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Storm of Steel: The Development of Armor Doctrine in Germany and the Soviet Union, 1919-1939 (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 14. Januar 2014

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In this account of the battle tanks that saw combat in the European theatre of World War II, Mary R. Habeck traces the strategies developed between the wars for the use of armoured vehicles in battle. Only in Germany and the Soviet Union were truly original armour doctrines (generally known as "blitzkreig" and "deep battle") fully implemented. "Storm of Steel" relates how the German and Soviet armies formulated and chose to put into practice doctrines that were innovative for the time, yet in many respects identical to one another. As part of her extensive archival research in Russia, Germany and Britain, Habeck had access to a large number of formerly secret and top-secret documents from several post-Soviet archives. This research informs her comparative approach as she looks at the roles of technology, shared influences, and assumptions about war in the formation of doctrine. She also explores relations between the Germans and the Soviets to determine whether collaboration influenced the convergence of their armor doctrines. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

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THE TANK appeared on the battlefield in 1916, as large as an elephant and just as frightening to ordinary German soldiers as Pyrrhus's "secret weapon" had been to the Romans. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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18 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good Analysis 27. Mai 2004
Von T. Kunikov - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Very good analysis of the two sides and their attitudes and ideas toward tanks and what could be expected in future wars. What was very interesting was seeing how both German and Soviet cavalry officers tried to prove that cavalry would always be needed and the armored forces wouldn't prove to be as useful and instrumental as those who advocated armored forces thought. Each side took much from the British and each other during their agreement to build a tank school at Kazan, on Soviet territory, and train both Soviet and German soldiers there with instructions from German specialists. From the Soviet side one can follow the progress in tank industry and how it became entangled in the purges as well as the consequences that followed the purges, for both the industry and the army. The fall of Tukhachevsky among others is explained and put into context how Soviet 'deep battle' and 'deep operations' ideas were put on ice while commanders re-examined their positions and went on board with those who were against Tukhachevsky, to save themselves from the purges. Lastly would be the wars that raged throughout Europe before the two sides went to war in 1941, for the Soviets at Lake Khasan and Khalkhin-Gol, for the Germans in Poland and in France, as well as both sides in Spain, etc. A very good investment for those interested in what both sides were doing with tanks during the inter-war years. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because it got repetative and dry at times. I skimmed the epilogue and a few pages of the last chapter only because the information had already been gone over and the problems examined already mentioned numerous times before throughout the book.
15 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An interesting analysis of Soviet and German armor doctrines 25. März 2003
Von 1. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Habeck does an excellent job of comparing German and Russian armor doctrines. Acccording to Habeck both the Germans and the Russians copied the British concpet of independent armored formations to strike the flanks of the enemy army. The Soviet and the German doctrines differed in the role that they gave junior offices. The German doctrines allowed a great deal of intiative to the junior officers while the Soviet doctrine set clear instructions to be followed to the letter by junior officers. Another difference is that the German army believed in the decisive battle while the Russian army thought a series of battles had to be fought in order to achieve victory. The Germans ignored the experience of the Spanish Civil War since the terrain did not favor armored movements. But the Russian opponents to armored warfare used the Spanish Civil War as an example of why armored formations failed in combat.Another reason why the Soviet doctrine appeared to fail was that Russian junior officers could not understand their directions during war games and the Russian army lacked mechanics to fix broken down tanks. As a result Soviet generals favoring armored tactics were purged and the Soviet army returned to an infantry centered force until the results of the German blitzkreig in France made them change their doctrine at the last minute. I would reccomend this book for anyone interested in the development of Russian and German armored doctrine.
2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Dry, but Informative and Erudite 29. August 2012
Von R. A Forczyk - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Storm of Steel is a historical analysis of the development of German and Soviet armored warfare doctrine in the period 1928-1941, written in 2003 by Mary R. Habeck, a history professor at Johns Hopkins. This is a dry, academic-style doctrinal study, but it is rewarding for those readers with more than a passing interest in how both country's created and developed their tank units in the Interwar Period. Storm of Steel is well organized and very well footnoted, as one would expect from a university professor, although the use of tables and charts would have been a useful addition. The book is well-written, if a bit wooden at times, and the author's main thesis that both country's doctrine was shaped by similar factors is sound. There are issues - such as the evolution of tank technology - which the author spent little time upon, even though germane to doctrinal development. Overall, a decent academic history, although the narrative lags at times.

The Storm of Steel is divided into seven chapters, beginning with the period immediately following the end of the First World War. During 1919-23, both the post-war German Reichswehr and the Soviet Red Army had no tanks and spent this period trying to decide what future role tanks might provide. As early as 1923, the Soviet Union became interested in developing a large tank force in order to match Western capitalist armies, although the author notes that the Red Army initially devoted only one percent of its budget to tank development. The second chapter covers the debate over mechanization, which occurred in both armies during 1923-27. The author discusses how conservative cavalry officers in both countries opposed the tank and mechanization for a variety of reasons. In addition, the advocates of "moral" power (as in Napoleon's maxim, that `the moral is to the material as three is to one') argued that reliance on tanks rather than the willpower of their infantry was a mistake; this argument still retains some saliency even today. In the third chapter, the author discusses the beginning of covert Soviet-German technical collaboration at the Kazan Tank School and the weaknesses that led both sides to cooperate with each other. Due to the weakness of Soviet industry, the Soviets needed foreign technical help in developing tanks and due to the Treaty of Versailles the Germans needed a quiet place to (illegally) test new weapons and tactics. This chapter is very rewarding in that the author effectively demonstrates that the Germans did not influence subsequent Soviet tank doctrine and the relative backwardness of Germany's inchoate tank doctrine in comparison to Soviet Deep Battle theory. The author also details the success of Stalin's First Five Year Plan in rapidly building up the Soviet Union's tank production capabilities in an amazingly short period of time - something Hitler would have been wise to emulate. Important developments, like the Soviet creation of a Tank Directorate (UMM) and new field regulations, are discussed in some detail.

Chapter four, covering the period 1930-31, discusses the development of Germany's first tanks and Soviet efforts to refine Deep Battle theory into a workable doctrine. The fifth chapter covers the end of Soviet-German military collaboration and doctrinal evolutions in both countries. Whereas the Soviets had a fairly uniform view of tanks by 1933, the Reichswehr was still very divided about tanks when Hitler came to power. When Hitler's plans to expand the Reichswehr were first discussed, there was no provision for panzer divisions, even though the Red Army had already formed its first mechanized corps. However, the Red Army had difficulty actually conducting Deep Battle in its summer maneuvers, and learned the difficulties of supplying a large mechanized formation (with no solution in sight). Interestingly, the author contrasts the Soviet preference for creating a checklist-like playbook for Deep Battle versus the German preference for a more ambiguous doctrine that left room for lower-level initiative in combat. Chapter six discusses the role reversal of 1934-36, with the Red Army losing much of its advantages in tank development and doctrine due to the Stalinist purges of the military, while Hitler's newly-formed Wehrmacht formed its first panzer divisions. However, the author makes an important point when she states that, "despite these triumphs, the Germans would never catch up with their Soviet counterparts in one vital area: the mass production of tanks." Just as the Red Army enshrined Deep Battle as official doctrine in the PU-36 Field Regulations, Stalin imprisoned or executed all its key advocates, effectively strangling it at birth. On the German side, the author spends considerable time on the Guderian-Lutz-Beck debates on tanks, but misses the creation of the Sturmgeschutz (assault gun) by Manstein as an effort to keep some armor in the infantry support role. Likewise, the book is weak on assessing the impact of new technologies on doctrine, such as the Soviet development of the V-2 diesel tank engine and incorporation of sloped armor in designs. This would have been a good time to discuss how Hitler - who had some good ideas about tanks, such as better armament - was ignored in designing Germany's panzers. In contrast, Stalin had a major say in the development of individual Soviet tanks.

The final chapter discusses the impact of the Spanish Civil War, the Chaco War and other small conflicts on tank developments in both countries. Two other topics which I felt the author skimped on was on how the first tank units were created in each country (mentioned only very briefly) and how personnel were trained in each country. Developing doctrine is one thing, but the question of how it was taught to tank crews was essentially ignored. Overall, Storm of Steel is informative, erudite and persuasive, although certainly only for those with a strong interest in doctrinal studies.
2 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A book should always get the fundamentals right. She ... 21. Juli 2014
Von Royal Air Farce - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A book should always get the fundamentals right. She fails in the introduction. The insistence that a Blitzkrieg doctrine existed; p. xvii "This was due to a seminal weakness of the Blitzkrieg idea".....there was no such doctrine before 1940. The Luftwaffe programs were not to be completed until 1942, the Z-plan until the 1950s. The German planning for the motor and mechanisation of the army was not the be complete until 1944. The German economy was one being geared to a long war, not a 'Blitzkrieg' philosophy. In doctrinal terms, there was no such thing either. The German operations in Western Europe were initially planned as a land-grab, not a war-winning offensive. Fall Gelb was a last resort....which happened to work thanks to Allied incompetence. And when did, as she says, the German Army overwhelm the British Armies? Only 10 divisions saw action in 1940, against over 140 German and French. Even the Dutch and Belgians had more manpower available to them. Karl-Heinz Frieser has put these myths to the sword.

While there is some detailed and technical points of interest, they are borrowed from secondary sources and compiled into this book. Noticeably no, to very little, primary German or Russian sources appear.
14 von 31 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Interesting, but . . . 14. April 2003
Von Saumacus - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The book is pretty interesting.
What's surprised me, though, is the vitality of the myth of the so called Tukhachevskii's "military genius." This legend is based solely on a fallacy: Stalin was bad; Stalin killed Tukhachevskii; ergo, Tukhachevskii was good. The only military operations successfully conducted by Tukhachevskii were against the anti-Bolsheviks revolt in the Tambov district, when this "genius" used hostage-taking "tactics" and chemical weapons (does it remind you of something?) against the insurgents, i.e. Russian peasants.
A remarkable detail: among different reasons for the Red Army's defeats in 1941, the author DOES NOT mention "obsolete" tanks. "Obsolete" Red Army tanks is just another popular myth, originated in GlavPUR, and being disseminated still by the History Channel.
Some extra photos could have made this book more interesting.
What I've been having a problem with, are the countless errors in the transliterated titles of Russian books and archived documents. What was the point of the transliteration, anyway? For those who read Russian, Cyrillic letters would do just as well; for those who do not, it doesn't matter. I don't believe that Cornell UP has no Cyrillic typefaces at its disposal. Furthermore, it's comparatively easy to find a Russian-speaking proofreader in the United States--not to mention an English-speaking proofreader who might do a much better job on this book.
Is the decline of publishing quality in this country irreversible?
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