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HELL'S GATE: The Battle of the…

HELL'S GATE: The Battle of the Cherkassy Pocket January to February…

by Douglas Nash

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When I requested this book as an interlibrary loan I was a little bit suspicious that this was merely going to be another glorified coffee table book about the Wehrmacht in World War II; it's not. Nash gives you a fine blow by blow of how the battle developed from both sides of the hill (as much as documents allow), and is almost in the class of David Glantz's works on the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War. One advantage even over Glantz is that Nash builds a great deal of first-person remembrance into his study, which considering how the final breakout became almost a matter of being every man for himself is an important thing.

My complaints are comparatively minor. One is that I'm not sure that any serious combat history of World War II in the 21st century should be using the "The Forgotten Soldier" as a source; it's validity is just too tendentious. This is particularly since Nash devotes some analysis to the historiography of the battle. Secondly, even though Nash had the material to fill a coffee table book, the format makes it a bit impractical to issue in a bargain paperback edition, and will thus diminish its circulation. ( )
  Shrike58 | Aug 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0965758435, Hardcover)

Virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, the Battle of Cherkassy (also known as the Korsun Pocket) still stirs controversy in both the former Soviet Union and in Germany. It was at Cherkassy that the last German offensive strength in the Ukraine was drained away, creating the conditions for the victorious Soviet advance into Poland, Rumania, and the Balkans during the summer and autumn of 1944. Eclipsed by a war of such gigantic proportions that saw the deaths of over one million men or more as commonplace, the events which occurred along the banks of the Gniloy Tickich river should have faded into obscurity. However, to the 60,000 German soldiers who were encircled there at the end of January 1944, this was perhaps one of the most brutal, physically exhausting, and morally demanding battles they had ever experienced. Thirty-four percent of them would not escape. The culmination of years of research and survivor interviews, Hell's Gate is a riveting hour by hour and day by day account of this desperate struggle analyzed on a tactical level through maps and military transcripts, as well as on a personal level, through the words of the enlisted men and officers who risked the roaring waters of the Gniloy Tickich to avoid certain death at the hands of their Soviet foe.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:28 -0400)

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