On June 22, 1941 when Germany attacked the Soviet Union, her Panzer divisions were to play a major role in this titanic struggle. At its peak, 19 out of the 21 existing Panzer Divisions were deployed against the Soviets. Although overwhelmed by Soviet numbers, the superior skill and capability of the German Panzer divisions meant that in three months the Germans, with the Panzers as their spearhead had advanced deep into Soviet territory, inflicting terrible losses on the Soviets. However, after these initial successes the German offensive began to falter, culminating in the disastrous defeat at Kursk.
In this book, the organizational history of the Panzer divisions is covered, from the early successes of 1941 through to the dramatic re-organization of the Panzer Divisions and the introduction of revised Blitzkrieg tactics as the war began to turn and the Panzer divisions experienced their first taste of defeat. Pier Paolo Battistellii examines the impact of the introduction of the Panther tank shortly before the final failure at Kursk, and goes on to explain the evolution of German armored doctrine, tactics and the command system, providing a detailed overview of the major combat actions of the Panzer Divisions on the Eastern Front.
About the Author
Pier Paolo Battistelli earned his PhD in military history at the University of Padua. A scholar of German and Italian politics and strategy throughout World War II, he is active in Italy and abroad writing titles and essays on military history subjects. A contributor to the Italian Army Historical Office, he is currently revising his PhD thesis for publication: The War of the Axis: German and Italian Military Partnership in World War Two, 1939-1943.
"Part of Osprey's Battle Orders series, this is a very informative book, showing that the author has done a considerable amount of research into the material." - Thomas Houlihan, World War II Database (September 2009)