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War Without Garlands: Operation Barbarossa 1941-1942 Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Length: 640 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product Description

About the Author

Robert Kershaw joined the Parachute Regiment in 1972 after graduating in History at Reading University, reaching the rank of Colonel. In between Regimental service he attended the Fuhrungsakademie - the German Staff College - at Hamburg and later spent a number of years with NATO and the Bundeswehr. He has seen active service during a number of tours of Northern Ireland, with the US VII Corps during the Gulf War and in Bosnia.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2127 KB
  • Print Length: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Ian Allan (10 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005JZ6T4M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #184,474 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have studied the Second World War for the last fifty years and in that time, there have been some dramatic shifts in perception. In the early days,the German Army, via Blitzkreig,was seen as all conquering. Only the mud then snow before Moscow stopped the Wermacht from defeating Russia. In his book, Mr Kershaw goes a long way to rectifying this falacy. Far from being the mechanised route march to round up hapless Russian prisoners,portrayed by earlier authors, Barbarossa was a titanic struggle from the off. The Wermacht began to suffer serious casualties from day one and despite being far more oganised than their Russian foe, could not afford the casualty rates involved. Indivdual soldiers in their letters home began to express grave doubts about the outcome. Despite massive encirclements at Kiev,Minsk & Smolensk,capturing almost one and three quarter million Russian prisoners in the process,the cost to the German Army was unexpectedly horrendous. Mr Kershaw's forte is his ability to combine grand strategy with a selection of personel letters that reflect the serious doubts of the individual Landser. Whilst the Nazi Party apparatus trumpeted colossal victories,these letters tell of Divisons down to twenty tanks and Companies down to single figures with little or no prospect of immediate reinforcement and all this in the first six months. I cannot recall any other book that demonstrates more starkly the absolute folly of the German invasion of Russia. A superb book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a staggeringly good book, and a vital piece of the jigsaw when it comes to understanding the Eastern Front in the Second World War.

I have read widely on this subject, from war diaries to accounts of individual battles and to more general overviews. They are, of course, all bits of the jigsaw, and some are more vital than others. Despite its focus on both the initial Barbarossa end of the Eastern Front, and a heavy emphasis on the German experience, this book transformed my understanding.

Nowhere else did I gain such a vivid picture of the size of Russia. It's not just a simple case of maps, war diaries or figures for re-supply - it's the glueing together of all of this into a narrative that suddenly makes the great pushes and the kessels come alive - the strain on the German soldiers and the simple human scale of involvement in these actions.

In other accounts, of course, these first weeks and months seem to be a golden period for the Wehrmacht, as they plunge deeper and deeper into the Soviet Union, gaining stunning success after stunning success. The strain on and misery of the soldiers enjoying this apparent success comes out through Kershaw's knitting together of the narratives at various levels. This then helps feed into the reasons why the campaign spluttered out at the gates of Moscow, and provide a real, tangible picture of the overstretch that is often talked about in other accounts, without ever fully coming alive.

So, again, a piece in the jigsaw, but the most vital that I have read to date. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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Format: Paperback
How do I start this review ?
I guess the first thing would be the recommendation to buy it. The read is easy and flowing. Easy, in that it is gripping and holds you, flowing in that as a history piece, it never becomes stodgy or bogged down.I would also say that I found this book to be tremendous value at the price as well. 580 pages for a few pounds in paperback.

The book provides an account of the opening months of Barborossa and does not, unlike other books on 'Barborossa' then file off to the years after. This book sticks with the opening operation, and the German attempt to knock out the Soviet Union quickly and in a series of co-ordinated hammer blows. Where the book or Mr Kershaw differs from other titles is that, not only is there the strategic overview, but we also get accounts of selected tactical encounters (rather than the strategic), and many letters and diary entries from soldiers serving. Most of these eye witness accounts are German, but Soviet offerings are included as well. Mr Kershaw does not then fall into the trap of "Well Corporal so and so who was there said this, so this must be true". He keeps these entries purely as embellishment, and as colouring of the subject he is trying to impart.

Despite having read many books on the subject matter, this was the first I have seen to concentrate on one of the first German obstacles, Brest-Litovsk. I was surprised to find out just how tough a nut this was to crack. But the main thrust of the book for me was the highlighting of the German Army's massive and quite frankly, unprecedented victories that kept bleeding themselves dry, or as Mr Kershaw put it from the translated German "Victoring itself to death".

and this seemed to be the main problem. Despite inflicting 2.
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Operation Barbarossa is universally considered as the defining event and the turning point of land operations in the European Theatre of Operations. After the German Angriff nach Osten the war was no longer a matter of a European struggle for supremacy but took intercontinental dimensions and after less than 6 months sealed the fate of Nazi Germany and her allies. This book describes the German Army operations ranging from the start of Barbarossa till its standstill and its reversals in front of Moscow of early december 1941. There is no doubt that Barbarossa was not an option born of Hitler's lunacy but a well thought operation whose success was to be the zenith of Hitler's regime, the realisation of what was first described in Mein Kampf ,and finally an event capable of finally forcing England to accept a peace treaty to sanction German power on the European mainland. This did not happen and from December 1941 German showed clearly her weaknesses and in spite of local successes was no longer able to mount attacks of the same scale of earlier ones. The reasons of this abject failure resides not just in the unexpected resiliance of the Soviet regime but mostly in the inability of the Nazi ierarchy to grasp the realities of the scale of their enterprise. Blinded by their ideology based on racial prejudices the Nazi regime showed their ignorance and lack of planning, that comdemned their finest troops to a gruesome struggle for survival against a cruel and determined enemy. An excellent book strongly recommended not just because of the remarkable coverage of military events but especially for the author's oustanding ability to provide a wider picture of the story including also political, strategic and human factors.
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