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The German panzer armies that swept into the Soviet Union in 1941 were an undefeated force that had honed their skill in combined arms warfare to a fine edge. The Germans focused their panzers and tactical air support at points on the battlefield defined as Schwerpunkt - main effort - to smash through any defensive line and then advance to envelope their adversaries. ??Initially, these methods worked well in the early days of Operation Barbarossa and the tank forces of the Red Army suffered defeat after defeat. Although badly mauled in the opening battles, the Red Army's tank forces did not succumb to the German armoured onslaught and German planning and logistical deficiencies led to over-extension and failure in 1941. In the second year of the invasion, the Germans directed their Schwerpunkt toward the Volga and the Caucasus and again achieved some degree of success, but the Red Army had grown much stronger and by November 1942, the Soviets were able to turn the tables at Stalingrad. ??Robert Forczyk's incisive study offers fresh insight into how the two most powerful mechanized armies of the Second World War developed their tactics and weaponry during the critical early years of the Russo-German War. He uses German, Russian and English sources to provide the first comprehensive overview and analysis of armored warfare from the German and Soviet perspectives. His analysis of the greatest tank war in history is compelling reading.
The German panzer armies that stormed the Soviet Union in 1941 were an undefeated force that had honed its tactics to a fine edge. The panzers defeated the Red Army's tanks again and again and combined with German infantry and aircraft to envelop millions of Soviet soldiers. But the Red Army's armored forces regrouped and turned the tables in 1942.
By 1943, after the catastrophic German defeat at Stalingrad, the Wehmachts panzer armies gradually lost the initiative on the Eastern Front. The tide of the war had turned. Their combined arms technique, which had swept Soviet forces before it during 1941 and 1942, had lost its edge. Thereafter the war on the Eastern Front was dominated by tank-led offensives and, as Robert Forczyk shows, the Red Armys mechanized forces gained the upper hand, delivering a sequence of powerful blows that shattered one German defensive line after another. His incisive study offers fresh insight into how the two most powerful mechanized armies of the Second World War developed their tank tactics and weaponry during this period of growing Soviet dominance. He uses German, Russian and English sources to provide the first comprehensive overview and analysis of armoured warfare from the German and Soviet perspectives. This major study of the greatest tank war in history is compelling reading.
From the cold and hunger of the Leningrad front to the clinging mud of the Korsun operation, from the gates of Moscow in 1941 to Vienna and Berlin in 1945, the recollections of these anti-tank gunners cover the vast expanses of the Eastern Front. The vivid personal narratives selected for this book give a fascinating insight into the firsthand experience of anti-tank warfare seventy years ago.Their testimony reveals how lethal, rapid, smallscale actions gun against tank were fought, and it shows how such isolated actions determined the outcome of the massive offensives and counter-offensives that characterized the struggle on the Eastern Front.They recall the hazards, confusion and speed of combat, but they also provide details of the day-to-day routines of campaign life as part of a small, tightly knit team of men whose task was to take on the most feared tank armies of the day. Panzer Killers is a valuable addition to the series of graphic eyewitness accounts of every aspect of the Red Armys war on the Eastern Front published by Pen & Sword. It records the contribution of one of the neglected branches of the Soviet armed forces the anti-tank men who played a vital role in the complex military machine that stemmed the Germans advance, then forced them back to Berlin.
“Remarkable personal journals . . revealing the combat experience of the German-Russian War as seldom seen before . . . a harrowing yet poignant story” (Military Times). Hans Roth was a member of the anti-tank panzerjager battalion, 299th Infantry Division, attached to the Sixth Army, as the invasion of Russia began. As events transpired, he recorded the tension as the Germans deployed on the Soviet frontier in June 1941. Then, a firestorm broke loose as the Wehrmacht tore across the front, forging into the primitive vastness of the East. During the Kiev encirclement, Roth’s unit was under constant attack as the Soviets desperately tried to break through the German ring. At one point, after the enemy had finally been beaten, a friend serving with the SS led him to a site—possibly Babi Yar—where he witnessed civilians being massacred. After suffering through a brutal winter against apparently endless Russian reserves, his division went on the offensive again when the Germans drove toward Stalingrad. In these journals, attacks and counterattacks are described in you-are-there detail. Roth wrote privately, as if to keep himself sane, knowing his honest accounts of the horrors in the East could never pass Wehrmacht censors. When the Soviet counteroffensive of winter 1942 begins, his unit is stationed alongside the Italian 8th Army, and his observations of its collapse, as opposed to the reaction of the German troops sent to stiffen its front, are of special fascination. Roth’s three journals were discovered many years after his disappearance, tucked away in the home of his brother. After his brother’s death, his family discovered them and sent them to Rosel, Roth’s wife. In time, Rosel handed down the journals to Erika, Roth’s only daughter, who had emigrated to America. Roth was likely working on a fourth journal before he was reported missing in action in July 1944. Although his ultimate fate remains unknown, what he did leave behind, now finally revealed, is an incredible firsthand account of the horrific war the Germans waged in Russia.
An account of the most crucial period of fighting on the Eastern Front, from the defeat of Germany at the gates of Moscow to their crushing loss at Stalingrad. The path from Moscow to Stalingrad was littered with successes and losses for both the Red Army and the Wehrmacht, culminating in one of the harshest battles of the Second World War. Part of the Casemate Illustrated series, this volume outlines how it was that, less than a year after their defeat at Moscow, the German army had found a way to make the Soviet troops waver in their defense, with their persistence eventually leading to the Battle of Stalingrad. The successful expulsion of the German troops from Moscow in the winter of 1941 came at a cost for the Red Army. Weaknesses in the Soviet camp inspired the Wehrmacht, under Adolf Hitler’s close supervision, to make preparations for offensives along the Eastern Front to push the Russians further and further back into their territory. With a complex set of new tactics and the crucial aid of the Luftwaffe, the German army began to formulate a deadly two-pronged attack on Stalingrad to reduce the city to rubble. In the lead-up to this, Timoshenko’s failed attack on Kharkov, followed by the Battle of Sebastopol in June 1942, prompted Operation Blue, the German campaign to advance east on their prized objective. This volume includes numerous photographs of the ships, planes, tanks, trucks, and weaponry used by both sides in battle, alongside detailed maps and text outlining the constantly changing strategies of the armies as events unfolded. “The wonderful photos and illustrations make this book entertaining.” —New York Journal of Books
This book describes one of the most terrible tragedies of the Second World War and the events preceding it. The horrible miscalculations made by the Stavka of the Soviet Supreme High Command and the Front commands led in October 1941 to the deaths and imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of their own people. Until recently, the magnitude of the defeats suffered by the Red Army at Viaz'ma and Briansk were simply kept hushed up. For the first time, in this book a full picture of the combat operations that led to this tragedy are laid out in detail, using previously unknown or little-used documents. The author was driven to write this book after his long years of fruitless search to learn what happened to his father Colonel N.I. Lopukhovsky, the commander of the 120th Howitzer Artillery Regiment, who disappeared together with his unit in the maelstrom of Operation Typhoon. He became determined to break the official silence surrounding the military disaster on the approaches to Moscow in the autumn of 1941. In the present edition, the author additionally introduces documents from German military archives, which will doubtlessly interest not only scholars, but also students of the Eastern Front of the Second World War. Lopukhovsky substantiates his position on the matter of the true extent of the losses of the Red Army in men and equipment, which greatly exceeded the official data. In the Epilogue, he briefly discusses the searches he has conducted with the aim of revealing the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Soviet soldiers, who to this point have been listed among the missing-in-action - including his own father. The narrative is enhanced by numerous photographs, color maps and tables. Lev Nikolaevich Lopukhovsky graduated from the prestigious Frunze Military Academy in 1962 and spent the next ten years serving in the Soviet Union's Strategic Rocket forces, rising to the rank of colonel and a regiment commander, before transferring to a teaching position in the Frunze Military Academy in 1972 due to health reasons. Lopukhovsky is a professor with the Russian Federation's Academy of Military Sciences (2008), and has been a member of Russia's Union of Journalists since 2004. Since 1989 he has been engaged in the search for those defenders of the Fatherland who went missing-in-action in the Second World War, including his own father Colonel N.I. Lopukhovsky, who is now known to have been killed while breaking out of encirclement in October 1941. Motivated by his father's disappearance, he had previously taken up the intense study of the Viaz'ma defensive operation and wrote the initial manuscript of the present book. In 1980 this manuscript was rejected by military censors, because it contradicted official views. Lopukhovsky is the author of several other books about the war, including Prokhorovka bez grifa sekretnosti [Prokhorovka without the seal of secrecy] (2005), Pervye dni voiny [First days of the war] (2007) and is the co-author of Iiun' 1941: Zaprogrammirovannoe porazhenie [June 1941: A Programmed Defeat] (2010). For his active search work, he was awarded the civilian Order of the Silver Star. Stuart Britton is a freelance translator and editor residing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has been responsible for making a growing number of Russian titles available to readers of the English language, consisting primarily of memoirs by Red Army veterans and recent historical research concerning the Eastern Front of the Second World War and Soviet air operations in the Korean War. Notable recent titles include Valeriy Zamulin's award-winning 'Demolishing the Myth: The Tank Battle at Prokhorovka, Kursk, July 1943: An Operational Narrative ' (Helion, 2011), Boris Gorbachevsky's 'Through the Maelstrom: A Red Army Soldier's War on the Eastern Front 1942-45' (University Press of Kansas, 2008) and Yuri Sutiagin's and Igor Seidov's 'MiG Menace Over Korea: The Story of Soviet Fighter Ace Nikolai Sutiagin' (Pen & Sword Aviation, 2009). Future books will include Svetlana Gerasimova's analysis of the prolonged and savage fighting against Army Group Center in 1942-43 to liberate the city of Rzhev, and more of Igor Seidov's studies of the Soviet side of the air war in Korea, 1951-1953.

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