This new study by Igor Nebolsin covers, in remarkable detail, a number of forgotten and overlooked armoured engagements on the Eastern Front during the final year of the war, based firmly on Soviet and German archival records. After defeating German Group Army Centre in Belorussia (Operation Bagration) in the first days of August 1944 the Red Army rapidly approached East Prussia. Here, near the borders of the Third Reich in the area of Vilkavishkis heavy tank combats broke out. German Panzer-Grenadier Division Gro¿eutschland engaged the Soviet 33rd Army, reinforced by the 2nd Guards Tank Corps and separate Anti-tank artillery Brigades and Regiments, in fierce and extensive combat. Based on the archival documents from both sides and other sources Igor Nebolsin provides a meticulous analysis of this battle and challenges myths created by some German authors.By mid-October 1944 the Soviet 3rd Belorussian Front was ready to invade East Prussia. 2nd Guards Tank Corps committed to the main axis of attack developed an operational breakthrough in the direction of Gumbinnen and soon captured an important crossing over the Angerapp River at Nemmersdorf. For two days Soviet units were engaged in severe fighting against Fallschirm-Panzer-Division Hermann G¿ring, 5th Panzer Division and the F¿hrer-Begleit-Brigade. Combat in East Prussia were notable, even by Eastern Front standards, for their severity, mercilessness and heavy losses in personnel and material for both sides. In January 1945 the Red Army managed to break the strong German defense in East Prussia and swiftly reached the Baltic, cutting off East Prussia from Germany. 5th Guards Tank Army played a decisive role in this breakthrough. At the final stage of this operation the Army contained a desperate attempt of the German 4th Army to escape from East Prussia to Germany in tank engagements at Wormditt and Frauenburg. This book also covers tank battles near Kielce, Poland in January 1945 where XXIV Panzer Korps (16th Panzer Division, 17th Panzer Division, 20th Panzer-Grenadier Division, 424th Schwere-Panzer-Abteilung) was engaged in an engagement lasting three days against forces of the Soviet 4th Guards Tank Army.The day-by-day coverage of events, honest views of the Soviet and German commanders, statistical data from both Russian and German viewpoints, and the 'human element' based on the exciting first-hand reminiscences of Soviet tank officers all make this study an incredibly valuable source of information. The text is fully supported by specially-commissioned color maps and an extensive selection of photographs, many from private collections.
At the end of September 1941, more than a million German soldiers lined up along the frontline just 180 miles west of Moscow. They were well trained, confident, and had good reasons to hope that the war in the East would be over with one last offensive. Facing them was an equally large Soviet force, but whose soldiers were neither as well trained nor as confident. When the Germans struck, disaster soon befell the Soviet defenders. German panzer spearheads cut through enemy defenses and thrust deeply to encircle most of the Soviet soldiers on the approaches to Moscow. Within a few weeks, most of them marched into captivity, where a grim fate awaited them. Despite the overwhelming initial German success, however, the Soviet capital did not fall. German combat units as well as supply transport were bogged down in mud caused by autumn rains. General Zhukov was called back to Moscow and given the desperate task to recreate defense lines west of Moscow. The mud allowed him time to accomplish this, and when the Germans again began to attack in November, they met stiffer resistance. Even so, they came perilously close to the capital, and if the vicissitudes of weather had cooperated, would have seized it. Though German units were also fighting desperately by now, the Soviet build-up soon exceeded their own. The Drive on Moscow: Operation Taifun, 1941 is based on numerous archival records, personal diaries, letters, and other sources. It recreates the battle from the perspective of the soldiers as well as the generals. The battle, not fought in isolation, had a crucial role in the overall German strategy in the East, and its outcome reveals why the failure of the German assault on Moscow may well have been true turning point of World War II. Niklas Zetterling is a researcher at the Swedish Defense College. Along with Anders Frankson he has previously written Kursk 1943: A Statistical Analysis and The Korsun Pocket: The Encirclement 1. Language: English. Narrator: Dave Courvoisier. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/010081/bk_adbl_010081_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.