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Kharkov 1942: Anatomy of a Military Disaster Through Soviet Eyes Paperback – 1 Jul 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Ian Allan Publishing (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711034680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711034686
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 691,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

David M. Glantz is a leading military historian who has published books and articles for a wide range of publishers in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is a founder and former director of the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Studies Office.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Next to Stalingrad, this battle is my favorite and when I ordered this book my expectation was high. But I was a little disappointed with it. There is several reasons for my disappointment. The format of this book is a little different than the author's other books. Glantz relies too heavily on after action reports and diary entries to explain the campaign. Its OK to have these entries as a supplement to your story but shouldn't be used as the primary aspect of your story. For me, it made the book awkward to follow. I also didn't like the propaganda or excuses made to cover oneself in these reports or diary entries or the language used by the Russian commanders when talking about the enemy.
A second thing that was disappointing is that the tactical coverage was dominated by Red Army actions. Maybe its understandable in the early days when they were gaining ground but by the 17th, the coverage should have swung to the Germans and it didn't appreciably.

Mr Glantz included 37 daily maps which helped support the story. It clearly showed the Russian advance and the subsequent German counter offensive. These maps are clearer, better than the ones in his later books. The battle coverage stops in May but the author does provide an additional map that shows the German progress after Kharkov that extends to October when Operation Blue was being fought.

After the battle, Mr Glantz provides his conclusions. He sums up the results militarily and politically. This reversal for Stalin, Timoshenko and Zhukov was a real shock that forced them to look for greater assistance from their Allies and to be more cautious on the battlefield.
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Like the previous reviewer - I was looking forward to this book as it may shed some light on an episode of the war that was covered up by the Soviet Union.
It is an insight into the unfolding military disaster of Kharkov and the surrounding area in 1942 where the Soviets grossly underestimated the strength of the German Wehrmacht formations.
It is written in a way that distances itself from the actual physics of war - concentrating more on a macro scale divisions of arms, their dynamics and the background of these divisions. This description of the many Soviet divisions though enlightening is hard going. As new material is now available I think the Author felt an obligation to enter it into the public domain and interesting though it is there is an information overload which slowed the pace of the read but stick with it.
Glantz concentrates on the broad brush tatical manoevers looked at from a Generals perspective with hindsight.
Where it is interesting is by showing you cannot act on 'assumptions' about the enemy - it is imperative that you have concrete intelligence about their strength, movements and reserves. Ok you have to second guess the enemy to a certain extent and think about the likelihood of 'A' attacking the Southern Front at time 'B' with a strength of 'C' but you must always be flexible enough to change your focus quickly with sufficient force to execute the operation change effectively. You have to 'Know Your Enemy' which sadly for the Soviets they didn't know enough and jumped to too many conclusions. This developing senario - preparation of troops / refitting battered divisions and speed of movement to the jumping off points which ensues shows that the timing of readiness and effective communication is of paramount importance.
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A thorough and scholarly analysis of Russian and German operations around the doomed Soviet Kharkov offensive. The opposing forces are considered at length and the assumptions and aims of the Russian attacks explained. This is not a book for those wanting to know about war at a personal level or who wants to hear about glorious victories. It is an academic work that requires effort to grasp. The physical production is poor and the maps eye-straining. The latter is a great shame as the average PHD thesis now has better graphics. It is the complete antithesis to an Osprey wargaming book.
The Russians had 277,000 casualties in the Kharkov disaster. As a comparison German casualties in the Battle for Normandy have been estimated at 216,000. This was a major battle that is treated as a footnote in history, overshadowed by Stalingrad and Kursk.
Highly recommended to those who wish to put in the work and discover what actually happened and why
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Very precise. But also very very dry. Quite a bit of ' this regiment moved there, then that regiment moved here, then this regiment moved here' etc. It is mainly focused on the physical movement of troops and battles. But having said that, it has tons of detail from the commanders involved including official reports and a good round up and analysis at the end. I did find it worth persevering with, even though wading through it felt like it would have felt like trying to wade through the spring thaws on the Eastern Front. That's one more hole in my knowledge of what happened between 1941-45 filled in.
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