by Robert Kirchubel
Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2019. Pp. 224.
Maps, biblio. $60.00. ISBN: 1472834992
Mapping the Axis Onslaught
In this excellent addition to Osprey’s growing corpus of atlases on the Second World War, Dr. Kirchubel, a former U.S. Army officer, gives us nearly 100 maps which cover events from the eve of the war in Europe through that of the German invasion of Russia, a little more than two years of impressive Axis – largely German – success. The maps come in several colors, are well drawn, and are accompanied by concise discussions of the situations depicted.
The overall treatment of events is generally even-handed, and Kirchubel often makes valuable observations at variance with received wisdom. For example, in his commentary on the German victory in the Battle at Gembloux in Belgium (May 10, 1940) – the first major tank action of World War II – Kirchubel notes that French armor did well “in fairly evenly matched contests”, making it a close fight, but German combat experience in Poland proved decisive. Several maps depict matters not usually found is similar atlases, such as the patterns, extent, and density of bombing damage to London during the Blitz or the Soviet invasion of Poland.
There are, however, some problems with Kirchubel’s coverage. The Italo-Greek War is dismissed in one map, which merely outlines some rather complex operations, the naval war in the Mediterranean is rather neglected, and there is no coverage at all of events in North Africa nor East Africa and the adjacent waters.
Despite these limitations, Atlas of the Blitzkrieg, 1939-41, is a valuable reference for anyone seriously interested in the Second World War
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