By Peter Tsouras
The Anvil of War details the German strategies and tactics employed by the commanders on the cataclysmic Russian Front in the Second World War. Monographs by two officers who served in Russia - Military Improvisations during the Russian Campaign and German Defence
Tactics against Russian Breakthrough by General Erhard Rauss, and Operations of Encircled Forces by General Lieutenant Oldwig von Natzmer - show how the Germans adapted techniques to cope with their enemy's great numerical superiority, and managed to delay and sometimes drive back the 'steamroller' Russian forces during the German retreat in 1945.
These reports were written as part of a U.S. Army program instigated after the war by Colonel S.L.A. Marshall of the Army Historical Division, who was convinced that no record of the war could be complete without the input of German commanding officers and their main staff officers.
The significance of the material detailing the Germans' vast experience of fighting the Soviets was emphasised with the fear of a Russian attack during the Cold War.