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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Citino at his best!, 8 April 2012
This review is from: The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 (Modern War Studies) (Hardcover)
Anyone who reads about the Germany military will probably know Professor Robert Citino from his many past books. He's certainly one of my favorites and The Wehrmacht Retreats confirms why. The depth of his research merged with the fast-paced action of his writing style really brings the history to life. He goes a long way towards showing up the flaws in the Wehrmacht and German strategy in 1943 as well as the sometimes harmful role played by `great' German generals like Manstein. It is interesting to see how the German `way of war', which Citino wrote about in another book, continues to impact the events in 1943. He drew the same conclusions for 1942 in Death of the Wehrmacht (also highly recommended) and I'm hoping he'll treat us to more of the same in a book on 1944.
This is really a first class work by one of the great historians in serious operational history and I can't recommend it highly enough.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book from a very consistent writer., 2 Feb 2013
By 
Bobby Smith (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 (Modern War Studies) (Hardcover)
This is a superb book that deals with the German army campaigns of 1943 - Tunisia, Kursk etc. As ever, Citino shows how the traditional German way of war hindered the German High Command, as they found themselves unable to adjust to the changing shape of warfare and, especially, the response of the Allies to their style of fighting. Unlike previous books, The Wehrmacht Retreats spends quite a bit of time and space looking at the state of play in the armies of all the combatants, be they Russian, American or British. I like the way that the authors naturally combative style adds to the original analysis of the years crucial campaigns. Unusually, for an American, he even had a few relatively nice words for Montgomery! I recommend this book to any who are looking for a new slant on WW2, as Citino manages to add depth and clarity to a subject matter that has rarely been dissected in such a clear manner. I eagerly look forward to his next book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent sequel to "Death of the Wehrmacht", 10 Mar 2012
By 
Dave History Student - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 (Modern War Studies) (Hardcover)
Mr Citino has written an interesting and informative sequel to his "Death of the Wehrmacht". In the earlier book the author describes the early German victories of 1942 before describing the setbacks that occurred at Stalingrad and North Africa in the last half of the year. In his latest book, the saga of German deterioration continues with the coverage of key campaigns showing that after Germany's lost of momentum in 1942 their continued errors in strategic planning coupled with the inability to keep pace with mobilization and industrial output of the Russians would lead to further deterioration and loss of territory to the point that it became obvious by the end of 1943 Germany had little chance of winning the war. It will also be shown that while Germany was fighting a lost cause it would take the Allies with all its resources a long time to break German determination The campaigns discussed include the retreat of Manstein from the Don River to the Donets after the loss at Stalingrad, the lost of Kharkov, the battle for Kasserine Pass and the American contribution in North Africa, the Kursk offensive, the Russian counteroffensive at Orel, Belgorod and on the Mius River, the loss of Sicily and the invasion of Italy by the western Allies. Much is also said about Hitler's fanatical temperament and erratic leadership as well as the conflict with his generals, especially Manstein.
The concise discussion of the above sectors is very good and helpful. Background info of the battle zone, the circumstances that influenced both sides and the key people that have impact are presented allowing the reader to gain a good overall understanding of the situation. The author revises history a little in order to bring the ability of the Wehrmacht into its proper realm, lowering it a little from the exalted heights it had soared to over the decades. The Germans were good but they were human and they did make mistakes. The premier example and the biggest chapter deals with Operation Citadel. The author goes to great length showing the flawed strategic thinking that led the Wehrmacht to fail their objectives. The author shows that in wanting to take the initiative to encircle and destroy the Russians within the salient, the Germans had to revert to a WWI trench type warfare that was the antithesis to blitzkrieg and which would kill many of their men and destroy many panzers against an enemy that had more of both. Though the Kursk salient was situated ideally for both AGC and AGS to participate, Hitler choses a sector so obviously ripe to be attacked that it defies imagination that the Soviets wouldn't see it. This lack of imagination is compounded by delaying the launch for months to give the Soviets time to prepare and when Citadel is launched, its strictly a frontal attack with few surprises. The author is also critical of Manstein's "backhand" approach which had been successful a few months earlier at retaking Kharkov but the circumstances were much different in July than in March, April. The Russians were rested not overextended, and had time to concentrate greater forces and move more supplies to the area as well as learning from their earlier mistakes.
While I expected good coverage on the Russia Front, the coverage in North Africa was also enlightening that included an appraisal of American involvement in the defense of the Eastern Dorsal. Anderson and Montgomery of the British Army are of course also included in the discussion as the Allies squeezed Arnim into the Tunis corner.

Looking at it from any angle, the author believes Operation Citadel or any variant of it had no chance of success. When a second front opened in September with the Allies landing in Italy the troubles for Hitler just doubled in regards to strategic planning as well as allocation of men, panzers and supplies.
As the author points out, it will be easier for the reader to follow the author's train of thought if "Death of the Wehrmacht" which covers the key campaigns of 1942 and "The German Way of War" which explains German war heritage and philosophy have been read for he believes there is a strategic relationship between the handling of past German wars and this war. While explaining the strategic events of 1943, the author covers and analyzes the mistakes the Wehrmacht makes in thinking in short, maneuvering wars of encirclement like past wars and not thinking about a long war of attrition in the industrialized 20th Century against a superior enemy who had more men and tanks and was learning to fight as well as they did.

The author enlists and magnifies the concepts laid out in both of these books to show where German command went wrong. The wisdom of Clausewitz theory is also discussed, showing how Hitler's erratic leadership and micromanagement along with curtailing field commanders freedom will pay a heavy price on the war effort. The chapter on Kursk is a good example. Prussian/German battle history has predominately evolved around short maneuverable wars dating back to Frederick the Great. Operation Barbarossa with its encirclements worked in 1941 for the Germans were at their peak performance while the Soviets ignored battlefield reality. German circumstance in 1943 was much different but they weren't adjusting adequately to those changing conditions. Along the way with German attrition setting in and with Soviet improvements in operations and using maneuverability as a tool, German's chances of winning the war decreased dramatically after Stalingrad and Kursk.

There are 15 simple maps and a small gallery of photos included with the overview. The Bibliography and the Notes Section are extensive and worthy of an experienced author and academic. An Index but no Appendix closes out the book.

Before closing there are several issues that could be mentioned. First, while there is discussion of the Allies, especially in North Africa, the main focus of this narrative is predominately German centric. Also the author has limited his presentation to key strategic land campaigns. Freeing the shipping routes of German U-boats in the Atlantic and breaking the embargo of Great Britain were strategically important and could have been discussed but wasn't for it was outside the author's purview as was the smaller scale ejection of the Germans from the Kuban and the isolation of Crimea.

I've enjoyed this book of strategic overview very much with its unambiguous narrative, meaningful positions well defended and thoughtful analysis. Anybody who has enjoyed the author's earlier works will like this one also as Mr Citino expands his series on the war. Highly recommended to both new and experienced students of the war along with Mr Citino's other books.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can this man write a bad book?, 16 April 2012
By 
E. W. Sharman (Ilford UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 (Modern War Studies) (Hardcover)
Robert M Citino has become one of my favorite authors of late his clean style get to his point right away and has just enough humour to add a smile to what otherwise could be a very intense subject.His mastery of German /Prussian military history is extensive as proved by his other books but each new book expands your knowledge and his veiw is still refreshing and different from the ideas that have grown up about the German military machine.Buy it its worth every penny.
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5.0 out of 5 stars book review, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 (Modern War Studies) (Hardcover)
halfway through this book very readable easy to follow I would recommend this author to any one I will buy the other books in this seriesA+++++++++++++
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