The day of February 2, 1943, when Soviet troops defeated the fascist invaders near the great river Volga, is a very memorable date. The battle for Stalingrad is one of the crucial events in the Second World War. Such as the Battle of Moscow or the Battle of Kursk. It gave a significant advantage to our army on its way to victory over the occupiers.
Casualties in battle
According to official figures, the battle for Stalingrad claimed the lives of two million people. According to unofficial - about three. This battle was the reason for mourning in Nazi Germany, declared by Adolf Hitler. And it was it, figuratively speaking, that inflicted the mortal wound of the army of the Third Reich.
The battle of Stalingrad lasted about two hundred days and turned the once flourishing peaceful city into smoking ruins. Of the half a million civilians, marked by an inventory before the start of hostilities in it, by the end of the battle only about ten thousand people remained. Not to say that the arrival of the Germans was a surprise for residents of the city. The authorities hoped that the situation would be settled and did not pay enough attention to the evacuation. However, it was possible to take out most of the children before aviation leveled orphanages and schools with the ground.
The battle for Stalingrad began on July 17, and already on the first day of the battles, enormous losses were noted both among the fascist invaders and in the ranks of the valiant defenders of the city.
As was typical of Hitler, his plan was to take the city in the shortest possible time. Thus, the German command was inspired by victories won before coming to Russia, and was not taught anything in previous battles. No more than two weeks were allotted for the capture of Stalingrad.
For this was appointed the 6th Army of the Wehrmacht. In theory, it should have been enough to suppress the actions of the Soviet defensive units, subjugating the civilian population and entering its regime in the city. This seemed to the Germans the battle for Stalingrad. The outline of Hitler’s plan was to seize the industries with which the city was rich, as well as to cross the Volga River, which gave him access to the Caspian Sea. And from there a direct route to the Caucasus was opened for him. In other words - to the rich oil fields. If Hitler had succeeded, the outcome of the war could have been completely different.
Approaches to the city, or “Not one step back!”
The Barbarossa plan was a fiasco, and after the defeat near Moscow, Hitler was forced to reconsider all his ideas. Having abandoned the previous targets, the German command took a different course, deciding to seize the Caucasus oil field. Following the paved route, the Germans take the Donbass, Voronezh and Rostov. The final stage was Stalingrad.
General Paulus, commander of the 6th Army, led his forces to the city, but on the approaches he was blocked by the Stalingrad front in the person of General Tymoshenko and his 62nd army. So began the fierce fighting, which lasted about two months. It was during this period of the battle that order No. 227 was issued, known in history as “Not one step back!” And this played a role. No matter how hard the Germans tried and threw more and more new forces into the city, they moved only 60 kilometers from the starting point.
The battle for Stalingrad became more desperate when General Paulus’s army increased in number. The tank component doubled, and aviation increased fourfold. To deter such an onslaught on our part, the Southeast Front was formed, led by General Eremenko. In addition to the fact that the ranks of the fascists were significantly replenished, they resorted to roundabout maneuvers. Thus, the enemy’s movement was actively pursued from the Caucasus, but because of the actions of our army, there was no significant sense from it.
According to Stalin’s cunning order, only children were evacuated from the city. The rest fell under the order "Not one step back." In addition, until the last day, the people remained confident that it would still cost. However, it was ordered to dig trenches near his house. This was the beginning of unrest among civilians. People without permission (and it was given only to the families of officials and other prominent figures) began to leave the city.
Nevertheless, many of the male component volunteers went to the front. The rest worked in the factories. And by the way, since the ammunition was sorely lacking in the reflection of the enemy on the approaches to the city. The machines did not die down day and night. Do not indulge in rest and civilians. Do not feel sorry for yourself - everything for the front, everything for the Victory!
Paulus breakthrough to the city
On August 23, 1942, the townsfolk remembered as an unexpected solar eclipse. It was still early before sunset, but the sun was suddenly clouded with a black curtain. Numerous aircraft released black smoke in order to mislead the Soviet artillery. The roar of hundreds of engines tore the sky, and the waves emanating from it smashed the windows of buildings and threw civilians onto the ground.
The first bombing of the German squadron leveled off most of the city. People were forced to leave their homes and hide in the trenches they had previously dug. It was not safe to be in the building or, in view of the bombs falling into it, it is simply unrealistic. So the second stage continued the battle for Stalingrad. A photo . which German pilots managed to do, reflect the whole picture of what is happening from the air.
Fight for every meter
Army group "B", completely entrenched arriving recruits, beginning a major offensive. Thus cutting off the 62-th army from the main front. So the battle for Stalingrad was over in urban areas. No matter how hard the soldiers of the red army to neutralize the corridor for the Germans, they did not come out.
The stronghold of the Russians did not know equal in their strength. The Germans simultaneously admired the heroism of the Red Army and hated it. But even more feared. Paulus himself in his notes did not hide his fear of the Soviet soldiers. As he claimed, several battalions were sent to battle every day, and almost no one returned. And this is not an isolated case. It happened every day. The Russians fought desperately and died desperately.
87th Division of the Red Army
An example of the courage and perseverance of Russian soldiers, who knew the battle of Stalingrad. is the 87th division. Remaining in the composition of 33 people, the fighters continued to hold their positions, entrenched at the height of the Small Rossoshki.
To break them, the German command threw 70 tanks and a whole battalion at them. As a result, the Nazis left 150 fallen soldiers and 27 wrecked vehicles on the battlefield. But the 87th Division is only a small part of the defense of the city.
The fight continues
By the beginning of the second period of the battle, Army Group "B" had about 80 divisions. On our side, reinforcement was the 66th army, which was later joined by the 24th.
A breakthrough into the city center was carried out by two groups of German soldiers under the guise of 350 tanks. This stage, which included the Battle of Stalingrad. was the worst. The Red Army fought for every inch of land. Fights were fought everywhere. The roar of tank shots resounded at every point in the city. Aviation did not stop its raids. Planes stood in the sky, as if not leaving him.
There was no district, there was not even a house where the battle for Stalingrad would not have been fought. A map of hostilities encompassed the entire city with neighboring villages and villages.
Fighting went both with the use of weapons and hand to hand. According to the memories of the surviving German soldiers, the Russians in their tunics fled to the attack, exposing to horror the already exhausted enemy.
The fighting took place both on the streets and in buildings. And it was even harder for the warriors. Every turn, every corner could hide the enemy. If the first floor was occupied by the Germans, then the Russians could gain a foothold on the second and third floors. While in the fourth the Germans were again based. Residential buildings could change hands several times. One of these houses, holding the enemy, was the house of Pavlov. A group of scouts led by commander Pavlov entrenched in a residential building and, knocking out the enemy from all four floors, turned the house into an impregnable citadel.
Most of the city was taken by the Germans. Only at its edges were the forces of the Red Army based, forming three fronts:
The total number of all three fronts had a slight advantage over the Germans in engineering and aviation. But this was not enough. And in order to crush the Nazis, it was necessary to have a true martial art. So the operation "Ural" was developed. The operation, more successful than which has not yet seen the battle for Stalingrad. Briefly, it consisted in the performance of all three fronts on the enemy, cutting him off from his main forces and taking him into the ring. What soon happened.
On the part of the Nazis, measures were taken to free the army of General Paulus, who fell into the ring. But the operations “Thunder” and “Thunderstorm” developed for this purpose did not bring any success.
The final stage of the defeat of Hitler's troops in the Battle of Stalingrad was the operation "Ring". Its essence was to eliminate the surrounded German troops. The latter were not going to give up. With about 350 thousand personnel (which was sharply reduced to 250 thousand), the Germans planned to hold out until reinforcements arrived. However, neither the rapidly attacking fighters of the Red Army, destroying the enemy, nor the condition of the troops, which was considerably battered during the time that the battle for Stalingrad lasted, prevented this.
As a result of the final stage of the operation "Ring", the Nazis were cut into two camps, which were soon forced to surrender because of the Russian onslaught. General Paulus himself was captured.
The importance of the battle of Stalingrad in the history of the Second world war is enormous. After suffering such huge losses, the Germans lost their advantage in the war. In addition, the success of the red army inspired the rest of the army fighting Hitler States. As for the Nazis themselves, then to say that their morale is weakened, it means nothing to say.
He emphasized the significance of the Stalingrad battle and the defeat of the German army in it, and Hitler himself. According to him, on February 1, 1943, the offensive to the East no longer made any sense.