Images of War series - Hitler's Defeat on the Eastern Front

Images of War series - Hitler's Defeat on the Eastern Front

Ian Baxter
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
Images of War series - Hitler's Defeat on the Eastern Front.
Written and compiled by Ian Baxter. ISBN: 978 1 84415 977 2

Ian Baxter is a military historian and photographic collector who specialises in German twentieth century military history. He has written o Er twenty books including Panzer Divisions at War, Hitler's Panzers, German Guns of the Third Reich, Afrika Korps and U-Boat; all in the Images of War series.

Baxter writes as if he was there. His thoughtful, incisive views on the major battles produces clear yet thought-provoking images on the German position prior to the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. He tells the story in a way which holds the reader enthralled, building up the early successes with the deployment of the SS-Panzerkorps, following an intense artillery barrage from both sides. These initial successes led to complacency and the Russians were able to roll up the enemy flanks by fielding wave upon wave of infantry. By the 13th July, the Germans were unable to progress further, and poor ground conditions were hampering re-supply efforts. Almost hourly, SS divisions were forced out of position due to ammunition, fuel or food shortages.

As the disorganised Russian defence finally woke up to the threat around them, Baxter tells of the wars of attrition fought between the combatants. Within days of the German attack, the Russians had managed to throw it's offensive timetable completely off schedule. It was here on the blood-soaked plains at Kursk that for the first time in the war, the Red Army had savagely contested every inch of ground and was finally on an equal footing. By 23 July, the 4th Panzer Army had withdrawn to its start line!

It becomes apparent while reading this book that Ian Baxter has certainly researched his subject well. Not only does the book contain the major battles, withdrawals, winter warfare, Operation Bagration ( in 12 days, Germany lost 25 divisions) and the last battles; it also contains a number of useful appendices composed of,
1. Waffen SS weapons and equipment;
2. Breakdowns of Infantry Division, Panzergrenadier Divison & Brigade and Wehrmacht Division HQ;
3. Combat Uniforms of the Waffen-SS1943-1945;
4. Combat Uniforms of the Wehrmacht 1943-1945 and Ranks.

Unfortunately, the two appendices concerning the uniforms are only descriptions rather than coloured pictures. Similarly, the ranks are only given by title with no pictures! Other than that, this is yet another excellent book for the "Images of War" series. Clear, black and white photographs adorn every page, with associated captions beneath. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in WW2, the German Army and the defeat of Germany in Russia. There is sufficient information in the book for it to be of use to model makers as well. Makes an excellent companion to the Images of War - Hitler's Defeat on the Western Front 1944-1945.

Highly recommended 4/5


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