German Armour in Normandy...

... from Casemate Books

Title:  Operation Typhoon

Author: Philippe Naud

Publisher:  Casemate

ISBN:  978-1-61200-671-0

Number 7 in the Casemate Illustrated series, and this one turning to the topic of the war on the Eastern Front.  This is another which is done in collaboration with the French publisher Histoire & Collections who originally published it in French.  It tells the story of part of the first year on the Eastern Front, and the push of Army Group Centre towards Moscow.

The book opens with a timeline of events and it then tells the story of those events as they unfolded.  It was a time of victory for the German army as it advanced into Russia but it also explains the lack of clear objectives from the highest level, and perhaps too late the intention of just destroying the Russian army to making Moscow a specific target.  There are battles and victories which led to significant casualties on both sides and huge losses of equipment to the Russians.  Throughout the book we get some excellent archive photos which illustrate the story, along with maps that show us the context of the encounters.  As the Germans got closer to Moscow so they suffered from a lack of replacement and a shortage of supplies.  The logistics chain had become too long, while for the Russians it was getting shorter.  Major German victories at Vyazma and Bryansk were followed by smaller but costly successes.  These delayed them and when the terrible winter weather wrecked the roads so the advance ground to a halt.

All this is accompanied by additional information blocks with profiles of some of the Russian commanders, the Order of Battle for both the Russian and German armies, colour artwork illustrating armour and aircraft from both sides.  It was also a time when the T-34 began to make an impact on the battlefield, and the German army with their Pz II and II, along with the ex-Czech Pz 38t and 35t found themselves out of date and it prompted developments which were to result in the Panther a couple of years later.  Especially interesting I think for appreciating the huge successes of the German army in the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa, but the Russian resistance which managed to hold on despite the losses in men and equipment, and buying the time to bring in replacements that would learn and fight back stronger than ever.

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin