Do you know the orders Timoshenko gave to the 20th Army at 1800 hours on 17 August 1941?
I do, because I'm reading Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk, 10th July-10 September 1941, Volume 1, by David Glantz.
What a book, dear friends. It is the most detailed account of the Battle for Smolensk from the grand-tactical and the operational level point of view. The book leans heavily towards the Soviet point of view, but it doesn't fall too short on the German one. It is a book where you will find a lot of information in each of the 600+ pages, so take it slowly. The writing is very clear but (at least on what I have read since I got it) it is focused in formations of the size of divisions and above. If you are looking for a narrative or stories of individual divisions, regiments or soldiers, this book will not fit the bill. This is not a book for the casual reader and it's big physical size doesn't make it a good bed reading.
Volume 1 (already released) and volume 2 (to be released in March) will be a chronological narrative of the operations. Volume 3 will be a collection of orders and reports translated from Russian archives. Volume 4 will be an atlas with color maps made from scratch.
I continue to read this book but I will add a big side dish of war gaming. Following the narrative with the help of maps found in war games is a lot of fun. War gaming the situations described in the book will be fantastic.
|John Tiller's Panzer Campaigns Smolensk 41 (published by HPSSims), here shown with MapMod (mapmod.hist-sdc.com/index.htm), is one of the best to get your war gaming fix of what you read in the book.|
|SSGs Across the Dnepr Second Edition (published by Matrix Games), also a very good war gaming match for the contents of the book.|
To Comrade Lukin:
-Commit 161st RD in the Sopshino, the railroad bridge over the Dnepr River, and Dobromino sector
-Commit 129th RD in the Dobromino and Klokova sector, after leaving one regiment at the boundary with 24th Army to protect the Novyi Iakovlevichi and Glinka axis.
-Have 153rd, 229th and 73rd RD begin their attack west of the Dnepr River when 161st and 129th RD reach the El'nia-Smolensk railroad.
Above text from page 444 of Barbarossa Derailed, Volume 1.