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by Tony Le Tissier




In his new book, Tony Le Tissier provides the first detailed account of the Soviet-German conflict east of Berlin, culminating in 1945 with the last major land battle in Europe that proved decisive for the fate of Berlin. When the first Red Army soldier reached the Oder on the 31st of January, everyone at the Soviet Headquarters expected Marshall Zhukov's troops to bring a quick end to the war. However, despite desperate fighting by both sides, a stalemate persisted for two months, at the end of which the Soviet bridgeheads north and south of Kustrin were united and the fortress finally fell. By drawing not only on official sources, but also on the accounts of individuals involved, Le Tissier meticulously reconstructs the difficult breakthrough achieved on the Oder: the establishment of bridgeheads, the battle for the fortress of Kustrin, the bloody fight for Seelow Heights. Numerous maps and step by step illustrations show the operations of both contestants in detail and reveal a most interesting episode in the history of the Second World War in Europe.

In his new book, Tony Le Tissier provides the first detailed account of the Soviet-German conflict east of Berlin, culminating in 1945 with the last major land battle in Europe that proved decisive for the fate of Berlin. When the first Red Army soldier reached the Oder on the 31st of January, everyone at the Soviet Headquarters expected Marshall Zhukov's troops to bring a quick end to the war. However, despite desperate fighting by both sides, a stalemate persisted for two months, at the end of which the Soviet bridgeheads north and south of Kustrin were united, and the fortress finally fell.

By drawing not only on official sources, but also on the accounts of individuals involved, Le Tissier meticulously reconstructs the difficult breakthrough achieved on the Oder: the establishment of bridgeheads, the battle for the fortress of Kustrin, and the bloody fight for Seelow Heights. Numerous maps and step by step illustrations show the operations of both contestants in detail and reveal a most interesting episode in the history of the Second World War in Europe.

Download Zhukov At the Oder: The Decisive Battle for Berlin epub
ISBN: 0275952304
ISBN13: 978-0275952303
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: Tony Le Tissier
Language: English
Publisher: Praeger; First edition (February 13, 1996)
Pages: 360 pages
ePUB size: 1288 kb
FB2 size: 1662 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 735
Other Formats: lrf lrf mbr lit

Monam
Author Le Tissier is up to his normal very high standard with this work which is probably a reprint of his 1995 "Zhukov At The Oder", a book that I do not possess and therefore cannot verify the correctness of my statement. But no matter, if the reader is interested in the preliminaries to the Battle of Berlin, this is certainly the definitive work. I recommend that it be supplemented with the author's "Slaughter At Halbe" which describes the fate of the Ninth Army after the actions in the book being reviewed, and also his "With Our Backs To Berlin" which contains narratives (some of which are partially included in this work) of the fighting in and around Berlin. For a more comprehensive work on the fall of Berlin, try "The Fall Of Berlin" by Anthony Read and David Fisher.

One of the outstanding features of this book are the maps which allow the reader to follow the course of the Zhukov's attacks -- twenty-nine of them as a matter of fact. As one who often comments on the lack of maps to aid in comprehending the narrative, I was very pleased with the author's use of these supplements. The only negative I have to offer is a certain amount of repetition in the narrative and the author's use of the same stories and narratives in more than one of his works.

Part One discussed Zhukov and the Soviet and German military forces. Here I recommend reading "The Memoirs of Marshal Zhukov" (Delecorte Press: 1971) for more detail on Zhukov; David Glantz's "Colossus Reborn" on the Red Army; and the US War Department's "Handbook On German Military Forces" (Louisiana State University: 1995). The author's treatment of these subjects is very concise, and the interested reader will no doubt seek more detailed references.

Part Two presents the formations of the Soviet bridgeheads across the Oder from which they could launch the final attack on Berlin. The fighting in the Kuestrin Corridor was particularly intense, even though the German forces were cobbled together hurridly and were vastly overmatched. Zhukov's 1st Byelorussian Front had outrun its supplies, become disorganized and stalled by the dogged defense.

Part Three gives the planning of the Berlin offensive by Zhukov and what planning there was on the German side. The author also presents Stalin's tactic of playing Koniev off against Zhukov, supposedly in the sense of having the marshals compete for fame and glory, but actually to help keep Zhukov from becoming a personal threat to Stalin himself. The meddling by Hitler and Himmler are discussed, and fortunately for the Germans, the defense specialist, General Heinrici, was put in charge of the Oder Front (Army Group Vistula.)

The Battle of Seelow Heights and the Oderbruch is contained in Part 4 in four chapters -- one for each of the first four days -- and Zhukov's planning and operational decisions are shown to be close to disasterous. Fortunately for the Soviets, the German forces were simply too weak to accomplish anything more than make the Soviets pay dearly for every yard. In addition, Koniev was able to create a breakthrough in the South by Gorlitz, and Stalin changed his axis of advance to approach Berlin from the South. Zhukov was not able to make a clean breakthrough until the third day of atacks, but when he did, he was able to beat Koniev to the heart of Berlin. It must also be mentioned that Heinrici pulled his men back from the forward lines immediately before the Soviet artillery barrage and attack, so that the attack not only hit air, but it became disorganized and bogged down in the churned-up bottom land in front of the Seelow Heights. Untouched by the heaviest barrage of the war, the Germans on the Heights took a very heavy toll of Soviet soldiers and tanks. Nonetheless, the foruc is on Zhukov's generalship, and in this instance his performance was less than stellar.

The remainder of the book covers the operations following the breakthrough, the fate of the German 9th Army, and Zhukov's later years. He was greatly mistreated by Stalin, not so much for his excessive losses before Berlin, but for his popularity and potential as an opponent to Stalin.

Through all of this the author discusses the operations and sprinkles first-hand accounts of the fighting and situations to give the reader a clearer concept of what was actually happening. Personally, I think these personal accounts are what makes the author's works so compelling, easy to read and interesting. One can readily fall asleep reading about some corps capturing some town and losing however many tanks in the process. But the personal accounts bring the situation into the reader's living room.

The end notes are even important, particularly in explaining such things as "Seidlitz-Troops" and resolving conflicting accounts. The bibliography is also an excellent list of references although I would like to add "Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg, Vol 10/1, Der Zusammenbruch des Deutschen Reiches 1945, Die Militaerische Niederwerfung der Wehrmacht" (2008). This is the official German history of World War Two and the volume covering the events of the author's work.

In conclusion, this is an important and thorough scholarly work. I recommend it to all students of the European conflict in World War II.
Small Black
This review is from: Marshal Zhukov at the Oder: The Decisive Battle for Berlin (Hardcover)
The book begins with a three chapter introduction that starts with describing the life of Zhukov and ending with the military conditions of Russia and Germany. It then progresses with the campaign of the Russian Fronts advancing from central Poland to the Oder River. The progression continues with the establishment and then the expansion of the bridgeheads across the Oder. The story culminates with four chapters, one for each day of the battle for Seelow Heights and the Oderbruch. This is the main theme of the book and the narrative and the accompanying maps is very good though Mr Le Tissier's writing style is not always the smoothest though the tactical coverage is pretty good but brief in spots.
In the last chapter, the discussion falls on the difficulties Stalin placed on Zhukov after the war, not wanting to share the glory of victory with the Field Marshall. The chapter concludes with a brief summary of Zhukov's life post war.

A commendable Notes section and an impressive Bibliography of noted authors as well as an excellent Index is presented. A few photos are also provided as well as an Appendix showing troop strengths. The 29 black and white maps were very good and you'll probably spend a lot of time studying them.

I have to play Devil's Advocate. Even though I enjoyed the book; the coverage of what the author gave you is good and the many maps are really helpful to understanding the advance, but the book is too incomplete to be called "The Decisive Battle for Berlin". The author shows you a third of the Battle for Berlin. I submit that taking Seelow Heights and the Oderbruch is not the decisive battle for Berlin, only an important first step. The author stops 12 days short of capturing Greater Berlin, the true decisive battle for Berlin. Plus, he only summarizes the Halbe pocket and the fate of 9th Army. And calling this book "The Decisive Battle for Berlin", completely ignores and minimizes Konev's accomplishments to the south.

For you to see the complete capture of Berlin from Mr Le Tissier, you will also have to read: "The Race to the Reichstag", "The Battle of Berlin", "Slaughter at Halbe" and "With our Backs to Berlin". If Mr Le Tissier would write an unabridged version that encompasses these 5 books, that would be an awesome read.
The book is good and covers the critical first step of moving on Berlin; just be aware the coverage is just a fraction of the Battle for Berlin and the title is a little misleading.
Kanek
This book provides a detailed description of the German Armageddon at the end of World War II. It gets down to individual unit experiences and even the experiences of individuals. The book provides the perspective of both the Germans and the Russians, although the Germans are in more detail probably due to the availability of source materials.

On the negative side, for the Kindle version, the maps again are difficult to read and so you can't follow the events on the map with a clear understanding. Also, there is a lot of bouncing around between units and individuals and it is hard to keep up with that at times. Although the book does a good job of putting the events into an outline, by day and part of the battlefield.

All in all, this is a good book for an individual who has read other books on the Russo-German war of 1941-45. However, I wouldn't recommend it for the casual reader on WWII.