Book Review
Where The Iron Crosses Grow
Where The Iron Crosses Grow - The Crimea 1941-44
  • move

by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


Quoted from the book’s dust jacket - The Crimea has been the scene of conflict throughout its history. First occupied by the Russians in the 18th century it was the scene of the Crimean War, and was drawn into the Russian Civil War, as well as World War II. Today it remains a much disputed region with the Crimea at the center of ongoing tensions between East and West. Throughout World War II the Crimea was a microcosm of the more general war on the Eastern front, reflecting the ebb and flow of fortunes of that conflict. It was a crucible that saw first Soviet and then German armies surrounded, overwhelmed, and then destroyed. The nature of the fighting in the Crimea was unusual for the Eastern Front, with naval forces playing an important role, as the Crimea’s position in the Black Sea gave rise to a major role for naval supply, amphibious landings, and, ultimately, evacuation. However, in other ways it was more characteristic of the Eastern Front, and the fighting for and occupation of the region saw the same level of atrocity and ethnic cleansing commonplace throughout the war in the East, with each side reaching the depths of barbarity in their treatment of the civilian population.

Based on extensive new archival research, this incredible narrative history by acclaimed historian Robert Forczyk sheds new light on this vital aspect of the Eastern front that has not been covered in English before.

When the Soviets fortified Sevastopol in 1941 it heralded the beginning of a period of intense fighting over the Crimea. In this remarkable work, acclaimed author Robert Forcyzk assembles new research to investigate the intense and barbaric fighting for the region in World War II, where first Soviet and then German armies were surrounded and totally obliterated. Providing a definitive analysis of the many unique characteristics of the conflict, while also exploring the historical context of the region and the appalling policies of ethnic cleansing practiced by both sides, Forcyzk’s unique account uncovers one of the most pivotal theaters of the Eastern Front during World War II.

“Our armies are all advancing
Russia is down on one knee
Our rifles need no enhancing
Victory ours will be
From Finland’s snow to Black Sea strand
Forward! Forward
Eastward, ho! Seize more land!
Freedom is our Goal
Victory our destiny
Fuhrer, our sieg is Germany’s Heil”

German newsreel from Die Deutsche Wochenschau, October 1, 1941

Osprey Publications Ltd has released Where The Iron Crosses Grow - The Crimea 1941-44 by author Robert Forczyk as a hardback book with 336 pages and comes with a paper dust jacket. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, detailed maps and captions. It has a 2014 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-78200-625-1. As the title states, the book discusses the German/Russian fighting at Crimea during the years of 1941 through 1944 during World War II in great detail.


  • Foreword
  • Prologue
  • Chapter 1: The Crimea Under the Hammer and Sickle, 1920-41
  • Chapter 2: The Onset of War, June-August 1941
  • Chapter 3: Across the Tatar Wall, September 1941
  • Chapter 4: The Ring Closes Around Sevastopol, November-December 1941
  • Chapter 5: Winter War, December 1941-March 1942
  • Chapter 6: The German Conquest, May-July 1942
  • Chapter 7: The German Occupation of the Crimea, 1942-44
  • Chapter 8: The Red Army Returns to the Crimea, 1943
  • Chapter 9: German Defeat in the Crimea, 1944
  • Chapter 10: Postscript 2014
  • Appendices*
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Detailed listing of the appendices.
  • Appendix A: Dramatis personae
  • Appendix B: Comparable rank table
  • Appendix C: The Black Sea Fleet in June 1941
  • Appendix D: Coastal batteries at Sevastopol, 1921-42
  • Appendix E: Order of battle at Perekop, September 24, 1943
  • Appendix F: Soviet naval infantry units at Sevastopol, 1941
  • Appendix G: AOK 11 Heeresartillerie at Sevastopol, June 1942
  • Appendix H: Order of battle, Sevastopol, June 7, 1942
  • Appendix I: Order of battle, April 1944


The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. The text goes into great detail in all areas of the book as outlined on the contents page and is well discussed down to the smallest detail. The knowledge that can be drawn from this volume is excellent. After reading through the volume I could not think of any subject in regards to the Crimea that was not covered in great detail in an easy to read, nicely flowing and understandable manner. I personally feel that anyone that reads this book will find themselves well informed in all areas of the fighting that has taken place in the Crimea. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and would always pass on my findings.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.


There are a total of 56 black and white photographs and 4 color photographs featured in this volume. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however a few have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and others appear too light. This is typical for this period of history and consideration needs to be given to the fact that some of the photographs are several years old and the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book and provide a visual guide for the subjects described in the book. Author Robert Forczyk stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are specific to the Crimea and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. I would say that the photographs that were chosen for this book were for the most part lesser known photographs as opposed to photographs that are featured in many other titles that deal with the same subject matter. The included photographs will prove valuable to the military vehicle, figure and diorama modelers as well as anyone interested in World War II and the European Theater of Operations.


There are 8 maps provided in this volume. The maps are all black and white line drawings and each map comes with a detailed key and time line charts. The maps are as follows:
  • Military Terrain Features Of The Crimea, 1941-44
  • The German Attacks At Perekop And Ishun, September-October 1941
  • The Defense Of Sevastopol, December 1941
  • Soviet Return To The Crimea, December 26, 1941-January 1, 1942
  • Fighting At The Parapach Narrows, February-April 1942
  • Operation Störfang, June-July 1942
  • The Kerch-Eltigen Landings, November 1943
  • Soviet Breakout, April 1944


The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photograph shown. The details themselves are basically miniature history lessons as they detail what is happening, or happened, in the photographs and give specific detail as to what was done afterword and by who. They cover things such as the units shown, as well as the vehicles, armor, equipment, weapons, military units, dates, locations shown and other such pertinent information. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the captions.


This is an excellent well written reference and history book. It details the German/Russian fighting on the Eastern Front at Crimea during the years of 1941 through 1944 in great detail and depth. I would have no hesitation to add this title or other Osprey Publishing LTD titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.

This book was provided by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.


Search inside Where The Iron Crosses Grow - The Crimea 1941-44 on the Osprey web site Live links
Osprey Publishing also has Where The Iron Crosses Grow - The Crimea 1941-44 available as:
  • PDF ebook
  • ePub eBook
Look inside Where The Iron Crosses Grow - The Crimea 1941-44 on Amazon Live links
Look inside the Kindle Edition of Where The Iron Crosses Grow - The Crimea 1941-44 on Amazon Live links
Amazon also has Where The Iron Crosses Grow - The Crimea 1941-44 available as:
Audible Audio Edition Live links
Audio CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio Live links
Highs: Well written and detailed text and captions Excellent subject specific photographs and maps
Lows: Nothing to mention
Verdict: This is an excellent book that outlines the German/Russian fighting on the Eastern Front at Crimea during the years of 1941 through 1944 in great detail.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 978-1-78200-625-1
  Suggested Retail: US $25.95 / UK £20.00
  PUBLISHED: Apr 06, 2015

About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


What a fascinating book! I hope to read it some day. The siege of Sevastopol has interested me for decades, with the rail guns and Panzer Meyer's motorcycle dash into the defenses. Randy, you put a great deal of effort into your reviews - thank you!
APR 06, 2015 - 06:30 AM
Look at the sample photos - books like this stoke our creative engine to build models and create dioramas. Several years ago on another site I chatted with a member who is the Dean of the Psychology Dept. of a major university; I asked him if he ever thought about the relation between models and interest in history - do our models cultivate our interest in history, or does our interest in history inspire us to model a physical representation of that history? A chicken-or-the-egg question to be sure. He said he was working on a book or paper about that very question.
APR 06, 2015 - 04:52 PM
What Fred said.
APR 06, 2015 - 08:15 PM
And they are still fighting over there to this day . Only the names of the places have changed .
APR 06, 2015 - 11:43 PM
Thank you for getting this posted for me Brian. Thank you guys for your comments. I always appreciate the feedback and kind comments. You story is interesting Fred. It got me to thinking. I enjoyed modeling before I developed an interest in history. Now I love history and modeling. And most of the kits I build are definitely from eras, and are of subjects, in history that interest me. Guess I never thought much about the two going together that way. And the picture of "Thor"....definitely a modeling motivator!!!! Thank you again everyone. I do appreciate it. Randy
APR 08, 2015 - 04:43 AM
This one is in my stack of books to read. Thanks for the review and I will get this one on top of the stack.
APR 08, 2015 - 06:04 PM
You're welcome Duane. Glad that me review was of some help to you. Thanks, Randy
APR 09, 2015 - 03:55 AM

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move