- The Russian General Staff: Trans R W Harrison
The Berlin Operation 1945 was prepared for the Soviet General Staff in 1950 during the frostiest period of the Cold War . It was no doubt written under Comrade Stalin’s baleful eye and the authors must have been aware of the fate of many officers in the purges of the late 1930s. The book would have been obligatory reading at the Frunze military academy(now The Military Education And Science Centre).
Richard Harrison has made a first class translation of the Russian text in 454 densely printed pages. The book has numerous tables and a few maps but nothing as frivolous as illustrations.
The book is in 2 part with a conclusions section it is well indexed and Harrison has helped readers by referring to German units as Panzer and Russian as Tank and the like ,read page xvii before the main body! Part 1 is the preparation for battle and part 2 details combat operations by the First Belorussian , First Ukrainianand Second Belorussian Fronts. This part finishes with German capitulation on 8th May.
The book is a gold mine of data , invaluable for historians , researchers or military authors. Gunners will be in awe of the barrel densities of 286 per km of front excluding rocket tubes. Movers will note the 2483 train loads of combat supplies totalling about 1,700,000 tons,7226 box cars being artillery ammunition.
The conclusions section will be of particular interest to those studying the evolution of Soviet doctrine in the post war period. It is possible that Western powers will be returning to a more detailed long term study of the Russian mind set in the Putin environment.
Helion publishing have produced the book to a high standard in hard back form , it retails at £45.00 although there seem to be a few cheaper copies on line.
In all the book is worthy , carefully written and worth a place in military libraries and centres of study. It is not really aimed at the generalist reader. This should not detract from its real quality and historic significance.