HISTORY “By December 1942, the German 6th Army was surrounded in Stalingrad, with all but one of its supply lines severed. The only supplies that were still reaching the isolated German forces were those delivered by air. Seeking to deny them this last lifeline, the Soviets launched a raid against the primary operating base for the airlift efforts – the airfield at Tatsinskaya. The 24th Tank Corps was committed to the mission, and attacked the airfield on Christmas Eve. Although the Soviet tankers succeeded in destroying many Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground, they soon found themselves trapped behind the German lines and facing an assault from a German force that included elements of two panzer divisions.”
** Author’s words quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Red Christmas – The Tatsinskaya Airfield Raid 1942 as Number 30 in their Raid series. It is a paperback book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, black and white and color illustrations, information charts, maps, a bird’s eye view, first-hand accounts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-586-1.
• Initial Strategy
• The Plan
• The Raid
- The Approach March, 16 - 23 December 1942
- The Attack, 24 December
- The German Reaction, 24 December
- Last Stand, 25 - 27 December
- Exfiltration, 28 December
The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. I did notice grammatical errors as I read through the book; however they are very minimal and take absolutely nothing from the narrative. Robert Forczyk covers the December 1942 Soviet attack on the Tatsinskaya Airfield very well. He discusses the Raid from its origins and planning, to the attack and fighting, through to the end of the raid and its outcome and results. The Soviet and German actions taken are detailed which helps the reader gain an excellent overview of the raid. It is obvious that Forczyk has gone to great lengths to research all aspects of the Tatsinskaya Airfield Raid. Anyone interested in actions on the Eastern Front during World War II will find this book very informative and interesting.
There are a total of 46 black and white photographs and one color photograph featured throughout the book. Most of the photographs are nice and clear, however there are some that have an out-of-focus look to them and some appear to be too dark. However, this is typical for this period of history and consideration needs to be given to the fact that the photographs are around 70 years old. With that said, the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book and provide a visual guide for the actions described in the book. They will also prove valuable to the military vehicle, aircraft and diorama modelers.
There are two color illustrations by Johnny Shumate that are very well done and nicely detailed. They are of the fighting at the airfield, and I have provided scans of both of the illustrations. There are also two black and white illustrations provided. They are of Russian Commander Vasily M. Badanov and an American made A-20C bomber in use by the Soviets.
There are two individual profiles provided and they are of the Soviet commanders Vasily M. Badanov (1895 – 1971) and Petr P. Pavlov (1898 – 1962).
There are three color maps provided. They are of:
• The Approach March, 16 – 23 December 1942
• Movement to the Objective
• Isolation and Infiltration
There is also a Bird’s Eye View type of map illustration. It is titled The Tatsinskaya Airfield Raid December 24, 1942 and shows German positions, Soviet movements and also events during the raid.
THE INFORMATION CHARTS
There is one informational chart provided. It provides detailed information on Tank Strength in the 24th Tank Corps, December 1942.
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs well. They cover things such as the individuals and their units shown, the equipment and weapons, and the uniform items. Again, I did notice a few grammatical errors as I read through the captions but these are few.
This has nothing to do with Robert Forczyk’s book but for those of you who are video game enthusiasts and players, the Tatsinskaya Airfield Raid is featured in the video game “Call of Duty – Finest Hour”. I have played the game myself and it places you in a Soviet tank during the attack. Like I mentioned, it has nothing to do with this book but I thought it was worth mentioning.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. It details the Tatsinskaya Airfield Raid in 1942 very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
You can take a look inside of the book on the Amazon website.http://www.amazon.com/Red-Christmas-Tatsinskaya-Airfield-Raid/dp/1849085862#_