Barnsley: Pen&Sword, 2011.This is an interesting book with a somewhat deceptive title. This is not an account of the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, and of the operational events in between. Rather it is an overview of the development of the Red Army from the early 1930s through to 1943, with particular emphasis on the development of its strategy and its operational doctrine. Admittedly Stalingrad and particularly Kursk feature heavily, but only within the wider context. Jukes presents numerous tables of data, particularly of comparative strengths and losses, to demonstrate the growing strength and competence of the Red Army over the course of the first two years of the war. Much of the information in the book's two-hundred pages is either relatively new or is established information presented with an interesting slant, and it covers topics ranging from Red Army desertion rates to the smoke-and-mirrors world of counter-espionage.Jukes sets himself the task of addressing what he sees as ten of the most controversial topics of the war on the Eastern Front; such as whether Operation Mars was intended as a strategic diversion. In this regard Jukes uses newly acquired information to draw conclusions that that others might dispute. (For example Jukes uses the fact that Soviet counter-intelligence on 4 November 1942 gave the Germans advance warning of an impending offensive on the Rzhev axis as prime evidence that Operation Mars was never intended to be more than a diversion from the Stalingrad offensive. However Jukes omits to mention that the Germans had been expecting an offensive on the Rzhev axis since the end of October and would have been suspicious of any intelligence source that suggested otherwise).
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