- 52 Pages
- 130 Photos
- 4 Color plates
The invasion of Russia in June 1941, Operation Barbarossa, was an enormous affair. It involved around 3 million German soldiers divided into 105 infantry and 32 panzer divisions. Initially, the German assault knifed through Russian resistance, and huge numbers of Red Army soldiers were surrounded. This latest volume from Concord Publications examines part of that attack, specifically the battles of Heeresgruppe Mitte. This central army, the largest of three participating in the attack, was commanded by Generalfeldmarschall Fedor von Bock.
This volume by Hans Seidler is brimming with black and white photographs showing soldiers from Heeresgruppe Mitte. The focus is on the Battles of Smolensk and Roslavl, conflicts that readers may not be terribly familiar with. The city of Smolensk commanded the route to the Russian capital of Moscow, and as German forces closed in on it, Russian forces launched a counterattack. This resulted in a large clash in early July 1941. However, the German juggernaut could not be halted, and Smolensk eventually fell on 16 July, with half a million enemy soldiers caught in the Smolensk pocket. Soon after this, General Guderian sought to defeat Soviet forces further east around the town of Roslavl. He launched a sudden and powerful attack on 1 August, and within two days the town was taken. These twin battles were among the most decisive and swiftest of all German successes on the Eastern Front.
The sharply reproduced photographs in the book show soldiers involved in the aforementioned fighting. Each photo is well captioned with pertinent details about uniform and equipment. The centerpiece of the book is four color plates by the illustrator Dmitriy Zgonnik. These pictures show infantrymen in typical dress as they fight the Red Army, with detailed explanation given about their equipment and dress. This is a most informative work on a location and period that is not well covered in other volumes about the German Army, and it will provide a useful reference for history buffs as well as military modelers.