- Prit Buttar
- ARRSE Rating
- 5 Mushroom Heads
Divided into clear chapters describing the key events of the campaign that ended with almost all Germany's gains in Russia having been lost it describes battles such as the Korsun pocket in terrifying detail as exhausted German troops attempt to escape a massive encirclement in their 'wandering pocket' in a 'second Stalingrad'. By 1944 the Red Army was a hugely experienced, ruthless and battle-hardened force with excellent equipment such as the IS-II coming into service - again and again the Germans have to abandon their equipment and wounded as they are relentlessly forced back. Of course at the operational level, with von Manstein in charge, the retreat was as orderly as could be expected in the circumstances but it's the scale of the engagements - at Corps and multiple Army level that take the breath away, nothing like this occurred in the West.
So, an amazing piece of history, excellent use of vignettes (some quite terrifying - driving a badly damaged Tiger through a Soviet column being engaged on all sides with your driver's vision obscured by the corpse of your friend), good maps and some striking photos - a particularly good one is of two Panthers in combat taken through the gunsight of a third.
If cold feet is your bag then this is an excellent book - 5 mushroom heads.