Friday, February 2, 2007

Battle for the Caucasus by Andrei Grechko

While the battle for Stalingrad was going on another huge offensive was being undertaken by the Germans in the Caucasus to give them the oil that they would eventually need if they wanted to continue the war they had started. Andrei Grechko was one of the commanding generals in the Caucasus and in this book details the actions undertaken by various fronts and battle groups. This is a combination of land armies, flotillas, and air force armies and their struggle against German and Romanian troops for control of Southern Russia.

One can easily get bogged down in all the names of villages, towns, and cities as well as the enormous amounts of troop formations, from battalions, regiments, brigades, divisions, corps, to armies but the overall impression you will be left with is that these battles might have been even more instrumental than Stalingrad was. There were more German divisions with Army Group A which was in the Caucasus and they might have been trapped if it wasn't for the resistance that the 6th Army would eventually put up at Stalingrad after being surrounded. Aside from the general tone there are many personal stories of bravery and heroics on the part of Red Army men and partisans who were working against the Germans.

The recounting of 'Malaya Zemlya' was excellent as well as descriptions of operations in Novorossiisk which witnessed some of the most ferocious fighting during the war. Overall a solid investment for an understanding of a part of the war that most overlook or skim over.

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