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Great Patriotic War - The First Period

Almost all Soviet citizens had seen the propaganda movie If War Begins Tomorrow, filmed in 1938 at parades and military training exercises. In the movie, the Red Army destroys a military aggressor in four hours on the enemy's soil by using all kinds of weapons, including poisonous gas, and the war triggers a rebellion of the proletariat at the enemy's rear. The lyrics of an extremely popular song from the movie- "We'll destroy the enemy on the enemy's soil / Shedding little of our blood, using a mighty blow" - gave voice to the widely held Soviet opinion that they would win a quick and relatively painless victory against Germany. Stalin was a big fan of this movie; he watched it during and after World War II, even inviting foreign guests to join him in the screening room.

The first period of war began on 22 June 1941. During the ensuing two months, advancing German forces literally destroyed the Red Army's initial force structure in intense combat along the Soviet Union's borders. Although Soviet defensive (and counteroffensive) concepts were theoretically realistic, and the Stavka tried in vain to mount an effective strategic defense, the results were disastrous. German armored spearheads easily penetrated Soviet rifle armies and pushed rapidly into the depths of the Red Army's strategic defenses.

Due to the forced retreat of the Red Army in 1941-1942, the total sown area of USSR reduced by 41.9%, while the number of collective and state farms dropped by almost 40%. First Deputy Chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers, chairman of State Planning Committee, Nikolay Voznesenskiy, in his book The War Economy of the USSR during World War II wrote: On the Soviet territory, under occupation, 7 million of 11.6 million horses that were in these areas before the occupation were exterminated or stolen by invaders. Sown area of all crops cultivated in the USSR in 1940 amounted to 150,414 thousand hectares, in 1941 to 108,124 thousand. During this same period of progressing fascist aggression, sown areas of grain crops decreased from 110,571 thousand hectares in 1940 to 81,423 thousand hectares in 1941 and to 67,289 thousand hectares in 1942.

Already in the summer of 1941, Germany occupied a large chunk of Russia's territory, and by October, 1941 the entire part of the Soviet Union to the west of the Dnieper River fell under Nazi control. Efforts were made by the Soviet government to transfer key enterprises to safer areas in the east, but it took time to rebuild their productivity following the redeployment.

The new Soviet mechanized corps, hastily assembled and deployed under the ever-present threat of German air power, stumbled into combat, often in uncoordinated and piecemeal fashion, subsequently to be destroyed systematically by German forces. By early July most mechanized corps in the border military districts were fragments of their former selves. As the battle moved eastward toward Leningrad, Smolensk, and Kiev, the remaining corps suffered a similar fate, leaving the Soviets by late July with only a skeletal capability for conducting maneuver war, either tactical or operational. Throughout this entire period, the Stavka mounted attempt after attempt to launch counteroffensives and counterstrokes with its mobile forces, only to experience repeated failures.

German army planners had drawn the right conclusions in selecting Moscow as the principal campaign objective. In 1941 Moscow served as the communications hub of European Russia, with rail lines and highways radiating outward in all directions to connect the capital with principal population centers. The only significant lateral communications were those which ran through Moscow; without them, Stalin would lose the ability to shift strategic reserves to meet the gravest threats. With Moscow lost, a defensive campaign west of the Volga would be impossible at the strategic level. The loss of Moscow also would deprive the Soviets of much of Russia's war industry, not yet relocated to the east. Twenty percent of Soviet heavy industry was located in and around the Moscow oblast, and much more lay in the path of advancing German armies moving toward the capital. A large part of Soviet industrial capacity would also be overrun in the advance to the Moscow region.

For all these reasons, the loss of Moscow promised irretrievable military disaster for the Soviets. But Moscow also served as the political and psychological symbol of the communist regime. Its fall might well have destroyed not only the Soviet ability to continue resistance in the West, but the communist regime itself.

Within a week 90 percent of the Soviet front line strength was destroyed. German forces soon laid siege to Leningrad -- the Soviet Union's second largest city -- and entered the western suburbs of Moscow. German troops were within sight of the Kremlin when Soviet forces rebuffed the attack.

The Nazis invested the city of Leningrad, today called St. Petersburg, early in the war, and before the Soviets broke the siege after 900 days, 800,000 had died. Having approached the city of Leningrad, the German armies did not try to take it; Hitler's plan was rather to starve the city and then destroy it by artillery fire. The mass deaths started at the end of November. The outward signs in the life of the city were the appearance in the streets of sleds of all kinds, but mostly children's Finnish sleds, loaded with corpses. As a rule, two sleds were bound together in order to provide sufficient length. The corpses were wrapped in sheets, blankets, mats, and rags. Every day more and more of these sleds were seen: during one period (the end of December and beginning of January) such sleds moved in unbroken lines through the main streets. Leningrad was covered with snow in those days. Nobody removed it.

One survivor wrote "In November, all cats were consumed. Standing on a ration-card line, I unintentionally overheard a conversation between some students. They felt that cat's meat was pleasant, it reminded them of rabbit meat, but one thing was painful, namely, to kill the cat: it defends itself desperately; if not carefully planned, the killing of a cat can result in one's being badly scratched. Later I did not hear any such talk as there were no more cats to be killed. In December, rats, mice, and street birds were being eaten." The siege continued until January 1944, when the Germans started to withdraw.

In late July 1941 Germany launched their first air raid on Moscow, and Russia sought to reciprocate with an air raid on Berlin. A successful raid on Berlin would be of tremendous propaganda importance, since the Nazis had claimed that the Soviet Air Force had been wiped out. In the night of 7-8 August 1941, a total of 15 heavily loaded DB-3 bombers attacked Berlin, and subsequently the Navy fleet air arm conducted more raids on Berlin, with the last attack coming made on 05 September 1941. When the Soviet forces had to leave Tallinn, further flights from the island airfieldss were impossible. In all, Soviet bombers performed 10 raids on Berlin, dropped 311 bombs and registered 32 fires.

Already in December 1941, at a meeting in Moscow with British Foreign Minister A. Eden, the Soviet leadership made new proposals for territorial changes after the end of the war. The main task of the foreign policy of the Soviet leaders was to achieve the consent of the new allies to consolidate the territories of the USSR that became part of it in 19391940. At the same time, the wish list of the Soviet leadership was quite large. December 16, 1941, Stalin expounded his vision of the post-war borders. His focus was on the borders of the Soviet Union.

In addition to restoring the borders of 1941, he raised the question of the inclusion of Tilsit in Soviet Lithuania, the return of the Finnish Petsamo to the Soviet Union, concluding an allied treaty with Romania and Finland (according to which a network of Soviet military bases was to be created there following the example of the Baltic states of 19391940); In relation to other borders, Stalin raised the question of the dismemberment of Germany (the creation on its territory of independent states in Bavaria, the Rhineland, etc.).

In an effort to interest England, he proposed the creation of a network of its military bases in Belgium, Holland, Norway and Denmark, not forgetting to add that this would be done only "subject to guarantees by certain powers (meaning the USSR) the entrances and exits from the Baltic Sea." The question was raised about reparations from Germany. In addition, it was proposed to create a "military alliance of democratic states" of Europe, having international military force. It was also proposed the creation in Europe of "state federations". Among them were the Balkan Federation, the Polish-Czechoslovak Federation, and others.

However, Eden categorically refused not only to sign, but also to discuss these projects in detail. He only thanked Stalin for the so detailed and frank statement of his point of view, referring to the fact that the issues of post-war reconstruction of Europe cannot be discussed without the participation of the American side. The legend of Panfilovs 28 Guardsmen is popular to this day. The story concerns a unit of Soviet soldiers led by Major General Ivan Panfilov who were written into the pantheon of national heroism after they were said to have died battling German tanks on the outskirts of Moscow as the freezing winter of 1941-42 set in. They were decorated posthumously. To this day, streets are named after Panfilovs Heroes, and a film about them -- backed by the Culture Ministry -- is due to hit screens in May 2016. The trailer has been released. In July 2015 the archive published formerly classified correspondence between top Soviet officials in 1948 that deeply undermined the legend. The document published by the state archiv showed that Soviet officials recognized the legend was "fiction" after some of the supposedly deceased men were found to be still alive. Soviet politburo member Andrei Zhdanov that the legend does not correspond with reality, saying it is based on the "fiction" of a Red Army journalist.

Many people compare the "gross" strength of their armies, forgetting that far from all units and divisions of either country were dispatched to the battlefront. In fact, Germany and its allies had three groups of armies with 5.5 million troops, 4,171 tanks and self-propelled guns, 47,260 medium and heavy artillery guns and mortars, and 4,950 combat aircraft. The Soviet Union had 3.3 million troops in the western military districts (including 2.9 million in the regular army), over 10,000 tanks, 32,900 medium and heavy artillery guns and mortars, and some 11,000 combat planes. While the Soviet army had fewer troops, it seemed to have more tanks and aircraft. However, barely 70% of tanks and aircraft were in working order, due to problems in the Soviet defense industry.

Another indisputable fact is that the German army was stronger that the Soviet army at that time. It had skilled and disciplined troops, reliable and high-quality military equipment, and staff officers with combat experience. With such an army, Germany expected to attain much more in the initial battles with the Soviet Union.

In the autumn of 1941, the situation on the front became particularly difficult. The Nazi troops had reached the outskirts of Moscow. During this time on the move from Siberia and the Urals were several fully equipped and well-trained divisions. According to the traffic schedule, the first trains with these troops could arrive only after several days and the entire mass of troops after a month. The command at Moscow had not significant reserves. The Stavka also did not know what reserves the enemy had and how close they were and whether the enemy would be able to shift them to the front to break through to Moscow. The fate of the capital, in essence, depended upon whose reserves arrived first. The situation on the front became so taut that on 8 October 1941, the GKO set up a special commission to carry out special measures in Moscow and the oblast in order, in the event the Germans broke through to Moscow, to destroy enterprises which the Nazis could employ for military purposes.

On 15 October 1941 Stalin concluded that before Soviet troops could arrive the Germans would be able to bring up their reserves sooner and the front at Moscow could be breached; he proposed immediate, that very day, evacuation of the government and the most important institutions and prominent political and state leaders. The city's population as a whole behaved calmly. By 20 October the situation on the front began to stabilize around Moscow. New troop formations from Siberia were approaching the capital and this reduced the danger of a possible German breakthrough.

In sending the panzers of Army Group Center away from Moscow to complete the capture of the Kiev pocket, Hitler willfully threw away his best and perhaps only chance to take Moscow, achieve a decision in the east, and victory in World War II.

Though the Soviets possessed many more tanks than the Germans, most were obsolete and poorly maintained (only 27 percent of the Red Army's 24,000 tanks were running when the war began, and only 1500 could be considered superior to German models). But the critical difference was the method of organization and employment. German panzer forces were self-contained, all-arms formations intended for decisive operations, while Soviet tank units were essentially pure armor employed in support of the infantry. These differences in doctrine and structure, and above all the strong German advantage in combat leadership at every level of command, ensured a striking German superiority in tank warfare that revealed itself in every major engagement.

During the disastrous initial months of war, the Soviet High Command truncated its already-shaken force structure to match its commanders' abilities and available logistical support. The Soviets disbanded the mechanized corps not already destroyed and replaced them first with separate tank divisions and ultimately with numerous small tank brigades. The tank divisions, however, also proved ineffective, and soon the Stavka transformed them into separate brigades or battalions. By December 1941 the Red Army's armored force consisted of 7 tank divisions, 79 separate tank brigades, and 100 separate tank battalions. In conjunction with cavalry corps, cavalry divisions, light cavalry divisions, and new ski battalions, these provided the mobile capability of the Red Army, a pale reflection of the once proud mechanized force of June 1941.

Soviet offensive operations before and during the winter campaign of 1941-1942 vividly displayed the weaknesses of this force structure. Soviet rifle forces penetrated German tactical defenses and pursued into the operational depths at foot speed. They were, however, deficient in staying power; soon growing infantry casualties brought every advance to an abrupt and bloody end. Soviet cavalry corps reinforced by rifle and tank brigades also penetrated into the German operational rear. Once there and reinforced by airborne or air-landed forces, they ruled the countryside, forests, and swamps but were unable to drive the more mobile Germans from the main communications arteries and villages. At best, they could force limited German withdrawals, but only if in concert with pressure from forces along the front. At worst, these mobile forces were themselves encircled, only to be destroyed or driven from the German rear area when summer arrived.

At Rostov, in November 1941, the Soviets forced the overextended German First Panzer Army to withdraw to the Mius River line by striking German defenses with the 37th Army secretly deployed forward, supported by a cavalry corps and two separate tank brigades. However, no encirclements ensued, and German forces halted the Soviet advance at the Mius River defenses. Two months later, Red Army forces were frustrated as they launched another partially successful operation south of Khar'kov (the Barvenkovo-Lozovaia offensive). During the first stage of the Red Army's Moscow counter-offensive in December 1941, the Soviets spearheaded their thrusts with rifle units on skis and tank brigades (roughly two or three per army). South of Moscow, General Belov's 1st Guards Cavalry Corps penetrated into the rear of Second Panzer Army and advanced 100 kilometers deep into the Kaluga region. During the second phase of the Moscow counteroffensive in January 1942, the 11th, 2d Guards, and 1st Guards Cavalry Corps penetrated deep into the German rear area in an attempt to encircle German Army Group Center.

Despite heroic efforts and the commitment into combat of the entire 4th Airborne Corps, the cavalry corps failed to link up and became encircled in the German rear area. The ambitious Soviet operation failed to achieve its ultimate strategic aim, due largely to the fragile nature of Soviet operational maneuver forces. Ultimately, in June 1942 German forces cleared "the Red louses from their hides," although the elusive Belov escaped to Red Army lines with a quarter of his original strength. The geography of the Eastern Front in the summer of 1942, with huge salients occupied by German and Soviet forces at Demyansk, at Rzhev, and south of Khar'kov, bore mute testimony to the failure of Soviet operational maneuver during its winter counteroffensive.

The Stavka correctly judged that these operations had failed because of the Red Army's lack of large, coherent, mechanized, and armored formations capable of performing sustained operational maneuver. To remedy the problem, in April 1942 the Soviets fielded new tank corps consisting of 3 tank brigades and 1 motorized rifle brigade and totaling 168 tanks each. The Stavka placed these corps at the disposal of army and front commanders for use as mobile groups operating in tandem with older cavalry corps, which by now had also received a new complement of armor. The Stavka employed these new tank corps in an offensive role for the first time in the spring of 1942.

In May 1942 the Germans adopted a policy that gave the Russian Front first priority for troops, and garrisoned the west with those who, because of wounds or other disabilities, were unable to endure the rigors imposed by the Russian front. Over the year that followed, twenty-two infantry and six armored divisions left France for the Eastern Front, along with the best equipment and men from the divisions that stayed behind. They were replaced by soldiers who were over-age or convalescing from wounds and by units composed of Russian, Italian, and Polish defectors. A few first-line units were present on the Western Front, but most of the rest had been shattered in the east and required replacements and refitting. The weapons they used were often leftovers.

On 12 May 1942, the Soviet Southwestern Front attacked out of bridgeheads across the Northern Donets River north and south of Khar'kov. The Soviets intended to exploit with a cavalry corps (the 3d Guards) in the north and two secretly formed and redeployed tank corps (the 21st and 23d) and a cavalry corps (the 6th) in the south. Ultimately the two mobile groups were to link up west of Khar'kov and entrap the German Sixth Army. Although the offensive surprised the Germans, the Soviets mishandled their mobile forces. Soviet infantry penetrated German defenses to the consternation of the German commanders, but the Soviets procrastinated and failed to commit the two tank corps for six days. The corps finally went into action on 17 May simultaneously with a massive surprise attack by First Panzer Army against the southern flank of the Soviet salient. Over the next two days, the two tank corps disengaged, retraced their path, and engaged the new threat. But it was too late. The German counterattack encircled and destroyed the better part of 3 Soviet armies, the 2 tank corps and 2 cavalry corps, totaling more than 250,000 men.

The German major offensive in southern Russia toward the lower Volga, the Caspian Sea, and the Caucasus began on July 5, 1942, and its first successful phases raised the hope that the reverses suffered in Russia during the previous winter would be made up for and the Russian campaign brought to a successful conclusion. Strategic objectives of the first order could be attained here: The total control of the Black Sea, the Caucasus oil, and the threat to British positions in the Near East, which, together with the ensuing favorable development of the situation in the Mediterranean (the break-through of Rommel's army toward Egypt), gave promise of influencing this sphere too. The conquest of the Crimea and Sevastopol and the advance of the German armies as far as the western Caucasus, along with the capture of Novorossiisk, gave the weak German naval forces in the Black Sea numerous opportunities for operations and forced the Russian Fleet into the extreme southeast corner of the Black Sea. The German advance to the Caspian had already led to preparations for setting up auxiliary formations of small craft there for coastal defense and for the struggle against the weak Russian naval forces in this sea.

Stalins Order # 227 28 July 1942 stated The enemy is throwing more and more fresh forces into the fight and, regardless of his losses, he is creeping forward and breaking into the depths of the Soviet Union After the loss of the Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltic, the Donbass and other regions, we have a lot less territory than we had To retreat further would mean to destroy ourselves and with us our Motherland. Not one step backwards! That has to be our main slogan from now on."

Panic-mongers and cowards must be destroyed on the spot. The retreat mentality must be decisively eliminated. Army commanders who allowed voluntary abandonment of positions would be removed and sent to Staff HQ for immediate trial by military tribunal. Three to five well-armed detachments (up to 200 men each) would be formed within an Army and placed directly behind unreliable divisions and they must be made to shoot the panic-mongers and cowards on the spot in the event of panic and disorderly retreat.

Stalins infamous order No 227, "Not a step back!" issued on 28 July 1942, authorised the use of punitive regiments on a large scale, stipulated that there should be up to five such detachments (consisting of 200 soldiers each) per army formation (more than 50,000 people). There is plenty of data about what these regiments did. From Aug. 1 to Oct. 15, 1942, the detachments detained 140,775 people who left their positions (these were not only deserters but also soldiers fighting their way out of encirclement). The majority were sent back to the army (131,000) whilst 3,900 were arrested and 1,189 shot (less than 1%).

The Khar'kov debacle and a simultaneous disaster to the south in the Crimea demonstrated to Soviet planners that they not only had to create larger armored units, but they also had to learn to employ them properly. The twin disasters, however, did not halt Soviet efforts to rejuvenate their mobile force. In June 1942 the Stavka formed four mixed-composition (rifle, cavalry, and armor) tank armies, each around the nucleus of two tank corps.

Throughout the summer and fall of 1942, even as the German Operation BLAU (the Stalingrad offensive) was unfolding dramatically across southern Russia, the Soviets created even larger mobile forces. The combination of tracked, foot, and hoof forces under control of a single headquarters was dangerous, and, understandably, the new tank armies functioned poorly. The 5th Tank Army, committed to combat west of Voronezh with four separate tank corps, attracted German attention and perhaps deflected the German advance southward but failed to halt the Germans' offensive.

Two other Red Army tank armies (the 1st and 4th) engaged German forces on the distant approaches to Stalingrad, but suffered heavy losses and were soon renumbered as rifle armies. By November 1942 the two tank armies (3d and 5th), which remained in the Soviet force structure, would soon make their presence felt with stunning effect. In September 1942, the Soviets formed eight mechanized corps, each consisting of one tank brigade (or three tank regiments) and three mechanized brigades. The Soviets relied on these new tank armies, tank corps, and mechanized corps to spearhead their offensive operations in the winter campaign of 1942-1943, which commenced in November 1942 at Stalingrad and against the Rzhev salient, west of Moscow. While these forces experimented with new force combinations and operational and tactical techniques, the Stavka prepared to field even more capable and powerful operational maneuver formations.

The successful Russian counteroffensive on the Don, with the encirclement of Stalingrad in November 1942, the retreat of the German Caucasus armies to the Kuban bridgehead which this compelled, and finally the defeat at Stalingrad on 03 February 1943, brought about a fundamental reversal of the situation.

The Franco-American film, Enemy at the Gates, recreated the Battle of Stalingrad, the largest military engagement in history. The Red Army at first was desperately defending the city (summer-autumn of 1942), and then launched a counteroffensive, encircling hundreds of thousands of German troops (autumn 1942 winter 1943). It remains probably the best-known movie about the battle. Enemy at the Gates gets the look and feel of war right. In one review the idea of the film was expressed this way: Soviet soldiers are whipped to go to fight in a manner that cattle are driven to the slaughterhouse, and they are shot dead when they retreat by their own punitive units. They are dirty and miserable unlike the well-groomed and well-equipped Germans.

A critical image of the Red Army is conveyed from the very beginning when the film shows new troops, arriving at the Stalingrad front in crowded boxcars like cattle and the cars are locked from the outside. This could not have taken place because it was forbidden. Was the situation with weapons truly so dire for the Soviets as portrayed in the movie? There were shortages of rifles, but that was in the early period of war. However, by autumn 1942 the situation had changed. There were no unarmed soldiers sent to the attack. When the Soviet troops start retreating they are machine-gunned by a punitive detachment. But in the conditions of urban warfare the punitive detachments could hardly be used effectively, and so their role was minimal.

The general attitude of the Soviet people during the first period of the war, however, was skeptical, negative, often hostile. Lack of faith in the government's ability to resist the Germans, and general dissatisfaction, often resulted in desertion, surrender and defeatism. In the first year of the war the Germans took entire armies as prisoners. The number of Russian prisoners of war ran into the millions. The Soviet government fought desertion by both stern punishment and propaganda.

A defeatist trend of substantial proportions developed among large sections of the Soviet population once they were out of the reach of the authorities and the police. It was strongest in the German-occupied areas and in the prisoner of war camps under German administration. In many cities, especially in the earlier stage of the war, entering German units were welcomed by the local population and thousands of Soviet citizens declared themselves ready to collaborate with the enemy. In fact, several semimilitary units were formed by the German command out of the civilian population for "special functions," for instance, to fight Soviet guerrillas.

Russian nationalism was likewise emphasized, along with the normal non-Communist brand of patriotism. The war was pictured not only as a fight against "fascism" but as a new phase of the historical struggle between Russians and Germans.

Martin van Creveld's 1977 Supplying Way refutes the tacit reduction of the campaign to a purely operational event as armchair generalship at its worst. As van Creveld says, Barbarossa failed "on grounds other than logistic, including a doubtful strategy, a rickety structure of command and an unwarranted dispersion of scarce resources." Still, the German invasion of the Soviet Union "was the largest military operation of all time; . . . the logistic problems involved of an order of magnitude that staggers the imagination"; and the means with which the Wehrmacht tried to tackle these problems were extremely modest."

The defeats and losses suffered during the spring of 1942 seemed to have had little effect on the performance of the Russians. To explain the Russian soldier's attitude one had to understand his way of thinking in terms of tangible evidence. Since he ate better rations, saw more and more comrades joining him in combat, and noticed the relative stability of his sector, he probably felt that a definite change for the better had taken place since the last year's disastrous defeats.

SOVIET TANK ARMY COMPOSITION, JUNE 1942

1st Tank Army
3d Tank Army
4th Tank Army
5th Tank Army
5th Tank Army (Second Formation)
2 tank corps
1 separate tank brigade
2 rifle divisions
2 tank corps
1 motorized rifle division
2 rifle divisions
1 separate tank brigade
2 tank corps
1 separate tank brigade
1 antitank brigade
1 rifle division
2 tank corps
1 rifle division
1 separate tank brigade
2 tank corps
1 cavalry corps
1 separate tank brigade
6 rifle divisions

Source: I. M. Anan'yev, B. B. Vashelenko, and N. T. Konashenko, "Tankovye armii" [Tank armies], Sovetskaya
voennaya entsiklopediya
[Soviet military encyclopedia] (Moscow: Voyenizadt, 1980), 8: 665-69. For a critique
of the tank armies' performance, see P. A. Rotmistrov, Stal'naya gvardiya [Steel guard] (Moscow: Voyenizadt,
1984), pp. 163-64.

 

 

SOVIET MECHANIZED CORPS TYPES, SEPTEMBER 1942

Type 1
Type 2
Type 3
3 Mechanized brigades
1 tank brigade
Support units
Strength: 175 tanks
3 mechanized brigades
2 tank brigades
Support units
Strength: 224 tanks
3 mechanized brigades
2 tank regiments
Support units
Strength: 204 tanks

In July 1942, German troops set out towards the oil fields of the Caucasus and the warm water ports on the Caspian sea, and by September the Germans reached Stalingrad. On November 23 a Soviet counterattack surrounded the German Army, but Hitler forbade a retreat. By December 1942 the Germans had been stopped everywhere along a 200 mile semi-circular front around Moscow. The Battle for Stalingrad was one of the crucial battles of history. This industrial city on the banks of the Volga River became the objective of the German 6th Army. About 330,000 German troops stormed the city in August 1942. One Luftwaffe attack alone killed 40,000 civilians in the city. Yet the Soviets dug in and countered the German offensive, stalking the Germans in the city's rubble. By January 1943, a mere 12,000 Germans lived to surrender to Soviet forces, and the German forces trapped in Stalingrad surrendered on 02 February 1943.



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