10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Germans surprised the Soviets at Kharkov,
This review is from: Kharkov 1942: Anatomy of a Military Disaster Through Soviet Eyes (Paperback)
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. Its this thinking that made the Russian Army continue to fall back during Operation Blue, drawing the Germans deeper into the country, away from their supply lines and making Hitler think his enemy was defeated which caused him to fatally change his battle plans.
The book closes with an impressive Notes section, an extensive Appendix, Bibliography and a helpful Index.
This success for Paulus and the Germans in this counter offensive was a great motivator for the upcoming Operation Blue but little was said about it.
Despite my criticism, the book overall is good and I'm glad to have read it.
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Initial post: 30 Jan 2014 23:14:23 GMT
Andrew Lale says:
'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.' Quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard a history student say.
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2016 21:31:39 BDT
Mr. G. Morgan says:
Yes Andrew, that one had my ears tingling also. Reminds me of Marty Feldman character turning down a bird book because he doesn't like the look of the Gannet.
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