In most armies at the outbreak of the war, specialist training and equipment for fighting in extreme winter conditions were very limited. France, Germany and Italy had mountain troops, but only the Scandinavian nations had any broader tradition of cold-weather operations. In early 1940 the world was astonished by Finland's remarkable resistance to its much stronger Soviet invaders, contrasted only months later by the easy defeat of British and French expeditionary forces by the German invaders of Norway.
The USSR learned from its mistakes, but Hitler's successes bred complacency, leading to the Wehrmacht's disastrous setbacks on the Eastern Front in winter 1941/42. Thereafter the Allied and Axis armies had to take winter warfare seriously, planning their training doctrines and mass-producing special clothing.
This fascinating book, based both on wartime manuals and on critiques of what actually happened in practice, is illustrated with photos, original drawings from manuals, and colour artwork that brings tactical scenarios to life.