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The Battle for Kharkov 1941 - 1943 (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Military WWII

By Anthony Tucker-Jones
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 144
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781473827479
Published: 5th April 2016



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The four battles fought for Kharkov during the Second World War are often overshadowed by the battles for Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad, yet they were critical stages in the struggle between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army for control of the southern Soviet Union.
Anthony Tucker-Jones, in this volume in the Images of War series, offers a visual record of the dramatic and bloody conflict that took place there, showing every grim aspect of the fighting. Kharkov became one of the most bitterly contested cities during the war on the Eastern Front, and this book presents a graphic overview of the atrocious conditions the soldiers on both sides had to endure.
In 1941 Kharkov fell to Hitler’s Army Group South. In 1942 the Soviets tried and failed to retake it, losing 240,000 men in the Barvenkovo Bulge. Then, in 1943, the control of the battered city changed hands twice before the Soviets liberated it for good. The fate of Kharkov during the war reflects the history of the wider struggle between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union.

The book cannot be missing from the collection of the historian fond of the Eastern Front or any fan of WWII history.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

Tucker-Jones, who already wrote many volumes of the series "Images of War", published by Pen & Sword, has written a decent piece of work again in which he gives a to-the-point description of the bloody battles for Kharkov. Photographs often say more than words and that’s certainly the case with this book. If anyone still would have romantic and heroic notions about war, after having read this book those feeling will surely disappear.

Read the full review here

Traces of War

Tucker-Jones and Pen and Sword Publishing have combined on some very solid works in this series on the Russian campaign, however this text stands out for several reasons:

The collection of original un-published Scott Pick photos are exceptional with such quality and topic coverage that the material visually jumps off the pages adding greatly to the subject.

Secondly, the text coverage presents a hard hitting and furious review of the period which exemplifies the pace of the campaign years itself, the German invasion period through the phases of defense and into the transition of Soviet Offensive operations is simply brilliant.

The ability of the author to cover the lengthy period in a concise review is very solid, and creates a substantial quality of information versus time of reading commitment. The photos have the element of introducing new evidence to the Eastern Front subject that lend themselves to further in-depth studies and historical work.

A continuing strong point of this entire Russian Campaign series in my opinion.

I will again highly recommend this book and would package it with the Tucker-Jones Crimea Battle 1941-1944 study which combined presents a large segment of the center and southern Russian front in the larger campaign. The author doe s a stellar job in maintaining a good flow of descriptive analysis and the combat formations involved without getting bogged down in a myriad of unnecessary detail. The chosen photo line-up greatly adds to the value of this text and the captions are excellent and present a very dramatic story-line of the ebb and flow of the battles.

Richard Wade, Military Historian

The black and white photographs in The Battle of Kharkov are more illuminating than in Tucker-Jones's Riviera book, perhaps because the brutality of the fighting on the Eastern Front was much more evident. Tucker-Jones's selection of photographs and accompanying text bring out the peculiarly bleak nature of this conflict.

Wargames Illustrated, April 2017

As featured in

Desperta Ferro, No.17

I highly recommend this book for modelers interested in the Russian front in general and Kharkov sector in particular.

Great Models

An interesting addition to the Images of War series, and another fine title from author Anthony Tucker-Jones in the series.

Military Modelling, Robin Buckland

Most of the photos in this collection have come from the Scott Pick WWII Russian Front Original Photo Collection which consists of over 2,500 photographs, not only of soldiers and tanks but also of buildings and civilians. There are a lot of inspiring photographs in there for the modeller and wargamer.

These two books [Battle for Kharkov and Hitler Versus Stalin] are a great addition to my World War 2 library and provide wonderful evidence for my having a German tank battalion of Hotchkiss and Souma tanks facing off against Soviets using M2 Stuarts and M3 Grants.

The things I enjoy mostly about this series are the photographs. The books are well illustrated and provide inspiration for modellers and wargamers as well as providing source material or evidence for the more serious student of World War II history. Most of the photos were new to me and this series provides good value for money. They are available in traditional softback bindings as well as eBooks. Recommended!

Thomo's Hole Blog

A prospective purchaser, who may be looking for details of military vehicles, with their markings, for modelling purposes, may not find what they are seeking in this narrative collection, but perseverance will be rewarded by unexpected details that escape first glance. For example, we see German signalmen with their line-laying carts, cyclists and a plethora of infantry in the field.

In summary, The Battle for Kharkov 1941-1943 is not a run of the mill piece of photo journalism, but instead shows the battles for Kharkov in a wider context than most works of this genre. It lacks references but is intended to be a visual record , rather than a scholarly work.

Chris Kemp

About Anthony Tucker-Jones

Anthony Tucker-Jones, a former intelligence officer, is an author and commentator who specialises in military history, with more than 50 books to his name. His work has also been published in an array of magazines and online. He regularly appears on television and radio programmes commenting on current and historical military matters. His books include Armoured Warfare in the North African CampaignThe Battle for the MediterraneanThe Desert Air WarThe Devil’s BridgeHitler’s Winter and Churchill Master and Commander.

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