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F. Carol Sabin
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As expected, this book, based on a wide range and rarely available Soviet and rediscovered German operational documents, contains the archival supplemental documentary evidence for the volume III - Endgame at Stalingrad, thus achieving an unprecedented degree of precision and clarification in describing the historical reality of this major battle. No doubt, this last tome of Glantz&House “Trilogy” can be used as a reference manual for searchers, as well as a guide for those who want to know the basics of this titanic battle.
At the heart of the book are, in my mind, 20 appendices. The term appendix is somehow deceiving; actually these are genuine chapters of operational history, combining archival documents with skillful analysis, ranging between 12-81 pages. All appendices and other documentary materials support the narrative books of the third volume and authors’ conclusions and judgments. I’ll try a brief analysis of all appendices below.
Appendix (App.) 1 (81 pages) focuses on “Opposing Orders of Battle” at six key dates throughout period 19.11.1942-01.02.1943.
App. 2 (23 pages) is a nice detailing of the Soviet strategic planning and the genesis of plan Uranus. Based on eight extensive excerpts from Stavka’s directives, reports or orders, the authors revealed the chronology of Soviet decision making.
“The Uranus Force and Plan” and “The balance of opposing forces” are presented in the next two appendices (3 with 21 pages and 4 with 12 pages). App. 3 contains eight Stavka combat directives or orders. In my opinion, app.4 is one of the most interesting. No less than 9 tables are showing the evolution of “The Soviet view on the Correlation of Opposing Forces in Operation Uranus”, at different moments between 1956 and 2008. This speaks a lot about Soviet-style in history-manufacturing!
These are followed by app. 5 (50 pages), which is dedicated to “The Penetration battle and Encirclement, 19-23 Nov. 1942”.
“Reducing the Stalingrad Pocket and Forming the Outer Encirclement Front”, 24-27.11.1942 and “Reducing the Stalingrad Pocket and Forming the Outer Encirclement Front”, 28-30.11.1942, are detailed in Appendix 6 and 7.
App. 8 speaks about “Competing German and Soviet Dilemmas” (28 pages), while app. 9 is detailing “The Southwestern Front’s battles along Krivaia and Chir rivers, 1-15 Dec 1942” (20 pages).
App. 10 is devoted to “The Stalingrad’s Front’s Defense against Operation Wintergewitter, 1-19 December 1942” (44 pages), while the next one speaks about “The Don and Stalingrad’s Fronts’ battle for the Stalingrad Pocket, 1-15 Dec. 1942” (36 pages).
“Operation Little Saturn and the Soviet Tormosin Offensive” are both detailed in the next 38 pages of app. 12, while app. 13 provides interesting details about “The end of Wintergewitter and Donnerschlag and the Stalingrad Front’s Kotelnikovo Offensive, 16-31 Dec. 1942” (45 pages).
The situation in “The Stalingrad Pocket, 16-31 Dec 1942” is the subject of app. 14 (29 pages), while “Sixth’s Army’s Situation, preliminaries and the Don’s Front’s Plan, 1-9 Jan. 1943” is debated in app. 15 (13 pages).
The destruction of the Sixth Army is fully detailed in the next 3 appendices (113 pages) and, finally, app.19 speaks about “62nd Army’s Struggle in Stalingrad City, 19.11.1942-2.02.1943”, no doubt, inspired completely from combat journal of this army. This chapter maintains a continuity with volume’s two account of the fighting in Stalingrad.
The “Conclusions” is the last appendix containing just 14 pages. Inside you can discover a chronology of significant actions between 28 June 1942 and 2 February 1943, Red Army’s operations conducted within the context of operation Ring (8 offensives), plus 5 tables with both sides’ losses and German operational tanks at key moments.
Compared with previous books, this one has a very different dedication: “To my lord and savior, Jesus Christ...”
Companion has 54 tactical/operational-level situation maps/sketches; concerning the quality, some are difficult to read, some are sketchy, simple, but few are good (8-10).
Another major pillar of this book is represented by its 50 tables. They provide useful statistical info about casualty rates in selected divisions, Soviet assessments, reports, losses, tonnage delivered in the aerial supply of Sixth Army, reorganizations, etc.
A pleasant surprise it was to see, apart the classic part dedicated to Soviet commanders (8 photos), a very nice collection of 33 b&w photos taken by Stephen Duncan in Stalingrad (Volgograd today), showing current state of different locations/places of the battle (grain elevator, Pavlov’s house, Railroad Station no.1, the entrance to Paulus’s HQs in the basement of the Univermag, etc).
The book concludes with an Index to orders of battle, documents and tables.
Finally, don’t bother about the book’s missing jacket: it’s just a minor minus of a grand masterpiece that you won’t see soon in the near future. The book is recommended mainly for serious students who want more details, careful analysis or clarifications about this titanic battle and are accustomed with authors’ style.