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There was one point when Nazi Germany had its best chance of winning the Second World War on the Eastern Front – in mid-October 1941. Most of the Red Army's forces before Moscow had been smashed or encircled, no reserves were available to defend the capital.
This was Hitler's best opportunity to knock out the Soviet Union. All that stood in his way were a handful of Soviet rifle divisions, tank brigades and hastily assembled militia. According to German accounts, theirspearheads were stopped by the mud, but a close examination of German records undercuts this version of events. Instead it is clear that it was the resistance of this handful of Red Army men and women that halted their drive, along with German planning based on wishful thinking.
This is the dramatic story that Jack Radey and Charles Sharp tell in this compelling study of a pivotal battle in the struggle for supremacy in the East. Using archival records from bothsides, in graphic day-by-day detail, they reconstruct a previously unstudied aspect of the Battle of Moscow. They show how the German plan to encircle seven Soviet armies on the northern flank of their advance would have trapped over a quarter of a million Red Army troops, and cleared their way to the capital. But the Soviet response, poorly coordinated and depending on makeshift forces scraped together from their shattered armies, drove back the German attack. The gripping narrative describes both sides of the wild battle, with open flanks, attacks and counterattacks and extraordinary planning and logistical blunders, and it gives a vivid close-up of the combatants and commanders in action.
Jack Radey and Charles Sharp's book is a remarkable new contribution to our understanding of the initial stages of the war on the Eastern Front and the breakdown of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa.
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