By Vasily Grossman

Whilst the Germans invaded Russia in 1941, Vasily Grossman turned a unique correspondent for the pink big name, the Soviet Army's newspaper, and suggested from the frontlines of the struggle. A author at conflict depicts in brilliant element the crushing stipulations at the jap entrance, and the lives and deaths of infantrymen and civilians alike. Witnessing probably the most savage struggling with of the struggle, Grossman observed firsthand the repeated early defeats of the purple military, the brutal highway combating in Stalingrad, the conflict of Kursk (the greatest tank engagement in history), the protection of Moscow, the battles in Ukraine, the atrocities at Treblinka, and masses extra.

Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova have taken Grossman's uncooked notebooks, and shaped them right into a gripping narrative supplying some of the most even-handed descriptions --at as soon as unflinching and delicate -- we've ever had of what Grossman known as "the ruthless fact of war".

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It was his one great achievement," General der Infanterie Kurt von Tippelskirch has stated. "At that critical moment . . if [the troops] had once begun a retreat, it might have turned into a panic flight," 14for there were no prepared positions to withdraw to. By the middle of January the earlier Russian tactical successes threatened to develop into a strategic disaster for the Germans. Reinforcing their initial assault units, the Soviets continued to press the attack. '" The Fourth Panzer, Ninth, and Fourth Armies stood in grave danger of complete encirclement should this drive succeed in reaching to Smolensk.

13 36 THE SOVIET PARTISAN MOVEMENT disaster was averted, but this "one great achievement" of Hitler's had the ironic effect of exalting his faith in himself and his inelastic defense, and, in so doing, foreshadowed the final denouement. During the same period heavy attacks were launched against Army Group North. The Eighteenth Army was forced back of the Volkhov River just south of Lake Ladoga and the line of the Sixteenth Army below Lake Ilmen was shattered ; the entire II Corps was cut off and had to be supplied by air for several months, while the principal lateral communications line between Army Groups Center and North was completely overrun with the exception of the hedgehog at Kholm.

Bridges in the Brest-Litovsk area were seized intact and crossings further north were quickly established in the face of slight opposition. The infantry, moving through the only partially manned border defenses, rapidly opened holes through which the armored and motorized units of the Second and Third Panzer Groups could start their operations. Their immediate task was to close a gigantic pair of pincers on Minsk in order to trap both the Russian forces along the frontier and the reserve units hastily committed to stem the assault, while the infantry at the same time enveloped a large Russian concentration about Bialystok.

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