Casemate's The Soviet Infantryman on the Eastern Front

Author/Artists: Simon Forte




$28.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 128 pages,  softcover, over 150 photos and illustrations. 8x 10 inches.
ISBN: 978-1-63624-363-4

Despite being fairly well warned of the impending German invasion, the Soviets were surprised by the actual attack. Thanks to the earlier purging of much of the experienced officer and senior NCO corps by Stalin, what troops were on the border and later on in the conflict were poorly led and equally poorly equipped and motivated. The result was pretty much a rout until the Germans were stopped short of Moscow by the Soviet's main ally; the weather.

This provided some room to regroup and, along with the German's lack of experience in the sort of cold and snow they found themselves in, the Soviets slowly pushed them back until both sides were fairly static in the north. In the center and south, however, the Germans continued to push forward. Soviet soldiers found themselves short on materiel though those who survived the various battles earned a great deal of experience. As the war progressed, this experience was what finally turned the tide. One also has to look at the real benefit of Lend Lease in terms of supplying raw materials and especially motorized transport, without which events may have turned out quite differently.

In this book, the author covers a variety of subject relating to the Soviet infantryman. This includes a look at what sort of person was the typical infantryman and the type and amount of training they got. This changed as the war progressed from very little to quite a bit, especially as veterans came back to provide training based on experiences. Next is a section on transportation and other services provided to the soldiers. Frankly the services were fairly minimal, but considering the scope of the war was the best that they could do. Then a section on strategy and tactics along with how this changed over time.

Probably my favorite part of the book is on the life in the field, which was by all accounts fairly harsh compared to other allied armies. This is followed by a conclusion section that wraps everything up. As with all books in this series there are a lot of photographs and charts along with a fair number of patriotic posters. Within the book are small vignette sections on things like Soviet medals, Hitler's directive on the treatment of commissars, and so on. These add quite a bit of spice to the read. In addition there are some color photos of modern re-enactors in typical kit as you can see in some of the cover photos. In all, it is a great book not only for the information it provides, but the sort of inspiration that it gives to modelers. In all, it is one that I very much enjoyed reading and I'm sure you will as well.

December 2023

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