BATTLE OF STALINGRAD – WWII
23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943
One of the largest, longest and bloodiest engagements in modern warfare, the Battle of Stalingrad was a brutal military campaign between Russian forces and those of Nazi Germany and the Axis powers. For 5 months, 1 week and 3 days, more than 2,000,000 troops fought in close quarters in the Soviet city – and nearly 2,000,000 people were killed or injured in the fighting, including tens of thousands of Russian civilians. After losing the battle, the German army lost so many soldiers and took such a defeat that they never quite recovered.
By early 1942, the Nazis and their allies had captured significant territories in the Baltics, Ukraine and Belarus. With the goal of destroying the industrial areas around Stalingrad, the Axis Powers planned to block the Soviet supply routes along the Volga River. Hitler personally rewrote the operation plans to include the capture of the city of Stalingrad which would provide Germany with propaganda value sine the city bore the name of the Soviet leader. Hitler also valued the strategic petroleum resources of the area.
Stalingrad, Soviet Union
Nazi Armee-Oberkommando 6
Armata a 4-a (Romania)
Armata a 3-a
Generaloberst Maximilian von Weichs
Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein
1st Guards Army
5th Tank Army
Marshal S.K. Timoshenko
Marshal Georgy Zhukov
Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky
Lieutenant General Nikolai F. Vatutin
A victory for the Soviet Union
Axis forces suffered approximately 868, 374 casualties; 900 aircraft destroyed; 1,500 tanks destroyed; 6,000 guns destroyed with 744 aircraft; 1,666 tanks; and 5,762 guns captured.
Soviet losses were 1,129,619 casualties; 2,769 aircraft; 4,341 tanks; and 15,728 guns. Soviet civilian deaths were 955.
Stalingrad was the biggest defeat in German history. The entire Nazi 6th Army was decimated and all European Axis powers except Finland suffered catastrophic losses. Germany never recovered fully from defeat at Stalingrad while the Soviets experienced a boost in morale.
Excellent color combat footage of the Battle of Stalingrad and aftermath