Now available in paperback, this book tells the detailed and engrossing account of the fighting in Ukraine in 1944, making use of the extensive memoirs of German and Russian soldiers involved in the fighting, as well as partisans behind the German lines, to bring the story to life.
'The Reckoning is vivid history, the tragic Eastern Front brought to life through the widest range of Russian and German sources I've ever read. Bravo.' – Peter Caddick-Adams, author and broadcaster
By the end of 1944 the Red Army was poised on the very frontiers of the Third Reich. How had the once unstoppable, mighty Wehrmacht faltered so disastrously? Certainly it had suffered defeats before, in particular the vast catastrophe of Stalingrad, but it was in 1944 that the war was ultimately lost. It was no longer a case of if but rather when the Red Army would be at the gates of Berlin.
Prit Buttar retraces the ebb and flow of the various battles and campaigns fought throughout the Ukraine and Romania in 1944. January and February saw Army Group South encircled in the Korsun Pocket. Although many of the encircled troops did escape, in part due to Soviet intelligence and command failures, the Red Army would endeavor to not make the same mistakes again. Indeed, in the coming months the Red Army would demonstrate an ability to learn and improve, reinventing itself as a war-winning machine, demonstrated clearly in its success in the Iasi-Kishinev operation.
The view of the Red Army as a huge, unskilled horde that rolled over everything in its path is just one myth that The Reckoning reassess. Like all myths, they contain many truths, but also a great many distortions, all of which are skilfully unpicked and analyzed in this powerful retelling of 1944 on the Eastern Front.
Prit Buttar studied medicine at Oxford and London before joining the British Army as a doctor. After leaving the army, he worked as a GP, first near Bristol and then in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. He is extensively involved in medical politics, both at local and national level, and served on the GPs' Committee of the British Medical Association. He has appeared on national TV and radio, speaking on a variety of medical issues. He contributes regularly to the medical press.
An established expert on the Eastern Front in 20th-century military history, his previous books include the critically acclaimed Battleground Prussia: The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944–45 (Osprey 2010) and Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II (Osprey 2013) and a definitive four-part series on the Eastern Front in World War I which concluded with The Splintered Empires: The Eastern Front 1917–21 (2017). He now lives in Kirkcudbright in Scotland.