The Red Army's Winter Offensive along the Southwestern Strategic Direction, 1942-43

Date Published :
January 2016
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Editor :
Richard Harrison
Illustration :
8 b/w maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781910777176
Pages : 412
Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.75 inches
In stock
ISBN : 9781912390489
Pages : 412
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
In stock


Rollback: The Red Army’s Winter Offensive along the Southwestern Strategic Direction, 1942–43 covers the period from mid-December 1942 to mid-February 1943, one of the most critical periods of the war on the Eastern Front. It was here that following the encirclement of an entire German army at Stalingrad, the Soviets sought to take advantage of the ruptured Axis front in southern Russia to finish off the Germans’ Italian and Hungarian allies and liberate the economically vital areas of eastern Ukraine.

This study is drawn from a number of wartime and postwar articles, published by the General Staff’s directorate for the study of wartime experience. Also featured are documents relating to the operational-strategic conduct of the various operations, which were compiled and published after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Several articles deal with the preparation for and conduct of the Southwestern Front’s Middle Don operation of December 1942. Originally intended as an ambitious offensive to cut off the German forces in the North Caucasus by driving on to Rostov, the operation was later reoriented to meet the threat of the German effort to relieve Stalingrad. The offensive not only accomplished its objective of turning back the German attack, thus dooming the Stalingrad garrison, but also destroyed the Italian army in the East as well.

The Soviet Voronezh Front then struck further up the Don River, and in the Ostrogozhsk–Rossosh’ operation destroyed what remained of the Italian forces in the area, as well as the Hungarian army. This enabled the Red Army to capture Khar’kov and push nearly to the Dnepr River by mid-February, before being thrown back by a skillful German counteroffensive.

The territorial results of this operation set the stage for the front’s subsequent Voronezh–Kastornoe operation, which enabled the Soviets to push as far west as Kursk before exhaustion and growing German resistance brought the offensive to a halt. Further to the south, the Soviets were able to capture Voroshilovgrad and penetrate into the industrial Donets Basin.

The book also contains a detailed Soviet examination of the employment of tank and mechanized corps during the campaign. The conclusions reached here had a direct bearing on the restructuring of the Red Army’s tank armies in time for the summer campaign of 1943.

About The Author

Richard W. Harrison earned his Undergraduate and Masters Degrees from Georgetown University, where he specialized in Russian Area Studies. In 1994, he earned his Doctorate in War Studies from King's College London. He was also an exchange student in the former Soviet Union and spent several years living and working in post-Communist Russia. Dr Harrison has worked for the US Department of Defense as an investigator in Russia - dealing with cases involving POWs and MIAs. He has also taught Russian History and Military History at college and university level - most recently at the US Military Academy at West Point. Dr Harrison is the author of two books dealing with the Red Army's theoretical development during the interwar period: The Russian Way of War: Operational Art, 1904-1940 and Architect of Victory: The Life and Theories of G.S. Isserson. He has also authored a number of articles on topics regarding Soviet military history and is currently working on a history of the Red Army's High Commands during the Second World War and afterwards. Dr Harrison currently lives with his family near Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


"Richard Harrison's translation brings this conflict into stark focus - a fascinating account of the Red Army's sterling efforts to stem the tide of the German invasion.'"

- Books Monthly , April 2016

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