Through the Maelstrom: A Red Army Soldier's War on the Eastern Front, 1942-1945

Overview

The monumental battles of World War II's Eastern Front—Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk—are etched into the historical record. But there is another, hidden history of that war that has too often been ignored in official accounts.

Boris Gorbachevsky was a junior officer in the 31st Army who first saw front-line duty as a rifleman in the 30th Army. Through the Maelstrom recounts his three harrowing years on some of the war's grimmest but forgotten battlefields: the campaign for Rzhev, ...

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Overview

The monumental battles of World War II's Eastern Front—Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk—are etched into the historical record. But there is another, hidden history of that war that has too often been ignored in official accounts.

Boris Gorbachevsky was a junior officer in the 31st Army who first saw front-line duty as a rifleman in the 30th Army. Through the Maelstrom recounts his three harrowing years on some of the war's grimmest but forgotten battlefields: the campaign for Rzhev, the bloody struggle to retake Belorussia, and the bitter final fighting in East Prussia. As he traces his experiences from his initial training, through the maelstrom, to final victory, he provides one of the richest and most detailed memoirs of life and warfare on the Eastern Front.

Gorbachevsky's panoramic account takes us from infantry specialist school to the front lines to rear services areas and his whirlwind romances in wartime Moscow. He recalls the shriek of Katiusha rockets flying overhead toward the enemy and the unforgettable howl of Stukas divebombing Soviet tanks. And he conveys horrors of brutal fighting not recorded previously in English, including his own participation in a human wave assault that decimated his regiment at Rzhev, with piles of corpses growing the closer they got to the German trenches.

Gorbachevsky also records the sufferings of the starving citizens of Leningrad, the savage execution of a Russian scout who turned in false information, the killing of an innocent German trying to welcome the Soviet troops, and a chilling campfire discussion by four Russian soldiers as they compared notes about the women they'd raped. His memoir brims with rich descriptions ofdaily army life, the challenges of maintaining morale, and relationships between soldiers. It also includes candid exposés of the many problems the Red Army faced: the influence of political officers, the stubbornness of senior commanders, the attrition through desertions, and the initial months of occupation in postwar Germany.

Through the Maelstrom features the swiftly moving narrative and rich dialogue associated with the grand style of great Russian literature. Ultimately, it provides a fitting and final testament to soldiers who fought and died in anonymity.

This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700616053
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 11/7/2008
  • Series: Modern War Studies
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,323,565
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Boris Gorbachevsky worked for forty years as a professor, journalist, and editor in Russia before emigrating to the United States in 1994. He previously published the monthly Russian-language journal Vestnik Rod-Ailenda (Rhode Island Herald).
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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 My Initial Military Education, January-May 1942

1 Students and Commanders: January-March 1942 3

2 Graduation: April-May 1942 37

3 Notes on My Way to the Front: May 1942 49

Pt. 2 The Rzhev Meat Grinder: June 1942-March 1943

4 Bivouac: June 1942 65

5 How I Searched for the Truth, and What Became of It: June-July 1942 76

6 In a Rifle Company: July-August 1942 89

7 The First Battle: 24 August 1942 108

8 The 359th Medical-Sanitation Battalion: August-September 1942 121

9 A Rainy Autumn: October-November 1942 148

10 Turncoats: November-December 1942 176

11 A New Assignment: 30-31 December 1942 192

12 I Become the Regimental Youth Leader: January 1943 218

13 Operation "Hunt": February 1943 234

Pt. 3 From Rzhev to the National Border: March 1943-July 1944

14 On the Heels of the Enemy: March 1943 255

15 Moscow: April 1943 262

16 The Liberation of Smolensk: April-September 1943 290

17 The Fighting for Orsha: October 1943-May 1944 302

18 Forward - to the West! June-July 1944 312

Pt. 4 In Poland and East Prussia: July 1944-April 1945

19 "The Untouchables": July-December 1944 333

20 In Poland: January 1945 346

21 In East Prussia: January-February 1945 358

22 To the Shores of the Baltic: March-April 1945 365

23 The Final Steps to Victory: April 1945 377

24 The Last Days of the War: May 1945 386

25 Subjugated Germany - "Guten Tag, Lower Silesia!" May-August 1945 397

Afterword: Reflections on the Fighting for Rzhev 432

Notes 439

Selected Bibliography 445

Index 447

A photograph section follows page 201

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