The Red Army on the Eve of World War
David M. Glantz
Germany's surprise attack on June 22, 1941, shocked a Soviet Union woefully unprepared to defend itself. The day before the attack, the Red Army still comprised the world's largest fighting force. But by the end of the year, four and a half million of its soldiers lay dead. This new study, based on formerly classified Soviet archival material and neglected German sources, reveals the truth behind this national catastrophe.
Drawing on evidence never before seen in the West-including combat records of early engagements-David Glantz claims that in 1941 the Red Army was poorly trained, inadequately equipped, ineptly organized, and consequently incapable of engaging in large-scale military campaigns—and that both Hitler and Stalin knew it. He provides the most complete and convincing study of why the Soviets almost lost the war that summer, dispelling many of the myths about the Red Army that have persisted since the war and soundly refuting Viktor Suvorov's controversial thesis that Stalin was planning a preemptive strike against Germany.
“David Glantz is the world’s top scholar of the Soviet-German War. This book is accessible to the general reader and indispensable to the specialist.”
—Journal of Military History
“David Glantz is indisputably the West’s foremost expert on the subject.”
—The AtlanticSee all reviews...
“An important addition to the author’s other works on the Eastern Front in the Second World War.”
“This book represents the most thorough and intensive examination of the state of the Red Army in 1941 yet to appear. It investigates every aspect of the Soviet military establishment, command, deployment, mobilization, reserves, the Soviet soldier himself, and above all, combat readiness, using Soviet and German archives. Glantz’s evidence is unchallengeable, his sources unimpeachable, his conclusion incontestable.”
—John Erickson, author of The Road to Stalingrad
“Effectively refutes the charge—recently rehabilitated by Viktor Suvorov in Icebreaker—that Stalin was secretly planning an offensive war against Hitler during 1941. With his previous book When Titans Clashed and this latest contribution, David Glantz has established firmly his reputation as the preeminent historian of the Soviet Army.”
—Mark von Hagen, author of Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship
“An outstanding contribution and a must for any student of the history of the Red Army and the Soviet Union’s role in the Second World War.”
—Malcolm Mackintosh, author of Juggernaut: A History of Soviet Armed ForcesSee fewer reviews...
Stumbling Colossus describes the Red Army's command leadership, mobilization and war planning, intelligence activities, and active and reserve combat formations. It includes the first complete Order of Battle of Soviet forces on the eve of the German attack, documents the strength of Soviet armored forces during the war's initial period, and reproduces the first available texts of actual Soviet war plans. It also provides biographical sketches of Soviet officers and tells how Stalin's purges of the late 1930s left the Red Army leadership almost decimated.
At a time when blame for the war in eastern Europe is being laid with a fallen regime, Glantz's book sets the record straight on the Soviet Union's readiness-and willingness-to fight. Boasting an extensive bibliography of Soviet and German sources, Stumbling Colossus is a convincing study that overshadows recent revisionist history and one that no student of World War II can ignore.