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Posted November 6, 2007
Robert Kirchubel¿s third volume of Operation Barbarossa 1941 Army Group Center is a wonderful addition to his Russian-German War trilogy. Taken together, the novice as well as the informed reader, will have an exceptional overview of the Barbarossa events. The combination of a well written text, photographs, paintings, charts, and 2 and 3D maps all add to the enjoyment of this 96 page effort. Divided into five main chapters, Operation Barbarossa 1941 (3) follows a systematic and logical flow. After a few pages of Introduction and a one-page Chronology (February to November 1941), Mr. Kirchubel discusses German and Soviet plans and opposing commanders. Critics might disagree with the author¿s choices of the commanders profiled. However, the mini-biographies of the German and Soviet personalities who began the campaign are but stepping stones to stimulate a reader to explore their backgrounds further. Mr. Kirchubel¿s discussion of the Opposing Armies is both succinct and enlightening. The photo caption on page 21 is just one example of the author¿s style: ¿Sixty of the 73 officers of Infantry Regiment 12 (31st Infantry Division), photographed in April 1941 at Kutno in occupied Poland. By December the regiment would be on its fourth commander since the start of the campaign its losses would also include the two majors shown here, two of the three captains, one of the five physicians, and 27 of the 56 lieutenants.¿ The author devotes approximately 60 pages to the frontier battles, Bialystock and Minsk salients, the encirclement battle at Smolensk, Soviet counteroffensives, Operation Typhoon with the capture and destruction of Soviet forces around Viazma and Bryansk, as well as the final push of German forces toward Moscow. The amount of detail, while not overwhelming, is more than enough for the general reader to absorb. Mr. Kirchubel weaves his narrative in a direct and comprehensive manner that will assist anyone interested in the Barbarossa campaign not only to understand the sequences of events, but to enjoy its contents. When the author states (at page 56) that Hoth¿s 7th Panzer Division closed on Smolensk on July 13, separated by Guderian by 25 miles, and two days later ¿Rommeled¿ into Yartsevo, one can visualize the speed of this operation. Much has been written on Operation Barbarossa over the last 60 years. Few pack as satisfying a punch as Mr. Kirchubel¿s trilogy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.