The Battle for Smolensk 10 July-10 September 1941 Atlas
Author: David M. Glantz
Pubpsher: Helion & Company Limited
At dawn on 10 July 1941, massed tanks and motorized infantry of German Army Group Center's Second and Third Panzer Groups crossed the Dnepr and Western Dvina Rivers, beginning what Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer of Germany's Third Reich, and most German officers and soldiers believed would be a triumphal march on Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union. Less than three weeks before, on 22 June Hitler had unleashed his Wehrmacht's massive invasion of the Soviet Union code-named Operation Barbarossa, which sought to defeat the Soviet Union's Red Army, conquer the country, and unseat its Communist ruler, Josef Stalin. Between 22 June and 10 July, the Wehrmacht advanced up to 500 kilometers into Soviet territory, killed or captured up to one million Red Army soldiers, and reached the western banks of the Western Dvina and Dnepr Rivers, by doing so satisfying the premier assumption of Plan Barbarossa that the Third Reich would emerge victorious if it could defeat and destroy the bulk of the Red Army before it withdrew to safely behind those two rivers. With the Red Army now shattered, Hitler and most Germans expected total victory in a matter of weeks. The ensuing battles in the Smolensk region frustrated German hopes for quick victory. Once across the Dvina and Dnepr Rivers, a surprised Wehrmacht encountered five fresh Soviet armies. Despite destroying two of these armies outright, severely damaging two others, and encircling the remnants of three of these armies in the Smolensk region, quick victory eluded the Germans. Instead, Soviet forces encircled in Mogilev and Smolensk stubbornly refused to surrender, and while they fought on, during July, August, and into early September, first five and then a total of seven newly mobilized Soviet armies struck back viciously at the advancing Germans, conducting multiple counterattacks and counterstrokes, capped by two major counteroffensives that sapped German strength and will. Despite immense losses in men and materiel, these desperate Soviet actions derailed Operation Barbarossa. Smarting from countless wounds inflicted on his vaunted Wehrmacht, even before the fighting ended in the Smolensk region, Hitler postponed his march on Moscow and instead turned his forces southward to engage 'softer targets' in the Kiev region. The 'derailment' of the Wehrmacht at Smolensk ultimately became the crucial turning point in Operation Barbarossa. Serving as both a companion to the previous three text volumes in this monumental study, and as a standalone battlefield atlas, this volume provides over one hundred specially commissioned color maps that trace the course of the campaign, each accompanied by a detailed caption.
The Documentary Companion. Tables, Orders and Reports prepared by participating Red Army forces
Author: David M. Glantz
Pubpsher: Helion and Company
Volume 3, the Documentary Companion to Barbarossa Derailed, contains the documentary evidence for the two volumes of narrative. In addition to key Führer Directives issued by Adolf Hitler to provide direction to his forces during the Barbarossa Campaign, as well as vital orders issued by German Army Group Center, this book includes the daily operational summaries of the participating Soviet fronts, armies, and some divisions and many if not most of the orders and reports issued by the struggling Soviet armies. Precise translations illustrate not only the capabilities and states-of-mind of key Soviet commanders as they dealt with crisis after crisis but also the characteristics (such as aggressiveness, passivity, brutality, and despair) of their varied styles of command. They also demonstrate how an army, which lost the bulk of its experienced troops during the first several months of the campaign, attempted to use its operational directives and tactical orders to educate its soldiers and officers in the basics of waging war in the midst of active and bloody operations.
"This study exploits a wealth of Soviet and German archival materials, including the combat orders and operational records of the German OKW, OKH, army groups, and armies of the Soviet Stavka, the Red Army General Staff, the Western Main Direction Command, the Western, Central, Reserve, and Briansk fronts, and their subordinate armies to present a detailed mosaic and definitive account of what took place, why and how during the prolonged and complex battles in the Smolensk region from 10 July through 10 September 1941 ... The series will consist of a detailed two-volume chronological narrative of the course of operations, accompanied by a third volume, containing an extensive collection of specific orders and reports translated verbatim from Russian, and a fourth (atlas) volume containing newly-commissioned colour maps"--Jacket.
Thunder in the East, originally published in 2005, is widely regarded as the best short history of the entire Nazi-Soviet military conflict. It tells the story from the pre-war expectations of Hitler and Stalin, through the pivotal battles deep in Russia in 1942-43, and on to the huge Soviet offensives across Eastern Europe in 1944-45. This final 'march of liberation' destroyed the Third Reich and set Europe's history for the next 45 years. The book provides penetrating answers to vital questions: Why did the war in the East develop as it did? Why did Hitler's Wehrmacht lose? Why did the Red Army win, and why did the people of Soviet Russia pay such a high price for victory? The first edition took advantage of the flood of new sources that followed the end of the Soviet era. This second edition takes account of what has been written over the last decade; the Nazi-Soviet war, in all its aspects, has continued to be the subject of extensive and innovative research and heated controversy.
One of America’s most distinguished military historians offers the definitive account of the greatest tank battle of World War II—an epic clash of machines and men that matched the indomitable will of the Soviet Red Army against the awesome might of the Nazi Wehrmacht. While the Battle of Kursk has long captivated World War II aficionados, it has been unjustly overlooked by historians. Drawing on the masses of new information made available by the opening of the Russian military archives, Dennis Showalter at last corrects that error. This battle was the critical turning point on World War II’s Eastern Front. In the aftermath of the Red Army’s brutal repulse of the Germans at Stalingrad, the stakes could not have been higher. More than three million men and eight thousand tanks met in the heart of the Soviet Union, some four hundred miles south of Moscow, in an encounter that both sides knew would reshape the war. The adversaries were at the peak of their respective powers. On both sides, the generals and the dictators they served were in agreement on where, why, and how to fight. The result was a furious death grapple between two of history’s most formidable fighting forces—a battle that might possibly have been the greatest of all time. In Armor and Blood, Showalter re-creates every aspect of this dramatic struggle. He offers expert perspective on strategy and tactics at the highest levels, from the halls of power in Moscow and Berlin to the battlefield command posts on both sides. But it is the author’s exploration of the human dimension of armored combat that truly distinguishes this book. In the classic tradition of John Keegan’s The Face of Battle, Showalter’s narrative crackles with insight into the unique dynamics of tank warfare—its effect on men’s minds as well as their bodies. Scrupulously researched, exhaustively documented, and vividly illustrated, this book is a chilling testament to man’s ability to build and to destroy. When the dust settled, the field at Kursk was nothing more than a wasteland of steel carcasses, dead soldiers, and smoking debris. The Soviet victory ended German hopes of restoring their position on the Eastern Front, and put the Red Army on the road to Berlin. Armor and Blood presents readers with what will likely be the authoritative study of Kursk for decades to come. Advance praise for Armor and Blood “The size and the brutality of the vast tank battle at Kursk appalls, this struggle that gives an especially dark meaning to that shopworn phrase ‘last full measure.’ Prepare yourself for a wild and feverish ride over the steppes of Russia. You can have no better guide than Dennis E. Showalter, who speaks with an authority equaled by few military historians.”—Robert Cowley, founding editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History “A fresh, skillful, and complete synthesis of recent revelations about this famous battle . . . As a myth buster, Armor and Blood is a must-read for those interested in general and military history.”—David M. Glantz, editor of The Journal of Slavic Military Studies “Refreshingly crisp, pointed prose . . . Throughout, [Showalter] demonstrates his adeptness at interweaving discussions of big-picture strategy with interesting revelations and anecdotes. . . . Showalter does his best work by keeping his sights set firmly on the battle at hand, while also parsing the conflict for developments that would have far-reaching consequences for the war.”—Publishers Weekly