Book Review: The Men of Barbarossa: Commanders of the German Invasion of Russia, 1941


by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.

Philadelphia: Casemate, 2009 . Pp. vii, 296. Illus., maps, appends, notes, biblio. $32.95. ISBN: 978-1-935149-15-6

A look at the careers of the senior German commanders during the 1941 campaign in Russia. 

All of the famous marshals and army commanders here, but also many less well-known officers, notably corps and division commanders, many of whom would later attain some measure of distinction, as well as several specialists such as the chief of signals.  This is, however, not a biographical dictionary.  Mitcham, a noted specialist on the German Army in World War II, with a good many books to his credit, such as Hitler's Commanders: Officers of the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, the Kriegsmarine, and the Waffen-SS, The Desert Fox in Normandy , and Panzer Commanders of the Western Front, opens the work with an overview of recent German military history, organization, and strategy.  Then, rather than listing the men in alphabetical order, which is the norm for group biographical treatments, he uses a chronological approach, dealing with the various officers as they appear in the narrative, weaving their story into the bigger picture of the unfolding campaign.  Each officer's origins and early career is covered, with the most focus on his actions at a time when his role was particularly interesting or critical, and, naturally, some men appear more than once, given their roles in different parts of the campaign.  The final chapter gives a short account of the long-term fate of each man. 

A good book for anyone interested in the German Army in World War II or in the Eastern Front.

Note: This work is also available in a Kindle edition.


Reviewer: A.A Nofi, Review Editor   

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