Osprey's study of Soviet riflemen during the portion of World War II from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945, known as the Great Patriotic War. In the first four months of the war the The Red Army did not refer to its ground combat troops as "infantry" but as "rifle troops" (streltsi), dating back to the Czarist era when rifle units were considered more elite than rank-and-file infantry (pyekhoty).
The Soviet rifleman initially suffered defeats and retreat during the early desperate days of the Great Patriotic War, then rallied to conduct a stubborn defense in the brutal winter of 1941/42, and eventually turned the tables at the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk. This title provides a view of the Soviet rifleman in defeat and victory, on the defensive and in attack, and in the heat of the summer and the frozen brutality of the Russian Winter. Their political beliefs, motivation, training, everyday life, weaponry and equipment are examined, accompanied by rare photographs and full color artwork. Illustrations (some col.)