Endgame at Stalingrad: Book One – David M. Glantz and Jonathan M. House

The stalingrad trilogy, volume 3

The “Trilogy” ended up being 4 fat books, hence the Book 1 and Book 2.  The first volume in the Series – To the Gates of Stalingrad – covered the “Case Blue” offensive that swept across Southern Russia to the outskirts of Stalingrad and to the Caucasus.  The second volume – Armageddon in Stalingrad –  covered the two months when the Axis tried to take Stalingrad and as the rest of the offensive petered out just short of their goals.

The third volume – in two fat books of which this is the first – covers the Soviet counteroffensive that crushed the flanking forces around Stalingrad and encircled the city with over 250,000 men inside.  This first book covers the planning and initial offensive – Operation Uranus- that provided the first successful major Soviet offensive in the war.

This is an incredibly detailed look at this battle – almost 700 pages.  It goes back to primary sources including Soviet archive documents that have only recently been revealed.  Glantz was one of the first westerners allowed to see these archives back in the 80s and 90s.  This means that the German slant in most earlier histories is mitigated. This is the most detailed history of this operation in existence.

While the Soviets did plan well, there were still some contingencies that they did not expect.  The counterattack in the city and the north side were unsuccessful.  But the breakouts further westward along the Don were very successful and managed to link up to the southern pincer.  The Soviets could not keep the forces on the Don from retiring on Stalingrad, swelling the number of trapped units in the pocket far past Soviet expectations.

This would affect the Soviet follow-on offensive plan, Operation Saturn in December, as more forces were needed to contain and reduce the city and defend against the threatened German relief attempt.

This book only covers the Stalingrad area operations. The Caucasus operations in this period are planned for a Volume 4 (!)

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