Stalingrad: How the Red Army Survived the German Onslaught

Stalingrad: How the Red Army Survived the German Onslaught

by Michael K. Jones
     
 

This new history of Stalingrad offers a radical reinterpretation of the most crucial battle in World War II. Focusing on the first half of this epic clash, it reveals new information on how nearly the Germans succeeded, and the incredible courage of the Soviet fighters who held on.

Red Army chief of staff Vasilevsky called August 23, 1942, when the Germans reached

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Overview

This new history of Stalingrad offers a radical reinterpretation of the most crucial battle in World War II. Focusing on the first half of this epic clash, it reveals new information on how nearly the Germans succeeded, and the incredible courage of the Soviet fighters who held on.

Red Army chief of staff Vasilevsky called August 23, 1942, when the Germans reached the Volga, “an unforgettably tragic day.” The Russians had never been able to stop a good-weather German offensive, and it appeared that Stalin’s namesake city would be lost. Indeed, Soviet armies on all sides were falling back before Hitler’s summer offensive, and only one, the 62nd Army, was assigned to hold out in the city to defy the Wehrmacht. Who could have guessed that this sole force, surrounded on three sides, the river at its back, hiding out in ruins, would create such a bleeding sore that the Wehrmacht was never to recover?

Combining eyewitness testimony of Red Army fighters with fresh archive material, this book gives dramatic insight into the thinking of Soviet commanders and the desperate mood of ordinary soldiers. Col-General Anatoly Mereshko, a staff officer to 62nd Army commander Chuikov, worked closely with the author and provided testimony that is entirely new. His accounts of the battle are supported by other key veterans and recently released war diaries and combat journals.

For three months in Fall 1942 the Germans held a preponderance of force in Stalingrad as they tried to root out the diehards of 62nd Army. The latter force was nearly annihilated on several occasions, as guns from across the river failed to stem the German attacks and the Luftwaffe plunged into the chaos, bombing at will. The Russians could only respond by going underground, in caves near the river and in the labrynthine ruins of the city itself. Yet, as the rest of the Motherland held its breath, the small, surrounded force—motivated by inspirational leadership as well as a grave sense of the battle’s vital importance—continued to deny the Nazis a victory.

As we now know, Stalin was not idle while the courageous remnants of 62nd Army continued to defend his city. On November 19 and 21, new Soviet armies in overwhelming strength counterattacked across the Volga, turning the tables on the Germans to begin one of the most pitiful sagas in Western history.

The more famous siege of the Germans, concluding on February 2, 1943, has dominated the literature of Stalingrad. This book reminds us that the greater time-line of the battle consisted of the Russians besieged, and just barely holding on.

REVIEWS

“Of all the books written about Stalingrad, there have not been many like this one. . . . Michael Jones probes the minds of men at the edge of the abyss, digging into the psychological factors that allowed them to withstand hopeless odds and untold horrors, and still emerge victorious.”
—STONE & STONE
"...a very valuable piece of work that helps to reveal a more accurate view of the fighting on the Eastern Front"
History of War

“…outstanding new book…important for two reasons: it provides a previously too-often ignored Soviet point of view of t he battle; and the compelling eyewitness testimonies of the Red Army Veterans who fought it cuts through much of the Communist era mythmaking about how the battle actually unfolded…compelling reading…”
Armchair General

“…a compelling Military history and analysis that lives up to its title…one of a kind testimony grounded in the words of the people who witnessed history itself.”
The Wisconsin Book Watch 12/2007

“Although the epic quality of the battle has attracted many historians…, Jones' contribution is special for two reasons. First, he seems to have been able to dig deeper into the Soviet archives than previous authors, and he got some extraordinary testimony from survivors. Second, he addresses the core question of just what it was that motivated these men to keep on fighting, given the low probability of survival and the terrible conditions. The order to hold every position until death was well known, but Jones demolishes the notion that the soldiers fought solely under duress. …compelling and moving.”
Foreign Affairs, March/ April 2008

"... compelling, draws us into a vivid, illuminating account of how much of a "near run thing" the legendary Red Army victory was..."
World War II Magazine, 04/2008

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Editorial Reviews

History of War
�a very valuable piece of work that helps to reveal a more accurate view of the fighting on the Eastern Front.
The Wisconsin Book Watch
. . . a compelling Military history and analysis that lives up to its title . . . one of a kind testimony grounded in the words of the people who witnessed history itself.
—J. Cox
Armchair General
. . . outstanding new book . . . important for two reasons: it provides a previously too-often ignored Soviet point of view of t he battle; and the compelling eyewitness testimonies of the Red Army Veterans who fought it cuts through much of the Communist era mythmaking about how the battle actually unfolded . . . compelling reading...
—Colonel, ret. J. Morelock
Second World War Books STONE & STONEs STONE & STONE
Of all the books written about Stalingrad, there have not been many like this one. . . . Michael Jones probes the minds of men at the edge of the abyss, digging into the psychological factors that allowed them to withstand hopeless odds and untold horrors, and still emerge victorious.

Foreign Affairs
Although the epic quality of the battle has attracted many historians . . . , Jones' contribution is special for two reasons. First, he seems to have been able to dig deeper into the Soviet archives than previous authors, and he got some extraordinary testimony from survivors. Second, he addresses the core question of just what it was that motivated these men to keep on fighting, given the low probability of survival and the terrible conditions. The order to hold every position until death was well known, but Jones demolishes the notion that the soldiers fought solely under duress. . . . compelling and moving.

World War II Magazine
... compelling, draws us into a vivid, illuminating account of how much of a near run thing" the legendary Red Army victory was . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932033724
Publisher:
Casemate Publishers
Publication date:
11/26/2007
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,268,103
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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