Air Battle for Moscow, 1941-1942 Review: An Untold Story of World War II


by Dmitry Degtev and Dmitry Zubov, Pen & Sword, 2021, $34.95.

Innumerable books have been written concerning the 1940 Battle of Britain. Nearly nothing has been printed within the West in regards to the equally pivotal World Conflict II aerial marketing campaign waged over Moscow between Germany and the Soviet Union throughout 1941 and early 1942. 

Though the Luftwaffe commenced bombing Moscow from the day Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the air marketing campaign actually started in earnest in October, when the Wehrmacht launched its offensive to seize the Soviet capital. Adolf Hitler supposed that to be the ultimate offensive on the Japanese Entrance, after which the Soviet Union would capitulate and Germany may redirect its forces towards the Mediterranean and the invasion of Britain. Like Napoleon earlier than him, nevertheless, Hitler was confirmed mistaken. Napoleon’s seizure of Moscow didn’t finish his conflict, whereas Hitler by no means captured Moscow in any respect.

As depicted by the Russian authors of Air Battle for Moscow, the aerial battle turned an occasion of irresistible Luftwaffe pressure versus an immovable Soviet object. The previous was commanded by Wolfram von Richthofen, cousin of the “Crimson Baron” Manfred von Richthofen of World Conflict I fame. In line with the authors, starting with the bombing of Guernica through the Spanish Civil Conflict, “the sight of burning ruins and hundreds of corpses gave Richthofen extraordinary pleasure, as he repeatedly wrote in his diary.” 

Opposing Richthofen was Ivan Klimov, commander of the Soviet air protection models over Moscow, who, the authors word, “skillfully falsified paperwork…telling Stalin about steady victories over town.” Certainly, the authors freely acknowledge that “to this present day, Klimov’s falsified experiences proceed to ‘mislead Russian historians.’”

A 1978 tv sequence about WWII on the Japanese Entrance was entitled The Unknown Conflict. Air Battle for Moscow would possibly qualify for a similar heading in its depiction of occasions inside that battle about which just about nothing heretofore has been identified exterior of Russia. That makes this new quantity, derived from each Russian and German sources, significantly welcome.

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