Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad lasted from August 23 1942 until February 2 1943
The Russian's began their final assault on the pocket, 'Operation Koltso' (Ring), on the 10th of January. It commenced with a ferocious bombardment using 7000 artillery pieces, which lasted for an hour. The south western tip of the pocket bore the brunt of the first Russian attacks as the bombardment subsided.
Hitler had become obsessed with the capture of the city that bore Stalin's name. Not only was the city an important armaments production center, river port and transport hub, but encapsulated all that Bolshevism stood for. Stalin meanwhile declared that the city should be held at any cost, issuing his infamous 'Not one step back' order in August.
In the Autumn of 1942, the German Army had again succeeded in making large Territorial gains in Russia. However it had not captured the considerable amounts of men and material as had been the case in 1941. The German advance had again reached its limits and the Red Army was preparing to deal a series of counter offensives against it.
This photograph was taken after the capture of the grain silo in Stalingrad on 21 September 1942, one of the most strongly defended buildings in the city. In this huge grain elevator, south of the Tsaritsa Gorge, the fighting was merciless. Both sides incurred terrible losses trying to capture and retain it. For three days troops of 24. Panzer-Division pounded the massive concrete structure with artillery, antitank guns, mortars, and tank guns, setting the grain on fire. Hand-to-hand combat rage
Original German map from Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. The frontline is now completely frozen around the infamous Stalingrad pocket. It will remain so for over a month. All action is now taking place on the Chir River west of the Don, and soon on the Aksai River where the German Command will launch operation Wintergewitter (Winter Storm), the attempt to link up with the encircled 6th Army. [Stalingrad Battle Data on Facebook]
After the Battle of Stalingrad finished with the destruction of the German forces, these local boys found a literal treasure trove of abandoned weapons and equipment. Here they posed for the camera carrying ammo belts, ammo boxes, machine guns and rifles, all German. February 1943. Ordnance strewn over the battlefield remained a real hazard well into the 1960s.