By Christopher Miskimon

The overwhelming Soviet offensives in the summer of 1944 threw the German army back. Much of the German Army Group North drew back into the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Hitler issued another of his disastrous “no retreat” orders, essentially trapping his troops, who struggled first to defend the capital cities of each of the small coastal states. Soon they were pushed into small pockets surrounding ports through which they hoped to be withdrawn. In all, some two million Germans, three-quarters of them civilians, were evacuated. The remaining forces fought until destruction, except for those in the Courland Pocket, which held out until May 1945. They were among the last German units to surrender in World War II, and 140,000 troops from there went into Soviet captivity.

The Casemate Illustrated series is relatively new, but the publisher’s ability to create compact yet detailed and well-illustrated volumes is shown in this latest edition covering the Baltic fighting. The photographs are excellent, as are the maps and artwork. There is also extensive information on unit organization and leadership. The work gives the reader a complete look at one of the lesser understood campaigns of the Eastern Front.

The Soviet Baltic Offensive, 1944-45: German Defense of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (Ian Baxter, Casemate Books, Havertown, PA, 2022, 128 pp., maps, photographs, bibliography, index, $28.95, softcover)

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