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1942 - Battle of Stalingrad


Title: 1942 - Battle of Stalingrad


About: After months of intense street fighting in the city of Stalingrad the German army was finally ground down and surrounded by the Red Army. The outcome of the battle was a pivotal moment in World War II, ultimately turning the tide in favour of the Allies.


In the summer of 1942 the German Sixth Army under General Paulus was ordered to take Stalingrad, an industrial center and obstacle to Nazi control of the Caucasian oil wells. In August, the German Sixth Army made advances across the Volga River while theLuftwaffe reduced Stalingrad to a burning rubble, killing over 40,000 civilians. In early September, General Paulus ordered the first offensives into Stalingrad, estimating that it would take his army about 10 days to capture the city. 


However, Soviet General Zhukov used the ruined city to the advantage of the Red Army, transforming destroyed buildings and rubble into natural defensive fortifications. In a method of fighting the Germans began to call the Rattenkrieg (Rat’s War), brutal street fighting bogged the Germans down as the Soviet's poured more and more men into struggle to hold the city. 


In mid-November 1942, the Soviet army launched a massive counteroffensive, which involved 500,000 Soviet troops, 900 tanks, and 1,400 aircraft. Within three days, the entire German force of more than 200,000 men was encircled.


Italian and Romanian troops at Stalingrad surrendered, but the Germans hung on, receiving limited supplies by air and waiting for reinforcements. Hitler ordered Paulus to remain in place and promoted him to field marshal, as no Nazi field marshal had ever surrendered. Starvation and the bitter Russian winter took as many lives as the merciless Soviet troops, and on January 21, 1943, the last of the airports held by the Germans fell to the Soviets, completely cutting the Germans off from supplies.


On January 31, Paulus surrendered German forces in the southern sector, and on February 2 the remaining German troops surrendered. Only 90,000 German soldiers were still alive, and of these only 5,000 troops would survive the Soviet prisoner-of-war camps and make it back to Germany.


After the victory at Stalingrad, the Soviet army remained on the offensive, liberating most of the Ukraine, and virtually all of Russia and eastern Belorussia during 1943.

Decade: 1940s

Year: 1942

Region: Europe

Country: USSR + Germany

Conflict: World War II

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 10

Artist: Jaroslaw Marcinek


Group: Genesis

Number: 42/100

Price: 1 ETH


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