Winter! This theme forms the centerpiece of this photographic volume. Despite being delayed by the need to invade the Balkans, Germany expected an early conquest of Russia when it attacked on June 22, 1941. When the expected victory did not come as easily as anticipated, the German Wehrmacht soon found itself embroiled in Russia's brutal & bitterly cold winters. A quarter of a million German soldiers suffered frostbite in that first Russian winter simply because they were ill-equipped and poorly supplied with the requisite cold-weather gear. Soldiers who survived this first bitter winter actually received a specific medal for it (called the Medaille Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42, and which the soldiers often called "Frozen Meat Order")! This book is thus full of snow and mud!
Beginning with an introductory text explaining the impact of cold weather on the performance of the German armed forces, the book quickly moves on to an excellent selection of black and white photographs. They show troops in all sorts of wintry landscapes, the majority of which unsurprisingly show snow! Soldiers in trenches, emplaced artillery positions, vehicles negotiating unforgiving terrain, horses and reindeer, and soldiers on skis, all receive due attention. The photos also reveal a wide range of cold-weather solutions in terms of uniforms worn by German soldiers. Their small-arms weaponry and personal equipment are also on vivid display. In the center of the book are four full-page color plates produced by the talented artist Stephen Andrew. Accompanying descriptions offer pertinent details about specific uniform items.
The harsh Russian winter played a pivotal part in the failure of Germany's invasion of the vast nation of Russia. This book illustrates some of those atrocious conditions encountered by the average soldier, and the photo contents are a veritable historical treasure chest. Military enthusiasts and model-makers alike will find plenty to inspire in this new volume from Concord.