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Korsun Pocket: The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944 [Kindle Edition]

Niklas Zetterling , Anders Frankson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

During the second half of 1943, after the failure at Kursk, Germany’s Army Group South fell back from Russia under repeated hammer blows from the Red Army. Under Erich von Manstein, however, the Germans were able to avoid serious defeats, while at the same time fending off Hitler’s insane orders to hold on to useless territory.

Then, in January 1944, a disaster happened. Six divisions of Army Group South became surrounded after sudden attacks by the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts under command of generals Nikolai Vatutin and Ivan Konev around the village of Korsun (near the larger town of Cherkassy on the Dnieper). The Germans’ greatest fear was the prospect of another Stalingrad, the catastrophe that had occurred precisely one year before.

This time, though, Manstein was in control from the start, and he immediately rearranged his Army Group to rescue his trapped divisions. A major panzer drive got underway, led by General der Panzertruppen Hans Hube, a survivor from Stalingrad pocket, which promptly ran up against several soviet tank armies. Leading the break-in was Franz Baeke with his Tiger and Panther-tanks. Due to both weather and ferocious resistance, the German drive stalled. Ju-52s still flew into Korsun’s airfield, delivering supplies and taking out wounded, but it soon became apparent that only one option remained for the beleaguered defenders: breakout.

Without consulting Hitler, on the night of February 16 Manstein ordered the breakout to begin. Led by the strongest formation within the pocket, SS Wiking, the trapped forces surged out and soon rejoined the surrounding panzer divisions who had been fully engaged in weakening the ring.

When dawn broke, the Soviets realized their prey was escaping. Although the Germans within the pocket lost nearly all of their heavy weapons and left many wounded behind, their escape was effected. Stalin, having anticipated another Stalingrad, was left with little but an empty bag, as Army Group South—this time—had pulled off a rescue.

In The Korsun Pocket, Niklas Zetterling, a researcher at the Swedish Defense College since 1995 and Anders Frankson, have provided a highly detailed and often breathtaking account of one of the most dramatic battles of World War II. From grand strategy to soldiers’ voices on the ground, including expert statistical analysis, the action, and the stakes, of the battle at Korsun are made vividly clear.

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Product Description


Certainly its a highly readable account and brings out the drama of the two trapped German corps and the desperate attempts to free them. The grim nature of combat on the Eastern Front at its height is well handled...surely an inspiring book for the Eastern Front gamer looking for a big battle. --Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, 02/2009

Zetterling and Frankson are able to not only amply educate a reader interested in all of the battle's elements listed above, but also do so in a highly detailed and interesting manner

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2459 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1935149849
  • Publisher: Casemate Publishing; Reprint edition (19 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004X6JP4E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #492,102 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good overview of an interesting Campaign 17 Oct. 2011
The authors of this book start by admitting it is largely written from the German point of view, largely because most Soviet sources tend to read like propaganda rather than useful unit diaries.
This ia shame as the incredibly useful tables of German losses, tank type used and other items that occupy the last fifth of the book give a very clear picture of how units rapidly lost strength in the glutinous mud of a Russian Spring.
The Book covers the encirclement of two corps, designated Gruppe Stemmerman, by the Russians in early 1944, and the subsequent German decisiion to break them out (The prospect of another 'Stalingrad' type surrender was considered a real danger to German Morale)using all available Panzer reserves.
That this battle takes place in the latter stages of the war is obvious as German formations that should theoretically have disposed hundreds of tanks struggle to field 20 owing to breakdowns battle losses and the all pervading mud.
The Luftwaffes contribution to the battle is noted and seems to have been surprisingly effective, clearly given a manageable number of troops to supply they were up to the task, also dropping fuel to the spearheads of the relief force.
The book also has several 'worms eye' accounts of the battle, the main theme of which seems to be the steady disentigration of German units under steady pressure and the critical importance of effective leaders.
There are few illustrations in the book, which is a little disappointing and while the maps are useful there could do with being more of them as they are sometimes hard to relate to the text. The text itself is sometimes a little confusing too, I did sometimes find myself stopping to check which German unit was with which arm of the relief force.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By the authors own admission this book is written predominantly from the German viewpoint due to the lack of accurate information available from the Russian side.

Don't let that put you off though. The book is well written. It contains enough (sometimes a little to much) information on detailed positions. It weaves nicely between strategic and tactical descriptions of what is happening entwined with personal accounts.

I do have two (minor) gripes. The book is well furnished with maps to describe what is happening, however the text that normally goes with it uses place names that are then not mentioned on the map. This makes them slightly harder to use to follow what is happening. There is also a marked lack of photographs.

I have to admit I was swaying between 3 and 4 stars for this book. In the end I did not feel the two minor issues mentioned above were significant enough to warrant it being 3 stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. 17 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a little suprised at two comments in other reviews.

1 Korsun was a little known battle ?!

This suprised me, I had long known about the battles at Cherkassy/Korsun (depending on your national viewpoint). But as a wargamer it may be because of the board games available on the subject and I've played.

2 A reviewer complained the book contained little in the way of individual accounts and the flavour of the battle on the ground. That may be a valid comment but this isn't that kind of book and anyone knowing Zetterling and his excellent attention to detail in orders of battles (Normandy 1944: German Military Organization, Combat Power and Organizational Effectiveness) and statistical info (Kursk 1943: A Statistical Analysis (Soviet (Russian) Study of War))would know this.

So warning, if you want to know how Rottenfuhrer Schultz felt and what he saw on January 31st 1944 it's possibly not the book for you. However if like me you want to know how many Stug III's 5th SS had and how many were serviceable before the attack on ..... this is the book for you.

I found it well researched and detailed with enough personal stuff to keep me interested with the detail on tactics, battles and statistics that I love and want in a book. Be warned though the maps aren't great and on the kindle version are difficult. To truly follow the intricacies of some of it a good map of the area with German and Russian names will help. This was however all that stopped me giving this book a 5*.

Great value on the kindle and nice to see some well researched WWII stuff becoming available on the platform.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Korsun Pocket 19 Jun. 2009
I thought it a very good book detailing what it must have been like on the eastern front. My only fault with it is that sometimes its difficult to picture where the differentr army units are in relation to the maps. All in all a good read.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is highly recommended -
I found it to be very well written , and informative
I compared this account with the description of this battle in
'Ostfront 1944: The German Defensive Battles on the Russian Front 1944 '
[published by Schiffer military history in Hardcover]
written by Alex Buchner ( which is another great source - get it if you can )
and for me ' Korsun Pocket ' passed with flying colours , with added detail galore
- this was a wise investment for my bookshelves
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
a good read if but a bit light but worth the read
Published 10 months ago by ANDREW STEVEN
5.0 out of 5 stars Put the Korsun Pocket in your Pocket!
An excellent example of good historical writing. Detailed, with human interest as well as a variety of vital elements of the operational, tactical and personal actions undertaken,... Read more
Published 11 months ago by John M. Bannerman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must to hear voices from the past in a most amazing escape
Excellent book where it cuts from the big picture to small tactical battles and speaks of the misery of modern warfare from the soldiers mouth to the grand sratergy of the generals... Read more
Published 12 months ago by L. T.
2.0 out of 5 stars but an example of the fighting capability of the German soldier under...
I am less than impressed by the "new" breed of historians who seem to trust the archival information gleaned from the Soviet Union archives. Read more
Published 13 months ago by saint michael
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book about the Stalingrad on the Dnepr
For a wargamer like that was very passionated about a old board game named "Korsun Pocket- a little Stalingrad on the Dnepr", this was a very interesting book because of its... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Carrosio Roberto
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book on a topic not discussed much
Good book that gives more depth into a battle that has not received much publicity through the years. Read more
Published on 10 Sept. 2012 by Ron
4.0 out of 5 stars The Korsun Pocket - The encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in...
Korsun Pocket

The Korsun Pocket is a thoroughly researched book describing a pivotal battle on the Eastern Front in 1944. Read more
Published on 22 Oct. 2011 by PHANTOM
2.0 out of 5 stars korsun pocket
after an initial honeymoon period with the beginning of this book, the whole thing quickly became a slog... it lacked any human interface or characters. Read more
Published on 23 Mar. 2010 by gary marto
4.0 out of 5 stars The Korsun Pocket: the Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in...
This short and well written account of a battle during the German withdrawl through the Ukraine. On Hitler's orders a German Corps of nearly 50,000 men had been left holding a... Read more
Published on 24 Jan. 2010 by Cameron Aitken
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book cant fault it
Excellent book cant fault it descriptive informative and easy to read with numerous maps that are easy to follow in all makes this book a must for the military reader
Published on 23 Aug. 2009 by R. Packham
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