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The Battle of Stalingrad

History | 7-14 yrs | Interactive

What is the battle of Stalingrad and who fought it?

The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August, 1942 – 2 February, 1943) was a major battle on the Eastern Front of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in Southern Russia, on the eastern boundary of Europe. Stalingrad was strategically situated and was where the Russian Army manufactured tanks and ammunitions.

Why is the battle of Stalingrad a turning point in world history?

It is considered by many historians to have been the turning point in World War II in Europe. The Battle of Stalingrad was a huge defeat from which the German Army never recovered. One of the ironies of the World War II, is that the German Sixth Army need not have gotten entangled in Stalingrad.The initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was a key route from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to central Russia. Its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields when they captured Rostov on 23 July, 1942. The capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult.

How long did the battle of Stalingrad last?

Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as one of the single largest (nearly 2.2 million personnel) and bloodiest (1.7–2 million wounded, killed or captured) battles in the history of warfare.

The German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August, 1942, using the German 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble. The fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November,1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River.

Who won the battle of Stalingrad?

On 19 November, 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army’s flanks. The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out; instead, attempts were made to supply the army by air and to break the encirclement from the outside. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February, 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food. The remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days.

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