In-Box Review
Warsaw 1920
Warsaw 1920, The War for the Eastern Borderlands
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by: kylie newton [ KNEWTON ]

Ok, disclaimer, I am a huge fan of Mr ZALOGA, but will be impartial in this review.

Osprey Campaign series are
    Accounts of history’s greatest conflicts, detailing the command strategies, tactics and battle experiences of the opposing forces throughout the crucial stages of each campaign.
They feature full colour battlescenes, illustrations, 3-dimensional ‘bird’s-eye-views’, and maps. This particular issue promises to “examine the roots and outcomes of this conflict in Europe’s Eastern Borderlands, and documents how and why the Red Army was defeated by the ‘miracle on the Vistula”.*

The book is a weekend read at a scant 96 pages, but they are packed with information that demands attention, with the myriad of names, places, and dates to follow. I struggled with the names, not being fluent in either Polish or Russian. Once I’d adapted, the book is a quick read that flows well, as you’d expect from such a prodigious author.

Inside, the contents are listed as:
    Origins of the campaign page 4
    Chronology 15
    Opposing Commanders 17
    Opposing forces 23
    Red Army, Polish Army, Ukrainian Army
    Opposing Plans 36
    The Campaign 40
      Opening moves – The Kiev operation – The First Belarus offensive – Attack of the First Horse Army – The main Red Army offensive in Belarus – Political repercussions – Slowing the Bolshevik advance – Fumbling the endgame – Battles along the Warsaw Bridgehead – Pilsudski’s counter-attack – the Battle of Zamosc Ring – Final battles
    Aftermath 89
    Further Reading 93
    Index 95

There are numerous maps, charts, tables, and colour plates throughout the book that assist in explaining or illustrating the narrative, which moves at a quick pace. I did find it easier to flick between text and table to understand the situation on the ground, what was happening, and where things were heading.

Something of particular interest were the quantity and quality of photographs included, covering some of the various personalities, armoured cars used, some colour images of subjects that were used in the conflict, and even a few of aircraft from both sides! Most good.

There is some very good analysis of both side’s strategies and tactics, without getting bogged down in the detail or operations. At under 100 pages, there is no room for that, and there is further reading available if that is required. The book goes into, but does not dwell on, the politics behind the conflict, and itemizes Russia’s blunders, whilst highlighting the Poles effort to beat a superior foe. There are winners and losers, and a multitude of forces in between, all of which are identified and explained in concise fashion. Pay attention to the names and various factions, as it does get quite complex in parts, who was fighting whom, when, and where.

In summary, this is a very good, concise, and easy to read account of the Bolshevik effort to ignite a communist revolution in the heart of Europe, stopped in its tracks at Poland. Definitely recommended as a weekend read, or “introduction to the Eighteenth Decisive Battle of the World”, Lord Edgar Vincent D’Abernon, London 1920.

*To summarise the book in a sentence, Russia outnumbered the Poles, who proved to be a canny adversary, but lacked the coordination to be effective, thanks to two things: Russian purges, and Polish radio signal intercepts, which
enabled the Poles the “pull one out of the hat”, as it were.
Highs: Easy read, with great supporting illustrations, maps, and tables.
Lows: Keeping track of the various actor's names in the text.
Verdict: A great introduction to a pivotal inter-war battle that is little recognized outside of the involved countries.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: Campaign 349
  PUBLISHED: Nov 12, 2020

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
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About kylie newton (knewton)

Copyright ©2021 text by kylie newton [ KNEWTON ]. All rights reserved.


A fascinating and relatively unknown chapter in history so far as most in the West is concerned. I greatly enjoy books like this as it shows us all what we otherwise would remain ignorant of. To our loss.
NOV 13, 2020 - 12:56 PM
Oh look, more duplication. Wonder how this happens. And how it should be stopped.
NOV 13, 2020 - 12:58 PM
Hi Frank, Are you referring to the same review showing on the home page twice? I saw that, too, earlier today with World War II German Super-Heavy Siege Guns. I don't know how or why. I also have not seen this book on the homepages before today.
NOV 17, 2020 - 12:51 PM

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