Retreat from Moscow: A New History of Germany’s Winter Campaign, 1941–1942

Farrar. Nov. 2019. 560p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374249526. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780374714253. HIST
Legend has it that the dreaded Russian winter defeated Germany’s army during the Soviet campaign of World War II. Stahel (The Battle for Moscow; Operation Typhoon) seeks then to examine why Army Group Centre, the massed organization of German divisions that targeted Moscow, generally fared better than their Soviet counterparts and emerged in relatively good condition following the winter of 1941–42. While firmly in the camp of operational military history, this present work still includes related elements that impacted the German war effort, including the influence of the American entry into the war on German soldiers’ psyches, combined with the scarcity of food, usage of drugs and alcohol, the soldiers’ sexuality, and the treatment of prisoners of war, both German and Soviet. Hitler’s oversight remains an overarching theme. His meddling not only resulted in the sacking of field marshals and countermanding of overall strategic direction, but went so far as to dictate the number of machine guns deployed to a specific location.
VERDICT A solid analysis of the 1941–42 winter campaign, this work should appeal to readers interested in operations on the World War II’s eastern front.

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