The Stalin and Molotov Lines: Soviet Western Defences 1928-41

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Osprey Publishing, 2008 - History - 64 pages
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During the Russian Civil War, the Red Army created a series of fortified areas, or ukreplinnyje rajony (UR), which were to be used not only for defence but were also to act as staging points for offensive operations. Following the end of the war these defences were extended, creating a front that stretched over 2,000km from the Baltic to the Black Sea, that consisted of more than 3,000 positions from forts to machine gun and antitank positions, emplaced tank turrets, and observation and command positions. By the outbreak of World War II, these defenses - known as the Stalin Line - were largely complete.

However, after the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland in October 1939 the Stalin Line was too far behind the new border to be of use as a springboard for an offensive. So, a new set of defenses was begun, named after the Soviet Foreign Minister, Molotov. Equipment was stripped from the Stalin Line, but only 25 percent of the positions had been completed by the time of the German invasion in June 1941 and it proved no match for the Wehrmacht - positions were mostly empty or simply bypassed during the advance. Illustrated with cutaway artwork and rare photographs this book provides a detailed examination of the development of these defensive lines, and the fighting that took place around them in 1941, and is packed with detail and information that is not readily available in the English.

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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

This appears to be a good overview of the Soviet "fortified regions," with particular emphasis on how the shifting of these regions west after the 1939 Russo-German partition of Poland undermined what utility these defenses might of had. Read full review


Principles of defense
A tour of the defences
The living sites
Operational history
The sites today
Red Army order of battle 22 June 1941

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About the author (2008)

After completing an Honors Degree in History at the University of Lancaster, Neil Short gained a Master's Degree in Military History at the University of Leeds. He is a fully qualified Management Accountant working for the Ministry of Defence, but in his spare time undertakes research on World War II. He has previously written on Hitler's Siegfried Line in Sutton's Fortress Europe series; and for Osprey has written Fortress 15: Germany's West Wall and Fortress 45: German Defences in Italy. The author lives in Bristol, UK.

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