cover image Concrete Hell: Urban Warfare from Stalingrad to Iraq

Concrete Hell: Urban Warfare from Stalingrad to Iraq

Louis DiMarco. Osprey (, $24.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-84908-792-6

Cities will be the battlefields of the 21st century, argues military historian DiMarco (War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider), an instructor at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College. As his study explains, the previous major shift in warfare was to the countryside during the age of Frederick the Great and Napoleon. Major population centers like Paris, Rome, and Moscow, however, have always presented key targets for military commanders. WWII triggered urban warfare's resurgence, as new tactics geared toward densely packed and populated neighborhoods became the norm. The battle for Stalingrad demonstrated that as formidable a fighting machine as the German Army can eventually be undone by a combination of poor leadership and the guerilla tactics of an apparently lesser force fighting on its own turf, like the Soviet Red Army. While the U.S. repelled a North Vietnamese attack during Vietnam but in the process suffered a psychological blow that shattered American political resolve. DiMarco's work also explores recent urban conflicts in Chechnya, on the West Bank, and in Iraq. Heavy on descriptions of battle tactics down to the efforts of individual soldiers, this book is best appreciated by readers with a keen interest in military strategy. (Nov.)