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Terrain Factors in the Russian Campaign (Historical Study Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-290)

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Terrain Factors in the Russian Campaign

(Historical Study Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-290)

  • German Report Series
    • Dept. of the Army, Washington, D.C., July 1951 (facsimile edition, 1986)
      • 71 pages
      • 6 maps
      • 6 photos
  • Free PDF download
This study was compiled from a series of reports written especially for the Historical Division, EUCOM, by several former German generals. All of these officers had extensive combat experience during World War II, especially on the eastern front. The principal author, for example, was successively chief of staff of a corps in France and Holland (1939-40), commander of an infantry division in northern and central Russia (1941-43), instructor at a school for division commanders in Berlin (1943), commander of a corps in southern Russia (1943-44), and acting commander of an army in southern Russia (1944).
     Terrain Factors in the Russian Campaign describes only the salient geographic features of areas in European Russia actually entered by German troops during World War II, the terrain problems encountered, and German methods of dealing with those problems. Corresponding Russian methods have already been described to a considerable extent in CMH Pub 104-12, Russian Combat Methods in World War II. The effect of climate upon terrain is dealt with here only in general terms. Arctic warfare is excluded.
     In its original form, this study consisted of a treatise on Russian terrain by the principal author and eleven tactical narratives by other officers, illustrating the effect of various types of terrain upon combat. The description of Russian terrain by the principal author and his observations on the strategic significance of these geographic factors are carefully preserved and find the same expression in the following translation as in the original German. The subsidiary tactical examples have been screened for pertinence to the main subject, for clarity and brevity, and for interest to the American reader. The editors have made every effort to retain the method of presentation, the expressions, and even the prejudices of the principal author. The reader is reminded that all publications in the German Report Series were written by Germans and are, therefore, from the German point of view.


  • Introduction
  • European Russia: A Natural Fortress
  • Pre-Invasion Problems
    • The Invasion Controversies in Germany
    • Limitations of the Blitzkrieg
    • German Mistakes in Preparing the Invasion
  • Operations at River Lines
  • Operations in Woods and Swamps
  • Defense and Withdrawal in Heavily Wooded Subalpine Terrain
    • Military Topography of the East Carpathians
    • The Tactical Situation in Spring 1944
    • The Defensive Mission of XVII Infantry Corps
    • The Defense of the Carpathians
    • The Withdrawal
    • Summary
  • Combat in the Steppes
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • Maps
    • General Reference Map
    • Sudost Crossing: The Blockading Operations at Kletnya Dnepr Crossing
    • Operations at Maloryta and Pruzhany
    • Lines of Communication in the Southeastern Carpathians
    • Defense Lines and Terrain Features in the Southeastern Carpathians

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