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Red Storm Over the Balkans: The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944, by David M. Glantz

Lawrence, Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 2006. Pp. xiv, 448. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN:0-7006-1465-6.

Perhaps the most significant American scholar of the Eastern Front over the past twenty years has been David Glantz. One of the founders of the Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth when he was an officer on active duty, Glantz was one of the first westerners to gain access to the Soviet military archives. Since then he has turned out a number of works on the eastern front focused on the Red Army’s operations. This is the latest tome.

In this particular book, Glantz covers a little known episode of the Eastern Front, namely an attempt by the Red Army to overrun Romania in the early spring of 1944. Glantz shows clearly that the Soviet High Command regarded the conquest of the Balkans as anything but a secondary priority. The 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts made several strenuous attempts through April and May 1944 to gain bridgeheads across the Dnestr River, from which a major drive could be launched across Romania. These attacks were successfully fended off by series of armored counterstrokes mounted by the German Sixth and Eighth Armies. Glantz shows clearly that the Soviets overreached in their effort here and suffered a reverse at the hands of the German Wehrmacht, still a formidable and dangerous opponent even at this stage of the war.

Glantz lays all of these operations out with his customary detail, backed up by the kind of exhaustive research that we have come to expect from him. Most helpfully, he provides translations of a number of documents from the Soviet archives. Detailed orders of battle are also provided, as are a number of maps.

In short, Glantz has produced another high quality piece of scholarship. This is but one more part of Glantz’ rewriting the history of the Eastern Front from the Soviet perspective bit by bit. Red Storm Over the Balkans is a must read for any serious student of the Eastern Front

Reviewer: Richard DiNardo   

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