Battle of Stalingrad

Battle of Stalingrad

 

Battle of Stalingrad

 The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle on the Eastern Front during World War II. Fought between Germany and her allies against the Soviet Union for control of the city Stalingrad(today known as Volgograd) between  July 17, 1942 and February 2, 1943.  It was possibly the bloodiest battle in history with casualties estimated to be 1.2 to 1.7 million.

Germany’s offensive to capture the city commenced in the summer of 1942. Hitler believed that capturing Stalingrad was vital. One reason was that the city was a major industrial by the Volga river which serve as important transportation route between northern Russia and the Caspian Sea.  Secondly capturing it would allow the Wehrmacht to advance into the Caucasus which was rich in oil and would as a side effect cut the oil the Soviet Union desperately needed to continue fighting.  It even became a contest of wills between German leader Adolf Hitler and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, with Hitler wanting it for propaganda purposes and Stalin determined to hold on to the city that bore his name regardless of the cost.

As the battle began the Luftwaffe managed to destroy many vital supply lines the Soviets used on the Volga river, eventually turning most the city to rubble. As the bloody fighting continued, finally after 3 months of fierce battle the Germans managed to capture 90% of the ruined city. However, the Soviets began a massive counter attack. His generals asked Hitler for permission to retreat before they were encircled but Hitler would have none of that and told them to hold their ground and he would supply them by air via the Luftwaffe even among huge disapproval from his Army High Command who knew it was an impossible feat.

Soviet Victory

Nevertheless in the end the Luftwaffe couldn’t possibly supply the entrapped army, which was encircled and for the most part destroyed and the remaining surrendered by February 2, 1943. The German defeat at Stalingrad was the turning point of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union. Although the Germans were not defeated by any means yet from that point on the Soviets began for the most part to take the initiative which was proven in the later Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943.

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