This book is very good, with no less than 5 excellent operational maps, 3 good 3-D birds eye maps and 3 good colour plates and it is a return to Osprey's original standard. Here the author is focused and doesn't get lost in less important sidetracks. Also there is a good guide to the battlefield today with good points should the reader ever have the chance to go there.
Of paticular interest the author adresses myths such as the Siberian Divisions, the lack of cold winter clothing on the German side and the weather factor with surprising results. I must agree however with Maciej K. another reviewer on this book that Forczyk's style is arrogant and since the book has limited space his observations are not sufficiently supported if at all. This arrogance is unneccesary and he could have got his point across in a more subtle style.
What he does do very well is describe the last German offensive in 1941, Typhoon, how it brought the Whermacht within 19 km of the Kremlin and then why it failed. The achivement of the Russian Colossus to sustain its tremendous losses in 1941 and still be able to field enormous, if poorly trained and equipped, armies defies belief. I am also satisfied with Forczyk in that he gives a balanced report of both sides rather than overfocusing on either the Germans or Russians.
Maciej K. also pointed out that the book only spends about 2 and a half pages on the Soviet counter offensive. Well you feel the book does leave you short but this is actually a good thing. This book is about the failed last German offensive and in that way their defeat. It manages extremely well with the 96 pages allocated in doing this, given the scale of events. No more room is available for the counter offensive - anyway the 2 and a half pages are more of an introduction and aftermath - I am certain that Forczyk will follow up with Moscow 1941 - The Soviet counter offensive.
This is an excellent introductory book about this famous and important battle of WWII. I give it five stars and recommand it warmly, although with some minor remarks. First all the good points - well and clearly written, good maps, very good choice of pictures for illustrations, quite good colour plates. The description of events is well paced, clear and precise. A really good book, although short (as all Osprey Campaigns) so consider it as an introduction.
Now, some observations. The autor adopts a smug, almost arrogant style in his writing and somewhere around page 50 it started to get on my nerves. Authors observations about the myths and reality in this battle are quite interresting, but also very daring and I would like to see some more evidence to support them (mainly about the role of Soviet cavalry and the allegedly limited role played by the Siberian divisions).
The author and the editor also somehow mishandled the space attributed to the different stages of the battle - German march to Moscow is well described, but Russian counter-offensive (which after all is the most important part of the battle, because it decided the outcome) is treated on two pages and a half.
Still, I passed such a good time reading it, that I simply can not give this book anything else than 5 stars. And I will await impatiently the next one of the author.
This book does what the Osprey Campaign series does at its best. It takes a familiar subject, cuts it down to the nuts and bolts of the action, with clear and concise text, detailed maps and excellent illustrations. What makes this one stand out is the focus on the supply situation and the weather. The author has a good go at debunking the myths about the impact of the winter weather on the German forces and suggests that the real failure was one of logistics which were just stretched too far. The only thing that stops me giving this five stars is the short shift given to the Soviet counter-attacks. Hopefully the author will do a follow up on the Soviet offensives of early 1942.
A very good book, very detailed on the German attempt to seize Moscow.
I particularly like the 2d maps of these books. They are simple and give you a good idea of what is going on. On the other hand, I have never found the 3D maps very useful. Most of the time the action is located in the middle of the map and therefore in the book binding. They may be useful for battles like Monte Cassino for example where the relief justify the use of 3D. Said that, that is just one point of view.
Another good thing is that the photograph captions are meaningful. I mean by that that other Ospreys have very poor and meaningless captions.
Another good thing is that the author does just enough to set up the battle. Countless of other books waste nearly half of a campaign book into background narration.
Overall, a very good book that is well worth a read.