At War's Summit

At War's Summit : The Red Army and the Struggle for the Caucasus Mountains in World War II

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This is the story of the highest battlefield of World War Two, which brings to life the extremes endured during this harsh mountain warfare. When the German war machine began faltering from a shortage of oil after the failed Blitzkrieg against the Soviet Union, the Wehrmacht launched Operation Edelweiss in the summer of 1942, a bold attempt to capture the Soviet oilfields of Grozny and Baku and open the way to securing the vast reserves of Middle Eastern oil. Hitler viewed this campaign as the key to victory in World War Two. Mountain warfare requires unique skills: climbing and survival techniques, unconventional logistical and medical arrangements and knowledge of ballistics at high altitudes. The Main Caucasus Ridge became the battleground that saw the elite German mountain divisions clash with the untrained soldiers of the Red Army, as they fought each other, the weather and the terrain.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 454 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 25mm | 860g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 1108424627
  • 9781108424622
  • 279,589

Table of contents

List of figures; List of maps; List of tables; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction: the path towards the top summits of World War II; 1. Russia's historical experience in mountain warfare; 2. Soviet preparations for war in the mountains; 3. First battle tests and the handicaps of selective learning; 4. Contest of follies: plan Edelweiss and the German offensive across the High Caucasus; 5. 'Not a step back!': the German mountain corps hits the wall; 6. The Soviet counteroffensive: a stalemate snatched from the jaws of victory; 7. Mosaics of mountain warfare: comparative military effectiveness in the High Caucasus; 8. Learning mountain warfare the hard way; 9. Lessons ignored: deja vu at Tuapse (1942) and in the Carpathians (1944); 10. Disdain for military professionalism as a component of the universal Stalinist paradigm; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

'Comprehensive, engaging and full of new material. Statiev's majestic new study is not just a scholarly work, it is an exciting read, which will endure as the definitive work on this neglected theatre of the German-Soviet war for a long time to come.' David Stahel, author of The Battle for Moscow 'This remarkable book provides a highly-detailed and balanced account of the fighting between the Germans and the Russians in the Caucasus mountains in late 1942. It takes advantage of unique access to archival sources. Beyond this, many valuable insights are provided about mountain warfare in general, and the about military culture of the Stalin era.' Evan Mawdsley, author of Thunder in the East: The Soviet-German War 'This fine book will be of interest for historians of the Soviet and the German war effort, but also for students of Soviet leisure and Soviet tourism.' Mark Edele, European History Quarterly
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About Alexander Statiev

Alexander Statiev is Associate Professor of History at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. His extensive experience in mountain trekking, white water rafting and ski expeditions across five continents helped him assess the challenges to military actions in the mountains described in this book.
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Rating details

4 ratings
4.75 out of 5 stars
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4 25% (1)
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