The Rzhev Slaughterhouse

The Red Army's Forgotten 15-month Campaign against Army Group Center, 1942-1943

Svetlana Gerasimova

Historians consider the Battle of Rzhev "one of the bloodiest in the history of the Great Patriotic War" and "Zhukov's greatest defeat".
Publication date:
December 2012
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
112 b/w photos, 38 b/w maps
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781908916518

Dimensions : 234 X 156 mm
This book is available
ISBN : 9781911096146

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• One of the best domestic studies of the Rzhev battle of 1942

Historians consider the Battle of Rzhev "one of the bloodiest in the history of the Great Patriotic War" and "Zhukov's greatest defeat". Veterans called this colossal battle, which continued for a total of 15 months, "the Rzhev slaughterhouse" or "the Massacre", while the German generals named this city "the cornerstone of the Eastern Front" and "the gateway to Berlin". By their territorial scale, number of participating troops, length and casualties, the military operations in the area of the Rzhev - Viaz'ma salient are not only comparable to the Stalingrad battle, but to a great extent surpass it. The total losses of the Red Army around Rzhev amounted to 2,000,000 men; the Wehrmacht's total losses are still unknown precisely to the present day.

Why was one of the greatest battles of the Second World War consigned to oblivion in the Soviet Union? Why were the forces of the German Army Group Center in the Rzhev - Viaz'ma salient not encircled and destroyed? Whose fault is it that the German forces were able to withdraw from a pocket that was never fully sealed? Indeed, are there justifications for blaming this"lost victory" on G.K. Zhukov? In this book, which has been recognised in Russia as one of the best domestic studies of the Rzhev battle, answers to all these questions have been given. The author, Svetlana Gerasimova, has lived and worked amidst the still extant signs of this colossal battle, the tens of thousands of unmarked graves and the now silent bunkers and pillboxes, and has dedicated herself to the study of its history.


"The A5 hardback edition was first published in 2000 and reviewed by Peter Hinchcliffe in the Society's Journal of the same year. The authors had always planned to publish a supplementary volume and had appealed for further information. Additional material and photographs have now been incorporated in the reprinted A4 paperback edition. The enlarged layout of the book has a clearer text and the quality of reproduction of the many illustrations is much improved … there is more to this book than military memorabilia; the various descriptions of military operations form a valuable historical record.”

British Yemeni Society

...this is an outstanding piece of historical research worthy of any library or collection. It provides valuable insight into the Soviet war leadership and operational execution. Her work is very balanced and insightful. The Rzhev campaign was a slaughter in every sense of the word. Survivors from both sides recalled the fighting years later as the worst they had experienced at any time throughout the war.
Sabretache Journal