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Winter Storm (Stackpole Military History) Paperback – 1 Apr 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books (1 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811710890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811710893
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 857,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book is divided into two sections. The first part which takes up nearly two thirds of the book begins in mid October and lasts until mid November when Marshall Zhukov launches his Operation Uranus. After a brief first chapter of section two covering the quick entrapment of 6th Army within the Stalingrad sector, the rest of the book describes the conditions the trapped men endured as they desperately wait for the relief column to free them and of course the difficulties that Manstein with his meager resources faces in defending the Chir River line while Hoth fights his way north toward Stalingrad.

The author was able to put together an interesting package though less demanding than hoped for of the tactical summary which is carefully blended with many examples of personal hardships and heroics of German soldiers as well as an abundance of good photos to tie everything together. The photo gallery is a combination of personal photos of the people discussed as well as providing scenes of the death and destruction within the city. The gallery which included some aerials was well done but some of the photos have lost their clarity.

The broad strokes deliver the tactical history to provide the reader an overall image and scale to the battle but the presentation of all the soldier's experiences within this massive environment of death and destruction is what the authors enjoys delivering and hopes will make the biggest impression on the reader.
The story is driven by the German advance on the northern factories and the German perspective dominates but the author also includes Russian daily action reports to help balance the story of how both sides saw the progress of the battle.
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Format: Paperback
This book is really misnamed, and one can easily see why. The title, "Winter Storm" (German "Wintergewitter") was the codename given by Field Marshal von Manstein to the operation he devised to punch through the Russian lines to Stalingrad, puncture the "Kessel" (cauldron) and release the surrounded Sixth Army. When given the signal "Thunderclap" ("Donnerschlag"), Sixth Army was to break out and join up with the relieving forces. However this plan was doomed to failure for two reasons: Hitler refused permission to abandon Stalingrad, and the Soviet high command - like experienced chess players - used their massive resources to create threats in other sectors, just in time to force the diversion of vital divisions.

The book runs to 260-odd pages in 13 chapters, only four of which are strictly concerned with Wintergewitter. Book One (160 pages) consists of a series of first-person reports by survivors of the German forces in Stalingrad. Set in scenes that will be familiar to anyone who has seen the film "Enemy at the Gates" (for instance), it's a story of desperate attempts by ever-dwindling German forces to capture vast Soviet factories and finally expel the Soviets from the northern part of Stalingrad. Remarkably, this proved to be impossible: no matter how many artillery bombardments, Stuka attacks, tank forays, or infantry penetrations were launched, the wily and resourceful Soviets remained in their tunnels and cellars, and thousands more came across the Volga every night. Reading these pages, you get a very vivid idea of how suicidal it was for Hitler and the OKW to plunge their superb mobile units into a meat-grinder where the side with the most resources was bound to win.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Such valour but all in such an abominable cause. Jarring (or jah-ing?) references to the Russians as 'primitives' etc betraying the underlying ethical basis of Nazi social Darwinism that shaped their views. Lots of detail. Kindle version needs better maps. All in all worth a read of personal accounts of some little-known titanic battles. The cusp of the turning of the War with the encroachment of despair for the Germans.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was interesting to get a on the ground view of the german soldiers at Stalingrad. The only criticism I would have is that it doesn't flow easily.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A book filled with rare first hand German accounts of the battle along with excellent photographs.

Gives a glimpse of what it was like to be there on the ground with a different perspective compared to the endless unit numbers, movements and outcomes type of military history.

Would also recommend:

Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger, Knight's Cross
Eastern Inferno: The Journals of a German Panzerjager on the Eastern Front
Twilight of the Gods: A Swedish Waffen-SS Volunteer's Experiences
and above all - Hitler's war on Russia by Paul Carell - (if you can find one!)
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