A strategic analysis of the Nazi high command's decisions in the north, from "an established scholar of the Scandinavian theater" (Publishers Weekly). One of the prominent controversies of World War II remains the debate over Germany's strategy in the north of the Soviet Union as the tide of war turned and gigantic Russian armies began to close in on Berlin. Here, Henrik Lunde-former US Special Forces officer and author of renowned works on the campaigns in Norway and Finland-turns his sights to the withdrawal of Army Group North. Applying cool-headed analysis to the problem, the author first acknowledges that Hitler-often accused of holding on to ground for the sake of it-had valid reasons in this instance to maintain control of the Baltic coast. Without it, his supply of iron ore from Sweden would have been cut off, German naval U-boat bases would have been compromised, and an entire simpatico area of Europe-including East Prussia-would have been forsaken. On the other hand, Germany's maintaining control of the Baltic would have meant convenient supply for forces on the coast-or evacuation if necessary-and, perhaps most important, remaining German defensive pockets behind the Soviets' main drive to Europe would tie down disproportionate offensive forces. Stalwart German forces remaining on the coast and on their flank could break the Soviet tidal wave. However, unlike during today's military planning, the German high command, in a situation that changed by the month, had to make quick decisions and gamble, the fate of hundreds of thousands of troops and the entire nation at stake on quickly decided throws of the dice. In this book, both combat and strategy are described in the final stages of the fighting in the Northern Theater with Lunde's even-handed, thought-provoking analysis of the campaign a reward to every student of World War II. Includes maps.
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