Home > BOOKS > General Interest > Operation Bagration The Destruction of Army Group Centre June-July 1944 A Photographic History by Ian Baxter
Operation Bagration The Destruction of Army Group Centre June-July 1944 A Photographic History by Ian Baxter
Publication Date: January 2008
Operation Bagration - the Russian codename for the 1944 summer offensive, which led to the complete annihilation of Army Group Centre - was without doubt the most devastating defeat ever experienced by the German Army during the Second World War. Yet this mammoth offensive has for years been completely overshadowed by the Normandy campaign, which was unleashed just three weeks prior to Bagration along the shores of northern France. The battle which the German forces of Army Group Centre endured on the Eastern Front that fateful summer was more catastrophic than that experienced on the Western Front, but the English-speaking world remains largely ignorant of its details. This book reveals the lesser-known battle in the East and demonstrates the gallantry and self-sacrifice of the German forces against overwhelming odds.
Drawing previously on rare and unpublished photographs accompanied by in-depth captions the book vividly describes how the German forces of Army Group Centre endured a massive Russian offensive three years to the day after Germany`s 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. Fighting over many of the same battlefields, it reveals how scores of German troops were urged on by their Fuhrer to defend their positions to the death in a desperate attempt to prevent the mighty Red Army forces from recapturing Byelorussia, the last bastion of defense for the Germans before Poland. The Bagration offensive was a bloodthirsty battle of attrition which resulted in a catastrophe of unbelievable proportions. Throughout the book the author provides an absorbing analysis of this traumatic battle and shows how German soldiers continued to fight to the bitter end amidst the constant hammer blows of ground and aerial bombardment, and endless armored and infantry attacks. Although many German units continued to wage a grim and bitter defense the Red Army swamped the already overstretched front lines.
The Soviets punched massive holes in the disintegrating defenses almost everywhere, letting through a seemingly-unstoppable flood, pushing apart and encircling many precious German Panzer and infantry divisions. In the end Bagration cost the Wehrmacht more men and material than the catastrophe at Stalingrad sixteen months earlier. The shattering defeat of Army Group Centre resulted in the loss of over 300,000 men and witnessed Soviet forces pushing exhausted German remnants out of Russia and through Poland to the gates of Warsaw.
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