The Crushing of Army Group North 1944-45 on the Eastern Front


...a new Images of War title from Pen and Sword


Title: The Crushing of Army Group North 1944-45 on the Eastern Front

Author: Ian Baxter

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-47386-255-8

Another addition to the Images of War series from author Ian Baxter.  A fine collection of archive photos illustrating an aspect of the war on the Eastern Front.  This time the subject is the German Army Group North in the final stages of the war, a group that is sometimes overshadowed by the other momentous events in the Centre, as Soviet forces battled towards Berlin.  This is about the forces which ended up in the Baltic states, with their backs against the Baltic itself.

The book is divided into 5 chapters, starting with A Brief History, followed by Defensive Action, The Crushing of Vilnius, Withdrawal and finally End Game.  Added to these are two appendices, covering Ranks and the Order of Battle.  Each chapter is introduced by a few pages of background text to explain the story which is then illustrated by the photos.  All of these then hold more information with some informative captions.  The pictures illustrate both sides, though more German, and show the variety of vehicles and equipment in use along with the conditions in which they had to operate.  Mud is a regular feature throughout.  Sadly I noticed a number of errors in vehicle identification within the book, which is a bit of a shame and unusual for this series, though it didn't detract from the overall feel of the book.

An interesting element of the story is that despite very large numbers of troops being deployed against the German/Lativan forces, and fierce fighting, the units pushed back into the Kurland pocket were not defeated and held out until they were required to surrender due to the ending of the war.  With many photos giving some excellent coverage of the soldiers themselves, and their personal equipment, figure modellers will enjoy the detail to be found while I also thought that the visible signs of defeat, of giving up hope, was absent from many of the faces of the German troops, even in these closing stages of the war.