The Soviet Baltic Offensive, 1944-1945

Published on
December 9, 2022
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Ian Baxter
Other Publication Information
Paperback (9.6”x 6”), 128 pages with over 130 black and white photographs, 10 color “In Profile” illustrated pages, and four maps.
Company: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Front Cover

Ian Baxter is a prolific author and has an impressive collection of photographs, many unpublished previously. The book differs from Pen & Sword’s Images of War format as it is a softbound book in a smaller size. Each chapter begins with brief introductions followed by a lot of photographs, orders of battle, color illustrations and maps to tell the story.

The Soviet Baltic Offensive, 1944-45 - German Defense of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is composed of nine chapters:

  • Timeline of Events
  • Introduction: From Victory to Defeat
  • German Forces
  • Soviet Forces
  • Battle for the Narva Bridgehead
  • Fall of Fortress Vilnius
  • The Soviet Baltic Offensive
  • Defeat
  • Epilogue

The German Baltic Offensive began with the German invasion of the Soviet Union in September 1941. German Army Group North occupied the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and Northwest Russia, to include the vital Russian city of Leningrad. The Soviets opened a narrow land corridor to Leningrad on 18 January 1943, but the siege was not lifted until 27 January 1944 as a part of the Soviet “Estonian Operation” to break through the Narva Ishtmus. During the summer of 1944, German forces retreated to defensive positions in the Baltic States. This is where the book begins.

The German defense soon evolved to ferocious fighting focused on the isolated capital cities of Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), and Vilnius (Lithuania). Desperate fighting then focused on the critical ports of Libau in Courland, Pillau in East Prussia (now Baltiysk, Russia), and Danzig (Germany, then Gdansk, Poland).

The Soviet Red Army used its advantages in numerical superiority and its improved operational art to continually keep the German defenders guessing on where the main attack would focus, thus negating the superior German mobile armored reserves until too late. Despite the Red Army’s successes, some pockets of Germans held out until the German surrender in May 1945.

The Soviet Baltic Offensive, 1944-45 - German Defense of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is not an exhaustive book on the campaign, nor was it designed to be. Author Ian Baxter continues to showcase his talent for breaking down very complex subjects into an easy to digest format. As usual with Casemate books, the photographs are more than worth the price of the book.

Modelers of World War II Eastern Front will have a plethora of images to gain inspiration. The photographs show the desperation, strain of war, environmental conditions, and brutality of war. This book also goes a long way to help Western readers understand the vast enormity of the conflict that makes the other European fronts pale in comparison to the scope and scale of fighting. The Germans lost more forces during this campaign than they did fighting the allied armies in Normandy. The Red Army wasn’t hesitant to absorb enormous losses in men and material in achieving their goals. In a quote attributed to Joseph Stalin, “It takes a brave man to be a coward in the Red Army.”

The Soviet Baltic Offensive, 1944-45 - German Defense of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has a place of honor in my reference library and will soon be dog earned and marked with post it notes for future German and Soviet model builds.

Profuse thanks to Casemate ( and IPMS-USA for providing the review sample.


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.