Retreat from Moscow: A New History of Germany's Winter Campaign, 1941-1942

Retreat from Moscow: A New History of Germany's Winter Campaign, 1941-1942

by David Stahel


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


A gripping and authoritative revisionist account of the German Winter Campaign of 1941–1942

Germany’s winter campaign of 1941–1942 is commonly seen as its first defeat. In Retreat from Moscow, a bold, gripping account of one of the seminal moments of World War II, David Stahel argues that instead it was its first strategic success in the East. The Soviet counteroffensive was in fact a Pyrrhic victory. Despite being pushed back from Moscow, the Wehrmacht lost far fewer men, frustrated its enemy’s strategy, and emerged in the spring unbroken and poised to recapture the initiative.

Hitler’s strategic plan called for holding important Russian industrial cities, and the German army succeeded. The Soviets as of January 1942 aimed for nothing less than the destruction of Army Group Center, yet not a single German unit was ever destroyed. Lacking the professionalism, training, and experience of the Wehrmacht, the Red Army’s offensive attempting to break German lines in countless head-on assaults led to far more tactical defeats than victories.

Using accounts from journals, memoirs, and wartime correspondence, Stahel takes us directly into the Wolf’s Lair to reveal a German command at war with itself as generals on the ground fought to maintain order and save their troops in the face of Hitler’s capricious, increasingly irrational directives. Excerpts from soldiers’ diaries and letters home paint a rich portrait of life and death on the front, where the men of the Ostheer battled frostbite nearly as deadly as Soviet artillery. With this latest installment of his pathbreaking series on the Eastern Front, David Stahel completes a military history of the highest order

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374249526
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 11/19/2019
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 177,220
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

David Stahel is the author of over a half dozen books about World War II, several focusing on Nazi Germany’s war against the Soviet Union (including Operation Typhoon and The Battle for Moscow). He completed an MA in war studies at King’s College London in 2000 and a PhD at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2009. In his research he has concentrated primarily on the German military in World War II. Dr. Stahel is a senior lecturer in European history at the University of New South Wales, and he teaches at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

1 Hungry as a Bear: The Soviet Counteroffensive Begins 17

2 Dodging the Soviet Bullet: Army Group Center Holds 37

3 Between the Hammer and the Anvil: Army Group Center Between Hitler and Stalin 55

4 Keeping the Wolf from the Door: The Panzer Groups Retreat from Moscow 75

5 Digging In His Heels: Hitler Orders a Halt 93

6 Put to the Sword: The End of Brauchitsch 115

7 The Bear Without Any Claws: The Inadequate Red Army 133

8 The Battle of Nerves: Army Group Center on the Brink 153

9 The More the Merrier: Christmas 1941 and the Supply Crisis 175

10 Playing with Fire: Guderian Gets Burned 195

11 Turning the Screws: Ninth Army's Near Collapse 215

12 Rank and File: Soldiering in Army Group Center 233

13 Reinforcing Failure: Stalin's January Offensive 251

14 Hanging in the Balance: Fourth Army's Impending Encirclement 271

15 The Flood Gates Are Breaking: Ninth and Fourth Panzer Armies Rupture 291

16 Making a Virtue of Necessity: Surviving the Russian Winter 309

17 Defending the indefensible: Hitler's Last Stand 329

18 Lonely Front: Embattled Homeland 349

19 Retreat and Counterattack: Army Group Center Rebounds 369

20 Departing the Eastern Front: Treacherous Routes of Escape 391

21 The Last Hurrah: The Failure of the Soviet Winter Offensive 409

Conclusion 429

Notes 441

Bibliography 503

Acknowledgments 525

Index 527

Customer Reviews