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Second World War: Eastern Front
General Works
Winter War
German Army
Red Army

Battles
Berlin
Kharkov 1942
Stalingrad
Warsaw 1944

Books - Second World War - Eastern Front

General Works

Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army from Kursk to Berlin: Vol 1: January 1943-June 1944, Igor Nebolsin. Excellent reference work covering the first eighteen months of the combat career of the 2nd Tank Army, one of the elite formations within the Red Army. Follows the army from its difficult combat debut in the winter offensive of 1942-43, through the Battle of Kursk and onto the victorious Soviet offensives that eventually saw the Army push west across the Soviet border. The first book of this type that I've seen for a Soviet combat unit, and of great value for that, as well as for the massive amount of information that is packed into the text. [read full review]
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Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk 10 July-10 September 1941: Vol3 : The Documentary Companion. Tables, Orders and Reports prepared by participating Red Army forces, David M. Glantz . Contains the supporting evidence to go with the first two narrative volumes in this series. Organised largely to match the chapters in the first two volumes, the aim to allow the reader to confirm Glantz's conclusions. This volume will be of fairly limited appeal, but it will be of great value for the serious student of the fighting on the Eastern Front [read full review]
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Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk 10 July-10 September 1941: Vol 2: The German Advance on the Flanks and the Third Soviet Counteroffensive, 25 August-10 September 1941, David M. Glantz. Makes the case that the repeated Soviet counterattacks around Smolensk played a major part in shaping German strategy in 1941, proving that the Red Army would put up more resistance than expected, and diverting German attention away from Moscow and onto their flanks, where they would win a spectacular victory around Kiev. This volume focuses on the third Soviet counterattack and Guderian's move south towards Kiev. Heavily supported by documents, Glantz makes a very convincing case. [read full review]
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The Oder Front 1945 Vol 2: Documents, Reports and Personal Accounts, A. Stephan Hamilton. A volume of supporting material for volume one's account of the fighting, covering a very wide range of topics. Includes Hitler's official instructions for the Eastern Front, a large section of combat histories of every major unit involved in the fighting, and detailed accounts of each of the sieges of the German 'fortress cities' or Festung on the Oder Front. Supported by a sizable selection of documents on CD [read full review]
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German Infantry vs Soviet Rifleman, Barbarossa 1941, David Campbell. Looks at three clashes between German motorized infantry and Red Army infantry during the battles around Smolensk in 1941, early in the German invasion of the Soviet Union. All three ended as German victories, but the third reveals some of the problems that the Germans would face later in the war, as an outnumbered German unit came under heavy pressure. [read full review]
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On the Precipice: Stalin, the Red Army Leadership and the Road to Stalingrad 1931-42, Peter Mezhiritsky. An account of the road to Stalingrad loosely based around a discussion of Marshal Zhukov's memoirs, but focusing on Stalin's role in the catastrophes that almost overwhelmed the Soviet Union after the German invasion of 1941. Often conversational in tone, and with a tendency to indulge in flights of fantasy and speculation, this is still an entertaining read that provides an interesting point of view on this devastating period. [read full review]
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Where the Iron Crosses Grow - The Crimea 1941-44, Robert Forczyk. A detailed history of the series of complex campaigns fought in the Crimea between 1941 and 1944, including the German conquest, two failed Soviet counterattacks and the eventual liberation of the area in 1944. Introduction also includes an account of the fighting during the Russian Revolution. An excellent history of a more complex campaign than I had realised. [read full review]
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German Infantryman vs Russian Infantryman 1914-15, Robert Forczyk. Looks at the early clashes in East Prussia between the pre-war regulars of the German and Russian armies, a period in which the Russians sometimes performed much better than is generally acknowledged. Looks at one well known and two obscure battles, and produces a balanced view of the conflict on this front. [read full review]
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Nazi Policy on the Eastern Front, 1941: Total War, Genocide and Radicalization, ed. Alex J Kay, Jeff Rutherford and David Stahel. Brings some of the latest international research on the first year of fighting and atrocities on the Eastern Front to the English-language audience. A rather grim read, but no less valuable for that, this traces the terrible way in which the pace and level of atrocities accelerated during the first year of fighting on the Eastern Front, slowly building up to the full scale holocaust [read full review]
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Smolensk under the Nazis: Everyday Life in Occupied Russia, Laurie R. Cohen. A study of the experiences of the citizens of Smolensk, based on a series of interviews with five eyewitnesses to the occupation. A fascinating insight into both everyday life under the Germans and the impact of German atrocities and occupation policies on the people of Smolensk. A very serious and valuable study of a very serious topic. [read full review]
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The White Rose of Stalingrad, Bill Yenne. Fascinating biography of Lidiya Vladimirovona Litvyak, the highest scoring female fighter ace of all time, looking at her life and aviation career, the wider history of female aviation in the Soviet Union and the impact on her of the turbulent history of the Soviet Union (her father was killed in Stalin's purges). [read full review]
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Reign of Terror - The Budapest Memoirs of Valdemar Langlet, 1944-1945, Valdemar Langlet. The memoirs of the leader of the Swedish Red Cross in Hungary, recounting his efforts to save as many people as possible during the chaotic rule of the last pro-German governments, including the vicious 'Arrow Cross' regime. His 'Letters of Protection' saved thousands of lives during this period, and his memoirs discuss how this came about, his other work, and describes life in Hungary under the last pro-German governments and during the start of the Soviet occupation. [read full review]
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Finland's War of Choice - The Troubled German-Finnish Coalition in World War II, Henrik O. Lunde. A history of the Finnish 'Continuation War', which found the Finns fighting alongside the Germans in the Soviet Union, a democracy fighting alongside a dictatorship in perhaps the most brutal conflict in history. Looks at the background to Finnish entry into the war, their confused war aims, the course of the fighting and the eventual Finnish attempts to exit the war and survive as an independent nation. [read full review]
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Hitler's Wave Breaker Concept: An Analysis of the German End Game in the Baltic, Henrik O. Lunde. A detailed examination of the thinking that led to a large German army being trapped on the Baltic coast during the last months of the Second World War, when those experienced troops would have been invaluable in the battle for Berlin. Looks at Hitler's reasons for insisting on defending the Baltic coast and tests them to see if they were valid. [read full review]
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Images of War: Armoured Warfare on the Eastern Front, Anthony Tucker-Jones. A photographic guide to the development of armoured warfare on the Eastern Front, with an impressive selection of photos of German and Soviet armoured vehicles, all supported by accurate informative captions and useful chapter introductions, placing the pictures in context. [read full review]
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Motherland: Part One, Through Hunger and War, Natan Gimelfarb. Part one of the autobiography of a Jewish director living in the Soviet Union, covering his childhood, wartime experiences and student days. The author grew up in the Ukraine, suffered during the pre-war famines, and was forced to flee east ahead of the advancing Germans. A period in the Red Army ended when he was seriously wounded, and the final part of the book looks at his experiences as a wartime student.  [read full review]
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Through Hitler's Back Door - SOE Operations in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, 1939-1945, Alan Ogden. A look at some of the most obscure operations carried out by SOE, in areas that became part of the Soviet sphere of influence before falling behind the iron curtain at the end of the war, after having sided with the Germans during the fighting. [read full review]
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Prisoner of the Gestapo: A Memoir of Survival and Captivity in Wartime Poland, Tom Firth. A tale of survival in wartime Poland in which the author saw in the early Russian occupation of eastern Poland, occupied Warsaw, the inside of a Gestapo prison, the front line in 1944 and the paranoid workings of the Soviet state at the end of the war. An enthralling tale of the best and worst of humanity [read full review]
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Red Storm on the Reich , Duffy, C., Routledge, London. 1991.
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The Road to Berlin , Erickson, J., Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1983 (Reprinted by Grafton Books, 1985 and Cassell Military, 2003).
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The Russo-German War 1941 45 , Seaton, A., Arthur Baker Ltd, London, 1971.
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The Russo-German Conflict 1941 – 1945 , Clark, A. Barbarossa, Hutchinson & Co, London, 1965 (Reprinted by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995 and Cassell Military, 2002). A classic work by Alan Clark, later to become a Conservative MP famous for his diaries.
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Stalingrad to Berlin: The German Defeat in the East , Ziemke, E., US Army Center of Military History, Washington DC, 1968.
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Last Days of the Reich , Lucas, J., Grafton, London, 1987.
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Winter War

Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-1945, Claes Johansen. A wide ranging examination of Finland's two wars with the Soviet Union, the period leading up to the Winter War, the uneasy peace, and the aftermath of the wars, looking at the political debate within Finland, the fighting, and the wider impact of the war in the other Nordic countries. Especially interesting for the light it shines on the rather murky period between the two wars, where parts of the Finnish government entered into a de-facto alliance with Germany without the authority to do so, and on the varying Soviet aims. [read full review]
The Winter War, Eloise Engle and Lauri Paananen . A classic account of this early offshoot of the Second World War, written largely from the Finnish point of view (perhaps inevitably given the limited amount of reliable Soviet sources in the 1970s). Although more recent works exist, this is an excellent starting point and gives a good feel for the impact of the war on the Finns. [read full review]
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War of the White Death: Finland Against The Soviet Union 1939-40, Bair Irincheev. A detailed military history of the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union, based on an impressive knowledge of both side's archives. Focuses almost entirely on the fighting on land, with some very detailed accounts of individual battles. [read full review]
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German Army

Hitler's Panzer Armies on the Eastern Front, Robert Kirchubel. A 'unit history' written on the largest scale, tracing the campaigns fought by the four Panzer Armies on the Eastern Front, from their roles in the early German victories, to their eventual defeat and destruction in the ruins of the Reich. A very useful contribution to the literature on the Eastern Front. [read full review]
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Men of Steel: 1st SS Panzer Corps, The Ardennes and Eastern Front 1944-45, Michael Reynolds. A hugely detailed account of the battles fought by the 1st SS Panzer Corps in the last few months of the Second World War, covering its role in the Ardennes offensive in the west and the last German offensive of the war in Hungary. [read full review]

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Sniper Ace: From the Eastern Front to Siberia, Bruno Sutkus, An account of the life of one of the most successful German snipers on the Eastern Front and of the decades he spent in exile in the Soviet Union, of most value for the picture it paints of the fate of many German prisoners of war when they fell into Soviet hands at the end of the war. [read full review]

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Eastern Inferno, The Journals of a German Panzerjäger on the Eastern Front, 1941-1943, Hans Roth. The remarkable journals of Hans Roth, who fought with an anti-tank unit attached to a German infantry division on the Eastern Front from 1941 until his death some time in 1944. Roth took part in the initial invasion, the battle for Kiev and the shattering retreat from Stalingrad, before disappearing during the destruction of Army Group Centre in 1944. [read full review]
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Images of War: Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's Invasion of Russia, Hans Seidler. A collection of German photographs from the first six months of the invasion of the Soviet Union, from the triumphal advances in the summer to the first dreadful experiences of the Russian winter. A good selection of high quality pictures, showing the German army at the height of its powers and confidence. [read full review]
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Panzers on the Eastern Front, Erhard Raus, ed. Peter Tsouras. A series of accounts of German successes on the Eastern Front written for the US military by General Erhard Raus during the 1950s. A very valuable historical source, well presented by the editor, and of great value for anyone with an interest in the fighting on the Eastern Front. [read full review]
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Images of War: Blitzkrieg Russia, Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell. Five photo albums from the first year of the war in Russia in 1941, the period of German success. Four are anonymous, one named although without many details about the original owner. Each illustrates a slightly different aspect of the German army during this last period of major victories. [read full review]
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Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front, Günter K. Koschorrek. Based on diaries and notes taken during the war, these memoirs tell the story of one German soldier during the long years of retreat that began at Stalingrad and ended in this case on the Baltic front. Gives a ground level view of the brutal nature of the fighting on the Eastern Front [read full review]
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Images of War: Final Days of the Reich, Ian Baxter. Contains some interesting pictures of the Germany army of 1945, with a mix of pictures of late-war military equipment and the troops themselves, many obviously posed but some that give a real feel of an army in collapse. Let down somewhat by the quality of the text, but still of interest. [read full review]
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The Fatal Decisions: First Hand Accounts by Hitler's Generals, ed. William Richardson and Seymour Freidlin. Six accounts written by German army generals ten years after the end of the Second World War presenting their view of a series of the main events of the war, from the Battle of Britain to the Battle of the Bulge via Moscow, Stalingrad, El Alamein and D-Day. [read full review]
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Red Army

The Red Army at War, Artem Drabkin. An impressive collection of rare photographs showing the everyday life of the Red Army soldier during the Second World War, looking at every aspect of life in the army apart from combat, and with some useful captions and first hand accounts from veterans. [read full review]
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Guns against the Reich - Memoirs of an Artillery Officer on the Eastern Front, Petr Mikhin. The autobiography of a Soviet artillery officer who fought in front of Moscow, at Stalingrad and Kursk, and on the long advance into central Europe. This is an excellent account of life on the front line on the Eastern Front, and a valuable contribution to our understanding of life in the Red Army. [read full review]
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World War II Soviet Armed Forces (1), 1939-41, Dr Nigel Thomas. This is a fairly traditional Osprey Man at Arms book looking at the soviet armed forces during the early stages of the Second World War 1939-1941. The book gives a brief outline of the early course of the war, the purges of high command, and the land forces' main campaigns, with sections on the Air force, Navy and NKVD uniforms. The book is short and gives an introduction to a big subject with excellent detail on uniforms and organisation at this early stage. [read full review]
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The Soviet Union at War 1941-1945, ed. David R. Stone. An examination of the impact of the German invasion on the Soviet Union, and how effective the various elements of the Soviet system were in fighting the war. Topics covered include the collective farming system, Soviet industry, the structure and attitudes of the military, the role of Women and the fate of non-Russians on both sides of the front line. [read full review]
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Panzer Destroyer - Memoirs of a Red Army Tank Commander, Vasiliy Krysov. The memoirs of a Soviet tank and self-propelled gun commander who fought at Stalingrad, Kursk and during the long Soviet offensives that followed, ending the war in East Prussia, and who was lucky to survive for so long, losing his crew and his commanding officer, and being wounded four times. Provides a memorable picture of life in the Red Army during some of the titanic battles on the Eastern Front. [read full review]
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Barbarossa Through Soviet Eyes: The First Twenty-Four Hours, Artem Drabkin, Alexei Isaev, Christopher Summerville. Uses eyewitness accounts to describe the impact of the first twenty-four hours of the German invasion in the Soviet Union. Mostly covered the army and air force, but also has good sections on the navy and on the impact of the news well behind the front lines. [read full review]
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The Red Army at War, Artem Drabkin. An impressive collection of rare photographs showing the everyday life of the Red Army soldier during the Second World War, looking at every aspect of life in the army apart from combat, and with some useful captions and first hand accounts from veterans. [read full review]
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Battles

Operation Barbarossa - The German Invasion of Soviet Russia, Robert Kirchubel. An excellent operational history of Barbarossa based on the three Osprey Campaign books, but with the text entirely reorganised and expanded where necessary. Supported by the usual excellent Osprey maps and illustrations, the result is a detailed but readable account of Operation Barbarossa, the biggest German gamble of the Second World War. [read full review]
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Hitler's Final Fortress: Breslau 1945, Richard Hargreaves. An account of the longest siege of any German city during 1945, the four month siege of Breslau, which ended four days after the fall of Berlin. Gives a clear picture of the desperate struggle for the city, the ghastly conditions within the besieged 'fortress' and the heavy cost suffered by the Soviet and Polish troops attacking the city. [read full review]
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Images of War: Battle of Kursk 1943, Hans Seidler. A collection of photographs showing the German Army during the Battle of Kursk, the great Soviet victory of 1943 that ended the last major German offensive in the east. Focuses largely on the German weapons and vehicles that took part in the battle, with some pictures of the wider battlefield. [read full review]
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The Siege of Kustrin 1945: Gateway to Berlin, Tony le Tissier. An account of the siege of Kustrin, a town on the Oder that was held against the Soviets for two months early in 1945. Told largely from the German point of view, and as a result gives an impression of what it was like to be trapped inside a besieged town. [read full review]
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Images of War: Leningrad, Hero City, Nik Cornish. A pictorial history of the long siege of Leningrad, illustrated with a well-chosen and well balanced mix of pictures from both sides of the line. Supported by a brief account of the siege that follows both side's activities and plans and how events elsewhere on the front affected the situation around Leningrad. [read full review]
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Berlin

Images of War: Berlin, Victory in Europe, Nik Cornish. A pictorial guide to the Soviet offensives that broke through the last German defensive lines in the East and the desperate battle for Berlin, the last major battle of the war against Nazi Germany. A good selection of Soviet and German photographs supported by useful captions and a concise account of the campaign. [read full review]
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SS Charlemagne, Tony Le Tissier. An account of the military record of the French SS division, SS Charlemagne, as it fought in the German retreat towards Berlin and the final dramatic battle for that city. Told largely in the words of the general commanding the remains of the division in Berlin, and the captain in command of the remaining battalion, this account focuses tightly on one small unit's experiences of that battle. [read full review]
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Race for the Reichstag - the 1945 Battle for Berlin, Tony Le Tissier. A detailed but still coherent and readable account of the desperate fighting around and in Berlin in April and May 1945 (and within the two high commands), looking at events from both the Soviet and German sides and supported by some useful maps [read full review]
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Berlin 1945: End of the Thousand Year Reich, Peter Antill. This book describes the events in the climactic battle for Berlin, looking at the Soviet advance towards Berlin and the Germans' final resistance. Illustrated with a host of maps, colour plates and photographs, it provides a vivid portrayal of the death throes of the Third Reich and the end of the war in Europe, exploring the strategy of both sides and the tactics of impromptu urban warfare. For the Soviets, Berlin was the ultimate prize after almost four years of bloodshed but the cost of taking the city would prove to be staggering. [see more]
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The Berlin Bunker , O'Donnell, J., Arrow, London, 1979.
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The Fall of Berlin , Read, A & Fisher, D., Hutchinson / BCA, London, 1992.
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Race for the Reichstag , Le Tissier, T., Frank Cass, London, 1999.
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Beevor, Anthony, Battle for Berlin
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Berlin Dance of Death , Helmut Altner, Casemate, Havertown, PA, 2002.
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The Russians and Berlin 1945 , Kuby, E., Heinemann, London, 1968.
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Battlefield Berlin: Siege, Surrender and Occupation 1945 , Slowe, P & Woods, R., Robert Hale, London, 1988.
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Stalingrad

Stalingrad Battle Atlas Volume 1 (13 September-13 October 1942), Anton Joly. Detailed maps, orders of battles and combat strengths for the first part of the Battle of Stalingrad, from the first fighting in the suburbs to the eve of the biggest German attack of the battle. A very well researched book that will be of great value to anyone studying this battle. [read full review]
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Stalingrad Battle Atlas Volume 2 (14 October-18 November 1942), Anton Joly. Detailed maps, orders of battles and combat strengths for the second part of the Battle of Stalingrad, from the largest German attack of the battle to the start of the great Soviet counterattack that trapped the Germans. A very well researched book that will be of great value to anyone studying this battle. [read full review]
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Disaster at Stalingrad - An Alternate History, Peter Tsouras. A thoroughly entertaining novel of alternative history imagining a very different version of 1942 that ends with a crushing German victory at Stalingrad at the end of a year in which a whole series of decisions and events across the world work out differently to reality. Flawed as a work of counter-factual history by the sheer amount of changes to events, but a very entertaining novel of alternative history. [read full review]
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Stalingrad The Infernal Cauldron, Stephen Walsh. A good medium length of the battle of Stalingrad, covering the build-up to the German siege, the siege itself, the Soviet counterattack and German attempts to break through to the trapped Sixth Army. Well illustrated and supported by clear useful maps both of the fighting in the city itself and of the wider campaigns. [read full review]
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Sacrifice on the Steppe, Hope Hamilton. The tragic tale of the Italian Alpine Corps sent by Mussolini to fight alongside the Germans in Russia, their disastrous  retreat after the Soviet counterattack at Stalingrad, and the fate of the many men who were captured by the Soviets, from the early poor treatment to the later political indoctrination. [read full review]
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Notes of a Russian Sniper, Vassili Zaitsev. An utterly compelling account of the battle of Stalingrad as seen by Vassili Zaitsev, the sniper whose exploits inspired the film 'Enemy at the Gates'. A very well written memoir that gives the reader a clear idea of the nature of the fighting in the ruins of the city, and of the skills needed by a sniper in that environment [read full review]
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Stalingrad 1942, Peter Antill. One of the most monumental and widely discussed battles in the history of World War II, Stalingrad was a major defeat for Germany on the Eastern Front. The book provides a detailed breakdown of the armies on both sides, discusses the merits of the commanders, the ways in which these influenced the battle and the Germans allowed themselves to be diverted from their main objective and concentrate such large resources on what was, initially anyway, a secondary target. [see more]
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Stalingrad: How the Red Army triumphed, Michael J. Jones. Focusing on the first phase of the battle - the German assault on the city - this book attempts to discover how the outnumbered defenders of Stalingrad managed to hold on until the Soviet counter-attack turned the tables on the Germans. A valuable attempt to uncover the true events of a battle often hidden behind a layer of Soviet propaganda [read full review]
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Warsaw 1944

Warsaw 1944 - An Insurgent's Journal of the Uprising, Zbigniew Czajkowski. The wartime journal of a teenage Polish fighter who took part in the Warsaw uprising of 1944 and was one of only three in his ten-strong squad to survive the battle. Written just after the fighting it takes us down into the streets and sewers of Warsaw as the brave but doomed uprising struggled to hold off the Germans in the vain hope that the Soviets would liberate the city. [read full review]
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Warsaw 1944: Poland's Bid for Freedom, Robert Forczyk. A fascinating Osprey covering a famous but neglected event in the Second World War. It is balanced, highlighting not only the bravery of the Polish resistance but also their shortcomings which were to hinder any chance of success. The main battle is divided nicely and this helps to make clear what a chaotic and confusing conflict was at times. A very good read and of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about urban resistance warfare. [see more]
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Kharkov 1942

Kharkov 1942 - The Wehrmacht strikes back, Robert Forczyk. Despite the subtitle this actually looks at two offensives in the Kharkov area in the spring of 1942 - an initially successful Soviet offensive that stretched the German lines and a pre-planned German blow that took advantage of the Soviet move to inflict a heavy defeat on Timoshenko's armies and weaken the Soviet southern armies in advance of the main German offensive of 1942. [read full review]
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