Osprey's Retribution: The Soviet Reconquest of the Ukraine
472 pages256 pages, hardbound
This is a prepublication copy and at nearly 500 pages of text, is a book that takes a long time to read. After the Kursk defeat, the German army was fairly much on the defensive for the rest of the war. Kursk was hugely expensive in terms of equipment and manpower. This was never really brought back up to specs and the Germans fought most of the rest of the war with undersize units and inadequate equipment in terms of numbers.
Meanwhile the Soviets had learned from the first two years of the war. During that time, most of their obsolete and obsolescent equipment had been destroyed, and while the loss in manpower was horrendous, those that survived formed the basis for new units that were provided with a cadre of experienced troops. It was also a time when their ineffective leadership was removed by those who had success on the battlefield. It also taught the Soviets to adapt their tactics to ones that benefitted their troops.
In this book, the author had done a superlative job of telling the story from both the Soviet and the German side. The tale is extremely well detailed and covers all of the major and minor battles as the Red Army slowly pushes back the Germans. There are tales of bravery and sacrifice as well as missed opportunities and failures in leadership that allowed one side or the other to either push forward or stop an onslaught.
One thing that really sticks in one's mind while reading this is that the Soviets never really stopped attacking. This in itself was part of their strategy that never gave the Germans a chance to rest and re-equip. As the Germans got weaker, the Soviets grew in strength and despite the occasional technical superiority shown by German weapons, the Soviet juggernaut continued.
It makes for a gripping book and one that will provide hours of enjoyable reading. A couple of comments on the book itself. It has a goodly number of maps and no images. This latter may be due to it being an advanced copy. Well worth picking up and one I have no trouble recommending to you.
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