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Soviet high command had learned lessons from a steep and painful learning curve
on 1 August 2014
There are some very good and exhaustive reviews for this book and I hope my offering will be at least acceptable. I found that this book was almost forensic in its scope and method. There is good attention to detail as well as comprehensive to me look at events. Glantz's style, trusts heavily on first-hand accounts, in terms of the de-brief process, orders, signal traffic as well as soldiers diaries. The attention given to local commanders on both sides of the conflict were brought into profile and the way in which their abilities, style and leadership were brought to fore. You see how the Stavka (Soviet high command) followed a steep and bloody learning curve of failure to finally achieve an insight and rational in its planning. This is followed through by the build-up of forces and material. There is the subsequent decisive planning, which then lead to the offensive with its well-known results.
There is the application of the Soviet doctrine of "deep operations" (glubokaya operatsiya) and its use at Stalingrad. By the later part of 1942 the Red Army had recuperated sufficiently to put their concept into practice. So during(19 November 1942 - 31 December 1943), there was the Red Army strategic counteroffensive at Stalingrad, as a transitional period marked by alternating attempts by both sides to assure strategic gain. The Soviet theory of deep operations and of multiple operations might be conducted in parallel or consecutively, would induce a ruinous failure in the enemy's defensive arrangement. Each operation served to mislead the enemy attention and keep the defender from predicting where the main effort, and main purpose, lay. In doing so, it prohibited the enemy from dispatching potent mobile reserves to this area.
This edition then covers Soviet Uranus offensive which encircled 6th Army. Unless I am mistaken there are to be a further two books complete a total overview of events. The first will be covering German relief operations. The second book will be covering the Red army's consequent offensives, which changed the tide of the war in the East. Returning to the third edition, it analyses in great detail, the period from 19th-30th November time frame. This then covers the launch of the operation, the encirclement and stabilisation of the ring around the German held areas of Stalingrad. It transpires that Red Army had still a lot to study when it came to leading such large scale operations and Uranus showed that. The tome shows that when and where Germans and their Axis allies managed to field full strength mobile divisions they could cause the Soviets a lot of angst. However, for the Red Army such instances were few and far in between. However, Axis forces were able to hinder the Red Army to a degree and/or withdraw west and escape the encirclement.
You can see the detailed research that is applied in illustrating each key battle in the city - where people fought floor by floor and room by room. We are shown the strengths and weakness of the opposing forces their effectiveness in the field. The reader is provided with good maps and tactical data, there is also very good photographic evidence as well. If the battle for Stalingrad holds an interest for you, and you want more than just an overview this book comes highly recommended.