Cover image for Zhukov's greatest defeat : the Red Army's epic disaster in Operation Mars, 1942
Zhukov's greatest defeat : the Red Army's epic disaster in Operation Mars, 1942
Glantz, David M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 421 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D764 .G5575 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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One of the least-known stories of WWII was Operation Mars, a Soviet operation designed to dislodge the German Army from its position west of Moscow. This account of a catastrophe censored from postwar Soviet histories reveals key players and details major events, using sources in German and Russian archives to reconstruct the historical context of Operation Mars and review the entire operation from High Command to platoon level. Includes bandw photos and maps. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Forgotten by history and virtually denied by the Soviet Union, the disastrous Russian defeat of 1942 in Operation Mars is finally exposed in Glantz's exhaustive study of this massive battle on the Eastern Front. Glantz, a U.S. Army historian specializing in Russian military operations, uses memoirs, official reports, and previously hidden archival sources to create a comprehensive view of this gigantic Soviet operation against the Germans just west of Moscow. Operation Mars was commanded by Georgy Zhukov, one of Stalin's most trusted generals. Zhukov threw hundreds of thousands of soldiers and thousands of tanks against the entrenched Germans but was utterly crushed. Glantz explores the Soviets' strategic, operational, and tactical planning and execution of this offensive, with particular attention to Zhukov and his subordinates. The numerous maps and orders of battle are essential for a clear understanding of the scope of this major Soviet offensive and its complete failure. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄCol. William D. Bushnell, USMC (ret.), Brunswick, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Glantz, one of the foremost military historians of the Soviet Union, provides a detailed history of Operation Mars, Zhukov's offensive against Army Group Centre in November-December 1942. Soviet historiography downplayed Mars as a mere diversionary attack to support Operation Uranus, the encirclement of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad. Using both German and Soviet archival materials, Glantz convincingly argues that Soviet planners, including Stalin and Zhukov, intended Mars to be just as decisive as Uranus was to be. However, a combination of overambitious planning, inexperience, and German defensive skill led to a devastating defeat of Soviet forces, which suffered 335,000 casualties. Glantz's analysis forces a reconsideration of the effectiveness of Soviet military efforts in late 1942 and demonstrates how the opening of Soviet archives can alter the understanding of the war. The depiction of the battle itself is lively and well organized, and the liberal use of maps helps the reader make sense of the campaign as it developed. Excellent appendixes on the Soviet order of battle, casualties, and other information. This work will be most useful to specialists but is also accessible to interested undergraduates and general readers. K. D. Slepyan; Transylvania University