In the early summer of 1941 German mountain soldiers under the command of General Eduard Dietl set out in northern Norway up through Finland to the Russian border.
Operation Silberfuchs was underway. The northernmost section of the Eastern Front would ensure Hitler supplies of nickel from Finnish mines, and bring the strategically important port city of Murmansk under German control.
The roadless rocky terrain and extremes of weather created major challenges for the German troop movements.
Despite this Dietl's men made quick gains on his Russian foe, and they came closer to Murmansk.
Despite repeated warnings of a German attack, Stalin had failed to mobilize, and the British hesitated to come to the rescue of the Red Army.
But while the weather conditions steadily worsened, the Russians' resistance increased.
Three bloody efforts to force the river Litza were repulsed and the offensive would develop into a nightmare for the inadequately equipped German soldiers.
In an exciting and authoritative narrative based on previously unpublished material, Alf Reidar Jacobsen describes the heavy fighting that would lead to Hitler's first defeat on the Eastern Front.
With firsthand accounts of the fighting on the front line, this is a dramatic new account of a forgotten but bloody episode of World War II.