From Leningrad to Narva
An Illustrated Study of the Battles in the Northern Baltic Area- January to September 1944
From the publisher's website:
In January 1944 the Red Army at last succeeded in putting to an end one of the most dramatic sieges in the history of warfare, that of Leningrad. The Soviet spearheads quickly expelled the Wehrmacht from the vicinity of the city, but once they reached the pre-war border with Estonia, they were stopped dead in their tracks by a very determined Axis resistance. There, at river Narva, Germans, Estonians, and Waffen SS volunteers and conscripts from all over Europe stood firm for several months against numerous Soviet violent attacks. By doing so, they were able to cripple the ambitious military and political plans of Joseph Stalin, and to effectively postpone the Soviet re-conquest of the Baltic States for more than half a year.
Penned by a leading Bulgarian researcher, Kamen Nevenkin, the book provides an expert analysis of this lesser-known battle. A considerable number of German and Soviet wartime documents were accessed, and this allowed the author to tell the story from perspective of both sides. It also contains many never-before-published photographs.
Hardcover, 80 pages, 106 photographs, 8.5 X 11.81
I was pleasantly surprised to find a package on my front porch from PeKo waiting for me after work. As I've been working as the reviews coordinator for the last 6 months or so, this was the first chance I've had to see what they have to offer. I've always had an interest in the Eastern Front going back to the hours playing IL-2 and watching and rewatching Enemy at the Gates. There have been numerous books on the various battles in the Soviet Union- and some of the most brutal stories come from the battles and slug matches in and around Leningrad.
The content of the book is divided into five chapters-
- The Siege of Leningrad
- The Leningrad-Novgorod Offensive, January 1944
- The Raid of the 16th Tank Brigade
- The First Battle of Narva, February-April 1944
- The Fall of Narva and the German Evacuation of Estonia, July-September 1944
Each section focuses on the various shifts in leadership- and there were numerous switches in both armies as Stalin and Hitler were constantly moving their chess pieces around to counter the moves of the other. The photographs are truly new to me and for the most part, are excellent references. There are a few instances where the contrast in the photos are a bit off and the details are muddled with some areas being quite dark to be able to discern details...but I am sure this is more to do with the quality of the photos to begin with and not the fault of the author or publisher. The text is crammed with excellent statistics- anyone obsessed with numbers will be pleased to check out this book. The majority of the photos consist of wrecked vehicles and guns from the battles outlined in the book.
In the mix of photos are also some interesting views of crews at work trying to maintain the tanks in the winter conditions that were prevalent during this time period- I found the one of the crew servicing the T-34 engine very interesting and it would make an excellent reference for those with detailed engine compartments in their kits.
15cm Panzerwerfer 42 Sd.Kfz. 4/1 self-propelled rocket launcher
Another rather interesting photo that stood out to me was a Lend-Lease Mk. II Matilda of the 16th Tank Brigade...this would be an interesting reference for those looking to do an out of the ordinary build on their Matilda kits in any scale.
This is a brief and concise overview of an intense period of nearly a year on the Baltic area and the experiences of the German, Estonian, and Soviet forces enmeshed in an intense struggle- with neither side willing to yield to the other. In the end- due to overwhelming odds, the Soviets were able to turn the tide of the battle and forge the foundation for the inevitable shift towards the Fatherland and the eventual loss of the war for Germany. One can get overwhelmed with all the statistics the book offers, but there is excellent coverage of the battles and a nice collection of photos rarely seen and of great interest to those interested in the Eastern Front.
Highly Recommended for modelers and aficionados of Eastern Front WWII history.
Thanks goes out to Peko Publishing for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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