|Posted by mbatga on July 15, 2017 at 9:00 PM|
LOST VICTORIES: THE WAR MEMOIRS OF HITLER’S MOST BRILLIANT GENERAL (Field Marshal Erich von Manstein (1958, 2004))
A pretty good read overall, fascinating at times, and written in a “high brow” style of writing, it covers many technical details and shows differences in the gap between military objectives and overall political goals and decisions driving them.
The book does find fault with many aspects of Hitler’s limitations placed on his generals from them optimizing purely military contests and the pursuing of purely military war aims—for instance, sometimes not allowing the High Command to quickly take the initiative against the enemy at opportune moments brought about by the immediate tactical moves of the opponent in action, or limitations on completely following through in not letting an enemy’s potential future fighting forces escape capture after suffering a defeat or otherwise in a state of retreat.
The book’s author, Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, provides an interesting analysis of what could have been a plan for an invasion of Britain in 1940 that as circumstances would have it would never take place, detailing his strategy and reasons, and describing what the book’s author believed would provide a prospect to bring the war to a successful conclusion in Germany’s favor in the quickest manner possible. The book’s author indicates at one point the High Command’s awareness of the possibility of Churchill fleeing to Canada in the event of a successful invasion of Britain.
One could really spend a lot of time with this book getting into the details of examining maps and diagrams and following the author’s discussion of the events of things such as the deployment of developed battle plans, the processes of proposing and seeking higher approval of certain battle plans, what certain final plans were in their final forms with changes made, and thoughts on the things that had happened after the planned events had transpired.
The book’s author describes one or more “true battles of annihilation fought to a victorious finish.” (P. 238.) For example, regarding the battle upon the fortress at Sevastopol in Crimea in July 1942 the author states: “A naturally strong fortress [Sevastopol], reinforced and consolidated in every conceivable way and defended by a whole army, had fallen. The army was annihilated and the entire Crimea now in German hands. At just the right time from the operational point of view, Eleventh Army had become free for use in the big German offensive on the southern wing of the Eastern Front.” (P. 258.)
The book also describes some of the Soviet and, later, German “scorched earth” policies.
Erich von Manstein was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in 1942 by Adolf Hitler for “exceptionally meritorious services in the victorious battles of the Crimea, culminating in the annihilation of the enemy at Kerch and the conquest of the mighty fortress of Sevastopol.” (P.259). He was considered to be among Hitler’s most highly skilled generals.
[THE ABOVE INDICATED BOOK WAS REVIEWED HEREIN BY TADAS G ARLAUSKAS]