The Rzhev Slaughterhouse

The Red Army's Forgotten 15-Month Campaign Against Army Group Center, 1942-1943

Svetlana Gerasimova

 
Date Published :
September 2013
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Contributor(s) :
Stuart Britton
Language:
English
Illustration :
112 b/w photos, 38 b/w maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781908916518
Pages : 280
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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+
Available
$59.95
Paperback
ISBN : 9781911096146
Pages : 280
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
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+
Available
$59.95

Overview
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Historians consider the Battle of Rzhev "one of the bloodiest in the history of the Great Patriotic War" and "Zhukov's greatest defeat". Veterans called this colossal battle, which continued for a total of 15 months, "the Rzhev slaughterhouse" or "the Massacre", while the German generals named this city "the cornerstone of the Eastern Front" and "the gateway to Berlin". By their territorial scale, number of participating troops, length and casualties, the military operations in the area of the Rzhev - Viaz'ma salient are not only comparable to the Stalingrad battle, but to a great extent surpass it. The total losses of the Red Army around Rzhev amounted to 2,000,000 men; the Wehrmacht's total losses are still unknown precisely to the present day.

Why was one of the greatest battles of the Second World War consigned to oblivion in the Soviet Union? Why were the forces of the German Army Group Center in the Rzhev - Viaz'ma salient not encircled and destroyed? Whose fault is it that the German forces were able to withdraw from a pocket that was never fully sealed? Indeed, are there justifications for blaming this "lost victory" on G.K. Zhukov? In this book, which has been recognized in Russia as one of the best domestic studies of the Rzhev battle, answers to all these questions have been given. The author, Svetlana Gerasimova, has lived and worked amidst the still extant signs of this colossal battle, the tens of thousands of unmarked graves and the now silent bunkers and pillboxes, and has dedicated herself to the study of its history.

Svetlana Aleksandrovna Gerasimova is a historian and museum official. After graduating from Leningrad State University with a history degree, she worked in the Urals as a middle school history teacher, before moving to Tver, where she taught a number of courses in history and local history, and about museum work and leading excursions in the Tver' School of Culture. She earned her Ph.D. in history from Tver State University in 2002. For more than 20 years, S.A. Gerasimova has been working in the Tver' State Consolidated Museum, and is the creator and co-creator of a many displays and exhibits in the branches of the Museum, and in municipal and institutional museums of the Tver' Oblast. Recent museum exhibits that she has created include "The Battle of Rzhev 1942-1943" and "The Fatal Forties … Toropets District in the Years of the Great Patriotic War." She has led approximately 20 historical and folklore-ethnographic expeditions in the area of Tver' Oblast and is the author of numerous articles in such journals as Voprosy istorii [Questions of History], Voenno-istoricheskii arkhiv [Military History Archive], Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal [Journal of Military History] and Zhivaia starina [The Living Past], and of other publications. In 2009, she served as a featured consultant to a Russian NTV television documentary about the Battle of Rzhev, which quickly became controversial for its very frank discussion of the campaign.

Stuart Britton is a freelance translator and editor residing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has been responsible for making a growing number of Russian titles available to readers of the English language, consisting primarily of memoirs by Red Army veterans and recent historical research concerning the Eastern Front of the Second World War and Soviet air operations in the Korean War. Notable recent titles include Valeriy Zamulin's award-winning 'Demolishing the Myth: The Tank Battle at Prokhorovka, Kursk, July 1943: An Operational Narrative ' (Helion, 2011), Boris Gorbachevsky's 'Through the Maelstrom: A Red Army Soldier's War on the Eastern Front 1942-45' (University Press of Kansas, 2008) and Yuri Sutiagin's and Igor Seidov's 'MiG Menace Over Korea: The Story of Soviet Fighter Ace Nikolai Sutiagin' (Pen & Sword Aviation, 2009). Future books will include Svetlana Gerasimova's analysis of the prolonged and savage fighting against Army Group Center in 1942-43 to liberate the city of Rzhev, and more of Igor Seidov's studies of the Soviet side of the air war in Korea, 1951-1953.

About The Author
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Svetlana Aleksandrovna Gerasimova is a historian and museum official. After graduating from Leningrad State University with a history degree, she worked in the Urals as a middle school history teacher, before moving to Tver, where she taught a number of c

Stuart Britton is a freelance translator who resides in Cedar Rapids, IA. He is responsible for a growing number of translated Russian military memoirs, battle histories and operational studies, which saw an explosion in Russia with the opening of secret military archives and the emergence of new Russian scholars who take a more objective look at the events and historical figures. Two works that received prizes or prominent acclaim were Valeriy Zamulin’s Demolishing a Myth: The Tank Battle at Prokhorovka, Kursk 1943 and Lev Lopukhovsky’s The Viaz’ma Catastrophe, 1941: The Red Army’s Disastrous Stand Against Operation Typhoon. Notable recent translations include Valeriy Zamulin’s The Battle of Kursk: Controversial and Neglected Aspects and Igor Sdvizhkov’s Confronting Case Blue:Briansk Front’s Attempt to Derail the German Drive to the Caucasus, July 1942. Future translated publications include Nikolai Ovcharenko’s analysis of the defense, occupation and liberation of Odessa, 1941-1944, and Zamulin’s detailed study of 7th Guards Army’s role and performance in the Battle of Kursk against Army Detachment Kempf.

REVIEWS
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"...this is an outstanding piece of historical research worthy of any library or collection. It provides valuable insight into the Soviet war leadership and operational execution. Her work is very balanced and insightful. The Rzhev campaign was a slaughter in every sense of the word. Survivors from both sides recalled the fighting years later as the worst they had experienced at any time throughout the war."

- Sabretache

"... a slim volume that goes over many of the operations undertaken by the Red Army in and around the Rzhev salient, which also highlights the numerous issues Soviet/Russian and western historians face when attempting to research and write about certain battles/campaigns of the Great Patriotic War...numerous passages that offer new, original, and a somewhat objective look at how the Red Army performed throughout 1942 and 1943, and what Soviet commanders considered their weaknesses and strengths. ....the information presented makes it obvious that there are still many questions that historians cannot adequately answer without relevant access to Soviet era archives.

- Kunikov’s Reviews

"As Gerasimova observes, recent work on the Russo-German War of 1941-45 is rewriting the Soviet version of the war. Her work certainly makes a major contribution to this ongoing effort."

- The Russian Review

"… a testament to one of the most forgotten of battles of the eastern front in the Second World War."

- War in History

‘It is of utmost importance that books like this are written which uncover massive human tragedies like the Battle of Rzhev.’

- Books Monthly

“ … the author not only meets her objectives but has done an enormous service to those of us interested in this phase of the Second World War

- Globe at War

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