Academic journal article Military Review

Commanding the Red Army's Sherman Tanks

Academic journal article Military Review

Commanding the Red Army's Sherman Tanks

Article excerpt

COMMANDING THE RED ARMY'S SHERMAN TANKS by Dmitriy Loza, translated by James F. Gebhardt. 173 pages. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE. 1996. $25.00.

James Gebhardt's translation of Dmitriy Loza's unpublished memoir helps fill in some blanks about the fighting on World War II's Eastern Front. Through the Lend-Lease Program, the United States provided the Soviet Union with Sherman tanks and other combat equipment. During the Cold War, Soviet military literature barely acknowledged this, and when it did, the acknowledgment was usually accompanied by disparaging remarks about the equipment's performance. Russian historians now claim the Soviet Union would not have survived its war against Germany without Allied help. Thus, it is no wonder that Loza's book was not published until now,

While all translations suffer crossing the language barrier, Gebhardt's is natural, crisp and fluent and fully captures the style of Red Army memoirs written over the past 50 years. Individual anecdotes blend official and general historical operational overviews with splices of socialist realism. Loza's post-Soviet version allows some admission of human error and candor not seen in previously censored publications. For example, he reveals his tankers concealed from Soviet authorities the bottles of whiskey US factory workers hid in the tank guns for Red Army soldiers. Loza also testifies he commanded his unit to drive through minefields to save time in the attack, following Marshal Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov's orders.

Loza's military personnel records were stamped inomarochnik, which translates roughly as foreign vehicle specialist. …

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