Wehrmachtbericht
(Armed Forces Report)
Book Reviews (2014)
This section list the books that I have read along with a short synopsis of the book from my perspective. The date that is located above the book title is the date on which I finished reading the book.

Forgotten Battles of the German-Soviet War (1941-1945):  Vol. VI (Part I).  The Northwestern Axis (Col. David Glantz)

1/18/2014

Volume VI (Part I) of this continuing series looks at the battles fought by the Soviets along what Col. Glantz calls the Northwestern Axis.  The time period of these battles were from 24 December 1943 to April 1944.  The offensives included The Leningrad Fronts Narva Offensive, the 2nd Baltic Front's Pustoshka-Idritsa Offensive, the 2nd Baltic Front's Novosokol'niki-Idritsa Offensive, The Leningrad Fronts Pskov-Ostrov Offensive, The 2nd and 1st Baltic Fronts Opachka and Sebezh Offensives.  I will not go into too much detail, as these offensives were more or less like all the other failed Soviet Offensives.  Needless to say, the Modus Operandi was the same on all these offensives as their past offensives.  They would load up a small area with the vast majority of their infantry units and armor, and then try to blast their way through with overwhelming numbers.  It is amazing that the Germans were able to stop these offensives, especially considering how outnumbered they were.  This volume was well written, and again brought to light many of these failed Soviet offensives that I had never even heard about before.  Col. Glantz has done the historical community a great service by bringing these failed offensives to light.

Recommended!

******* (8.65 stars out of 10)


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Forgotten Battles of the German-Soviet War (1941-1945):  Vol. VI (Part 2).  The Western Axis (Col. David Glantz)

2/16/2014

Volume VI (Part II) of this continuing series looks at the battles fought by the Soviets along what Col. Glantz calls the Western Axis.  The time period of these battles were from 24 December to April of 1944.  As with the previous volumes, this one presents a handful of Soviet offensives which have not received much attention.  The first portion of the study deals with the 1st Baltic and Western Front's Belorussian Offensive.  The author broke this down into 7 seperate offensives launched by either the 1st Baltic Front, the Western Front or both.  None of these offensives gained much ground, and none of them achieved any operational goals at all.  The Western front did manage to push forward into the operational depths of the German defenses around Vitebsk, but it took them months to do so.  Overall, these offensives were a complete failure.  The Soviets had a decent numerical superiority over the Germans on every single one of these offensives, but they simply could not break through the German defensives.  One thing to note is that the Western front was led by a less than ingenious General (General Sokolovsky). 
The second portion of this study dealt with the Belorussian fronts series of offensives.  As a counter point to the 1st Baltic and the Western Front's offensive, the Belorussian Front was led by a very capable General by the name of General Rokossovsky.  This man was very intelligent, and he frequently changed the direction of his offensives, and used ingenious tactical methods to try to unhinge the German defenses.  Even though the Belorussion Front never had odds any greater than the Western or 1st Baltic Fronts, the Belorussian Front succeeded in gaining the operational depths on many of their offensives (although not all of their offensives were succesful).  The Belorussian Front offensives are broken down into 7 seperate offensives, each described in detail with a multitude of maps and accompanying data. 
As with all previous volumes, the author does a superb job in covering these unknown battles.  I would like to see the author republish these studies in hard cover.  Recommended!


******* (8.65 stars out of 10)


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Forgotten Battles of the German-Soviet War (1941-1945):  Vol. VI (Part 3).  The Southwestern Axis (Col. David Glantz)

3/21/2014

Volume VI (Part III) of this continuing series looks at the battles fought by the Soviets along what Col. Glantz calls the Southwestern Axis.  The time period of these battles were from 24 December 1943 to April 1944.  Colonel Glantz covers in detail the battle of Kovel (15 March - 5 April 1944), the Encirclement Battle at Brody (20 March - 17 April) and finally the Iasi-Kishinev Offensives in Rumania.  All of these battles are covered in depth.  Most people who are familiar with the Eastern Front, are familiar with the battle at Kovel.  Col. Glantz does a superb job of covering the battle from the Soviet perspective.  It was very interesting to see how the Germans were able to assemble stratch force and actually drive the Soviets away from Kovel, while destroying or seriously damaging several Red Army Rifle Divisions.  Again, had the Germans had more units, it is quite possible that they Germans would have driven the Soviets even farther to the east.  Never the less, Hitler was insistent in keeping nearly 70-80 divisions tied down in the west, Norway and the Balkans (and Italy).  The encirclement battle at Brody is even less well know then the battle at Kovel.  Again the Germans were able to mount a counterstroke that drove the Russians away from Brody, while seriously damaging many of the Russian Rifle/Calvary divisions that were surrounding Brody.  The last portion of the book deals with the innumerable Soviet attacks in the Iasi - Kishinev area of Rumania.  Here the Soviets were going up against some of the best German divisions (The Grossdeutschland, SS Totenkopf etc.), and it showed, as the Germans launched counter attack after counter attack and nearly bled the 5th Guards Tank, 6th Tank and the 2nd Tank Armies dry.  When both sides finally went on the defensive, the Russian tank armies only had a handfull of tanks remaining.  Again, had the Germans had another 3-6 full strength Panzer divisions, and 5-10 full strength infantry divisions to throw into the battle, they could have conceivably destroyed these armies, and regained much ground.  One very interesing aspect of the last battles covered in this book, is how the Germans actually either forced the Soviets to withdraw from their bridgeheads on the Dnestr, or even destroyed the bridgeheads.  This was the first time during the war they were able to accomplish that.  

Overall a very solid volume again from the premier Eastern Front historian.  Recommended!!

******* (8.75 stars out of 10)

 
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

5/10/2014

This book by author Eric Metaxas is a biography of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Right off the bat, I realized what "angle" Mr. Metaxas was writing from , when he described Hitler as the most evil man of the 20th Century.  Well, it maybe splitting hairs, but that Satanic fool who ruled the Soviet Union at the same time, killed millions more than Hitler, but yet Hitler is the most evil man of the 20th century?  (it certainly did not help Hitler that he was possessed by one of Satan's tough lieutanant Demons). Never the less, this is what I can expect from an author who has a picture of Obama on his website (and lists the communist/neocon Joseph "Uncle Joe" Lieberman in his "about the author section".  Are you joking, why doesn't he just list Satan as his buddy?).  Both Hitler and Stalin were horribly evil, but it seems the cultural marxist in this country only consider Hitler to be evil.  

Well, what did the rest of the book hold you might ask?  The author does a fair job of describing Dietrich's life, but he does so without including any footnotes for any of his information in the book.  The notes are in the back of the book, but nothing is footnoted.  The information on Bonhoeffer I found intesting indeed.  The fact that Dr. Bonhoeffer recieved his doctorates degree in Theology, even though he was not even a "born again" Christian at the time.  Evidently the young Bonhoeffer did not become a Born Again Christian until he came over to the U.S. and started visiting some of the black evengilical churches.  The Lord works in Mysterious and Awesome ways!  Mr. Bonhoeffer's life was never the same after that.  He spent time as a Pastor of a church in Spain, and also of churches in England.  He spent time in Germany teaching confirmation students, which I think was what he liked the most.  It was during his time in Germany after he came back from his second trip to the U.S. that things really started to change for him.  He had frequent clashes with the so-called Christian Churches in Germany.  The Christian churches in Germany during this time were headed by a staunch Nazi, and hence much of what they were preaching was certainly not Christian.



******* (6.50 stars out of 10)