This title examines the bitter conflict between two highly tactical armies as they battled across challenging terrain to gain control of strategically significant Northern Finland. On the one side were the invading Soviet troops, hoping to liberate an area full of rich resources and littered with bases that that would enable the arrival of Arctic convoys from Britain. They employed naval infantry in abundance, not only to make amphibious landings to capture strategically significant port facilities, but also on deep outflanking manoeuvres inland. Their opponents were the elite Gebirgsjäger from XIX Gebirgskorps; trained to be self-sufficient and resourceful and equipped with a range of bespoke weaponry, this mountain division was ideally suited to operate in the harsh climate. Combat conditions were unique: the extremely rough terrain, laced with bogs, streams, boulder fields, and large rivers, presented a significant challenge in its own right, even without the added threat of attacks by highly trained soldiers. This illustrated title tells the story of this unique and bitter struggle in the far North, an epic battle between two elite forces fighting in a demanding environment. With bird's-eye views and maps of key battlefields, this is a comprehensive guide to one of the most challenging campaigns of the Eastern Front.
Originally published in 1989, this a volume from the Combat Studies Institute "Leavenworth Papers" series. In the fall of 1944, some 56,000 German troops of the XIX Mountain Corps were occupying a strongpoint line just 70 kilometers northwest of Murmansk, about 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. To clear these enemy forces from Soviet territory, STA VKA ordered General K. A. Meretskov's Karelian Front to plan and conduct an offensive, which was to be supported by Admiral A. G. Golovko's Northern Fleet. This Leavenworth Paper explains the planning and conduct of this offensive, known in Soviet military historiography as the Petsamo-Kirkenes Operation. The Soviet force of approximately 96,000 men was organized into a main attack force of two rifle corps, a corps- size economy-of-force formation, and two envelopment forces, one consisting of two naval infantry brigades and the other of two light rifle corps of two brigades each. The Soviets employed over 2,100 tubes of artillery and mortars, used 110 tanks and self-propelled guns, and enjoyed overwhelming air superiority. Engineer special-purpose troops infiltrated up to fifty kilometers behind German forward positions to conduct reconnaissance before the battle. On 7 October 1944, the Soviets began the offensive with a 97,000-round artillery preparation, followed by an infantry attack.
Finland was the only nation with an elected and democratic government to fight on the German side in WWII. Despite being small, poorly armed and made up of conscripts, the Finnish army was probably the most effective fighting force at the time, managing with practically no outside help to keep the mighty Red Army at bay for more than three months during the Winter War of 1939-40. In 1944, the devastating Soviet mass attack against the Finnish Army involved the largest artillery assault of the entire WWII theater of operations up until this point. Nevertheless, the Finns eventually managed to halt the attack. Most English books on Finland in WWII concentrate on the brief Winter War and make very little mention of the country's involvement in the remainder of the war, where it fought for more than three years alongside the Germans against the Soviet Union, and later against Germany in the Lapland War. This book examines this extremely important, highly dramatic and often overlooked and misunderstood chapter of WWII to a broad, English-reading audience. Building on the latest historical research, Claes Johansens ground-breaking work explains how the Finnish war effort was planned and executed, how it was connected to the overall events of the era, and how the waging of a total war can affect a modern democratic society militarily, politically, diplomatically and on various levels of civilian life.
The RIA-Novosti press agency – now known as Sputnik in the West – has one of the best archives of Soviet Second World War photographs and for this remarkable book Alexander Hill has made a superb selection of them. These striking images record vividly, as only photographs can, the brutal conflict on the Eastern Front and the extraordinary experience of the soldiers and civilians who were caught up in it. Every aspect of the struggle is depicted – the fighting on the front lines and behind the lines, aerial combat and naval warfare, the ordeal of living under German occupation, the war industries and Lend-Lease and the massive sacrifices made at every level of Soviet society to defeat the Germans. The photographs and captions take the reader through the entire course of the war, from the Nazi-Soviet Pact and Soviet expansion into Poland, Finland and the Baltic Republics, through Operation Barbarossa and the German advances of 1941 and 1942, to the momentous battles at Stalingrad and Kursk and the sequence of massive offensives mounted by the Red Army that drove the Wehrmacht back to Berlin. The landscapes over which the armies moved, and the shattered towns and cities they left behind, are recorded as are individuals whose faces were captured by the camera during this devastating conflict over seventy years ago.
After the German occupation of 1940, Britain was forced to reassess its relationship with Norway, a country largely on the periphery of the main theatres of the Second World War. Christopher Mann examines British military policy towards Norway, concentrating on the commando raids, deception planning and naval operations.
Thunder in the East, originally published in 2005, is widely regarded as the best short history of the entire Nazi-Soviet military conflict. It tells the story from the pre-war expectations of Hitler and Stalin, through the pivotal battles deep in Russia in 1942-43, and on to the huge Soviet offensives across Eastern Europe in 1944-45. This final 'march of liberation' destroyed the Third Reich and set Europe's history for the next 45 years. The book provides penetrating answers to vital questions: Why did the war in the East develop as it did? Why did Hitler's Wehrmacht lose? Why did the Red Army win, and why did the people of Soviet Russia pay such a high price for victory? The first edition took advantage of the flood of new sources that followed the end of the Soviet era. This second edition takes account of what has been written over the last decade; the Nazi-Soviet war, in all its aspects, has continued to be the subject of extensive and innovative research and heated controversy.
On 22 June 1941, German tanks rolled into the Soviet Union in an offensive which was to claim the lives of nearly 49 million people. Until the opening of Soviet archives, however, and the easing of their ideological grip, 'Operation Barbarossa' remained a mystery.Now, through the distinguished contributions of people like President Yeltsin's adviser, Colonel-General Dmitri Volkogonov, and the German historian Professor Klaus-Jurgen Muller, comes a book which for the first time challenges the official Soviet historiography and offers the first truly global picture of the war in Russia. From Nazi-Soviet relations at the start of the war, and the Soviet Union's response to the German attack, Barbarossa moves to the little examined subject of the invasion's aftermath. And offering dramatic new evidence on Hitler's objectives, Stalin's strategy and readiness for war, the Battle of Moscow, and Japan's wartime policy towards the Soviet Union, this book also deals with the previously taboo subjects of the personalities and politics of collaboration and the massive human toll of the invasion.
No other nation has invested as much intellectual capital in the study of war as has the Soviet Union over the last six decades, and the doctrine, strategy, and tactics that have been developed by Soviet theoreticians are bound to guide any future Soviet military action. The Soviet Art of War makes available to Western readers selections from the most significant and influential Soviet military writings from 1917 to the present. The Scotts have examined thousands of Soviet military publications, including the restricted journal of the Soviet General Staff, Voyennaya Mysl', to make this book the most comprehensive account of Soviet military theory and practice yet published. The papers they have chosen thoroughly illustrate the development of the basic features of Soviet military art, from the days of trench warfare to the era of the nuclear battlefield. These documents demonstrate the emphasis on surprise, on deception, on mass deep penetration of enemy defenses, and on a unified strategy for all services. They also show the forms of military action—destruction and attrition, defense and offense, maneuver and position-as seen through the eyes of leading Soviet marshals, generals, and admirals. The usefulness of this material is further enhanced by the Scotts' commentary and their analysis of each group of readings.