Kharkov 1942: Anatomy of a Military Disaster Through Soviet Eyes

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-01-07
  • Publisher: Ian Allen Pub

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In May 1942 the powerful German Wehrmacht and the massive Soviet Red Army were engaged in a bitter struggle. The initially rapid advance of the Wehrmacht deep into the Soviet Union against the Red Army had been halted by the spring of 1941. Red Army counteroffensives had stopped the German advance at Moscow by the spring of 1942 and the Soviet leadership was convinced the Wehrmacht was fatally stretched. A counterthrust by the Red Army at the southern end of the front line, near the town of Kharkov, would, they imagined, be a vital step in pushing the German Army back. The reality was very different. Soviet overconfidence meant that hundreds of thousands of their soldiers lost their lives in one of the most catastrophic offensives in Russian military history. For over half a century the Soviets kept the scale of their defeat secret. Only in the last decade were the documents made generally available.

Author Biography

For over half a century the Soviets kept the scale of their defeat secret. Their victory at the third battle of Kharkov the following year also enabled them to obscure this event. Only in the last decade were the documents made generally available for the first time to reveal the true story of the battle. David M. Glantz, a leading expert on Soviet military strategy and operational art, has drawn on contemporary reports and documents to present a detailed analysis of Soviet military techniques and the scale of the Soviet defeat at Kharkov.

Table of Contents

List of Appendicesp. 6
List of Mapsp. 8
Glossary and Abbreviationsp. 9
Prefacep. 12
Introductionp. 19
Preludep. 21
Planningp. 26
Overview: The Strategic Debatep. 26
Overview: The Soviet Assessmentp. 51
Area of Operationsp. 84
Strategic Aspectsp. 84
Operational and Tactical Aspectsp. 87
Opposing Forcesp. 91
Soviet Order of Battlep. 91
Soviet Force Structurep. 96
The Southwestern Direction Leadersp. 104
The Southwestern Direction Forcesp. 111
German Order of Battlep. 149
German Force Structurep. 152
Correlation of Forcesp. 159
The Course of Combat Operationsp. 163
First Stage: Southwestern Front Offensivep. 163
Second Stage: Southwestern and Southern Frontp. 230
Costs and Consequencesp. 301
The Price of Combatp. 301
The Consequencesp. 303
Brief Results and Conclusionsp. 313
Conclusionsp. 333
Notes to Chaptersp. 346
Appendicesp. 358
Select Bibliographyp. 399
Indexp. 403
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