Operation Barbarossa - The German Invasion of Soviet Russia, Robert Kirchubel

Operation Barbarossa - The German Invasion of Soviet Russia, Robert Kirchubel

This book is based on three Osprey Campaign series books on Operation Barbarossa, all by the same author. These three books were divided geographically along the lines of the German army groups. Ninety percent of the text from these original books has been reproduced here (presumably most of the missing 10% would be where the previous books had to overlap, mainly on the German strategic debates that broke out repeatedly during Barbarossa. As a result if you already own the campaign books, then this isn't for you.

My immediate concern on learning that this book was made up of three pre-existing works was that it would feel disjointed, but Kirchubel has done an excellent job of merging his material. It helps that he was the author of all three of the Campaign books, as that means that the style and presentation is similar across all three areas. The combined text is organised chronologically, with elements of the three books woven into the new chronological chapters. Extra linking material has been produced, and the resulting book is around 100 pages longer that the combined originals. The three German Army Groups fought largely separate battles, heading in different directions, making Kirchubel's job much easier, but he has also done a good job of adding sections on the problems faced at the gaps between the Army Groups.

As one would expect the text is very well illustrated, with plenty of good clear maps, photographs and illustrations. The maps are rather more detailed than one might expect to find in a general history of Barbarossa, reflecting the original use of most of them in the three more focused books.

Kirchubel has done an excellent job of merging his previous three books to produce a detailed but readable account of Operation Barbarossa. The overall shape of the campaign remains clear, but the uneven progress of the German armies on the ground and the repeated Soviet counterattacks are not neglected, so the true complexity of this massive campaign is also very apparent.

Opposing Plans
Opposing Armies
Opposing Commanders
The Frontier Battles
Three Steps Forward, One Step Back
Barbarossa in the Balance
End Game

Author: Robert Kirchubel
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 400
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2013

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