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The Soviet Infantryman on the Eastern Front (Paperback)


Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Series: Casemate Illustrated
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 200 photographs plus maps
ISBN: 9781636243634
Published: 15th December 2023



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The Soviet Army was ill-prepared for its erstwhile ally's treacherous onslaught in 1941. Its officer corps decimated by Stalin's purges and its men less well-trained than the Germans, the Red Army was poorly led, hampered by the power of the political officers and only partly mobilised. But, in spite of the huge German victories and the speed of the Nazi attack, the Soviets proved fantastically capable of rolling with the punches.


The vast territory of the Soviet Union and huge population were significant factors, as was substantial assistance from the West – the United States and Britain in particular – which was in evidence when the German columns got to within a few miles short of Moscow and were held and then forced back. The tide turned thanks to help from outside and the efforts of the Soviet soldiers, who proved hardy and durable. And just like its soldiers, Russian infantry equipment was rugged and effective. While Soviet infantrymen may not have had the flexibility or tactical nous of the Germans, they did not lack cunning: deception, camouflage skills and endurance made Russian snipers, as an example, more than the equal of the Germans.


Most views of the Soviet soldier and campaign are influenced by self-serving German postwar accounts designed to excuse their loss by suggesting that Adolf Hitler's meddling and Soviet numbers were the main reasons for victory: this denigrates the Russian infantryman whose toughness and ingenuity helped destroy the Third Reich in spite of the faults of its own regime. Fully illustrated with over 200 contemporary photographs and illustrations, Soviet Infantryman on the Eastern Front in the Casemate Illustrated series provides an insight into the Soviets' main theater of operations in World War II.  

This is an excellent source of information covering a wide range of subjects with plentiful illustrations of both period photos and re-enactors.
Recommended and well worth the price.


The book opens with a 4-page chronology of the main events of the story, from the formation of the Red Army in 1918 to the end of the war in Berlin in 1945, and an introduction. The rest is spread over 4 main chapters, each with further sub-sections. They cover The Soldier, Transport & Services, Strategy & Tactics, and Life in the Field, plus a Conclusion to round things off. Among the sub-sections there is coverage of things such as Rewards (medals etc), Propaganda, Training, Women Soldiers, Political Offices & the NKVD, Uniforms & Equipment, Ranks, Rifle Division structure, Mine Warfare, Urban fighting tactics and much more. Well illustrated throughout with archive images, modern photos of equipment layouts, re-enactors wearing uniforms to give colour references, Communications, Veterinary Services and plenty of charts and data tables with lots of basic information. There are also lots of personal accounts which record what it meant for the soldiers themselves.
Some interesting history of course, but I think all the great reference content it includes will get the attention of WW2 history enthusiasts, but especially modellers, wargamers, militaria collectors and re-enactors alike. I felt there was even more in here than I had expected when I actually got into reading it. Another good addition to the series.

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