Battle for Narva, 1944
The struggle at the Narva bridgehead represents the struggle of World War II on the eastern front itself. The German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Estonian, and even Russian volunteers had signed up to fight against what they saw to be the Communist threat looming to the east. As other German units in 1944 failed to hold ground in Russia, Heeresgruppe Nord held one of the last occupied positions near Russia; the Estonian city of Narva. This toehold was what these volunteers would fight so dearly for in winter conditions, enormously outnumbered by their enemies.
On the other side lay the Soviet troops with revenge on their minds, and rightly so. After enduring months of starvation at Leningrad and Oranienbaum the soldiers would finally get their chance to fight the enemy that had invaded their home. The city itself was fought over for months with gruesome hand-to-hand fighting often erupting, leading to thousands of casualties.
This publication takes a somewhat unique approach in portraying the battles of 1944 by incorporating large amounts of photographic evidence. The photographs and their captions offer great insight into the life of the normal soldier wanting nothing more than to survive another day. In some cases the photos from 1944 are even contrasted with the same location as seen today. The photographic evidence is effectively mixed with a precise historical text and geographic information so the reader may fully understand the context of the battle.
This study includes 120 historical photographs, most published for the first time, 4 maps and some tables. Extensive archival research was combined with eyewitness accounts to fully inform the reader of these events in 1944. Format: 20*28 cm, 112 pages, Hardcover.
Here some reading samples, fragments:
William L. Robinson (Elgin IL, USA) on amazon.com
A little known campaign and a well done effort. This is a nice companion to "Panzerkampfgruppe Strachwitz". While a small book in terms of length, this volume helps fill an important niche in the history of Army Group North's futile attempts to hold back the Red Army.
A new book Battle for Narva, 1944 by Mansal Denton came out... and I bought it. Finally it arrived and I have finished the book... Great book! It was a bit short, but there is very interesting info on the text and the photos are beautiful. I have not seen many of them. worth buying for sure.
Eric "book lover" (Feldgrau.net)
Just finish reading my copy of the battle of narva. fantastic! Excellent photos! Everybody should get a copy.Thanks mr. Denton.Excellent work.
Justin Sandy (facebook.com)
Well I have just finished the book twice... (when you are in the army and you get stuck in the field for a week you find lots of time on your hands) I have read otto Carius's memoirs, "Tigers in the Mud," which focuses on this area (and Mansal cites several times). I specifically enjoy Mansal's photo comparisons between the wartime shots taken, and shots he personally took on his trip to Estonia. I am a huge fan of maps and the maps with unit positions kept the book in a vey logical perspectie for me as we jumped from North, to East, to South as the battle progressed. The tables in the back were also very itneresting to look over and this as well added great perspective to the Axis side's starting and ending position in this battle...
amazon.com 09/10 (Doug Nash)
Superb Book covering one of the Eastern Front’s “Forgotten” Battles A lot of ink has been spilled covering some of the well-known decisive battles that took place on the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1945 – epic confrontations such as the ones that took place before the gates of Moscow, inside and outside of Stalingrad, the siege of Leningrad, Kursk, Operation Bagration and the Battle for Berlin – but not much on the myriad battles that took place between these events. One such ‘forgotten” battle involved the fighting for the Estonian city of Narva. The struggle for this city raged for nearly six months, from the first Red Army offensive that began on 3 February 1944 until it fell on 26 July. During this battle, thousands of men were killed and wounded on both sides – mainly Russians and Germans, of course – but also thousands of Europeans, including Estonians, Lithuanians, Dutch, Belgians, Danes and Norwegians, volunteers (for the most part) who fought in the ranks of the Waffen-SS... More of a classic siege than a fluid battle, the German defense of Narva withstood several all-out attempts by the Red Army to cross the Narva River and seize the two flanking fortresses of the Hermannsburg and Ivangorod and throw them out of Estonia...
Mr. Denton’s book reads like a blow-by-blow description of the battle, drawing the reader into the unfolding events almost as if he were standing in the German command post. Relying heavily on German war diaries kept in the Bundesarchiv-Militaerarchiv in Freiburg, Soviet war records stored in the TsAMO Central Military Archive in Podolsk, surviving veterans’ interviews and a wealth of post-war German and Soviet accounts, the author has done his homework well, interweaving the various stories in a seamless fashion. If the reader, whether a war-gamer or history buff, is looking for detail, this book has got it, with a plethora of notes and sources detailing numbers of men, tanks, artillery pieces, and aircraft used in each of the several main battles and supporting engagements that took place during the siege. He has thoughtfully provided an extremely useful set of appendices, that describe equivalent military ranks, Soviet and German orders of battle, troop losses, and military biographies of the key German and European leaders.
Rounding out the book is a superb set of maps that clearly and graphically portrays the action, painstakingly detailing the location and movement of the various units, both German and Soviet, as they grappled with one another during the six-month siege. They are some of the best that the reviewer has ever seen and compliment the text superbly. Also noteworthy is the section of the book dedicated to contemporary photographs, many of which were taken from newsreels and have not been seen in the west by most historians. Mr. Denton has also used ... photographs from the German and Russian archives, from German and European veterans....
The book itself is in the large 8” x 11” hardcover format and the text is easily readable without having to resort to a magnifying glass. Overall, a superb first effort and this reviewer, for one, is looking forward to Mr. Denton’s future efforts.