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The Initial Period of War on the Eastern Front, 22 June - August 1941: Proceedings Fo the Fourth Art of War Symposium, Garmisch, October, 1987: ... 1987 (Soviet Russian Military Experience) [Paperback]

David M. Glantz

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Book Description

30 Sep 1997 Soviet Russian Military Experience
Beginning with Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, this volume draws upon eye-witness German accounts supplemented with German archival and detailed Soviet materials. Formerly classified Soviet archival materials has been incorporated.


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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed refernce 2 Sep 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The best reference available on the first 2 weeks of Barbarossa (particularly the opening week) for all three German Army groups, and then the Smolensk operation. Amazing operational and tactical detail (Corps level) with additional selected unit level descriptions. Particularly interesting are Glantz's insights into German perception of Soviet forces, and the reality, as well as Soviet tactical moves to counter the invasion. Written as a transcript of a 1980's military conference, in more of a "study" format, than strait recounting of events with Glantz acting as editor and conference participant.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the seriously interested only - but then a must read 18 July 2005
By Andreas Biermann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
David Glantz is probably the foremost historian of the Soviet forces in World War 2 in the English language. When he was still in the US Army, responsible for the study of the Red Army, he ran the so-called `Art of War' symposia during the 1980s. These were usually attended by then serving officers, who received lectures and presentations from German veteran officers of the fighting in the east from 1941, to 1945. Some of these officers had been in very prominent positions during the war, and other, more junior officers rose to high ranks in the Bundeswehr and NATO after the war.

`The Early Period of War' is an edited transcript of a symposium held in 1987 in Garmisch in Germany, dealing with the operations by German armoured forces during the early battles of operation Barbarossa. The unit of analysis is the axis of advance, and presentations are given by divisional officers of formations fighting on these axis - e.g. Graf von Kielmannsegg and Helmut Ritgen of 6. Panzerdivision present on the battles on the Siauliai (Schaulen) axis in Army Group North's sector of advance. This is extremely valuable in allowing an insight into the divisional operations in the context of larger operations at the time.

The book covers four main axis, Siauliai, Vilnius, Byalistok/Minsk, and Lutsk/Rovno. It also analyses the battle for Smolensk. These are framed by an introduction, in which David Glantz outlines the Soviet situation prior to the invasion, and a conclusion chapter in which the relevance of the experience is discussed. The book has a lot of maps that range in quality from poor to adequate. There are tables and graphical information on German formations, again of poor quality. An index is provided.

As an avid student of the war in the east, I found this book very helpful in giving me an in-depth view of the German experience of the first weeks of Barbarossa and the problems that faced the German side. It is unfortunate that no Soviet officers did contribute, but since the seminar was held with a view to help NATO defeat the armies of the Warsaw Pact, that maybe too much to expect.

The book is certainly not aimed at the general reader, but instead at the serious student of military history. It is relatively dry, and the quality of the maps does not help much either. While it can be read as a stand-alone document, it will be more helpful to read it in conjunction with a work that deals with Barbarossa more generally, e.g. the MGFA's volume IV `The Attack on the Soviet Union'. Otherwise there is a risk that events described in this book cannot be placed in context. In my opinion it belongs into the library of anyone seriously interested in German operations, and the war between Germany and the Soviet Union.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Detailed but Shoddy Look At the First Days of Barbarossa 1 Jan 2001
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is essentially the transcript of a conference held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and focuses on the early period of Operation Barbarossa. This could have been an awesome book; there is a wealth of data but it is poorly presented. There are day-by-day sketch maps of each sector, but they are almost impossible to read. Original German intelligence situation maps are included and they don't make German staff officers look very good; unit symbols are not used - they actually wrote "RD" for Rifle Division on the map. This book is very useful in showing how much of a fight the Red Army really put up in the first month of the war; the Red Army of 1941 was clumsy, but not toothless. Most readers will be unaware that the first big tank battle in Russia occurred when the Soviets were able to mount a very serious armored counterattack at Dubno on the Southwestern front. However, this book missed its opportunity due to very poor editing and wandering anecdotal reminisces of German veterans (one German officer concluded that combat officers need a good knowledge of military history AND the Bible!). There are over 200 maps, but most are crude and barely legible.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great source for the first few weeks of the German Invasion 17 Jan 2006
By T. Kunikov - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was very delighted to get and read this book. As already described it shows the operations that the German Army and Red Army undertook when the Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union. Many will be surprised to see the amount of actual counter-attacks that the Red Army was able to launch which at times stopped the Germans for days while at other times caused more havoc among the Red Army's own troops rather than that of the Germans. Coordination was poor, combined arms operations were almost never seen on the battlefield as communication problems plagued the entire appartus of the Red Army from divisions all the way up through front headquarters. This book is an essential text and reference to understanding some of the operations undertaken in 1941 and their consequences as well as a great reference for Soviet tank forces and their composition when the war began.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, but... 17 Mar 2014
By Thomas Reiter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, detailed description of certain parts of the front during the initial days of the war in Russia. It also includes a decent account of the battles around Smolensk. The battles around Dubno are presented in great detail from the Soviet side, with more general accounts from the German side. There are very many maps, but unfortunately they are of rather low quality. Overall, however, I'd give this part of the book five stars.

However, the book also includes reminiscences by German officers and transcripts of various panel discussions involving some former German officers and various academics. I frankly found these sections of the book disappointing and not very illuminating, so overall think that four stars is about right.
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