review-barbarossa-airbattle
Barbarossa: The Air Battle July-December 1941
Christer Bergström
review-5


This book continues Christer Bergström’s excellent work covering the Luftwaffe on the eastern theatre of operations. In this book the phase June – December 1941 is described, analysed and summarized.

The book stretches over 144 pages, divided into 18 chapters.
- The Eve of the Attack
- The Opening Round
- The Luftwaffe in the first battles of annihilation
- Soviet bombers versus Panzergruppe 4
- Deadlock in front of Kiev
- Air battle over Smolensk
- The road to Moscow is blocked
- Luftflotte 1 is reinforced
- The Battle of Uman
- Two Air Fleets against Kiev
- Air war over Karelia
- Air combat over Leningrad
- Typhoon against Moscow
- Luftflotte 4 stretched to the limit
- To the Gates of Moscow
- The Soviet Counter-Offensives
- Conclusions
- Aircraft of Barbarossa

Bergström starts chapter one, The Eve of the Attack, with a brief description of the status of both the German and Soviet Air forces before the operation. Also included in this chapter are 3 small sections in which Bergström goes into greater detail regarding for instance the German Aufklärungsgruppe ObdL. This type of sections are interspersed throughout the book often at the end of the chapters. They typically expand on certain subjects that’s been more broadly touched by the general text, but may also contain eyewitness reports or commentary’s to specific situations.

The book continues, in chapter 2 and 3 by detailing the first days of Operation Barbarossa. In these chapters, pure fact mingles with German and Soviet eyewitness accounts. After this, Bergström takes the reader through the different battles. The chapters covers the battles in Kiev, Smolensk, Moscow, Uman, Karelia, Leningrad and a plethora of other places.

The last chapter is comprised by photos of different German and Soviet aircrafts used at the eastern front. I feel this chapter would have benefited from a more expansive description of the aircrafts in question, accompanied by technical data.

The end of the book contains a appendix and a index. The information found in the appendix regards the order of battle, the structure of the airforces and information about the highest military awards. The information in the appendix pertains both German and Soviet forces.

In conclusion, the strength of this book lies in Bergström’s mix of detailed information and first hand accounts. The book is, while very detailed, still easy to read. Therefore I feel confident recommending it to newcomers to the subject as well as more experienced readers.

(Reviewed by Simon O.)
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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