Roger R. Reese - The Battle for L'vov, July 1944: The Soviet General Staff Study (review) - Journal of Military History 67:1 The Journal of Military History 67.1 (2003) 279-280

The Battle for L'vov, July 1944: The Soviet General Staff Study. Translated and edited by David M. Glantz and Harold S. Orenstein. Portland, Oreg.: Frank Cass, 2002. ISBN 0-7146-5201-6. Maps. Tables. Appendixes. Index. Pp. xiv, 231. $57.50.

This translation is a useful contribution to the body of knowledge of the Nazi-Soviet struggle during World War II from the Soviet perspective. As the title makes clear this is the Soviet General Staff's study of the victorious Battle for L'vov. It was originally prepared in the postwar years to educate Soviet commanders and staff officers, and offers insight to Soviet military thought during and after the war. The entire study of the battle is not translated, only the salient issues for the student of military history are included. These issues include the prebattle operational planning and the plans for operational [End Page 279] support, including artillery, aviation, and engineer support. Coordination of command and control and radio and wire communications are included. Regarding the fighting, only the experiences of major forces and critical encounters are included, for instance, the penetration of the enemy's defense, the destruction of the Germans' Brody Grouping, and the capture of L'vov and Peremyshl'. Coverage of the combat operations of major units of the 1st Ukrainian Front, which fought the battle, include those of the 4th, 60th, and 38th Armies and the 3d Guards Tank Army.

This battle is important because it shows how much Soviet military thinking and organization had advanced from the initial disasters of 1941, and because it resulted in the destruction of a German Army Group. This was a massive operation under the command of one of the USSR's premier marshals, Ivan S. Konev, and involved more than one million Red Army soldiers. In a period of only fifteen days the 1st Ukrainian Front destroyed German Army Group North Ukraine, liberated much of Poland and reached the Vistula River at a cost to itself of nearly 290,000 casualties, 1,269 tanks, and 289 aircraft.

The only minor criticism to be made is that the maps on pages 169 to 180 are cluttered and hard to read, thus rendering them less useful than the other maps found in the appendix. Other than that, this book will be warmly embraced by the specialist in Soviet strategy and tactics of the Second World War.


Roger Reese
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas

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