Fighting in Hell: The German Ordeal on the Eastern Front, Peter Tsouras (book review)

Fighting in Hell: The German Ordeal on the Eastern Front, Peter Tsouras (book review)

The German war in Russia was so brutal in all its extremes that all past experiences paled beside it. Everything in Russia – the land, the climate, the distances and above all the people – were harder, harsher, more unforgiving and more deadly than anything the German soldier had ever faced before. One panzer-grenadier who fought in the West and in Russia summed it up: ‘In the West war was the same honourable old game; nobody went out of his way to be vicious, and fighting stopped often by five in the afternoon. But in the East, the Russians were trying to kill you – all the time.’

The four detailed reports of campaigning in Russia included in this invaluable book (Russian Combat Methods in WWII, Effects of Climate on Combat in European Russia, Combat in Russian Forests and Swamps and Warfare in the Far North) were written in the late 1940s and early 1950s, as part of the US Army programme to record the German strategies and tactics of World War II directly from the commanders. The authors were all veterans of the fighting they described, and frankly admitted that the soldiers sent to Russia were neither trained nor equipped to withstand the full fury of the elements there.

The German high command had been under the impression that the Red Army could be destroyed west of the Dnepr, and there would be no need for conducting operations in cold, snow and mud. Fighting in Hell shows what really happened, through first-hand accounts of the commanders who were there.

The book

For many military history enthousiasts Bletchley Park needs no introduction. Since the movie ‘The imitation game’, the subject of Bletchley Park and its secrets have gotten the attention it deservers since it is generally believed the was was shortened with several years due to the acvities of many people breaking German (and Japanase) secret military codes. Over the years I have read quite a number of books abouth Bletchley Park and to be honest after a while they seem to be alike. Often much attention is paid to technicalities as well as the brilliant  work of Alan Turing. Often these books (like many other books about military history) are very factual which may interest many people. I like this kind of books but I enjoy books with personal accounts of the people envolved. So when I saw this title I was immediately interested. So what to expect from this book?

Living in The Netherlands, the Eastern Front, is no part of Dutch second world war history. For this reason I never read much about the Eastern front, though I always found The Battle of Stalingrad very interesting. When I came across this book I thought it would

The Verdict

Content: 4,0 stars
Layout: 4 stars
Interest: 4,5 stars
Overall: 4,0 stars

Author:  Peter Tsouras
Publisher: Frontline books
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781848326514
Re-Released: September 2018