Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of World War

Overview

Germany's surprise attack on June 22, 1941, shocked a Soviet Union woefully unprepared to defend itself. The day before the attack, the Red Army still comprised the world's largest fighting force. But by the end of the year, four and a half million of its soldiers lay dead. This new study, based on formerly classified Soviet archival material and neglected German sources, reveals the truth behind this national catastrophe.

Drawing on evidence never before seen in the West, ...

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Overview

Germany's surprise attack on June 22, 1941, shocked a Soviet Union woefully unprepared to defend itself. The day before the attack, the Red Army still comprised the world's largest fighting force. But by the end of the year, four and a half million of its soldiers lay dead. This new study, based on formerly classified Soviet archival material and neglected German sources, reveals the truth behind this national catastrophe.

Drawing on evidence never before seen in the West, including combat records of early engagements, David Glantz claims that in 1941 the Red Army was poorly trained, inadequately equipped, ineptly organized, and consequently incapable of engaging in large-scale military campaigns—and both Hitler and Stalin knew it. He provides a complete and convincing study of why the Soviets almost lost the war that summer, dispelling many of the myths about the Red Army that have persisted since the war and soundly refuting Viktor Suvorov's controversial thesis that Stalin was planning a preemptive strike against Germany.

Stumbling Colossus describes the Red Army's command leadership, mobilization and war planning, intelligence activities, and active and reserve combat formations. It includes the first complete order of battle of Soviet forces on the eve of the German attack, documents the strength of Soviet armored forces during the war's initial period, and reproduces for the first time available texts of Soviet war plans. It also provides biographical sketches of Soviet officers and tells how Stalin's purges of the late 1930s left the Red Army leadership almost decimated.

At a time when the war in eastern Europe is being blamed on a fallen regime, Glantz's book sets the record straight on the Soviet Union's readiness, as well as its willingness, to fight. Boasting an extensive bibliography of Soviet and German sources, Stumbling Colossus is a convincing study that overshadows recent revisionist history and one that no student of World War II can ignore.

This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.

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Editorial Reviews

H-Net Reviews
An important addition to the author's other works on the Eastern Front in the Second World War.
Journal of Military History
David Glantz is the world's top scholar of the Soviet-German War.
The Atlantic
David Glantz is indisputably the West's foremost expert on the subject.
Booknews
Drawing on evidence not yet seen in the West, including combat records of early engagements and formerly classified Soviet archival material, Glantz, founder and former director of the US Army's Foreign Military Studies Office, proves that in 1941 the Red Army was poorly trained, inadequately equipped, disorganized, and incapable of engaging in large-scale military campaigns. He dispels many of the myths about the Red Army that have persisted since the war, and refutes Viktor Suvorov's controversial thesis that Stalin was planning a preemptive strike against Germany. Includes b&w photos and illustrations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700617890
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 2/23/2011
  • Series: Modern War Studies
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 792,463
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David M. Glantz is the author or coauthor of numerous books including To the Gates of Stalingrad: Soviet-German Combat Operations, April-August, 1942; Armageddon in Stalingrad: September-November 1942; When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler; The Battle of Kursk; The Battle for Leningrad, 1941-1944; Zhukov's Greatest Defeat: The Red Army's Epic Disaster in Operation Mars, 1942; and Colossus Reborn: The Red Army at War.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps and Illustrations
Preface
List of Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Red Army Forces 9
2 Command and Control and Command Personnel 25
3 The Soviet Soldier 56
4 Strategic Deployment Planning and Mobilization 82
5 Combat Readiness: Ground Combat Forces 109
6 Combat Readiness: Combat Support and Rear Service Forces 160
7 Air Forces 184
8 Stavka and Strategic Reserves 205
9 Red Army Intelligence on the Eve of War 233
Conclusions 258
App. A Red Army Order of Battle, 22 June to 1 August 1941 261
App. B Red Army 1941 Defense Plans 270
App. C An Opponent's View: German Intelligence Assessments 289
App. D Correlation of Forces on the German-Soviet Front 292
Notes 297
Bibliographical Essay and Selective Bibliography 331
Index 355
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