Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk 10 July-10 September 1941 Volume 2: The German Offensives on the Flanks and the Third Soviet Counteroffensive, 25 August-10 September 1941
At dawn on 10 July 1941, massed tanks and motorized infantry of German Army Group Center's Second and Third Panzer Groups crossed the Dnepr and Western Dvina Rivers, beginning what Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer of Germany's Third Reich, and most German officers and soldiers believed would be a triumphal march on Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union. Less than three weeks before, on 22 June Hitler had unleashed his Wehrmacht's [Armed Forces] massive invasion of the Soviet Union code-named Operation Barbarossa, which sought to defeat the Soviet Union's Red Army, conquer the country, and unseat its Communist ruler, Josef Stalin. Between 22 June and 10 July, the Wehrmacht advanced up to 500 kilometers into Soviet territory, killed or captured up to one million Red Army soldiers, and reached the western banks of the Western Dvina and Dnepr Rivers, by doing so satisfying the premier assumption of Plan Barbarossa that the Third Reich would emerge victorious if it could defeat and destroy the bulk of the Red Army before it withdrew to safely behind those two rivers. With the Red Army now shattered, Hitler and most Germans expected total victory in a matter of weeks. The ensuing battles in the Smolensk region frustrated German hopes for quick victory. Once across the Dvina and Dnepr Rivers, a surprised Wehrmacht encountered five fresh Soviet armies. Despite destroying two of these armies outright, severely damaging two others, and encircling the remnants of three of these armies in the Smolensk region, quick victory eluded the Germans. Instead, Soviet forces encircled in Mogilev and Smolensk stubbornly refused to surrender, and while they fought on, during July, August, and into early September, first five and then a total of seven newly-mobilized Soviet armies struck back viciously at the advancing Germans, conducting multiple counterattacks and counterstrokes, capped by two major counteroffensives that sapped German strength and will. Despite immense losses in men and materiel, these desperate Soviet actions derailed Operation Barbarossa. Smarting from countless wounds inflicted on his vaunted Wehrmacht, even before the fighting ended in the Smolensk region, Hitler postponed his march on Moscow and instead turned his forces southward to engage "softer targets" in the Kiev region. The 'derailment" of the Wehrmacht at Smolensk ultimately became the crucial turning point in Operation Barbarossa. This groundbreaking new study, now significantly expanded, exploits a wealth of Soviet and German archival materials, including the combat orders and operational of the German OKW, OKH, army groups, and armies and of the Soviet Stavka, the Red Army General Staff, the Western Main Direction Command, the Western, Central, Reserve, and Briansk Fronts, and their subordinate armies to present a detailed mosaic and definitive account of what took place, why, and how during the prolonged and complex battles in the Smolensk region from 10 July through 10 September 1941. The structure of the study is designed specifically to appeal to both general readers and specialists by a detailed two-volume chronological narrative of the course of operations, accompanied by a third volume, and perhaps a fourth, containing archival maps and an extensive collection of specific orders and reports translated verbatim from Russian. The maps, archival and archival-based, detail every stage of the battle.Within the context of Guderian's southward march toward the Kiev region, volume 2 in this series describes in unprecedented detail the Red Army's attempts to thwart German offensive plans by defeating Army Group Center in the Smolensk region with a general counteroffensive by three Red Army fronts. This volume restores to the pages of history two major military operations which, for political and military reasons, Soviet historians concealed from view, largely beca
A carbon copy format of the first volume, a terrific ending to the campaign
By Dave Schranck "Dave" - March 22, 2012
Though the chronology spread of the two books is uneven, the first book covers the initial 45 days and this book the last 17 days, the demarcation between the two volumes was chosen well for the last and most ambitious of Timoshenko's offensives is devoted to this second volume.
Even with all the fierce fighting and high casualties that occurred in the first volume, the second book which is as large as the first begins, after a brief summary of the first volume, with Timoshenko, after being reinforced with new divisions and encouraged by discovering the German center was being weakened with the panzer groups being deployed to the flanks, starting a new major offensive that's even more ambitious than the rounds in July and mid August. The Western Front will target Dukhovshchina, north of Smolensk, for the Germans had already showed weakness there earlier in August. Zhukov's Reserve Front will try to eliminate the Yelnya salient, east of Smolensk, and Yeremenko's... read more
Serious, thought-provoking and thoroughly researched study
By F. Carol Sabin - June 6, 2012
The second volume of Glantz's dedicated to Smolensk battles is depicting, largely, the Third (September) General Counteroffensive organized and conducted by Western, Briansk and Reserve fronts along the strategically vital Western axis between 29 August-12 September 1941. After the presentation in the first volume of the first two offensives (Western Front's Operational Groups offensive and Western and Reserve Fronts offensives at Dukhovshchina and, respectively, Elnia, plus Timonshenko's Offensive in July 41), the author concentrated on the largest and the most ambitious of these strategic operations launched by three fronts in the sectors of Dukhovshchina, Elnia and respectively Roslavl-Novozybkov, aimed to stop or delay the German advance towards Moscow. The planning of this three-component offensive was facilitated by the departure of both Panzer Groups to the AG North (Hoth to Velikie Luki operation) and South (Guderian to Kiev operation) according to the Hitler's... read more
An Outstanding History that corrects many myths
By J. Koch - May 19, 2012
I must confess that for quite a few years my only reference to Barbarossa was Alan Clark's excellent but dated work. However, over the last decade or so I began reading other histories that were written since the end of the Cold War. And David's Glanz's name kept cropping up. What interested me most about Barbaross was the initial 3 months of the fight. For 5 decades, the narrative of the Eastern Field Marshals (Alan Clark's ironic name for Hitler's top generals) held sway. If only Hitler would have listened to his professional generals Barbarossa would have been a victory for the Germans. David Glanz's research and writings offer a long over due corrective.
Before I go further, I have to warn the reader that Barbarossa Derailed is not intended for the general reader. Glanz's narrative offers an almost day-to-day, formation-by-formation account of General Timenshenko's defensive battles from June to August, as well as his offensives in August-Sep - particularly his attempt... read more
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