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Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk 10 July-10 September 1941 Volume 2. The German Offensives on the Flanks & the Third Soviet Counteroffensive, 25 August-10 September 1941 [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

David M. Glantz
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Book Description

15 Mar 2012
This groundbreaking new study, now significantly expanded, exploits a wealth of Soviet and German archival materials, including the combat orders and operational of the German OKW, OKH, army groups, and armies and 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 structure of the study is designed specifically to appeal to both general readers and specialists by a detailed two-volume chronological narrative of the course of operations, accompanied by a third volume, and perhaps a fourth, containing archival maps and an extensive collection of specific orders and reports translated verbatim from Russian. The maps, archival and archival-based, detail every stage of the battle. Within the context of Guderian's southward march toward the Kiev region, volume 2 in this series describes in unprecedented detail the Red Army's attempts to thwart German offensive plans by defeating Army Group Center in the Smolensk region with a general counteroffensive by three Red Army fronts. This volume restores to the pages of history two major military operations which, for political and military reasons, Soviet historians concealed from view, largely because both offensives failed. This volume includes: The Northern Flank: Group Stumme's (Third Panzer Group) Advance to Velikie Luki, Toropets, and Zapadnaia Dvina, 22 August-9 September 1941; German Strategic Planning, the Tilt toward Kiev, and Second Panzer Group's Advance Across the Desna River, 22-28 August 1941; The Third Soviet Counteroffensive, including the Western Front's Dukhovshchina Offensive, 26 August-6 September1941, the Reserve Front's El'nia Offensive, 30 August-10 September 1941, and the Briansk Front's Roslavl'-Novozybkov Offensive, 29 August-14 September 1941.Based on the analysis of the vast mass of documentary materials exploited by this study, David Glantz presents a number of important new findings, notably: Soviet resistance to Army Group Center's advance into the Smolensk region was far stronger and more active than the Germans anticipated and historians have previously described; The military strategy Stalin, the Stavka, and Western Main Direction Command pursued was far more sophisticated than previously believed; Stalin, the Stavka, and Timoshenko's Western Main Direction Command employed a strategy of attrition designed to weaken advancing German forces; This attrition strategy inflicted far greater damage on Army Group Center than previously thought and, ultimately, contributed significantly to the Western and Kalinin Fronts' victories over Army Group Center in December 1941. Quite simply, this series breaks new ground in World War II Eastern Front and Soviet military studies.

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Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk 10 July-10 September 1941 Volume 2. The German Offensives on the Flanks & the Third Soviet Counteroffensive, 25 August-10 September 1941 + Barbarossa Derailed: The Battles for Smolensk, July-August 1941 Volume 1: The German Advance, The Encirclement Battle, and the First and Second Soviet Counteroffensives, 10 July-24 August 1941 + The Viazma Catastrophe, 1941. The Red Army's Disastrous Stand against Operation Typhoon.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Helion & Company Ltd; UNKNOWN edition (15 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906033900
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906033903
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 17.3 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

It's conclusion will have a profound impact on future books written about the Eastern Front in World War II. --J.W. Thacker, Dept of History, Western Kentucky University in the Bowling Green Daily News

Such a thorough and scrupulous account of these battles is long overdue. By closely examining these early battles, the author shows how the weakened Soviet military leadership studied their early mistakes, regained their balance, and struck back with deadly fury. Though the Soviet nightmare was to last for another four long years, the painful lessons learned on the battlefields in and around Smolensk during the summer of 1941 were the key to the ultimate Soviet victory. --The Russian Review

About the Author

A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, Defense Language Institute, Institute for Russian and Eastern European Studies, and US Army War College, before retiring from the U.S. Army in December 1993, Colonel David M. Glantz served for over 30 years in various field artillery, intelligence, teaching, and research assignments in Europe and Vietnam, taught at the United States Military Academy, the Combat Studies Institute, and Army War College, founded and directed the U.S. Army's Foreign (Soviet) Military Studies Office, and established and currently edits The Journal of Slavic Military Studies. A member of the Russian Federation's Academy of Natural Sciences, he has written or co-authored more than 60 books and self-published studies and atlases, as well as hundreds of articles on Soviet military strategy, intelligence, and deception and the history of the Red (Soviet) Army, Soviet (Russian) military history, and World War II. In recognition of his work, he has received numerous awards including the Society of Military History's prestigious Samuel Eliot Morrison Prize for his contributions to the study of military history.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Dave History Student TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Though the chronology spread of the two books is uneven, the first book covers the initial 45 days and this book the last 17 days, the demarcation between the two volumes was chosen well for the last and most ambitious of Timoshenko's offensives is devoted to this second volume.
Even with all the fierce fighting and high casualties that occurred in the first volume, the second book which is as large as the first begins, after a brief summary of the first volume, with Timoshenko, after being reinforced with new divisions and encouraged by discovering the German center was being weakened with the panzer groups being deployed to the flanks, starting a new major offensive that's even more ambitious than the rounds in July and mid August.
The Western Front will target Dukhovshchina, north of Smolensk, for the Germans had already showed weakness there earlier in August. Zhukov's Reserve Front will try to eliminate the Yelnya salient, east of Smolensk, and Yeremenko's fortified Bryansk Front will attempt to isolate and destroy Guderian's 2nd PzG south of Roslavl. However, the battle plans were too ambitious, preparations were rushed, coordination lacking and the command decisions in the field faulty providing less than expected results for Stavka which had to cancel the offensive prematurely on 9/10. It will also be shown that the surprise flank attacks by Guderian and Hoth just days before this new Soviet offensive was to begin exacerbated this confusion and lack of preparation and readiness.

This three Front Offensive is separated into chapters by sector and time period. Prefacing each battle sector, Mr Glantz informs the reader of which combatants and their disposition will be and who they will be facing. The battle plans are then discussed as are objectives.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The derailment of Barbarossa 11 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover
Volume 2 of 'Barbarossa Derailed' picks up pretty much where the first volume left off. Throughout both volumes Glantz's goals have been the following: to show that the Wehrmacht was suffering before the beginning of Operation Typhoon and the defeat it experienced at the gates of Moscow could be seen written on the wall throughout the Smolensk engagement Army Group Center found itself suffering through; the Red Army, while taking grievous losses throughout its multiple counteroffensives against Army Group Center, performed better than previously thought and consistently bloodied numerous German infantry, motorized, and panzer divisions; finally, the German (more so Hitler's) decision to continue battling Soviet forces on the flanks of Army Group Center - eventually leading to the encirclement at Kiev - was consistent with Hitler's initial orders for Operation Barbarossa and eliminated close to 1 million Red Army men from Army Group Center's front and flanks that might have done a great deal more damage if left in place with an early German offensive toward Moscow.

The book itself contains dozens of maps and battle orders and reports, same as the first volume. And just as in the first volume, while many of the documentation is dry and repetitive there are always some interesting facts that come out. For instance, every now and then there are reported losses from various units, yet more interesting is what these reports don't say - a lot of the time the 'missing' are themselves missing. The majority of reports only mention dead and wounded. The numbers themselves are interestingly but offer only a glimpse into Soviet losses, which Glantz details himself quite well throughout the book and in the concluding chapter.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A carbon copy format of the first volume, a terrific ending to the campaign 22 Mar 2012
By Dave Schranck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Though the chronology spread of the two books is uneven, the first book covers the initial 45 days and this book the last 17 days, the demarcation between the two volumes was chosen well for the last and most ambitious of Timoshenko's offensives is devoted to this second volume.

Even with all the fierce fighting and high casualties that occurred in the first volume, the second book which is as large as the first begins, after a brief summary of the first volume, with Timoshenko, after being reinforced with new divisions and encouraged by discovering the German center was being weakened with the panzer groups being deployed to the flanks, starting a new major offensive that's even more ambitious than the rounds in July and mid August.
The Western Front will target Dukhovshchina, north of Smolensk, for the Germans had already showed weakness there earlier in August. Zhukov's Reserve Front will try to eliminate the Yelnya salient, east of Smolensk, and Yeremenko's fortified Bryansk Front will attempt to isolate and destroy Guderian's 2nd PzG south of Roslavl. However, the battle plans were too ambitious, preparations were rushed, coordination lacking and the command decisions in the field faulty providing less than expected results for Stavka which had to cancel the offensive prematurely on 9/10. It will also be shown that the surprise flank attacks by Guderian and Hoth just days before this new Soviet offensive was to begin exacerbated this confusion and lack of preparation and readiness.

This three Front Offensive is separated into chapters by sector and time period. Prefacing each battle sector, Mr Glantz informs the reader of which combatants and their disposition will be and who they will be facing. The battle plans are then discussed as are objectives. When the battle begins, the reader will be up to speed and will appreciate and understand the action better. Now that both volumes are out, enthusiasts will be able to go back and reread individual sectors that are common to both books from start to end.
Understandably but regrettably coverage will not include Guderian's closing of the Kiev pocket at Lokvitsa by 9/15 or the subsequent clearing. The capture of Rommy, Chernigov and Konotop northeast of Kiev will be the last of Guderian's trek we'll read about. For some, this partial look at Guderian's costly but unstoppable march south, slicing through Yeremenko's forces despite a lengthening eastern flank will be spellbinding. Zhukov's attempts to eliminate the Yelnya salient is equally impressive.
Within his stated time limits and using the many uncovered battle plans, situation reports, diary entries and communiques, Mr Glantz covers this three Front attack with as much detail and insight as his first book and is its equal in this respect. He provides daily operational coverage broken down by sector along the entire expanding front line. These documents (many are Soviet) that have been recently made public make up the important core of the infrastructure of the book. The author, using these primary documents, explains the reasoning for this aggressive posture by the Soviets as well as the detailed planning, the actual fighting and the results of each Front's assault. The reasons for success or failure is explained as well. Many of the key officers will be included and you will see the influence each one had, good and bad, on the battle results. Rokossovsky and Konev's command ability shows itself in this campaign and they will rise to be a part of the Soviet's leading command cadre. Like the first volume, this book is also Russian centric which is a little disappointing for it doesn't provide as nearly as much info on the German side.
For example daily operational summaries are provided on the Soviet side but usually not the German side and not to same level of detail.

Mr Glantz has invested years, providing over 1100 heavily fact filled pages of this epic battle that will probably send some of us into sensory overload. Its almost exclusively based on the tremendous amount of primary documents that has been gathered, translated, analyzed, choreographed, and transformed into a readable and for many an interesting narrative. Its a gargantuan accomplishment. I find it difficult to criticize an effort of this magnitude but if I could have three wishes, they would be: Detailed coverage of the Kiev Pocket, the defensive moves at the Bryansk-Vyazma line for the rest of September and a greater abundance of German divisional sitreps to offset the overwhelming Soviet majority.
In the recently published book, "Demolishing the Myth" by Valeriy Zamulin, the author during his research has uncovered many after action reports and personal appraisals from both sides that cover the same engagements. Loosely marrying these critiques of opposing forces into his narrative, the reader could see the same battle from both sides. It was really interesting and more personable to read these accounts to see how both the German and Soviet commanders and soldiers perceived the same battle and how they reacted to it. If Mr Glantz could achieve this kind of correlation and coverage, it would make his book even better than it is.

This operational presentation, which never strays into alternate or "what if" history, also includes the ramifications this two month plus campaign had on the two sides for the near term. Included in the first volume and mentioned briefy in this volume is also the discussion of the controversy and now ramifications of either diverting to Kiev to alleviate flank pressure for the Groups or advancing straight on to Moscow in September. As part of this theme, the author argues that Bock, from a logistic standpoint alone, was incapable of reaching Moscow from a direct march from Smolensk and that AGC needed the three week pause to replenish while waiting for Guderian to return from Kiev before advancing toward the capital. I find this issue of sending Guderian to Kiev a highly interesting point and one that the author believed was necessary even if it was costly to 2nd PzG.
After reading this two volume set, you will have, despite the Soviet favoritism, a very good understanding of this ferocious campaign that shows the German penetration of the critical Dnepr River and advancement to the Desna River as a noteworthy accomplishment but at a cost too high in men, materiel and time that will prevent the Germans from "winning" the war as expected by the end of the year. You will also see Hitler's resolve, like his panzer strength, weakening as well as a deterioration in the cohesion of the Wehrmacht and the OKH. You will also see Paulus's prediction comes true that once east of the Dnepr, German armies would have supply problems. You will also see Stalin's confidence in the deep well of men at his disposal as well as his advantage in production capacity over Germany engender his willingness to continue attacking even when it wasn't the best strategy.

In the recently published book, "Demolishing the Myth" by Valeriy Zamulin, the author during his research has uncovered many after action reports and personal appraisals from both sides that cover the same engagements. Loosely marrying these critiques of opposing forces into his narrative, the reader could see the same battle from both sides. It was really interesting and more personable to read these accounts to see how both the German and Soviet commanders and soldiers perceived the same battle and how they reacted to it. If Mr Glantz could achieve this kind of correlation and coverage, it would make his book even better than it is.

Chapter 10 is "Conclusions" and its much larger than the same chapter in the first book and greatly expands on the key points of it as well as the overall campaign; key judgements of Hitler and his generals as well as a careful analysis of strategy of the campaign for both sides. The author did a nice job with this chapter.

There are 107 maps in the first volume and another 94 maps in this book. Most maps are small to medium area maps based on original war maps, just like many of the first volume. The quality of the maps are comparable to the first volume. There are a small selection of photos.

An improvement over the first volume are the 32 tables that depict strength, casualty, deployment positions or combat ready status conditions. It also included some coverage of the timeframe of the first volume. These new tables should relieve the concerns of some about the dearth of casualty figures for AGC in the first volume but there was a few small holes in the statistical coverage.
In addition to the 32 tables, there is also an Appendix containing abbreviated OBs but without unit commanders as well as other numerical data of the two sides..
Even with a future document volume promised, lengthy Endnotes and Bibliography are included if further research is desired. A detailed Index will make your job easier to find a particular subject of interest.

In regards to format and style, this volume is a carbon copy of the first and it presents a staggering amount of info like the first. If you liked the first volume and were wondering how this campaign ends then this second volume is a must have proposition. This historiography not only adds tremendously to the knowledge base of the Smolensk campaign to the English speaking world but also adds to the foundation of Operation Barbarossa and for me it is easy to highly recommend this book to avid students of the early war.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious, thought-provoking and thoroughly researched study 6 Jun 2012
By F. Carol Sabin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The second volume of Glantz's dedicated to Smolensk battles is depicting, largely, the Third (September) General Counteroffensive organized and conducted by Western, Briansk and Reserve fronts along the strategically vital Western axis between 29 August-12 September 1941.
After the presentation in the first volume of the first two offensives (Western Front's Operational Groups offensive and Western and Reserve Fronts offensives at Dukhovshchina and, respectively, Elnia, plus Timonshenko's Offensive in July 41), the author concentrated on the largest and the most ambitious of these strategic operations launched by three fronts in the sectors of Dukhovshchina, Elnia and respectively Roslavl-Novozybkov, aimed to stop or delay the German advance towards Moscow.
The planning of this three-component offensive was facilitated by the departure of both Panzer Groups to the AG North (Hoth to Velikie Luki operation) and South (Guderian to Kiev operation) according to the Hitler's orders, eventually consistent with his original concept for Barbarossa.
Shorn of its offensive cutting edge, AGC thus had to remain on the defensive until the operations on its left and right flanks concluded. The defensive battles waged by AGC from July through September 1941 are also instructive for being the first German attempt in WW II to sustain a large-scale positional defense after several offensive "spurts".
When the Russians realized that the Germans were not going to follow their Smolensk triumph with an immediate drive on Moscow, Soviet counterattacks again flared up along the central part of the front. Finally, the German passivity offered the Russians the unique opportunity of battering the entire AGC under conditions of Soviet choosing, Red Army launching four successive counteroffensives, each of far larger and more significant scope and scale than the previous one.
German combat power was adversely affected by logistical considerations as well. By late August 1941, German units were too dispersed, overextended and their combat potential too diminished to repeat the impressive feats of the beginning of Barbarossa.

As we noticed in the first volume with the first two counteroffensives, Mr. Glantz clearly demonstrated that all three distinct operations were far stronger and inflicted far more casualties on AGC troops than previously thought. Mr. Glantz description is comprehensive, covering all components of the last Soviet offensive almost in the same manner, with many operational details, orders and schemes of maneuver of both sides.
As most Russians counterattacks during early weeks of Barbarossa, these were also uncoordinated, lacked tactical sophistication and the Germans' experience in mobile war to reach their designated strategic and operational objectives, but inflicted damage and panic among Germans troops and HQs. The real success of these strategic operations lay in sapping the German strength and planning. Russian strategy, like the German, had been too ambitious and should better have concentrated on one objective, perhaps the destruction of the Elnia salient.
As a rule, each element of the Soviet counteroffensive or German attack/action has a chapter dedicated to it (from 2 to 9) consisting of planning, phases, main actions and conclusions/postscript.
According to Soviet estimates shown in the book, during these three offensives (10 July-10 September 1941) the German forces suffered 101.000 casualties (out of which 20.000 were unrecoverable-KIA, MIA, POW), while the Red Army experienced appalling casualties - almost 760.000 (over 486.000 unrecoverable!) - overall, a still favorable ratio. The problem is that the Russians had changed the German blitzkrieg into a gigantic (Russian) war of attrition. They accepted huge losses, allowing their units to operate with half or less of authorized strengths. While the Soviets still had the manpower to replace these losses in men, the Germans never fully recovered from the initial battles of Barbarossa.
Even the Germans suffered a little over 100.000 casualties, but lost precious time, the Soviet part gained time, but suffered much higher casualties, which left many of their units depleted, unable to stop the German onslaught when Typhoon began a month later. Red Army forces facing AGC' formations were themselves weakened from the battles of July-August and early September and they used this time to try to restore their own strength before Typhoon.

Albeit the derailment of Barbarossa at Smolensk caused, undoubtedly, some troubles to the Germans, I believe that also Minsk, Byelstock, Roslavl, Mogilev, Brest Litovsk and Vyazma or Bryansk pockets later, exacted a heavy toll and derailed the German planning and made them to lose time and men, and eventually the Eastern campaign. Personally, I still believe that Kiev operation, with the stubborn defense of the Soviet 5th Army, is much more responsible for the real derailment of Barbarossa (a controversial decision identified by General G. Heinrici in this book, p.514). The prolonged and complex battles for Smolensk, in particular, excellent described by Mr. Glantz, are still difficult to estimate if they were more successful than other clashes in thwarting the Wehrmacht on its way to the Soviet capital.

I personally believe that if Hitler had listened to his generals and continued toward Moscow in August-September, instead of assisting AGS in the Kiev encirclement, the city would have fallen, but certainly the Soviets would continue the war (by the end of the year 1941, Red Army still possessed between 6-8 million men!). Even in possession of Moscow, the Germans would still have been overextended and exposed in winter of 41-42; therefore Germany was not likely to end the war in 1941, whatever strategy was adopted (going towards Moscow or Kiev). I noticed a key questions on page 515:...if the German Army proved unable to protect its front and flanks in early December 1941 against 4,1 million Soviet soldiers, would it have done much better defending a significantly longer front in November 1941 against a Red Army force much better in excess of 6 million soldiers?
Obviously, if no diversion had been made, AGC could have renewed its advance towards Moscow in mid-August rather than the end of September. Had AGC continued to advance on Moscow in August, the Russians would have lost their capital before December. But I believe they would not have surrendered. Therefore, as a conclusion very well outlined by Mr. Glantz, the defeat of the Soviet Army suffered at Kiev encirclement actually facilitated AGC's subsequent advance during Typhoon a month later!
However, without Moscow as a starting base, the Russians could not have launched such a powerful winter offensive against AGC in December 1941. However, based on newly released archival materials Mr. Glantz state that the Wehrmacht's best opportunity for capturing Moscow occurred in October and November rather than September
Therefore, considering the above reasons, the continuation of the German advance and the winning of the Eastern Campaign (the seizure of Moscow included) depended also on other key factors, not all related to the Ostfront: undertaking of a two-front war (almost 60 German divisions were deployed elsewhere), inadequate preparation for war (all-out wartime production), Russian climate and geography, unexpected toughness of the Red Army; also, they underestimated the effects of distance on their operation and never planned for a winter campaign at all.

Concentrating entirely on the Battle for Smolensk, the author made no diversion from the scope of the book, the description of the Kiev encirclement stopping after the Guderian's initial move to the South.
Referring to the maps, they are satisfactory, in general; I assumed that Mr. Glantz tried the best he could do to provide the orientation and to visualize the maneuvers and actions of both sides. For some maps I will seek clarification in the fourth (atlas) volume of this series dedicated to these battles which will contain newly-commissioned colour maps.

Despite I bought and read the first volume, which has only 6 pages of conclusion, I waited for the second book, since I know Mr. Glantz's habit to keep the best for the final. The second's volume conclusions (chapter 10, with no less than 45 pages!) are among the best sound conclusions ever concerning Barbarossa in general and Smolensk in particular, with clear and captivating judgments. The logical and gripping way in which they are presented to the reader, the support coming from many tables (extracted, chiefly, from Russian archives) showing opponents' actions and results, comparative damage and losses sustained by both sides, strengths, etc is really impressive.
I was also impressed by the skillful and perceptive postwar critique of general-colonel Gotthard Heinrici who, in an 8-paragraph text, outlined the basis of the German failure from politically, economically and military points of view.

Being clearly written, comprehensive, providing a staggering amount of details, this study ensures a valuable addition to Eastern Front literature.
This fresh account from Mr. Glantz dramatically revised and expanded history's fans understanding of what happened in the initial phase of a gigantic operation named Barbarossa.
Highly recommended!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding History that corrects many myths 19 May 2012
By J. Koch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I must confess that for quite a few years my only reference to Barbarossa was Alan Clark's excellent but dated work. However, over the last decade or so I began reading other histories that were written since the end of the Cold War. And David's Glanz's name kept cropping up. What interested me most about Barbaross was the initial 3 months of the fight. For 5 decades, the narrative of the Eastern Field Marshals (Alan Clark's ironic name for Hitler's top generals) held sway. If only Hitler would have listened to his professional generals Barbarossa would have been a victory for the Germans. David Glanz's research and writings offer a long over due corrective.

Before I go further, I have to warn the reader that Barbarossa Derailed is not intended for the general reader. Glanz's narrative offers an almost day-to-day, formation-by-formation account of General Timenshenko's defensive battles from June to August, as well as his offensives in August-Sep - particularly his attempt to seal-off the German Yelnya sailent. David Glanz also delves into the German order of battles using the war diaries from the German side. Glanz's narrative technique usually begins with an over-all general description of the tactical (or in Wehrmacht parlance, operational) situation from both sides. Once that is done, he begins to narrate the tactical moves of the Soviets in thier desperate attempt to stave off disaster. It is in this detail that one follows the murderous battles that made-up the Smolensk Operation. The prose, I must admit is dry. For Glanz does not offer up cheerleading for either side. He basically offers up the facts. And for the first time the general reader can see exactly how the Soviets reacted to the German onslaught in detail.

Once the reader finishes this tome, he will have a different understanding of the summer battles of 1941. If anything, David Glanz shows just how quickly things went wrong for the Germans. The Minsk-Bialystok encirclements were the high point of the German operations. It appeared to the Germans that the strategic goals of Barbarossa were already realized; in 10 days they believed that they had destroyed the bulk of Soviet forces near the frontiers. All that remained was for Bock's forces to quickly move east and execute one more encirclement in the vicinity of Smolensk and the war would be over.

It this operation, the drive of Smolensk, Glanz argues that planted the seeds of the defeat of Germany. For Timenshenko, using recently mobilized reserves, executed a series of tactical ripostes at the German weak points that not only slowed the German advanced down, but bled him white. From July through August Timenshenko drove a wedge between the Panzerwaffen (Hoth and Guderian) that forced both panzer groups to disperse thier mechanized forces. By the end of August the vaunted German panzer divisions were filling the role of infantry. Glanz may not have said it explicitly, but the German side was woefully short of infantry. His narrative, however makes this clear enough. After Minsk, Timenshenko and STAVKA were able to mobilize another 5 field armies in a matter of weeks. Over a half million fresh Soviet soldiers (mainly infantry) created a number of tactical crisis that stymied the German Army. By late August, Timenshenko received more reserves and launched a series of viscious counter-attacks culminating in the Yelnya Offensive. It was during this period (after Smolensk was captured) that Hitler finally realized his dreams of a quick conquest of the Soviet Union was a pipe dream. He conducted a series of high level meetings with AG North and AG Center before changing the strategic goals of the invasion. By September he denuded Bock's forces of Hoth's and Guderian's armour. Hitler decided the war would have to be won on the "wings" and not in the center. Moscow was saved. But even at this early point of the war, the German way of war was proving problematic. Hoth panzers suffered 60% losses by September, and many of Guderian's were in even worse shape (Model's 3rd Panzer had less than 80 tanks operational). Glanz showed how Guderian and Hoth often had to disperse thier panzer forces over very wide areas to counter Soviet break throughs. As a consequence, the Smolensk pocket was a pourous one. Unlike Minsk, the Germans were unable to bag large quantities of POWs. Couple this fact with the problems Leeb was having in AG North, it is not surprising that Hitler decided to "interfere" with his Gernerals strategic goals. David Glanz gives the reader a birds eye view of what Hitler saw. And in September of 1941 disaster was in the making for the Germans.

I recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in Barbarossa. But by advised this book contains far more tactical details than the general history book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the casual reader 3 Dec 2013
By Paul D. Schorfheide - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fascinating, in-depth look at this portion of Barbarossa. I bought it for my Kindle and really shouldn't have. The maps are very small on the Kindle and you will need a magnifying glass to see them. Might not be for the casual reader.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conclusion of Barbarossa's derailment 11 Oct 2012
By T. Kunikov - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Volume 2 of 'Barbarossa Derailed' picks up pretty much where the first volume left off. Throughout both volumes Glantz's goals have been the following: to show that the Wehrmacht was suffering before the beginning of Operation Typhoon and the defeat it experienced at the gates of Moscow could be seen written on the wall throughout the Smolensk engagement Army Group Center found itself suffering through; the Red Army, while taking grievous losses throughout its multiple counteroffensives against Army Group Center, performed better than previously thought and consistently bloodied numerous German infantry, motorized, and panzer divisions; finally, the German (more so Hitler's) decision to continue battling Soviet forces on the flanks of Army Group Center - eventually leading to the encirclement at Kiev - was consistent with Hitler's initial orders for Operation Barbarossa and eliminated close to 1 million Red Army men from Army Group Center's front and flanks that might have done a great deal more damage if left in place with an early German offensive toward Moscow.

The book itself contains dozens of maps and battle orders and reports, same as the first volume. And just as in the first volume, while many of the documentation is dry and repetitive there are always some interesting facts that come out. For instance, every now and then there are reported losses from various units, yet more interesting is what these reports don't say - a lot of the time the 'missing' are themselves missing. The majority of reports only mention dead and wounded. The numbers themselves are interestingly but offer only a glimpse into Soviet losses, which Glantz details himself quite well throughout the book and in the concluding chapter. In truth Glantz's commentary is often the most interesting as many will have a hard time following the action on the maps included or through the orders and reports as the numerous locations mentioned (from groves, to hills, rivers, villages, towns, cities, etc.) will make little sense even if you are familiar with Soviet geography.

Overall, Glantz's mission with these two volumes is readily accomplished. Repeatedly it is evident that the Red Army was put in an unenviable position as Stalin and STAVKA sent out orders that most of the units in the field could not fully accomplish. The cream of the pre-war Red Army facing Army Group Center was lost during the first two weeks of the war in the Minsk encirclement and follow-up operation(s) and the armies that took the field in their wake were made up mainly of reservists and/or conscripts with little training compared to the soldiers they faced in Army Group Center. Thus, the stop-gap measures consistently employed by Stalin and his commanders became part of an attrition strategy that bloodied dozens of German divisions and forestalled another complete encirclement at Smolensk. With Panzer troops leaving behind their infantry counterparts, the encirclement at Smolensk was weakened by Red Army troops attempting to break out and in simultaneously. Some 50,000 escaped to fight another day and Army Group Center's panzer forces needed time for rest and refit, yet were continually denied it as Soviet counteroffensives against Army Group Center grew in intensity. Here is where volume 2 continues the story with offensives launched by three fronts under the command of Timoshenko, Zhukov, and Eremenko. The majority of readers familiar with the Eastern Front will have heard of Yelnia (El'nia) and the success Zhukov's troops enjoyed. But as Glantz shows, this was less of a victory than Timoshenko's troops experienced. The latter inflicted greater casualties on the Germans and captured more territory than Zhukov's Yelnia operation, yet it has been overshadowed by the moral victory that was the Yelnia offensive (most likely because of Zhukov's presence and the propaganda that the victory generated). Today even Russian historians can see that Yelnia, while a moral victory, did little to hinder future German action in Operation Typhoon. It seems the worst performance was that of Eremenko's front. In part it was the fault of the commanding officer, but it seems more so that STAVKA and Stalin continually pushed Eremenko who in turn pushed his army commanders to needlessly waste lives in operations that were doomed from the start because of numerous reasons (including lack of logistics, tanks, artillery, aircraft, surprise, etc.).

The concluding chapter is in many ways the most interesting as Glantz ties up various loose ends. It's true that there are still many 'white spots' in the history of the Eastern Front, and unlike the latter years of the war, 1941 was riddled with chaos, defeat, retreat, and propagandized heroism. That propagandized heroism all too often has eclipsed the actual history of 1941 and more so the tangible victories that Red Army forces achieved, although too often by paying a high price in blood. Thus Glantz has shown how the encirclement of Smolensk, which is usually seem as a 'bump in the road' to the encirclements at Kiev and Operation Typhoon, was in fact a prelude to Germany's defeat at the gates of Moscow. The casualties sustained by the Wehrmacht were not made good by the time Operation Typhoon was launched and while the Red Army suffered more than their German counterparts, and in some ways allowed for a weakening of the forces that would face Army Group Center in October, the end result was the buying of time for more forces and material to make it to the west to face the Germans. The victory that awaited the Soviets outside Moscow, that much, at least, the Red Army was able to achieve in part thanks to the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands around Smolensk in July, August, and September.
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