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Behind Soviet Lines

Behind Soviet Lines Book Review

By Rachel E. Veres

Date of Review October 2014 Title Behind Soviet Lines
Author David R. Higgins Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2014 ISBN 9781782005995
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.95


A little over a year since launching Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, Germany was poised for an attack southeastward from Ukraine.  The objective?  Soviet Union oilfields in the Northern Caucasus.

Enter the Bau-Lehr-Kompanie (known in English as 'Brandenburgers') elite Special Forces versed in intelligence, counter-intelligence, security sabotage, counter-sabotage and special duties.  In Osprey's Behind Soviet Lines: Hitler's Brandenburgers capture the Maikop Oilfields 1942, author David Higgins examines the Brandenburgers' operations within the Soviet Union.

Following typical Osprey Raid series format, Higgins dedicates roughly the first third to discussing the strategic situation and implementation of the Brandenburger unit in October 1939.

The core narrative consumes the remaining two-thirds.  Here, the author details Operation Blau – Germany's 1942 summer offensive – and the Brandenburgers' daring infiltration disguised as NKVD, Stalin's feared secret police.

Analysis and conclusion sections cover both the raid's achievements and overall failures.

Over 40 photographs, maps, diagrams and illustrations nicely supplement Higgins' account.  A bibliography and index conclude this excellent publication.

My only – and perpetually constant – gripe is the miniscule military symbols key before the 'Contents'.  Along with the 'Comparative Commissioned Ranks" table on the same page, the military legend would be best printed as a larger appendix.

Highly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!