The Eastern Front witnessed the critical battles between the German and Russian armies which won and lost the Second World War. In Red Storm on the Reich, Christopher Duffy uncovers a military campaign of unprecedented scale and ferocity during which thirty million lives were lost - a deadly harvest in which the slaughter and suffering of German civilians reached unfathomable dimensions.
By quoting extensively from the memoirs of Soviet and German commanders and the diaries of infantrymen, Red Storm on the Reich brings to life not only the Russian military assault on the lands of Germany, but also the human drama behind what can only be called epic seiges of the fortress cities of Danzig, Kolberg and Breslau.
Christopher Duffy's gripping narrative of this unexplored offensive and the psyches behind it makes for essential reading for all those interested in the Second World War and European history.
Standard military historical fare from Duffy (The Military Experience in the Age of Reason, 1988), who here details the final Soviet drive against the Nazis on the road from Poland to Berlin. With overwhelming superiority in armament and troop strength, the Soviet battle plan initially involved two coordinated assaults across the Vistula River in mid-January 1945. The assaults met with less resistance than anticipated - in fact, the German front collapsed, enabling the Soviet armies to begin a race to the Oder and German soil that made it seem as though the war would be quickly won. However, eventually bogged down by increasingly desperate fighting and the possibility of attack from the flanks and rear, Soviet operations turned to consolidating positions and eliminating pockets of resistance while maintaining steady progress westward. Dully considers each siege and state of the assault separately, providing a full analysis of strategy and paying particular attention to the divisive role Nazi functionaries played in the Wehrmacht's efforts to fight back and regroup. Although battles are described with dramatic highlights, the march becomes fragmented into a series of isolated conflicts in which descriptions of maneuvers during the siege of Konigsberg or Breslau, or on the Oder, often appear formulaic or repetitive. A lengthy appendix closely analyzes Soviet and German styles of warfare, with the former's mechanized ability and tactical advantage on the offensive proving decisive. Well researched and meticulously presented, but only occasionally engaging: a history of interest primarily to military specialists. (Kirkus Reviews)