Ostfront: Hitler's War on Russia 1941-45
Charles Winchester

This book presents a 150-page overview of the campaign in Russia. This statement is certainly not meant to take away from the work. It is a good start to learning about the eastern front.

It is broken up into ten chapters which follow the progress of the war. The first two chapters introduce the two opponents, giving outlines and backgrounds to the Wehrmacht and the Red Army. Briefly, persons and key events from both sides leading up to the war are discussed.

One chapter is devoted to the first few months of the war. The deep drives, and battles of encirclement leading to the outskirts of Moscow are explained. Also discussed are the treatment of prisoners, the “Jewish Problem,” and other atrocities, on both sides.

The next two chapters take the reader from the offensives in the Spring of 1942, through the end of that year, culminating in the destruction of Sixth Army in Stalingrad. Even though there is not much detail, the author is still able to give a good feel for what was going on, on both sides of the lines.

Chapter Six presents a comparison of the forces. More than just the numbers of men, this section also discusses production rates of armor, aircraft, and supplies. Weapons development is touched on briefly, for both sides. Lend-lease is covered, supported by a small section comparing the use of horses for mobility as opposed to the truck fleet the Soviets had. Partisans and local troops recruited by the Germans are also discussed.

The last four chapters follow the Russians into Berlin. This process starts with the battle of Kursk and the retreat to the Dnepr River. From there, the narrative shifts between each of the fronts, as the Russians continue to push the Germans back, culminating in the taking of the famous photograph atop the Reichstag.

Since this book is published by Osprey, there are 70 color illustrations culled from other publications. These encompass uniforms, vehicles, camouflage patterns and aircraft from all the major participants, even the Polish Home Army in Warsaw. There are about 180 photographs, and 10 maps that all combine to lavishly illustrate this book.

This would be a good book for someone that is not overly familiar with the Russian front. While not getting bogged down in minutiae, it does provide a good deal of information.

(Reviewed by Tom Houlihan)

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