The 64th Army at Stalingrad 1942-43
The 64th Army at Stalingrad 1942-43: A Day-by-Day Account of a Soviet Combined Arms Infantry Army During the Battle for Stalingrad by Dann Folk
Ukiah, CA: Falken Books, 2019 (Second Edition). Pp 290. ISBN: 1732607419.
Review by John Peaty
This book does exactly what the title says. It provides a daily account of the operations of the Soviet 64th Army during the Battle of Stalingrad from July 1942 to February 1943.
There is a vast literature in English on Stalingrad. One of the decisive battles of the Second World War, it was a long, brutal and bloody battle during which the Russians first defended the city building by building and then surrounded and captured the German attackers. But there has been little published in English about the day-to-day operation of Soviet Armies during the Soviet-Nazi conflict. The only comparable titles are David Glantz’s “Colossus Reborn” and Roger Reese’s “Why Stalin’s Soldiers Fought.” This book aims to advance the study of the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War by detailing the operations of a single Army, including Combat Actions, Logistics, Command and Control, Medical and the overall day to day experience of a typical Soviet infantryman. By making extensive use of newly released historical documents from the Russian Ministry of Defence's TsAMO Archive, the work provides a valuable new perspective from the Soviet side of the battle. This approach complements existing research and publications, thus more fully completing the historical picture.
The book is self-published. It has extensive references (436), a bibliography (including websites) and an index. However, the proof-reading and index are inadequate. The typos are annoying and so is the indexing of the commanders by their rank and not name. The 32 original maps and 2 figures clearly illustrate the ebb and flow of this great battle. An assortment of 21 photos, some never before published, add to the unique look and feel of the book. The early chapters describing the preparations are weaker than the latter chapters describing the operations. The book is stronger on narrative than on analysis. If you love dates and facts, this book is for you. However, those seeking the personal stories and the horror of Stalingrad will have to look elsewhere. Noting these caveats, the book provides a new perspective on the battle based on archival research and is recommended on that basis.