Petr Mikhin served as an artillery officer in the Red Army, joining the army soon after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and remaining on the front line until the end of the war. Mikhin took part in some of the most important battles on the Eastern Front. His first combat experience came in front of Moscow. His unit then took part in the final stages of the fighting around Stalingrad, the battle of Kursk and the advance into central Europe, ending the war close to Prague.
This is the sort of book that simply couldn't have been written before the fall of the Soviet Union. Mikhin is often very critical of the political officers attached to his unit, very few of whom appear to have come anywhere near the fighting. There is also an account of Mikhin's close encounter with official paranoia - a court martial that came after his guns were destroyed by the Germans and would have almost certainly have ended in his being found guilty if he had not led a small party on a daring raid to recover the lost guns.
Mikhin's memoirs give us a very valuable picture of life in the Red Army during four years of intense non-stop fighting against a determined and skilled enemy. This allows us to follow the evolution of the Red Army from the nearly defeated force of 1941 to the skilled military machine of 1945, and helps illuminate the price that the Soviet soldiers paid for victory.
Part One: The Rzhev Meat-Grinder
Prologue: Training is hard
1 - Rzhev
2 - Die, but Don't Retreat!
3 - The Slaughter at Rzhev
Part Two: From Stalingrad to the Western Border
4 - From Starobelsk to the Donbas
5 - Encirled!
6 - Kursk
7 - On the Heels of the Enemy
8 - On Defense along the Ingulets River
9 - The Spring Offensive
10 - Bridgehead on the Dnestr
11 - Despair
12 - My Heroic Crews!
Part Three: Here it is, Eastern Europe!
13 - Romania - Bulgaria - Yugoslavia
14 - Command Problems
15 - The Liberation of Hungary
16 - Austria and Czechoslovakia
Author: Petr Mikhin
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military