By Catherine Merridale
In line with documents of letters, diaries and police studies, 'Ivan's War' explores the human component of Russia's conflict opposed to German invasion, and the psychology that enabled a badly fed and badly run strength to defeat an influence that might in a different way have enslaved all of Europe.
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Additional info for Ivan's War: The Red Army, 1939-45
His first combat experience as a commander took place in Finland in December 1939. When he arrived at the front, he was immediately placed in command of a tank battalion in 35th Light Tank Brigade, when its previous commander had been killed. 47 The inept handling of armor by the Red Army during this winter war made a deep impression on Rotmistrov, who felt that Soviet tank forces needed to be handled with more imagination. He felt that their being relegated to infantry support made them vulnerable to enemy antitank tactics.
78th Rifle Corps faced the bulk of 57. and 72. InfDiv. Opposing Forces In addition to the forces already listed, Koroteyev's army had a separate artillery regiment, two heavy mortar regiments, and several antitank regiments, as well as an antiaircraft division. While this sounded impressive on paper, 52nd Army was extremely understrength, with a total of 15,886 personnel assigned and no armored forces. Because of these realities, Koroteyev's troops would playa supporting role throughout the battle, primarily serving to harass, pin down, or pursue the retreating German forces.
With such a force arrayed against them, who could withstand an assault from such a force? Gen. Ivan Vasil'evich Galanin. Like its neighbor to the north, Galanin's force had also been reinforced to a strength of 51,043 men, making it the largest Soviet force scheduled to take part in the battle. It boasted three corps and an entire artillery division. To the north, where it joined 4th Guards Army was 26th Rifle Corps, with three divisions, 1st Guards Airborne Division, 25th Guards Rifle Division, and 6th Rifle Division, all of which were opposite the south flank of the hapless 389.