The Red Army at War, Artem Drabkin

The Red Army at War, Artem Drabkin

This entry in the Images of War series looks at daily life in the Red Army during the Second World War, covering every aspect of the life of the men and women of the Red Army apart from combat itself. We follow the soldier from his original recruitment, through training and on to the front line, before focusing on different aspects of the life of the soldier, ending with the final return home in 1945.

Perhaps unsurprising the chapters on Entertainment and Food are the longest, but otherwise each topic is given roughly the same amount of space.

Some of the pictures look a little staged - hardy surprising considering the totalitarian nature of the Soviet regime - but this is balanced by some fascinating first-hand accounts from veterans. The different attitudes to political officers is interesting, providing a slightly more positive view of them than many front line autobiographies. These accounts also demonstrate the difference between the elite Guards units and ordinary units, especially in two accounts of the routines for bathing.

This is an interesting selection of photographs, of a much higher quality than is often the case for pictures from the Eastern Front, and supported by some useful captions and very interesting first hand accounts. A useful book for anyone interested in the Red Army or the fighting on the Eastern Front.

1 - Drafting
2 - Training
3 - Marching
4 - Entertainment
5 - Food
6 - Sleeping
7 - Preparing for Combat
8 - Supplying the Front Line
9 - Weapons Maintenance
10 - Letters Home and to the Front
11 - Political Work and Propaganda
12 - Personal Hygiene
13 - Decorations
14 - Women at the Front
15 - Medical Services
16 - Going Home

Author: Artem Drabkin
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 128
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2010

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