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on 1 November 2012
This is a highly researched and insightful study of Operation Typhoon. It was the last major German campaign of 1941 and though it started out successfully at Vyazma and Bryansk, it ended in failure at the gates of Moscow when General Zhukov stopped the advance and subsequently launched his own offensive that pushed the German line back a hundred or more miles. With the incredible victories the Germans had near Minsk, Smolensk, Uman, Kiev, Bryansk and Vyazma and the tremendous losses that the Soviet Army endured in a four month period, this ignominious defeat at Moscow, according to the authors, was the turning point of the war. It will be fully explained why.

The book begins with a brief situational report of the battle conditions in late September with special emphasis on the Soviet disaster that just occurred near Kiev. The introduction continues with the Soviet Army's condition and deployments between the Yelnya line and Moscow. Afterwards the German plans are described for the capture of Moscow. The friction between Germany's high command is also explained.

Chapter three initiates the actual battle events of Operation Typhoon and the campaign is driven from the German advance though key Soviet officers and information is also presented. The time period includes the last couple days of September and includes the rainy season followed by the start of cold weather of October and November and enters the first few days of December. The book doesn't include the details of Zhukov's counter-offensive. (Perhaps the authors will treat us with volume two: the details of the counter-offensive which is also interesting.)

The battle coverage of the campaign is concise and competent and the reader will come away with a good understanding of not only the tactical events of the campaign but also the dynamic and changing psychological aspects of all concern: dictator, officer and soldier of both sides. The command level receives the lion share of coverage but the authors also include first hand accounts of a number of soldiers on both sides. Couple of the soldiers we see throughout the campaign. This intermixing of tactical history with these first hand accounts were seamlessly blended.

Though I would enjoy describing the key battle events I'll refrain but will say it was done well. The reader will see the scale of operations for both sides as well as the advantages and disadvantages each side processed. Initially the Germans couldn't be stopped but a series of events will occur that will have a cumulative effect in slowing the German advance. In addition to the main storyline, interesting sidebars are included; the information includes the importance of maps, the early British support of aircraft to the Soviets that were well used in front of Moscow, personal hygiene, the constant search for food, Stalin's hub of power and more.

The last chapter, "Causes and Consequences" was excellent. This 16 page chapter summarizes the book very well, describing the battle results and explaining the ramifications for both sides this German failure will have on the immediate future of the war. The Germans just had the five best months of the war and yet they were stopped at Moscow and with Germany's insufficient industrial base will not be able to replace equipment losses on a scale that will compete with its enemy. The authors also believe that even if Moscow had been encircled, the war would have continued and the Soviets, with their industrial and population advantage, would have gained the upper hand. A discussion was also presented why Bock continued his advance after October and what possible circumstances could arise if Bock stopped along the Vyazma-Bryansk line in mid October.

If memory serves there were seven maps to support the story. Half showed deployments to army level while the rest drilled down to division level. Most of the maps were large scale and strategic in nature but the map of the closing of the Vyazma Pocket was tactical. The maps were good, of recent construction and will be helpful. I personally would have liked additional tactical maps showing the battles at the Mozhaisk line, Tula, Yakhroma and a few other sites. There were also a few good photos to study.

The authors also furnish an extensive Appendix that show statistical tables of men and armor at certain time periods and for certain events as well as casualty figures. Order of Battles are also included. Also helpful is the extensive range of notes as is the expansive Bibliography of both primary and secondary sources if further study is desired. There are many German and Russian sources listed.

This book was informative and enjoyable to study and if you have an interest in reading about the German's first major defeat of the war and probably the turning point then you should consider this for your library.
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on 21 June 2013
This is a good account of Operation Typhoon, the final attack on Moscow in late 1941, which ultimately failed, and in many ways, reversed the tide of war on the Eastern Front.
It is well researched, and well written, with a good chronological backbone, fleshed out with just about the right amount of first-hand accounts to give some feel for the fighting.
There are a large number of appendices for those wanting detailed information about losses, casualties and orders of battle. However, the rest of the book stands up well on it's own, and if you have an interest in the Eastern Front during WW2, then this would be a good addition to your library.
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on 12 July 2013
As others noted this is very good coverage of the Operation Typhoon. Though it focuses mainly on operational coverage, it gives you a few bits of war from the frontline as well. There is also wealth of infromation in the Appendices. I especially appreciated those concerning the creation and deployments of Soviet reinforcements.

There are two small caveats. Firstly the proper narrative takes only 246 pages. Secondly there are six maps and only two show detailed divisional deployments. Perhaps I got spoiled by a few other books with almost daily maps but I found those provided here insufficient to follow troop movements as closely as I would want to.
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on 5 July 2013
Very good, however the book is very detailed with numerous references to orders of battle and reference tables. When reading on a Kindle, this information is very difficult to read/take in.

Subject matter very good, but it is exactly what the title says. The drive to Moscow is very detailed ... and then the book stops in a tantalising manner ..... I somehow expected it to describe the retreat, but as the title says ... ..

Good book but I think I would have enjoyed it even more had I read it in paper format ..
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on 20 June 2013
A vivid and compelling account of the fundamental struggle of the Second World War.Impeccably researched and written. Authors,s conclusions informative and revealing
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on 19 June 2013
This volume offers good operational coverage of Operation Typhoon. Almost a third of the book is devoted to appendices with troop strenghths orders of battle and detail of commanding generals. The narrative also blends in diary and literary accounts from participants. Well worth a read for those interested in the Eastern Front.
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on 4 May 2013
This volume tells you the complete history of the German operation "Typhoon" (the German assault on Moscow , November-December 1941), so it doesn't include the previous German encirclement of Kiev and the subsequent Soviet winter counteroffensive.
The book includes many first-hand accounts from both sides , but the development of the German offensive is mainly seen from the German point of view.
The book includes a gorgeous appendix that has a lot of orders of battle in the various phases of the offensive of both sides, the composition of the famous Siberian reinforcements, the names and the composition of the Soviet militia divisions, a detailed analysis of the German losses.
The book is a very deep one and with a continous careful analysis of the development of the offensive , it destroys some myths about the battle of Moscow:
- the offensive falied because too many Russian troops escaped from the encirclements at Vyazma and Bryansk ( with a careful exam from sources of both sides, the soviet losses had been near to one million),
- the offensive should have not started because it was too late ( but on this way the encirclements at Vyazma and Bryansk wouldn't have happened),
- the offensive failed because of the arrival of the Siberian troops ( not the "siberian " troops changed the situation because they were just 17 divisions, instead the huge amount of reserves already training behind the lines changed it).....
The book is a very good one for who is interested to have a serious complete analysis about the turning point of WWII, and for who wants to feel the smell of the powder of the battlefield.
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on 19 August 2013
This book is a highly detailed and well researched piece of work. Every aspect of the German invasion seems to be covered including the Russian response to each phase of the attack. I found the book enormously engaging. However the story as told comes to an unexpected end when the German advance is halted. I was disappointed that the book does not cover the period from the halting of the invasion to the final push back on Berlin. Worth a read but I felt left in a bit of a vacuum after completing the read. Fortunately other books cover the final part of the story very well.
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on 16 July 2013
Frankson has written a very clear and concise book, which manages to convey the reality of the attack without getting too bogged down in the detail of unit numbers, divisions etc. He does show very realistically how the weather stopped the advance, together with exhaustion on the part of the German infantry. Hitler and his generals clearly underestimated the size of both the Soviet state and its army. Stalin and his cohorts are shown as very feeble in their efforts to stop the Nazis.
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on 8 August 2013
A book for those interested in this particular aspect of the war in the east ,but also with some interesting comments on the war as a whole and the inevitable defeat of Hitler.
The appendices will be of particular interest to wargamers and indeed they take up up about a third of the book.
Not a book for those with a passing interest and not packed with first hand accounts,but enough to fire the imagination.
Recommended
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