The Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad had raged 200 days and nights on a vast territory of almost 100,000 square km. Over 2.1 million soldiers, 2,100 tanks and over 2,500 aircraft were involved in the fighting.
During the defensive period of the battle (from July 17 to November 18, 1942), the Soviet troops in the course of fires battles ruined the German plan to seize Stalingrad. In the second stage (November 19, 1942 to February 2, 1943), the Red Army surrounded and defeated the main forces of the German 4th Panzer and 6th Field armies, as well as troops of German allies, and launched a General offensive on the southern wing of the Soviet-German front.
The defense of Stalingrad was held by the 62nd army of V. Chuikov and the 64th army of M. Shumilov. Soviet soldiers and officers gained the bitter experience of urban warfare and night combat and learnt the new close combat tactics for assault groups in the ruins of Stalingrad during the fall of 1942. The Wehrmacht soldiers had not seen anything of the kind before. German soldier Erich Ott wrote from Stalingrad: “Physically and spiritually, one Russian is stronger than our entire company... For 58 days, we had been storming a single house!”
The Red Army launched a counteroffensive (operation Uranus) after 80 minutes of artillery preparation on November 19, 1942. Neither side had any clear advantage in the number of ground troops or air force. The Soviets were stronger in artillery. As a result of attacks on the flanks of the enemy, where the Romanian troops were deployed, and the subsequent advance in converging directions, the armies of the Stalingrad and South-Western fronts encircled the enemy forces of more than 300 thousand people on November 23. After an unsuccessful attempt to break through the encirclement, the surrounded troops were left to their fate by the Hitler Command. On February 2nd, 1943, their Commander, Friedrich Paulus, promoted to the rank of Field Marshal two days earlier, as well as 24 generals with the remnants of their troops (91 thousand people) surrendered to the Soviets.