Battle of Stalingrad
The mother of all battles that shaped the future of the world & reversed the course of World War-II.
The whole war drama in the eastern front unfolded on 22nd June 1941 when two nations having friendly terms and non aggression pact turned arch foes. It was Nazi Germany who kept all treaties and pacts on the edge of its heels and launched human history’s largest land conquest campaign called Operation Barbarosa to conquer the largest country in the world the Soviet Union. With their blitzkrieg (lightening war) & scorch earth strategy Nazi army roared across Soviet territory achieving victories after victories. Thanks to Joseph Stalin’s great purge of 1937 & miscalculation of German friendly treaties Soviet military structure collapsed in front of fast moving German onslaught. It seemed that Hitler was right about Soviet Union that they are a rotten system we just need to kick on its door & the whole system will fall like a house of cards. Within 4 months from attack Nazi troops reached Moscow the Soviet capital even Stalin saw German troops from Kremlin top.
But Hitler had other ideas in mind that were to reach quickly to southern oil rich region of Soviet Union and on its way conquer the city of Stalingrad a major industrial hub and pride of Stalin. Hitler wanted to capture and destroy this city to destroy the morale of soviets and Stalin wanted to defend the city to boost the already shattered Soviet morale as his name was associated with the city. The German mayhem upon Stalingrad started in august 1942 and the whole city was brought to ground by heavy ariel bombardment. But with nothing to lose Soviets held their ground & even citizens came forward to defend their city. By November the whole battle turned into an urban Guerilla war. Soviets were determined to stop the Germans which led to severe house to house pitch battle. But Soviets had different plans. They were planning to encircle Germans by cutting off their supply line as it was hugely stretched and was guarded by weak German allies like Italy, Hungary & Romanian army at their flanks.
On 19th November 1941 operation Uranus was launched & thousands of Soviet artillery, katyusha rockets poured upon the non German axis segments protecting the German flanks and quickly decimated them & by 23rd November encirclement was completed effectively cutting off the whole German 6th army division consisting of over 4lakh men.
For the next three months Germans tried desperately to break through the encirclement & the Soviets gave all they got to hold the encirclement. Both Hitler & Stalin ordered strict laws to get over each other. Hitler ordered to stand till last bullet till last men & Stalin ordered the famous order no 227 not a step back: generals were ordered to shoot anyone who tried to retreat.
Finally the German 6th army under Friedrich Paulus surrendered on 2nd February 1943 violating Hitler’s order & brought an end to the bloodshed at Stalingrad.
Categories:Great Wars & Battles