursk: The Vital 24 Hours is a comprehensive examination of the decisive failure of the German's last large-scale offensive on the Eastern Front.
Sunday, June 22, 1941: three million German soldiers invaded the Soviet Union as part of Hitler's long-planned Operation Barbarossa, which aimed to destroy the Soviet Union, secure its land as lebensraum for the Third Reich, and enslave its Slavic population. From launching points in newly acquired Poland, in three prongs-North, Central, South-German forces stormed western Russia, virtually from the Baltic to the Black Sea. By late fall, the invasion had foundered against Russian weather, terrain, and resistance, and by December, it had failed at the gates of Moscow, but early on, as the Germans sliced through Russian territory and soldiers with impunity, capturing hundreds of thousands, it seemed as though Russia would fall.
In the spirit of Martin Middlebrook's classic First Day on the Somme, Craig Luther narrates the events of June 22, 1941, a day when German military might was at its peak and seemed as though it would easily conquer the Soviet Union, a day the common soldiers would remember for its tension and the frogs bellowing in the Polish marshlands. It was a day when the German blitzkrieg decimated Soviet command and control within hours and seemed like nothing would stop it from taking Moscow. Luther narrates June 22-one of the pivotal days of World War II-from high command down to the tanks and soldiers at the sharp end, covering strategy as well as tactics and the vivid personal stories of the men who crossed the border into the Soviet Union that fateful day, which is the Eastern Front in microcosm, representing the years of industrial-scale warfare that followed and the unremitting hostility of Germans and Soviets.
33. Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS was one of a number of divisions in the Third Reich's armed forces composed of foreign soldiers. The majority that formed this unit were French: volunteers or men who, because of collaboration, had been forced to help the German's on the eve of the Allied invasion in Western Europe. During February-March 1945 the French division took part in the struggle for Pomerania, facing overwhelming Soviet and Polish Forces. The unit fought in a constant retreat and met its fate during the few days of battle in Bialogard (former Belgard an der Persante) and Karlino (Koerlin) region. From that point, after the Division's reorganisation from the German to the French pattern, the retreat transformed into a chaotic escape, which for many ended tragically in Polish or Soviet captivity, or in mass graves which are still waiting to be discovered. Only a handful of the 4,500 Frenchmen who started the battle near Czarne (Hammerstein) and Czluchow (Schlochau) managed to survive and after a few weeks reached the new meeting point in Neustrelitz, Germany. After that, some of them prepared for struggle for Berlin and went to battle once more in April 1945.
Lukasz Gladysiak's book is the first attempt by a Polish author to accurately recreate these episodes of the last stages of 33. Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS's history. Collecting historical sources from all over Europe, including German Army Group Vistula's documents, and memories of veterans of both sides of the frontline largely unpublished so far, the author takes us to the fields, towns and villages of Pomerania during the tragic days of the beginning of 1945, and follows the battle through the towns of Czarne (Hammerstein)-Czluchow (Schlochau), Szczecinek (Neustettin), Bialogard (Belgardan der Persante), Karlino (Koerlin) iKolobrzeg (Kolberg). While the chronological description of the combat forms the backbone of this book, the individual soldiers' stories, including biographies of key figures, as well as a number of previously unsolved mysteries are also covered, such as the fate of General Edgar Puaud. This is the first book that refers extensively to the French SS-men's battles in Pomerania in the last stages of the Third Reich.
On June 22, 1941, Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, one of the turning points of World War II. Within six months, the invasion bogged down at the gates of Moscow, and the Eastern Front proved to be the decisive theater in the defeat of the Third Reich. Ever since, most historians have agreed that this was one of Hitler's great mistakes. In Hitler's Great Gamble, James Ellman argues that Barbarossa was a gamble, but that it was not doomed from the start: that it was a reasonable gamble spoiled not by strategic shortsightedness, but by diplomatic setbacks and poor execution.
In Ellman's recounting, the invasion of the Soviet Union was not a doomed act of madness or hubris, but a logical gamble that maximized the Third Reich's attempts at achieving its war aims, however perverted, of "living space" and subjugating the Slavs. Had Finland and Japan made good on their alliance with Germany - had Hitler been more committed to diplomacy and not military invasion - Germany might well have succeeded in defeating the Soviet Union and, perhaps, winning World War II. Drawing on a wealth of primary and secondary sources (including many recently released), Hitler's Great Gamble is a provocative work that will appeal to a wide cross-section of World War II buffs, enthusiasts, and historians.
It is early September 1942 and the German commander of the Sixth Army, General Paulus, assisted by the Fourth Panzer Army, is poised to advance on the Russian city of Stalingrad. His primary mission was to take the city, crushing this crucial centre of communication and manufacturing, and to secure the valuable oil fields in the Caucasus.
What happens next is well known to any student of modern history: a brutal war of attrition, characterised by fierce hand-to-hand combat, that lasted for nearly two years, and the eventual victory by a resolute Soviet Red Army. A ravaged German Army was pushed into full retreat. This was the first crucial defeat of Hitler's territorial ambitions in Europe and a marked a critical turning point in the Second World War.
But the outcome could have been very different, as Peter Tsouras demonstrates in this thought-provoking and highly readable alternate history of the fateful battle. By introducing minor but realistic' adjustments, he presents a scenario in which the course of the battle runs quite differently - which in turn sets in motion new and unexpected possibilities for the outcome of the entire war. Cleverly conceived and expertly executed, this is alternate history at its best.