Stalin’s Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army from Kursk to Berlin

Volume 1 - January 1943 - June 1944

Igor Nebolsin

The 2nd Tank Army was not an ordinary force; by 1945 it was an elite Guards formation which played a role in the Soviet offensive operations and whose tanks were the first to enter Berlin's streets. This study is based on the operational documents of the Army and provides an analysis of every battle it fought in World War II. The combat operations
Date Published :
March 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
250 b/w photos, 24 pages of color maps and 70 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781909982154
Pages : 504
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781804510766
Pages : 466
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


This is the first detailed combat history of any Soviet unit available in the English language known to the author. The 2nd Tank Army was not an ordinary force; by 1945 it was an elite Guards formation which played a decisive role in the Soviet offensive operations of that year and whose tanks were the first to enter Berlin's streets. The Army commander, Colonel-General Semen Bogdanov, became a Marshal of Armored Troops and was promoted to the position of Chief Commander of all armored and tank units of the USSR shortly after the war, and remained in this position until 1953. 2nd Guards Tank Army remained in Germany until 1993, a period of 48 years. It is the only Soviet Tank Army of the war that still exists today, now named 2nd Guards Army.

This study is based on the rarely available operational documents of the Army from the Central Archives of the Russian Defense Ministry and provides an analysis of every battle it fought in World War II. This includes Operation Citadel North (Kursk), Sevsk, Cherkassy, Tyrgul-Frumos and Jassy, Warsaw, Vistula-Oder, Pomerania (including Sonnenwende) and Berlin. What also differentiates this book is that it was created in cooperation with the senior army general (Anatoly Shvebig) who was an active participant in all the Army's engagements. Another unique point is that the combat operations are covered from both sides in a scope and scale that has never previously been attempted. The day by day coverage of events, honest views of the Army's commanders, full statistical data (including unit strengths, movements, and casualties for each operation from both Russian and German points of view), and the 'human element' based on the exciting firsthand reminiscences of Soviet tank officers all make this study an incredibly valuable source of information on tank battles fought on the Eastern Front 1943-1945. According to Major-General Anatoly Svebig, deputy commander of 12th Guards Tank Corps within the 2nd Guards Tank Army, this is the best study on any Soviet unit he has ever seen in his long life!

Volume 1 focuses on the first half of the Army's service in the Great Patriotic War. 2nd Tank Army was created in January 1943. In spring and summer of 1943 it was engaged in the fierce battles at Sevsk and Kursk. Combat experience was heavily paid for in blood. The Army played a critical role in containing a strike of the German III. Panzerkorps in February 1944, aimed at rescuing units in the Cherkassy pocket. In March-April 1944 2nd GTA carried out a deep raid to Uman and was amongst the first Russian units that crossed the Romanian border. In May-June 1944 Army was engaged in combats at Tyrgul Frumos and Jassy against strong German armored forces belonging to 'Grossdeutschland' and 24. Panzer-Division. The text is fully supported by specially commissioned color maps and an extensive selection of photographs, many from private collections in Russia. Volume 2 will provide a detailed record of the Army for the remainder of World War II, including its elevation to Guards status later in 1944.

About The Author

Igor Nebolsin is the author of three documentary monographies of the combat history of the Soviet Guards Tank Armies and other publications on military history. He was born in the Soviet Union in 1976 and graduated with Honors from the Academy of the National Economy under the Government of Russia in Moscow in 1998, and earned a Masters degree at the University of Warwick (UK), where he successfully completed his dissertation in 2010. The history of the Second World War has been a passion from an early age, as his grandfather and father were both Soviet officers; Igor's research focuses on the Eastern Front's armored battles of 1943-1945. His books are strictly based on the analysis of archival documents from both Russian and German viewpoints, and materials provided by the Russian Second World War veterans’ councils - including the United Council of the Soviet Tank and Mechanized Forces, and the Guards Tank Armies’ museums. The inclusion of recollections from veterans help to make Igor's book a fascinating read, and among his consultants are Major-General Analii Shvebig (2nd Guards Tank Army), Lieutenant-General Yuri Zavizion (Chairman of the 6th Guards Tank Army Veteran Council), Colonel Alexander Bochkovskii and Nikolai Kosterev (Chairman of the 1st Guards Tank Army Veteran Council). Igor is an active participant in international military forums and is married with two sons.


“ … this is an interesting and useful book that helps fill in a major gap in the Red Army’s historical record in the Soviet-German War (1941-45) … This book will no doubt represent a “Godsend” to military historians and history buffs alike … To its publisher Helion, I give a hearty “well done”

- The Russian Review

“Igor Nebolsin's Stalin's Favorite offers Second World War armored enthusiasts a treasure trove of information about one of the Red Army's top combat armies. One would be hard pressed to find an English language translation of a Soviet army's combat history, and in doing so here the team of Nebolsin and Britton have performed an invaluable service … Stalin's Favorite should be found on the bookshelf of anyone interested in tank warfare, and I highly recommend it to my readers.”

- Globe at War

“ … this is a book you should definitely have if you are a student of the Great Patriotic War. It’s as factual as any German unit history I’ve ever read and far more rigorously supported by modern scholarship. I highly recommend it and would give it five stars!”

- Rat Patrol Blog

“Stalin’s Favorite was a book that I was looking forward to reading and now that I am, I can honestly say it was worth the wait. It is incredibly detailed, yet unique in my experience in the English langue to read such a rich history so beautifully displayed … For anyone interested in the eastern front and the Russian perspective of operations at the Brigade to Army level I would highly recommend this book, from operational summaries, to lessons learnt, and notable actions it is a wealth of information.”

- Great Patriotic War Blog

“ … The book’s strength lies in its fine-grained detail of what the management of large formations actually entails, alongside the day-to-day and week-to-week rhythm of a Soviet army in offense, defense, and rest … The book offers a great deal of understanding of what campaigns on the Eastern Front actually meant to operational commanders.”

- Journal of Military History, October 2016

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