- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Osprey Publishing; 1 edition (20 March 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1472807499
- ISBN-13: 978-1472807496
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 23.4 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 540 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II Paperback – 24 Mar 2015
Customers who bought this item also bought
"[A] carefully balanced account of the predicament in which Balts found themselves...Mr. Buttar is himself an army veteran, and it is from the military perspective that he relates the savage unraveling of the Baltic world during World War II's last year. There's plenty here on weaponry, on tactics and strategy." --Andrew Stuttaford, The Wall Street Journal
"A powerful pick...No military collection strong in World War II should be without this specific, in-depth analysis.'" --The Midwest Book Review
No customer reviews
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Review this product
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The author begins his saga with background information of the key players not exclusively but mostly during the interwar period. During this prewar period the author explains why the Soviets did so poorly during the first year of war and includes the military purges that destroyed the command structure, poor training of the troops and the use of obsolete planes, tanks, other weaponry and lack of communication equipment. Several reasons why Germany attacked its larger economic partner deals with defeating Communism and creating a new larger living space for the German people as well as controlling Russia's natural resources. Germany also sported several military advantages that would temporarily overwhelm the Soviets. It also includes practices and ideologies as well as relationships between Germany, Prussia, Soviet Union, the Baltic countries and to a lesser degree Poland.
While the book contains a lot of material and insight of this period, it doesn't provide a complete look at the operations for Army Group North for the entire 1941-45 period for it doesn't provide coverage of the siege of Leningrad. It does cover the planning of Operation Barbarossa and the German advance up through Aug/Sept 1941 period when AGN captures the three Baltic countries. Mr Buttar then provides good coverage of what it was like for the citizens of those countries under German rule, especially for the Jewish community which saw many thousands of its people executed.
Military coverage resumes in January 1944 when the Soviets break out of the Leningrad encirclement and begin to push the Germans back. The determined Narva River defense as well as the repeated attempts to penetrate the Courland defenses are prominent in the second half of the book as the Baltic and Belorussian Fronts try to drive Army Group Courland into the sea. Late in the book Mr Buttar links the connection between the fighting in Prussia and Courland. In "Endgame", a summary is delivered of why AG Courland was able to hold off the superior Soviet forces as well as the evacuation attempts of German forces in Prussia and Courland at war's end to escape Soviet post war retaliation.
The author has done another fine job of providing a lot of battle information on the individual corps and divisions as well as pertinent events while still making the book interesting and easy to follow. While building mini profiles on individual commanders and their divisions, the overall advantages and disadvantages that each side processed is shown as is the depths of the struggle both sides endured. Some German commanders that are highlighted include Model, Lindemann and Hansen while for the Soviets Bagramian, Yeremenko, Chistiakov, Govorov are frequently presented. For the Germans the 4th PzD and 12th PzD are also presented often for their extraordinary efforts in keeping the superior Soviet forces at bay.
There are 14 B&W maps; they're simple but useful. I personally would have liked a little more detail. A photo gallery presents some of the key officers of each side as well as including some battlefield scenes. There is a small appendix but no Order of Battle. A decent Notes Section and an impressive Bibliography is included if further study is desired.
From his many sources, Mr Buttar has accumulated, choreographed and presented an eminently satisfying summary on the rise and fall of Army Group North. For any reader interested in the fighting of this place and time with emphasis on the German side or in the occupation of the Baltics this book is worthy of your consideration.
To be more detailed these are the main contents:
a) History of the origins of the Baltic populations and history of the Baltic States 1918-1939.
b)Consequences of the Moltov-Ribbentrop Pact.
c) German preparations for Operation Barbarossa and the subsequent administration of the occupied territories.
d) Operation Barbarossa in the Baltic States on 1941.
e) The persecutions of the Jews in the Baltic States.
f) The fightings in the Baltic States : from Narva on January 1944, to Curland until the end of WW2.
g) The complete history of the Baltic partisans that often fought against the Germans during WW2 and after the Russians after WW2.
Prit Buttar's style is wonderful , every chapter of the book is full of first hand accounts and the reader feels to be with the German Panzergrenadieren running for thier lives or with the lithuanian jews hiding in the weapon factories.
If you read the previous books written by Brit Puttar or you are interested to know almost everything about the fights in the Baltic States on WW2, you can't miss this book.
What I found in this book was a chronological encyclopedia on the last one hundred years for this region. The first two chapters set the scene, however, even though well written it is a very complex subject to follow. The names of the individuals and the carrying-ons of the times are complicated and difficult to follow on first read. Chapter four “The Baltic Holocaust” is one of the most graphically horrific, heartbreaking and depressing passages I have ever read. This passage will eat at your soul.
The text does an adequate job of explaining all the complexities, interactions of the involved countries, political influences, and military operations in the Baltic region during WWII. In addition it adequately illustrates the tangled web of relationships between the Germans, Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, and Soviets. The author in the last chapter brings the reader into the 21st Century illustrating why Russia considers the Baltic States as part of Russia. Now that these countries are in NATO will this be a flash-point in the coming years?
This is very well written in language easy for me to comprehend. However, it would be made far easier to follow if the amount and quality of maps were very much enhanced. With the material covered at least a tenfold quantity in maps are required and a more enhanced linkage of the text to the maps. Without frequent and properly synergistic maps to text the book becomes ineffective midway through; resulting in a loss of interest in the most interesting retreat of the Wehrmacht.