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Campaign 148: Operation Barbarossa 1941 (2) Army Group North

by Robert Kirchubel, illustrated by H Gerrard & P Dennis

Published by Osprey Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-84176-857-X, 96 pages.

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Many of us like to model tanks on the Russian Front, but there isn’t much in print about the attack toward Leningrad to confirm which Panzer divisions were where and when, and what Soviet units they encountered. Here is a book that repairs the gap in our knowledge.

It begins with the usual Campaign-series introduction setting the background before the fighting began, then there’s a chapter about the respective German attack plan and Soviet defensive plan. There’s interesting reading here, since Soviet planning to meet an attack began in August 1940 but work on the German attack plans had begun soon after the fall of France. Next is a chapter about the opposing forces, ground, air and naval, with tables of all major units on both sides – Finnish forces are included in the German table but are neither in the descriptive part of this chapter nor in the “planning” chapter.

The main body of the book, two-thirds of it in fact, describes in a lot of detail the attacks on the Baltic States and into Russia. This is very good and makes for fascinating reading. The Finnish contribution is not really covered here, perhaps an indication that a Campaign-series book on the Winter War and Continuation War is to come? There are plenty of maps, and birds’-eye-views to show the course of major actions. Only the beginning of the Leningrad siege is here, since this book is about the Barbarossa period but it really demands a book of its own anyway. The selection of photographs is interesting, though it’s news to me that T-34 model 1943s were used in 1941, but there’s even a camouflage-painted Pionier-Sturmboot 39 on an assault run to see. The colour plates are as always atmospheric though readers may wonder what happened to distort the tanks shown.

Definitely recommended!

John Prigent

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