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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could the Germans have taken Moscow in 1941
There were two schools of thought in 1941 and those theories have persisted until today and probably will for a long time to come. The most popular theory, propagated by Guderian, Halder, Bock and other generals was that the German advance toward Moscow should have continued without delay once penetration of the Dvina-Dniepr defense zone was achieved and to allow Guderian...
Published on 3 Jun 2011 by Dave History Student

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too dry for the general reader
This is a very dry account of the first six months of Russia's war following the Nazi invasion of June 1941. The author, an academic historian with a military background, is very preoccupied with military nomenclature, i.e. recounting exactly which parts of the army were facing specific parts of the opposing army at a certain time. There is a role for this sort of...
Published on 4 Mar 2007 by John Hopper


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too dry for the general reader, 4 Mar 2007
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before Stalingrad: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941 (Battles & Campaigns) (Paperback)
This is a very dry account of the first six months of Russia's war following the Nazi invasion of June 1941. The author, an academic historian with a military background, is very preoccupied with military nomenclature, i.e. recounting exactly which parts of the army were facing specific parts of the opposing army at a certain time. There is a role for this sort of historical analysis of course, perhaps as an aide memoire for a specialist in this area. But it does mean that the book is not really for the general reader interested in the Eastern Front and will probably disappoint those more used to the narrative drive of an Antony Beevor or Richard Overy. Each chapter has a summary at the end and the general reader could probably get a reasonable overall picture of the events by reading those, plus the Conclusions chapter. So overall a bit disappointing from my perspective.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars New Name - Same Book, 13 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Before Stalingrad: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941 (Battles & Campaigns) (Paperback)
Glantz's Book "Before Stalingrad" (2003) has nothing whatever to do with Stalingrad. It is Glantz's 2001 book "Barbarossa - Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941" republished word for word, two years later, under a new name. Both books are published by the same house, Tempus.

OK, Buyer Beware, but I will be wary before purchasing another book by this author or publisher.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could the Germans have taken Moscow in 1941, 3 Jun 2011
By 
Dave History Student - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before Stalingrad: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941 (Battles & Campaigns) (Paperback)
There were two schools of thought in 1941 and those theories have persisted until today and probably will for a long time to come. The most popular theory, propagated by Guderian, Halder, Bock and other generals was that the German advance toward Moscow should have continued without delay once penetration of the Dvina-Dniepr defense zone was achieved and to allow Guderian to move directly toward Tula. Hitler saw a chance to destroy many armies near Kiev and sent Guderian's panzers south to support AGS in taking the important city and its surrounding area. To make matters worse Hitler sent other elements of AGC northward to help capture Leningrad leaving AGC little opportunity to advance. The proponents of this direct theory suggests the delay of Guderian in going to Kiev and the time required to reinforce AGC for the assault lost the battle for Moscow and the war. The other school believes, like Hitler, that the Germans had a better chance of taking Moscow by eliminating the armies protecting Kiev and eliminating the eventual flank attacks on Guderian's long axis of advance if those armies hadn't been destroyed. Mr Glantz doesn't believe Bock could have taken and kept Moscow during the winter months regardless of the battle plan but believes the Germans' best chance of victory was by sending Guderian to Kiev and eliminating a million men from Russian rosters.

The author presents a competent prewar situational report on the political and military envirnoment and the combat readiness of both sides before providing an operational summary of Operation Barbarossa, Operation Typhoon and the Russian Counter attack that started in early December.

Hitler over confident from past victories thought Russia would be another quick victim. The Barbarossa plans weren't as thorough as they could have been. The preparations for war and Wehrmacht combat and logistical status weren't up to a long war and German intelligence completely missed the size of Russia's tank inventory or the capability of producing large numbers of tanks and planes. Stalin confident in his peace agreement with Hitler and his "uncanny" ability to judge people and control situations believed he had two years before Germany would strike and therefore took a slow, cautious approach to mobilization, reequipping his Army and building defenses. The military purges were continuing as well but at a slower pace and the military command structure was now being run by cronies of Stalin and for the most part incompetent to defend against Blitzkrieg. Both sides were over confident with their own abilities while underestimating their opponent. Both sides would pay dearly for that miscalculation.
While presenting a concise operational overview of the key battles of Barbarossa with the primary emphasis on AGC which will support the author's contentions that despite the massive victories by the Germans (Minsk, Smolensk, Kiev, Uman, Vyazma, Bryansk and others) the Germans were paying too high a price in lost panzers, men and equipment against a determined foe that had an unending supply of men. It will also be shown that the Germans had to fight the poor road conditions, a different rail guage, rainy weather, freezing weather, tough terrain and the ever present partisan action.

In addition to the narrative, each chapter contains a summary that concisely focuses on the progress of the German Army and the battlefield costs to both sides. It will also be shown that the contentious atmosphere of Hitler and his commanders were rising with each passing month. It will also be shown that the Germans didn't have a definite war plan and that Hitler was making it up as he went and further east the Wehrmacht went the worse the conditions got. On the other hand it will show Stalin's poor command abilities and his desire to constantly attack the enemy when his armies weren't prepared along with his constant intimidation of the military commanders would cost millions of men. Mr Glantz also shows that new younger, more qualified Russian officers were being promoted to command level as well as Stalin was finally learning from his mistakes.

The final chapter is the overall Conclusions and it covers all the angles, all the bases to the question of capturing Moscow and defeating Russia in 1941. Mr Glantz feels that Germany couldn't have taken Moscow in 1941 and as such with Russia's mobilization capacity would never be able to take Moscow or defeat Russia. His arguments are excellent and convincing. Despite the catastrophes of the first six months, Russia's mobilization and industrial output was kicking in while Germany's was dwindling. With the front line now east of the Dniepr and supplies arriving late, battling rainy and then freezing weather and a influx of new Russian reserve armies moving to defend Moscow, Germany had little chance of taking and keeping Moscow even if they had moved directly on the capital from Smolensk.
I find it fascinating, imaging how Operation Typhoon would have developed with the direct approach from Smolensk. I would think the German forces on the central and northern axis would have advanced further than they actually did but Guderian would have had greater difficulties and would have been forced to fall back to save itself from destruction and to protect its flanks. Falling back would mean Typhoon would fail. Mr Glantz clearly points out Germany didn't have sufficient panzers, equipment and men to invade a country as big as Russia with a population of more than twice Germany's. For each mile eastward the Germans advance their front line was growing and their defenses were thinning. By December the Wehrmacht was exhausted, half of their panzers had been destroyed, had suffered too many casualties and freezing weather was setting in and the Army wasn't prepared for it.

There are only eight maps but they were well chosen. Since this book is a summary, trying to prove the feasibility of taking Moscow and not a typical comprehensive coverage of a particular battle like Leningrad, Stalingrad or Kursk, many maps weren't necessary. The series of maps showed two things. The first was the progress of the German advance at different times in the campaign. The second series and from my perspective more interesting was the disposition of Russian Armies at the start of the war as well as the activation and insertion of new armies on a monthly basis. Overcoming the stiff resistance at Smolensk, the German generals thought the Russian resistance would be minimal but these maps and the corresponding table clearly show the timely insertion of new forces that would be able to stop Bock and would refute that German estimate.
The author also provides an impressive 46 page Notes section for those wanting further tactical information or research. There is also an extensive Appendix that includes important documents for both sides as well as a detailed Orders of Battle. There are 41 photos; most are from the Russian perspective.

There are a number of books that try to answer this quandary as to whether the Germans could take Moscow but this is the best effort to date. If you want to know about Hitler and Stalin in regards to Barbarossa, their individual war doctrine ideology and the problems and advantages each side had in prosecuting the early months of the war and how Germany had little chance of winning the war then this book is for you. Mr Glantz also addresses Hitler's decision to send Guderian to Kiev before the Moscow advance. For this reason and the competent but not comprehensive overview of Operation Barbarossa is why this book received five stars. Its highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The first six months of the Operation Barbarossa, 3 April 2013
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This review is from: Before Stalingrad: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941 (Battles & Campaigns) (Paperback)
This book is an introductory book about the first six months of the operation Barbarossa , indeed it covers since 22nd June 1941 until 16 December 1941.
The author of this book it is the famous Colonel David Glantz and so the book, even if it is small for his standards, it gives you, in the Appendix, a monumental bibliography, a detailed German and Soviet order of battle on 22nd June 1941,the Red Army wartime mobilization on 1941 and the main German/Soviet planning documents associated with the Operation Barbarossa.
The campaign is followed with the usual very detailed style of Mr. Glantz .
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars strategic account of an epic conflict, 13 Sep 2006
By 
B. M. quinn (Belfast, N. Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before Stalingrad: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941 (Battles & Campaigns) (Paperback)
The title of this book can be misleading in that it does not deal with Stalingrad as such but is a strategic-level account of Operation Barbarossa. At just over 200 pages this is probably to be expected as Gantz presents the development of the campaign from Poland to the gates of Moscow. The endless encircling manoeuvres, the futile waste of army units in hopeless assaults in an endless terrain is all accounted for and for me this was part of the problem with this book. After the first 70 pages or so it becomes repetitive and almost mechanical. The author I'm sure would contend that this reflects the conflict as it really was and of course to a certain extent that is true but this approach, dealing with army units no smaller than brigade level, did become tedious. Even in such a short account of such an epic conflict it should have been possible to give a deeper insight into the visceral nature of the fighting, the ethnic persecutions, summary executions, the insurmountable difficulties of terrain, and just the sheer size of human loss, all of which are sanitised by the author's approach.[...] On the positive side all of Hitler's directives pertaining to the conflict are included in an appendix however, two final gripes are the abysmal maps and the small number but no less annoying printing errors.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hard to understand, 21 April 2010
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Carlos Vazquez Quintana "cvq" (Linares- Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before Stalingrad: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941 (Battles & Campaigns) (Paperback)
This book is surely very good and detailed if you know well the Geography of the USSR and the combat units of both German and Soviet armies. Summing up, if you are an scholar in this matter.
If not, it's a hard essay to follow, because there are a sucession of numbers, names and lands you don't know nothing about.
So, the general idea that unavoidably remains is Stalin was a criminal, not only owing to his murders, but for having weakened his army, plenty of unqualified generals, officers and soldiers without training, against a German Army with less men, but fully prepared for mobile war in ground and air. The famous generals, Zhukov, Rokossovsky etc, only could finally stop the Nazi victory resourcing to a huge waste of Russian lives and still so, the USSR was at the pure edge of a total disaster.
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