When it comes to war in the East during World War 2 most will think of Operation Barbarossa, but that was just the opening operation. This book looks at the operation to take Moscow, Operation Typhoon.
The book has been written by Philippe Naud. The book is presented and printed in portrait style. This is a soft backed book of 128 of good quality glossy paper. The cover consists of a stiff card that has been folded over making the cover more substantial. The gloss finish to the pages means that the photographs are very well presented to the viewer.
The contents of this title breakdown as follows:
Timeline of Events
Destroying the Red Army rather than taking Moscow
A Typhoon between Vyazma and Bryansk
The Decisive Battle
The Encirclement of Vyanza and Bryansk
Strategy, Mud and Logistics
Mtsensk, Maloyaroslavets and Mozhaysk
Out of Breath
This book covering Operation Typhoon covers the period from October 2nd 1941 to October 20th 1941, but starts by covering the events that lead up to the operation. In the beginning of the War in the East the German forces were directed by Hitler to destroy the Red Army and capture resources before going after Moscow. The German Army did this task quite well, but the task took far longer than expected due to the sheer number of Soviet Forces and weapons that were not up to the task such as tackling KV 1 & 2 tanks along with T-34's with the obsolete 3.7cm Pak 36.
Typhoon between Vyazma and Bryansk looks at the opening stages of Operation Typhoon. This covers everything from the weather to the fighting. The German forces seemed to have everything their own way due to the Soviet Forces being slow to react and out of date weaponry; it needs to be remembered that the officer corps of the Soviet military had been decimated by the purges that Stalin orchestrated. It would appear that things were so bad that this is the first time in which I have read about things being so bad that Soviet Forces used dogs loaded with explosives to attack the enemy vehicles; I have heard of this tactic but never have I heard of it actually being used in combat.
Moving onto the decisive battle section of the book and you learn about how effective German Forces were. The 4th Panzer Group had pushed through two Soviet armies with no major issues scattering them as they went it seems. The 6th and 7th Panzer Divisions joined together and took in excess of 500 prisoners for the loss of 2 dead and 8 wounded. These successes seemed to indicate the Soviet Forces were finished.
The section on the encirclement of Vyanza and Bryansk makes it look like the end of Moscow due to the last military elements being trapped within. The German Army had everything under control with the exception of hold ups due to a lack of fuel. However as all seemed lost Georgy Zhukov arrives on the scene to take control and stiffen the resolve of the Soviet troops.
Defending Moscow is the section that looks at the situation Zhukov found himself commanding. The losses the Soviets had suffered was on a scale that most of us could not even imagine; 1.5 million troops dead, missing or taken prisoner. It was made clear by Stalin that Zhukov would die if he failed to protect Moscow. This section is followed by a section looking at the saviour of Moscow and called Strategy, Mud and Logistics. The weather turned and the Germans found themselves trying to wade through seas of thick black sticky mud that defeated just about everything with the exception of horses. The other main issue was the length of supply lines that were just too long for regular supplies to get through. Some of the images here show the issues very well for both sides with lines of Soviet prisoners being taken to the rear and a cruel end in many cases; on the other there is a Stug that has gone sideways in the mud taking out a corduroy road as it went with the snow coming down. It does need to be remembered that the Germans also suffered from having petrol engines rather than diesel.
The section titled Mtsensk, Maloyaroslavets and Mozhaysk looks at the stiffening of Soviet defences added by the weather and poor supply situation the Germans were suffering. The Soviets were still being pushed back but the losses being inflicted on the German forces could not be easily replaced. This section looks at a couple of Soviet commanders that showed skill in their defensive tactics which gave the German panzers a bloody nose. The photographs here again give the viewer an insight into the horror of war in the East.
The section titled 'Out of Breath' covers the last bloody battles in the German advance towards Moscow. Depending on how you think of victory you could consider the Germans the victors in the final stages due to the cost in men and machines to the Soviets, but the Soviets were on home ground and could throw more men and machines into the grinder, the German on the other hand could not afford the losses.
This offering from Casemate is a great title that covers what I consider to be the turning point of the war as regards the German military. The text is well written and a pleasing read that provides information in an easy to absorb manner. The photographs really appealed to me as a modeller. The images of the militaries of both combatants really gets the point across as to how bloody this front was.
Darren Baker looks at an offering from Casemate Publishers covering Operation Typhoon the German Assault on Moscow 1941.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...