Soviet Partisan versus German Security Soldier, Eastern Front, 1941-11 (Combat Series)

Published: March 2nd, 2020     
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Author: Alexander Hill
Reviewed by: Marc K. Blackburn - IPMS# 42892
ISBN #: 978-1-4728-2566-7
E-Book ISBN #: 9781472825650
Other Publication Information: Illustrated by Johnny Shumate
Price: $22.00
Product / Stock #: COMBAT 44
Product provided by: Osprey Publishing

This is one of the new additions to Osprey Publishing ongoing Combat series (or as I call it, their 'versus' series). Each volume takes a look a particular slice of a campaign or war to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the two combatants and how they fared in a campaign or set of skirmishes. This particular volume takes a close look at how Soviet Partisans fought against German security forces in the region around Leningrad from the beginning of Operation Barbarossa through 1943. As with most Osprey publications, this work is illustrated with original artwork by Johnny Shumate, historical photographs, and detailed maps of the battleground.

It is generally accepted that the eastern front was brutal, both on the front lines and in the rear areas. With their tried and true format, the author looks at the origins of the Soviet and German units. As can be expected as the war went on, the Russian forces improved and the quality of the German security forces declined. Caught by the German Blitzkrieg in the summer of 1941, the Soviets improvised until 1943 when they were subordinated to high command, improving their effectiveness and utility. The Wehrmacht, dismissive of the Russian people, selectively used collaborators as needed, but their brutal policies, while effective in the short-term did not solve the security issues.

The book concentrates on three separate incidents to illustrate the challenges and opportunities afforded by both sides - Kholm in January 1942; Iasski in February 1942; and Operation Spring Clean in April 1943. These case studies demonstrate the increasing boldness of the Soviets and in spite of the challenges of the war the German skill, at least in the short-term, of blunting Soviet operations. For the reader who does not know much about the current scholarship on the eastern front, I would have benefited from a more robust discussion of the complicity of the Wehrmacht in war atrocities on the eastern front, but that is a minor point.

These series take a large issue and goes into granular detail but is largely successful in looking at these smaller events and connecting them to larger ones.

My thanks to IPMS and Osprey Publishing for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

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