History Of Battle Of Stalingrad
Twenty-second June in 1941 was the day Nazi Germany, regardless of the standings of Nazi-Soviet Pact 1939, launched an invasion against the Soviet Union. This attack inflicted awful injuries on the Russian population and its army. It also saw the Russians and Germans fight the Battle of Stalingrad. Germany brought with them troops from Axis allies and a very superior air force. Around mid-October cities of Moscow and Leningrad were seized. Not giving up Soviet by the approaching winters pushed Germany to move back.
Adolf Hitler for 1942 offense in the summers commanded German 6th Army, under General Friedrich von Paulus, to march Stalingrad south, to an industrialized area with Caucasian oil wells. The army progressed across River Volga and the German 4th Air Fleet left Stalingrad in rubbles, massacring around 40,000 civilians. General Paulus in September instructed the army to attack Stalingrad. The horrifying clashes of the Second World War between USSR and Germany began.
The German 6th Army was confronted by a hostile Red Army under the command of General Vasily Zhukov. They used the ruins of the city transforming the destroyed buildings into natural defenses. This style of war was termed as Rattenkrieg, which meant rat's war. Both armies broke into 8 to 10 strong squads and fought one another for every inch of territory. Rapid advancement in technology like the German machine gun that could shoot around corners or the Russian plane that silently glided and dropped lethal bombs on German positions without any warnings were seen.
Joseph Stalin in November ordered reinforcements in the affected area. General Zhukov also launched a counteroffensive from the ruins of Stalingrad on 19th November. This involved 900 tanks, 1,400 aircrafts and 500,000 Russian troops leaving the 6th Army speechless by the counterattack. The entire forces of 200,000 Germans were encircled within 3 days.
However, the Germans stuck along, waiting for assistance and supplies of basic medical, food and water requirements. Many did not survive the Russian winters and starvation while the rest were killed by the heartless Soviet troops. On 21st January 1943 even the last airport seized by the Germans was recaptured by the Russians, leaving the Germans totally off from getting deliverables. Von Paulus who was the field marshal by then, surrendered armies in the southern subdivision on 31st January and the rest surrendered on 2nd February.
General Zhukov also played the victory role in the German surrender of Berlin on 1st May 1945. Von Paulus was held as a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union till 1953 after which he moved to East Germany.
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