From Defeat to Victory

The Eastern Front, Summer 1944
Decisive and Indecisive Military Operations, Volume 2

Charles J. Dick

Stone & Stone Editor’s Choice

By the summer of 1944, the war in Europe had reached a critical point. Both the western Allies and the Soviets possessed the initiative and forces capable of mounting strategic offensives against the German enemy. Writing a study of operations on first the Western then the Eastern Front, respected military analyst C. J. Dick provides a uniquely informative comparison of the different war-fighting doctrines brought to bear by the Allies and the Red Army in contemporaneous campaigns. His book offers rare insights into the strengths and weaknesses of generalship on both fronts.

“Dick has produced a work full of insights, and one that is particularly illuminating about the operational level of war.

—RUSI Journal

From Defeat to Victory analyzes how the Red Army transformed itself from a beaten army to a conquering army while battle raged, not merely through its willingness to expend human life without regard, but by developing fundamentally sound doctrine, which enabled it to plan and conduct successful large-scale operations in 1943–45 in ways that it could not in 1941–42. He shows that besides learning from German successes, the Red Army also brought its own ideas to the battlefield and was able to combine the two to beat the Germans at their own game by superior strategy, by taking advantage of German mistakes, and by utilizing superior material resources.”

—Roger R. Reese, author of Why Stalin’s Soldiers Fought: The Red Army’s Military Effectiveness in World War II

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In volume 2, From Defeat to Victory, Dick turns to the Eastern Front, where battle lines stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea—nearly 1,500 miles to the Allies’ 600—and the Soviet armies and engagements dwarfed in scale those in the West. More importantly, they reflected a war-fighting philosophy significantly different than the Allies’, which in turn produced different military operations. The Soviets were masters of deception-and-surprise, a concept called maskirovka that was an essential part of every military operation. The Soviets were committed to highly mobile and high-tempo offensives. They massed troops in heavy concentrations to achieve a breakthrough that would quickly set conditions for decisive operational maneuvers; they were relentless in their will to destroy the enemy’s forces and, unlike their counterparts in the West, were willing to contend with an enormous amount of casualties. Dick’s analysis shows us how the Red Army, largely free of the political problems that constrained the Allies, was able to develop more radical operational ideas and implement them with a daring and ruthlessness impossible for the armies of democratic states.

From Defeat to Victory also offers a critical lesson in the enduring importance of finding, inculcating, and implementing operational and tactical doctrine that fits the conditions of contemporary war, as well as in the technology, politics, and psychology of the times.

About the Author

C. J. Dick served in the British Army. After, he worked as a senior lecturer at the Soviet Studies Research Centre, which he directed from 1989–2004. From 2005–2006, he was a senior fellow at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.

Additional Titles in the Modern War Studies Series