28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Essential reading for a better understanding of the campaign,
By A Customer
This review is from: War Without Garlands. Operation Barbarossa 1941/42 (Hardcover)
War Without Garlands is a look at the first months of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The author looks primarily at the experiences of the German combat soldier, but, unlike most other books about this campaign, Kershaw looks beyond the bald facts of frequent victory to what these victories meant to the German Army and to the individual soldier. The basic premise is that the German Army "fought itself to death", that despite great victories the Germans suffered enormous losses, which when coupled with inadequate equipment, bad intelligence, and amateur leadership led to defeat. Kershaw goes way beyond the conventional view of the Nazi armies as well equipped and led. The bulk of the invaders were no more mobile than Napoleon; most infantry walked and most artillery was towed by horses. But, most importantly, the Red Army stood and fought and did not surrender without a fight unlike previous victims of the Nazis. Added to this is the moral debasement of the Germans due to their racist attitude towards the conquered populations. By the final chapters, and the German defeat outside Moscow, one can almost feel sorry for the poor deluded German soldier. Almost but not quite. I found this book to be much better than expected, and highly reccommend it to anyone interested in WW2, especially to those with an interest in the Eastern Front. Robert Kershaw has written an excellent corrective to the conventional view of the events described, it should be widely read.
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