• Retreat from Moscow

  • A New History of Germany’s Winter Campaign, 1941-1942
  • By: David Stahel
  • Narrated by: Matthew Waterson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Germany's winter campaign of 1941-1942 has commonly been seen as its "first defeat". In Retreat from Moscow, David Stahel argues that, in fact, it was its first strategic success in the east. Though the Red Army managed to push the Wehrmacht back from Moscow, the Germans lost far fewer men (one to six), frustrated their enemy's strategic plan, and emerged in the spring unbroken and poised to recapture the initiative.

Hitler's new strategic plan called for holding important Russian industrial cities, which the German army would do. And the Soviet plan as of January 1942 aimed for nothing less than the destruction of Army Group Centre, but in fact, not a single German army, corps, or division was ever successfully destroyed. Lacking the professionalism, training, and experience of the Wehrmacht, the Red Army mounted an offensive that attempted to break German lines in countless head-on assaults, which led to far more tactical defeats than victories.

Through journals, memoirs, and wartime correspondence, Stahel takes us into the Wolf's Lair and reveals a German command at war with itself. And through soldiers' diaries and letters home, he paints a rich portrait of life and death on the front, where the men of the Ostheer fight against frostbite as much as they do Soviet artillery.

©2019 David Stahel (P)2019 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Nothing new on the Eastern front basically!

We are in the year 2020 and we are still getting this same old story from a western historian about WWII as it happened in the eastern front. And this almost 100% from German archives. Absolutely nothing new, but worst of all no documentation from the Soviet archives or Soviet military writers. We get the usual story told by the usual German generals, who as Stahel himself points out could “never” tell the truth about the front back home during the entire war, and later on, they were under pressure by the good old German guys “not to make Germany appear like a bunch of savages”. So if you are young and need some western history, then read the book, otherwise don’t bother!
The interesting historical new accounting of this war should have been to clarify that the attack on the Soviet Union had been a failure after the first six months! The rest was a slow retreat so the nazi hierarchy at home could enjoy a few more years of “total power”. This book is the usual western propaganda showing how the communist model was totally worthless, which enlightens that these writers, historians and directors are a reflection the wild fear of communism which is part of the wealthy class which supports them indirectly.
But this book was about WWII, not about politics as usual!
I wished the book had tried to clarify the attack that had failed by December 41, and if there was there any chance to win at all for the nazis? Would the winning Soviets have strike a deal if the nazis had made any offer? But not once this subject is raised in this book of 2019!

15 people found this helpful

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Excellent Book

I really enjoyed this book. Most enjoyable to me where the accounts of everyday life for the German soldiers. The book really brings to life what must have been an absolutely terrible and terrifying existence. As with any military audiobook, i think having access to maps would have been helpful in understanding the military technicalities of this book. Maybe there is a way to access them, but i have not found it. Nonetheless, great book, highly recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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Winter Sucks Or How I Learned to Love the Ostfront

I've been on the fence about getting yet another title on the Eastern Front. David Stahel is just one of the latest authors in a parade of writers to take advantage of available Russian archival material to present up to date portraits of the most important theater of war in WW2. He is a solid step above the crowds, in my estimation. Great introduction, complete mastery of the material, the men, the statistics, the postwar apologists, the generations of historical viewings of the campaign, the mythology of Hitler, the various Ostfront memoirs,,. he can blend it all together into a vodka martini shaken not stirred, that is enthralling. From the map room to the foxholes, the peasant huts and the frozen wasteland of ice, snow and corpses, he serves it up to you, course after course.

It can be overwhelming at times. The story, though detailed in December to nearly day by day events, moves along at a furious clip and yet he never slides downhill into the land of Glantz or Forcyzk so you don't have to wade through ration returns or number of artillery rounds of each caliber fired by a certain anti tank unit. What keeps it going is the excellent narrator. Matthew Waterson is masterful in accent, tone, irony, humor and earnestness.

For the most part he steers clear of the muck and filth of the individual soldier but not entirely and that nitty gritty element mixed with the high strategy is what keeps the book so well above the average coverage of a WW2 campaign study.

If you're choosing between Michael Jones and David Stahel... choose Stahel!

3 people found this helpful

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Awesome

Love David Stahel’s books. Another great listen with hopefully many many more to come...Will definitely purchase his other books

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing Parallel of Two Flailing Armies

David Stahel has outdone himself with this book. His take on Germany's Winter Campaign of 1941-42 and it NOT being the end of Germany's dominance is more than interesting. However using his examination, he's absolutely right. Germany's collapse started earlier than this, and in fact the German army accomplished its key objectives. The deceptive part of this puzzle is that though the Red Army did not make that many strategic triumphs, the German army had much less to work with and more to lose. More than anything, this is the ultimate chilling tale of two armies from totalitarian states. Men were treated like cattle, and supplies were virtually nonexistent. People don't matter in totalitarian states. This book is haunting in how close history is repeating itself as we speak. Matthew Waterson's narration is the perfect compliment to this material. One can't forget the mental images delivered here. BRAVO!!

2 people found this helpful

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Simply put I love this book

Great insight to the 1941-42 winter campaign and great narrator to listen and fall asleep to.

2 people found this helpful

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How German army survived after Moscow attack

This volume in David Stahel's examination of the war in the east focuses on the German army's recovery following Operation Barbarossa's failure to achieve its strategic goals. Importantly, the work explores the German army's tenuous situation between November 1941 and March 1942, during which its survival turned on the Soviet's hapless tactics and German generals' willingness to make tactical decisions that contradicted Hitler's explicit orders, including his "stand fast" directive that prohibited any further withdrawals for any reason. Detailed accounts of the various generals' views and efforts, interspersed with accounts of front-line soldiers and commanders who describe the fighting, the hardships, and the psychological toll of this period on the Eastern Front. Also provides important and revealing logistical facts analysis that underscore the critical importance of supply and organization in sustaining a fighting army's efforts to prevail.

1 person found this helpful

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Must Read

essential reading/listen for anyone interested in the war on the Eastern Front. excellent narration. great detail. highly recommend listening with a book of maps however. very helpful side tool

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In-depth analytics and detailed

Exacting and detailed. A fitting story to the largest land and bloodiest battle in history. How these 2 countries co-exist today?

Highly recommended for historical purposes

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It's ok

It's an ok book, not really to informative and kind of dull. A few things that it states does coenside with obey his written by soldiers themselves which i like, but there's really no enthusiasm, just this happened then that happened, then that happened, it fails to bring you into the story.