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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Kirchubel expands his original summary, 25 Aug 2013
This review is from: Operation Barbarossa (General Military) (Hardcover)
While the author enjoyed writing the Osprey Campaign trilogy some years ago, he always felt stymied by the page limitation and felt a better job could have been done without the restraints. This book is his vision of Barbarossa without the restraints.
In the Preface, Mr Kirchubel freely admits that 90% of the new book consists of the old trilogy and the new 10% consists of material involving political and ideological considerations as well as the latest in military information. The overall time horizon is the same, from June to December; coverage is from the initial invasion to the approaches of Leningrad, Moscow and Rostov by the respective Army Group. You also will have coverage of the fighting in Finland, the Arctic and the Crimea.

While much of the material in this book is "old", it is clear the author invested a lot of time on it for he gutted the old format and within limits started anew to reflect the inclusion of the three Army Groups in one volume and to avoid any weaknesses of the past. The introductions into each section are expanded and improved and the coverage is more thematic in nature than strictly chronological. You still have familiar chapter titles like Opposing Plans, Armies and Commanders providing the necessary background knowledge for when the campaign begins. The Campaign is sub-divided into five acts and consumes about 220 pages. Frontier battles and the fighting at Minsk, Smolensk, Kiev, Uman, Vyazma, Bryansk, the approach to Moscow are some of the highlighted areas. However, I still feel the late October, November timeframe is still light; the coverage of the fighting in the Kalinin sector and along the Mozhaisk Line could have been more fully developed. Though there is new information, there is also many of the same or nearly the same passages in both books.

There are many new photos and I recognized five new maps in addition to the two dozen maps of the original trilogy. There is a small Appendix, a Glossary and an expanded Bibliography which reflects the additional input in this new version. This bibliography will provide many good references if further reading is desired. The book also includes an Order of Battle, a Chronology and an expanded Index.

Mr Kirchubel has clearly tried and succeeded on improving the original edition. Though the presentation is smoother and provides some new material, there is not an abundance of new material so its not an easy call to recommend this book. It will depend on the interest level of the individual and whether you have the earlier trilogy. If you're new to the War or don't have the earlier campaigns, this book would be an excellent primer of the opening months of the Russo-German War and is recommended. On the other hand, if you've the original trilogy it will depend on how much you'll willing to pay for a small bump in information. Though hoping for more than 10% new material but being a fan of Barbarossa, I didn't mind paying that price: you get later coverage, more maps and photos of all three Army Groups in a hardcover for the price of a little more than a single soft cover campaign.
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