The Stalin and Molotov Lines

The Stalin and Molotov Lines

The Stalin and Molotov Lines
Soviet Western Defences 1928-41

Fortress 77
Written by Neil Short
Illustrated by Adam Hook
64 pages
ISBN: 978-1-8460-3192-2

The Stalin and Molotov Lines at Osprey...

Neil Short has gone to significant effort to give the reader an understanding of the immense scale of the effort required by the Soviet State to initially build the Stalin Line from Leningrad to Odessa during the interwar period and then the Molotov Line after the Nazi-Soviet Non Aggression Pact of 1939. He has applied the same level of detail to show why the defences were ultimately not as successful as the builders would have expected.

The book has been largely separated into four main sections covering the design, development and theory of use, a tour of defences with numerous colour plates, photos and diagrams, the construction from the lines, including the issues of dealing with a strict planned economy through the people who designed and built them, and finally the operational history and the state of the sites today (and how to find them).

The use of photos and diagrams is what truly makes this stand out to me, as I am a very visual person. The author has obviously spent a significant amount of time trudging through woods and fields to take a first hand look, combined with some excellent cutaway colour plates of the defences makes it easy to understand how these could have been so effective during the war.

For many years access to records from the fallen Soviet Union has limited the ability of researchers to examine what was constructed and the effectiveness of these lines during the opening days of the Operation Barbarossa. This book is an engaging look at a series of defensive works that have to my mind, been overshadowed by those in the West for many years. This book succeeds in giving many readers what is probably their first glimpse at this subject. As a Flames of War player it has also given me any number of ideas for some construction projects I would like to undertake further down the track.


Last Updated On Thursday, April 9, 2009 by Wayne at Battlefront