Sunday, February 4, 2007

Storm of Steel: The Development of Armor Doctrine in Germany and the Soviet Union, 1919-1939 by Mary R. Habeck

Very good analysis of the two sides and their attitudes and ideas toward tanks and what could be expected in future wars. What was very interesting was seeing how both German and Soviet cavalry officers tried to prove that cavalry would always be needed and the armored forces wouldn't prove to be as useful and instrumental as those who advocated armored forces thought.

Each side took much from the British and each other during their agreement to build a tank school at Kazan, on Soviet territory, and train both Soviet and German soldiers there with instructions from German specialists. From the Soviet side one can follow the progress in tank industry and how it became entangled in the purges as well as the consequences that followed the purges, for both the industry and the army.

The fall of Tukhachevsky, among others, is explained and put into context how Soviet 'deep battle' and 'deep operations' ideas were put on ice while commanders re-examined their positions and went on board with those who were against Tukhachevsky, to save themselves from the purges. Lastly would be the wars that raged throughout Europe before the two sides went to war in 1941, for the Soviets at Lake Khasan and Khalkhin-Gol, for the Germans in Poland and in France, as well as both sides in Spain, etc.

A very good investment for those interested in what both sides were doing with tanks during the inter-war years. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because it got repetative and dry at times. I skimmed the epilogue and a few pages of the last chapter only because the information had already been gone over and the problems examined already mentioned numerous times before throughout the book.

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