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Besieged the Epic Battle For Cholm Hardcover – October 5, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0975107690 ISBN-10: 0975107690 Edition: first

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Leaping Horseman Books; first edition (October 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975107690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975107690
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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If you have read any of Mark's other books then you'll know what to expect.
Dave Schranck
As you've probably noted, the book is pricey, but I can honestly say that it's well worth it.
WryGuy2
It was a testement to their will and influenced their leadership to a high degree.
Mr. Wolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By WryGuy2 TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Besieged: The Epic Battle for Cholm" is author Jason Mark's latest foray into the eastern front of World War II. Mr Mark has written and/or published several books on the battle for Stalingrad, as well as a book on the "Croatian Legion" (which served on the Eastern Front and was destroyed at Stalingrad), but this time his focus is on the encirclement and siege of Cholm in early 1942.

As history buffs know, December 1941/January 1942 saw the Soviets launch devastating counterattacks on the over-extended German forces. In the face of near collapse of his forces, Hitler issued his controversial "stand fast" order, which greatly reduced the tactical flexibility of the German commanders, but which may have prevented a general collapse of the German front, particularly in front of Moscow. However, these orders also led to many German units being surrounded, typically in towns and along important transportation lines, until either relieved or overwhelmed. In the German Army Group North's sector, the Soviet offensive formed two pockets ... a large one with over 100,000 Germans trapped in Demyansk, and a smaller one at Cholm (about 60 miles away) with around 4,500 men. Both positions were critical to the Germans defensive line ... a Soviet success at either location could unhinge the entire German line and gravely threaten both Army Group North and Army Group Center.

In this book, Mr Mark gives an extremely detailed, day-by-day account of the Soviet siege of Cholm, although told primarily from the German point of view. The German forces were a hodge-podge of rear-area units, stragglers from broken formations, some security forces, and a few key combat units which bore much of the brunt of the early fighting.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schranck on November 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As far as scale goes, with respect to area and manpower, the German encirclement at Cholm was one of the smallest. The nearby pocket at Demyansk plus Korsun and Stalingrad dwarfed it but the German resistance at Cholm along with nearby Demyansk played an important role for if the both pockets fell, the Soviets would have had a good chance of reaching the Baltic Sea and isolating AGN. With AGN destroyed, the other two Army Groups would be forced to retreat or be destroyed as well. Stavka made the capture of Cholm a high priority and 3rd Shock Army's 33rd RD did everything possible at great loss to themselves to liquidate the pocket but ultimately failed their orders. The Soviet's job was made even tougher by the extreme cold and heavy snows that hit that sector. It was the harshest winter in 150 years.
This background info begins the book along with telling how these two pockets were formed when Zhukov's counter-offensive of December 1941 pushed the Germans back from Moscow.
The depot town of Cholm, located on the Lovat River halfway between the towns of Staraya Russa and Velikie Luki is also an important road junction that would have to be used by the Soviets to reach the Baltic. It had to be taken.

This nearly six month drama of survival against a relentless enemy and the harsh elements was recreated by primary documents and is told as a daily chronicle. All the battle action is describe and then the casualties are added up at the end of the day. If you have read any of Mark's other books then you'll know what to expect. The writing style, format and level of detail is exactly like all of his earlier books. The daily coverage begins on Jan 18 and ends on June 9, 1942. The chapters are broken down by month.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on February 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Although the 105-day siege of Kholm in January-May 1942 was one of the most dramatic and intense defensive battles of modern military history, it is virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, except among a handful of specialist readers. Jason Mark, an inveterate researcher who has previously written landmark books on the Stalingrad Campaign, provides a wealth of information about the Kholm Campaign in his new book, Besieged: The Epic Battle of Kholm. Besieged provides a chronological, day-by-day account of the siege, primarily from German primary records from NARA, but also with some interesting accounts from the Russian side as well. The book is pricey and will no doubt triple in price once out of print, but well worth every cent due to the content of its research and high production values (quality paper and binding, excellent photos and maps, multiple appendices). The book does have some limitations, since it tends to focus so heavily on the tactical German eye-level that it sometimes glosses over or omits important details about events that were beyond the outskirts of Kholm. For example, although the author often mentions problems with the German effort to supply the garrison in Kholm by air, he barely mentions that the Luftwaffe had an even bigger responsibility to supply the nearby Demyansk pocket, which had twenty times as many encircled troops as Kholm did. Indeed, Kholm and Demyansk are really inseparable and readers will have to consult other sources to get the "big picture."

Besieged is divided into five chapters, one for each month of the siege. Each day is covered in considerable detail, relying heavily upon the official daily reports submitted by Generalmajor Theodor Scherer, commander of the Kholm garrison, to XXXIX Armeekorps (the relief force).
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