Stalingrad 1942-43; Stalingrad Airlift 1942-43; Waffen-SS Soldier versus Soviet Rifleman; Soviet Naval. Infantry 1917-91

Being there . . . . on 2 February 1943, in and about STALINGRAD, when Hitler’s emaciating
German troops in their final pockets of resistance surrendered to Stalin’s overwhelming Soviet
armies determined to crush, trample, obliterate the invading Nazi scourge forever. Then get the
heck out of there lest you, too, succumb to such hunger, sleep deprivation, and debilitating
weakness from having seen so much death and destruction that the rats of the great historic
city are allowed to accumulate to gnaw on your frozen toes. For more than six months “Uncle
Joe” had kept up so much pressure on the withering, entrenched Sixth Army that Hitler, furious
and obstinate, reluctantly gave the order of what was left of it to retreat. Securely surrounded,
they couldn’t. Hitler then ordered three days of official mourning. When it was over on 6
February, he confided to his closest sycophants that it was doubtful the German people would
ever recover from such a devastating defeat. “They still cannot come to terms with the crushing
of the Wehrmacht by the untermenschen (subhumans) of Russia”. He added to the shock felt in
the higher echelons of the Nazi Party by telling a group of the Gauleiters at his “Wolf’s Lair’ in
northeast Poland, “What you are witnessing is a catastrophe of unheard-of magnitude . . . If the
German people fail, they do not deserve that we should fight for their future. Then we can
write it off with equanimity.” Hitler’s pessimistic, doom-laden message was repeated in an
extraordinary broadcast from his Fuhrerbunker, “The bitter experience of Stalingrad still weighs
heavily on our souls. For the first time an entire German army has ceased to exist. What we
used to inflict on the others has happened to us. We have been encircled, attacked, attacked
from all directions, compressed into a narrow space, and split up into pockets. It is still difficult
to realize. We feel it like a sharp physical pain.” Even more painful for hundreds of thousands of
German families were the last letters from fathers, sons and brothers killed in the final days of
the debacle or marched off across the Siberian steppes into captivity by the Russians. The tale
of horror told in those letters, and the longing for home which permeates each of them,
contrasts sadly with the bombastic Goring who boasted, “In spite of everything, Germany’s
ultimate victory was decided there”. And, with the death of the 6 th , Hitler ordered the ultimate
contemptuous insulting betrayal: Goebbels was to personally read and remind the nation of the
old Prussian war decree of 1689 which read, “Whoever, in the midst of a battle, begins to
retreat, shall be put to death without mercy”.
Reviewed and Highly, Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi  

“STALINGRAD 1942 – 43 (Book 3) – Catastrophe: the Death of 6 th Army”, by Robert Forczyk,
Illustrated by Steve Noon, Campaign 385 Series. OSPREY PUBLISHING Ltd/ Bloomsbury
Publishing, Plc: 2022, 96 pages, 7 ¼” x 9 ½”, softcover; $24. Visit,

“STALINGRAD AIRLIFT 1942 – 43 –The Luftwaffe’s broken promise to the Sixth Army”, by
William E. Hiestand, Illustrated by Adam Tooby, Air Campaign Series. OSPREY PUBLISHING
Ltd/Bloomsbury Publishing, Plc: 2023, 96 pages, 7 ¼” x 9 ½”, softcover; $25. Visit,
“WAFFEN – SS SOLDIER VERSUS SOVIET RIFLEMAN – – Rostov-on-Don and Kharkov 1942 – 43”,
by Chris McNab, Combat Series. OSPREY PUBLISHING Ltd/Bloombury Publishing, Plc: 2023, 80
pages, 7 ¼”x 91/2”, softcover; $23. Visit,
“SOVIET NAVAL INFANTRY 1917 – 91”, by David Greentree, Illustrated by Johnny Shumate, Elite
249 Series. OSPREY PUBLISHING Ltd/Bloomsbury Publishing, Plc: 2023, 64 pages, 71/4” x 91/2”,
softcover; $21. Visit,

On December 25, 1942, alone, 1,280 Germans died of frostbite, dysentery, typhus, and
starvation. General Friedrich von Paulus (1890-1957), the archetypal German staff officer,
meticulously respectful and loyal, soon to be castigated by Hitler as a coward after his troops
near death surrendered, sanctioned the slaughter of 400 draught horses for food. They struggle
to fight on, but knew the end was near. The severe Russian winter meant it was impossible to
break out of the ring of encirclement. Hitler either ignored the 6 th Army or denied its problems.
Even the makeshift hospitals were so crowded they had to close the doors to the increasing
wounded. The bunkers of troops still fighting were infested with lice. Hitler’s liaison officer from
Berlin to the 6 th Army reported to the German General Staff that he saw a man whose numb,
frostbitten feet and toes were being partly eaten by bulging rats as he slept. Hitler was angered
by such “defeatist” reports. He didn’t believe them.
The third and final volume in Robert Forczyk’s Stalingrad trilogy begins just after the 6 th has
been isolated, covering 24 November to 2 February 1943. His specially commissioned maps and
3D diagrams guide the reader in step-by-step, easy-to-follow detail through the German relief
operation, “Wintergewitter”, the fighting on the Chir River, and the Soviet operations ‘
“Koltso” and “Little Saturn”. They are complemented by battle scene artworks that vividly
depict the harsh conditions experienced by the common soldiers fighting on both sides.
“Stalingrad Airlift 1942 – 43 – The Luftwaffe’s (read Hermann Goring) broken promise to the
Sixth Army covers more historical information in one 96 page softcover than previous military
researchers have in 400-page hardcover volumes. What a superb addition in hitherto
unpublished photos of major participants, new facts, recently discovered documents,
anecdotes, vignettes, personal notes, brief memoir recollections and reminiscences via
gathering dust-covered letters and staff memos, known and unknown! Author Bill Hiestand has
provided us Stalingrad-reading fanatics the ultimate summary! And wait until you begin
perusing the fascinating original artwork and explanatory diagrams and maps. Again, Osprey
and one of its top writers, feed our appetites with new and revealing information – this one, on
the most important air campaign on the Eastern Front.

Who were the Russian heroes who fought in Stalingrad, and the other cities, provinces, even
villages who held out to the final person’s last bullet? Two additional Osprey title’s help answer
the question, “Waffen-SS Soldier versus Soviet Rifleman”, and “Soviet Naval Infantry 1917-
1991”. Each presents insights into the realities of front-line combat, innovative split-screen
artwork, expert analysis combined with gripping battle accounts, strategic and tactical maps,
photos in color, unrivalled detail, and its wonderful accompanying minutiae. Buff, you know
and agree, quality of accuracy and new information always supersedes quantities of the known,
repeated, copied, and recognized! If I were you, I’d buy all four for less than five $20 bills. What
an enriching addition to your growing library!

Leave a Comment

You have to agree to the comment policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.