- Hardcover: 656 pages
- Publisher: Helion and Company (November 2, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906033722
- ISBN-13: 978-1906033729
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 2.5 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #985,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Barbarossa Derailed. Volume 1: The German Advance, The Encirclement Battle, and the First and Second Soviet Counteroffensives, 10 July - 24 August 1941 Hardcover – November 16, 2010
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"...mountains of information hitherto unavailable in any English publication. As usual, Glantz has performed a remarkable feat, almost single-handedly expanding and refining the way informed readers view the Russian Front. The study of all those campaigns would be immeasurably diminished without the invaluable catalog of works he's written, and this volume represents another important addition to that growing library."Highly recommended, and thank you, Col. Glantz, for continuing to successfully conduct the "virtual sieges" required to produce these kinds of tomes. (Stone & Stone Second World War Books)
Barbarossa Derailed is a meticulously researched and cogently structured study of the Red Army in the battle of Smolensk… there can be no question Glantz is n the road to another towering achievement in the history of the German-Soviet war. I await volume two with eager anticipation. (Global War Studies)
“Both author and publisher are to be congratulated for producing such a detailed and comprehensive study of what could turn out to be one of the seminal battles of the Soviet-German War. Given the amount of Russian material in this volume and, presumably, in the volumes still be published, taking all four volumes collectively, this will hopefully mean a more objective and factually accurate description of the roles of both major combatants in th early opening phase of the war on the Eastern Front and may well cause others to re-examine the Battle and assess its overall importance to the eventual victory of the USSR.” (Dr Steven J Main, DefAc UK, British Army Review)
"With Barbarossa Derailed, Glantz has provided the specialist on the Soviet-German War with an excellent study of this early conflict that served as an incubator for Soviet victory." (Canadian Slavonic Papers)
“ … A necessary and valuable addition to the English-language literature on the Great Patriotic War. It includes a wealth of documents never before available in English, and it substantially revises earlier accounts of the Battle of Smolensk.” (Journal of Military History)
About the Author
David M. Glantz (born 11 January 1942 in Port Chester, New York) is an American military historian and the editor of the Journal of Slavic Military Studies. Glantz received degrees in history from the Virginia Military Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Defense Language Institute, Institute for Russian and Eastern European Studies, and U.S. Army War College. He entered active service with the United States Army in 1963.
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Top customer reviews
The study begins by briefly covering the fighting on the Eastern Front up to 10 July and providing the strategic plans for both sides. The detailed coverage basically begins on 10 July, with the Germans advancing towards Smolensk. As the campaign progresses, and in addition to describing and analyzing the on-going combat and tactical situation for both sides, Mr Glantz provides actual orders, communiqués, and unit diary entries down to the divisional level (sometimes paraphrased) to show what the units and commanders were actually thinking, what their morale was, what orders they gave/received, and how they played out. This adds greatly to one's understanding of the complete picture of the campaign, but it also adds a lot of complexity to the book. But nothing in life comes free. Volume one also includes a lot of maps, and using them as you read along is critical to understanding what is happening. Some of the maps are almost too small or "smudged" to be readable, but they're generally adequate for their purpose. (Hopefully bigger and better maps will be included in volume four.) Volume one basically takes you up 24 August 1941, which is where volume 2 should begin.
If you're never read a book by Mr Glantz and are not a somewhat serious World War II buff, this probably isn't the book you should start with. In his preface, Mr Glantz says that this work should be studied and read, which is the right way to approach this book. Mr Glantz is "the" foremost expert on the Soviet side of World War II, and is probably first and foremost a serious historian and secondarily a writer, so his books typically contain very little "I was there" sort of anecdotes, and are not easy reads.
I own the majority of Mr Glantz's books. A criticism of some of his earlier works was that he relied too much on Soviet sources, and that by relying primarily on Soviet sources, some of his facts and analysis could have the same type of inaccuracies as those works that relied primarily on German sources. However, Mr Glantz has incorporated more and more German sources into his books, and his more recent works contain large (or should I say massive) amounts of archival data from both sides. While in my opinion Mr Glantz remains slightly skewed toward the Soviet point of view, much the way that most American Civil War authors marginally favor either the North or the South position, I do not feel this mild bias impacts his presentation and expert analysis. (Most, if not all, World War II authors also do the same.)
This is a very hard book to rate. Mr Glantz provides information, data, and analysis that you cannot get anywhere else, and his access to and utilization of the former Soviet archives is literally second to none. If you're a serious World War II history buff, you must have his books on your shelf regardless of whether or not you agree with his analysis and conclusions. However, you'll often have to work hard for what you get. I have to admit that while I own most of Mr Glantz's books, I haven't finished all of them, as sometimes his writing is too dry or takes too much effort for what to me is just a pleasurable hobby. However his books are indispensible in getting a clear view of operations from the Soviet side, and I'll keep buying them as long as he keeps writing them. I give the book four stars, and highly recommend it to the grognards among us.
Barbarossa Derailed consists of twelve chapters, seven appendices and 107 B/W maps. The author spends only a modest 22-page chapter describing German and Soviet pre-war planning and the opening border battles before jumping right in to the German advance toward the Western Dvina and Dnepr rivers in early July 1941. Each chapter thereafter tends to cover about a week of campaign time. As mentioned, the narrative is heavily based upon Soviet daily reports from the Western Front and its constituent armies but oddly, there is no effort to use German daily reports to provide balance. Thus, Barbarossa Derailed is very heavily skewed to the Soviet perspective, which has been noticeable in many of Glantz's previous books. However at this point in the war, Soviet commanders were routinely executed for tactical failures and many of the reports seem to be deliberately disingenuous or outright deceptive, particularly when Soviet troops lose ground. The author does add his own commentary and analysis between reports, but often fails to challenge obvious falsehoods such as outrageous Soviet claims to destroying hundreds of German tanks or entire regiments. If he had checked the German records, this could have been a ne plus ultra piece of historical work, but the consistent one-sidedness eats away at this volume. Instead, the author relies on sources such as Halder's and von Bock's diaries, which lack the statistical data necessary to assess tactical operations. Furthermore, the author also makes a number of casual errors in German nomenclature, such as referring to the Grossdeutschland regiment as an SS unit, and Panzergruppe 2 as `Armeegruppe Guderian.'
There is a considerable amount of fresh information in this volume, ranging from the siege of Mogilev, Guderian's destruction of Group Kachalov, Timoshenko's counteroffensive in August 1941 (three chapters) and the fighting around Velikie Luki. Much of this information is pure gold to specialist readers (all six of us?). There is no doubt that Glantz succeeds in demolishing previous myths about the Red Army being little more than a speed-bump at this phase and showing that the Germans became enmeshed in a grinding 2-month battle of attrition around Smolensk.
The author's main hypothesis and conclusion is that despite impressive tactical triumphs in the opening weeks of the campaign, the German Army Group Center was first brought to a virtual halt east of Smolensk and that the Soviet Western Front inflicted painful damage upon a number of panzer and infantry divisions which had repercussions later when the Germans made their drive on Moscow. Unfortunately, the author does not really back up these assertions with hard numbers. For example, the author claims that both the 7th Panzer Division and three infantry divisions (5, 28, 161) were all decimated at Smolensk, yet none of these units were pulled out of the line. The assertions of damage inflicted on these units appears derived primarily from Soviet, not German sources. Even if the Soviets succeeded in mauling four German divisions at Smolensk, the Germans had 136 divisions in Russia, so these losses could hardly be sufficient to "derail" Barbarossa. Indeed, closely reading Glantz's narrative reveals that the Germans were inflicting grossly disproportionate losses on the Red Army for much of the Smolensk campaign - on the order of 20-to-1. Even Soviet losses are not well addressed, although it is clear that the Western Front was badly hurt at Smolensk and left without much armor or artillery left. At the strategic level, the author is more successful making his case that the stiff Soviet resistance encouraged Hitler to turn away from Moscow and follow the path of `least resistance' toward Kiev. Although the author sees Kiev as a gambit, he concludes that it was the `correct' move at the time.