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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Battle of Königsberg
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2012
The book is a concise and detailed analysis of the Battle of Konigsberg. An introduction to the history of East Prussia and its capital city, fortified over many centuries, puts the final siege into context. The dramatic course of the battle is followed in great detail describing the military units engaged and their tactics and equipment. Eye witness accounts bring to life the suffering on both sides. Accompanying photographs and detailed maps show the course of the siege and its impact on the city and its people. The strengths and weaknesses of the German and Soviet armies and air forces are analysed as the battle progresses. Biographies and photographs of the main commanders illuminate their actions and the influences of Hitler and Stalin. A comprehensive index and bibliography is included . This book will be of considerable interest to those who want an in depth study of this little known campaign and its strategic importance.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2012
I'm not very knowledgable about the Eastern Front or the defensive portion of the war from the German point of view but I couldn't put this book down from start to finish. It takes you inside the battle, through the real experiences of everyone involved from the top brass all the way down to the poor guys fighting from street to street, and house to house. With the winter nights drawing in and the cold temperatures falling, this will be the ideal book to tka eyou to the second world war's most desperate theater.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2012
This is a very well-written and carefully researched book about the Battle to capture Konigsberg ( German - Kings Hill ) now in a ' island slice ' of Russian territory sepearted from Russia by Poland , and of course the new name given to the city is Kaliningrad . I can't fault the book , and after reading this , found careful , scholarly research . One important comment I would make is that you ignore the 1 star review , where it makes out that the author was ' wrong ' to not include the story of the sinking of the Wilhlem Gustloff -
The trouble with this ' missing item ' is that the Wilhelm Gustloff sailed from Gotenhafen ( present day Gdynia ) - and was never based in Konigsberg- I can easily say that this book was NOT dry , and I have no axe to grind on this matter .

East Prussia was the first genuine part of the German home lands that fell to the Red Army in 1945. Already by 1944 some parts of East Prussia had been under the attack of the Soviets. The tragedy became complete in April 1945. The losses and horrors German civilians had to endure were tremendous.

The Red Army showed its worst after the capture of East Prussia. The discovery of the Red Army's behavior in late 1944 in some of the border towns led to the most severe battles ever to be fought in East Prussia. The German army tried in vain to save the civilians from the Red Army onslaught.

The battle for East Prussia ended with the siege of Konigsberg and Pillau, April 1945. The loss of human lives during these battles for East Prussia was very high.
you can read for yourself , just why this was so ........
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2012
This book like the author's earlier works focuses on the strategic and tactical aspects of battle and in the Preface Mr Taylor explains his interest and coverage of the book. He acknowledges the dramatic human interest aspect associated with this period but explains it will fall outside his purview.

This book begins with a brief history of Konigsberg then moves into a summary of some of the significant military and political events of the war that leads up to Operation Bagration and the entry into Poland. When the story truly begins on the Soviet invasion of Prussia, the reader will have a good understanding of the history and status of the two enemies and the importance of controlling East Prussia.

Chapter 3 begins the six month Soviet invasion of East Prussia ending in the fall of the country and capitulation of the Konigsberg.
The Germans were greatly outnumbered but yet put up determined resistance that made Chernyakhovsky's 3rd Belorussian Front stumble a number of times. The battle for Courtland to the northeast with the Baltic Front is also touched on as well. Mr Taylor gives Chernyakhovsky high praise but the Soviet general, though deserving praise, underestimated the Germans and made several tactical errors early in the campaign, delaying victory. Other key figures in the story were Lasch, Hossbach, Reinhardt, Raus, Koch, Zhukov, Vasilevsky, Rokossovsky, Bagramyan and of course Hitler and Stalin.

The presentation is almost equally distributed between the two adversaries with perhaps a slight plurality for the Germans. Its also concise and to the point and if you have any interest in the nearly daily tactical events of this battle, this book will not bore you. It also touches on the political circumstances that includes the influences of Stalin and Hitler but again coverage is not elaborate. There is some coverage of human suffering but its on a tertiary level.
While the civilian and human interest aspects are minor, Mr Taylor covers the strategic side why Prussia needed to be captured before Zhukov could securely advance on Berlin. Casualties and the impact of the campaign on certain key people and the overall war effort are also discussed in the last chapter.

In addition to the narrative, a selection of black and white maps are scattered throughout the book that will assist the reader in his understanding of the campaign. The maps are good but some of the tactical maps could've had greater details in troop dispositions. A small but good selection of photos complete the main section of the book. They include key officers as well as weapons and battlefield scenes. A Bibliography and Index complete the book.

Mr Taylor has done a nice job of describing the military events of the campaign and as such his book is recommended to all interested in military history. If further reading is desired, I would also recommend reading Prit Buttar's "Battleground Prussia" which has a wider scope of coverage.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2013
An undoubtedly thorough step by step account of the battle, but very difficult to engage
with the narrative. The only moments that rise above the academic treatise are the very
few personal insights from those who took part.
If you need facts, this is fine but there are many more imaginative and captivating
accounts of the inevitable demise of the Wehrmacht in East Prussia.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2014
A detailed account of the campaign to capture Konigsberg. Starts with a brief history of Konigsberg, and the forces and leaders involved, then provides a detailed account of the battles, units involved, brief summaries of the unit leaders in some cases. The book covers the campaign in two stages - the battles to close up to and encircle Konigsberg and the surrounding area and then the capture of Konigsberg itself.

The details of the first stage are let down by a lack of detailed maps, there are a few maps, but they are not detailed enough to track the movement of the forces involved particulalrly well. The maps provided to accompany the capture of Konigsberg itself are better and show this on a day by day basis.

Considering the forces involved in the campaign and all the division level references, it might have been useful to have an appendix with an order of battle, though flicking to that on the Kindle would probably be a bit of a pain. Referring to the maps and the text on the kindle version was bad enough and at some points I had the maps open on an iPad while reading the text on the kindle so I could follow the action better.

There are some brief first person accounts provided, almost all from a German perspective, and mainly about the battle for Konigsberg rather than the earlier battles.

The book provides a detailed account of the military forces and their actions and though a bit of a dry read, it is very useful in this regard, however if you are looking for a more human perspective, this probably isn't the book to get.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2014
I purchased this one via my wife's Kindle gadget as a holiday read. I thought it would be similar to the works and styles of Anthony Beevor or Cornelius Ryan, but with the exception of a handful of personal recollections and diary entries it reads more as simply a succession of matter-of-fact, summarised, regimental actions on an almost day-by-day basis. Whilst I'm sure that the facts are correct, reading that the "xxx Infantry Regt" covered the retreat of the "yyy Division", whilst under fire from "elements of the zzz Tank Corps" does become tedious after a few dozen pages.

Although there are some references to numbers and operational strengths etc, the fact was that so many German Army units had ceased to operate as autonomous military units by this stage of the war, and so a counter-attack spearheaded by "xxx Infantry Division", supported by the "yyy VolksGrenadier Division and the "zzz Division" was more than likely a case of the actions of a desperate group of survivors who happened to be in a specific location at the time, lead by brave officers, rather than the result of applying the principles of Battle Procedure, as is suggested by what's been written.

One for those interested in the minutae of unit movements during the battle, possibly as part of a research undertaking. Not a great read though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Insightful review of the ghastly events in the last days of the Third Reich and the terrible price paid by everyone touched by the War.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Lots of lists of units and detailed description of what unit did what where. But somehow I found it dull
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on 20 July 2013
I really enjoyed this book, well written, but more importantly it brought home the sadness of the German population on its eastern borders, and the toughness of the German, and Russian soldiers.
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