Friday, February 2, 2007

The Battle for Leningrad, 1941-1944 by David M. Glantz

As with most of the David Glantz's books this is a highly detailed analysis of the situation Leningrad found itself in throughout the Second World War on the Eastern Front. At times day by day accounts of unit movements and operations will make it a bit difficult to follow what was happening but it shouldn't take away from the fact that so much was going on from 1941 when the siege of the city began to 1944 when it was finally broken.

Interestingly enough on my last visit to Russia (summer of 2005) I was in St. Petersburg and our guide told us that Stalin did not give any help to the city rather letting them hold on with the forces available on hand. Rather odd to think this is true when taking account of the 'Road of Life' over Lake Ladoga and the amount of reinforcements that were being brought in. This book will put that myth to rest. There were countless attempts to relieve the city and keep the Germans pinned, losses were high on both sides and to a large degree much of the front was static warfare. This book is a dense study of practically each and every operation undertaken by the Red Army and the results which they brought.

It is given from the Soviet point of view as are all Glantz books but that shouldn't take away from the fact that it is highly factual with many sources including archival to back up everything that is presented. A good companion to this book might be "Hitler's Spanish Legion" which served in the region this book is focused on, that book will the reader a greater understanding of what was happening with individual soldiers on the front line from the German side (although these are Spanish soldiers and the book is somewhat biased for the German side, so a nice rounding out effect to Glantz's work). The reader will understand how devastating round the clock attacks were for the German Army and how eventually the enemy was beaten (to a degree by attrition and to a degree by other means).

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