Battle of Stalingrad, 1942-1943

BATTLE OF STALINGRAD – WWII

23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943

SUMMARY

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.

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Soviet Soldiers of the 62nd Army in action in the ruins of Stalingrad, 1942, www.kpbs.org/news/2010/may/14/secrets-dead-deadliest-battle, Public Domain

BACKGROUND

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.

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LOCATION

Stalingrad, Soviet Union

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AXIS POWERS

HEERESGRUPPE B

Nazi Armee-Oberkommando 6

4. Panzerarmee

Armata a 3-a (Romania)

Armata a 4-a (Romania)

Armata Italiana 8 (Italy)

Második Magyar Hadsereg (Hungary)

HEERESGRUPPE DON

Armee-Oberkommando 6

4. Panzerarmee

Armata a 3-a

1. Panzerarmee

 

Led by

Generaloberst Maximilian von Weichs

Von Weichs, 1939, German Military photo, https://spartacus-educational.com, Public Domain

Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein

Von Manstein, 1938, Allgemeiner Deutscher Nachrichtendienst – Zentralbild (Bild 183), Public Domain

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SOVIET UNION

STALINGRAD FRONT

28th Army

51st Army

57th Army

62nd Army

64th Army

DON FRONT

24th Army

65th Army

66th Army

SOUTWEST FRONT

1st Guards Army

5th Tank Army

21st Army

German soldiers at Stalingrad with a machine-gun 34 (MG 34), 23 September 1942, Propagandakompanien der Wehrmacht – Heer und Luftwaffe (Bild 101 I), Public Domain

 

Led by

Marshal S.K. Timoshenko

Timoshenko, date unknown, courtesy of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Mil.ru.

Marshal Georgy Zhukov

Zhukov, 1945, Life magazine, Volume 18, Number 7 (page 94), Public Domain

Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky

Rokossovsky, 1945, http://waralbum.ru/55660, Public Domain

Lieutenant General Nikolai F. Vatutin

Vatutin, 1943, http://wargamesobsession.blogspot.ru/2013/08/kursk-protagonists-part-2-russians.html, Public Domain

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RESULT

A victory for the Soviet Union

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Red Army soldiers in Stalingrad, 1942, Allgemeiner Deutscher Nachrichtendienst – Zentralbild (Bild 183), Public Domain

CONSEQUENCE

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

Combat footage

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