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Why Was Stalingrad So Deadly?

Why Was Stalingrad So Deadly?

The battle of stalingrad inarguably one of the most merciless and destructive battles throughout history resulting in nearly two million total casualties between august 23rd 1942 through february 2nd 1943 the german siege resulted in a decisive victory for the soviets although at the cost of over a million russian casualties the numbers of the battle of stalingrad seemed ridiculously high on both sides so why wase battle of stalingrad so deadly stalingrad now known as volgograd was a large industrial city that spanned along the volga river

Why Was Stalingrad So Deadly? | What made Stalingrad so deadly? | How Was Stalingrad So Deadly?

and became an important target for the germans not only would the capture of such a significant industrial city have damaging effects on the soviet union in its entirety but to seize a city named after the soviet head of state himself would serve as a great benefit for german propaganda and psychological warfare by this point the germans had already captured a large portion of today’s ukraine and belarus but it failed a prior attempt to get a foothold in russian’s western city of moscow in the winter of 1941 through 1942 still despite the triumph for the soviets at moscow their red army had been worn down

losing a notable number of men and weaponry with apparent confidence that the damaged troops of the soviets would be unable to stop another advance so soon the german chancellor called for operation blue the operation was decided to be carried out by the german army group south under the command of field marshal fedor von bach but as the offense began on july 9 1942 germany decided to tweak their plan instead of capturing stalingrad before moving on to conquer the wrestling the german fuhrer wanted to aim for both goals simultaneously army group south was divided into

army group a and army group b with the first being led by field marshal wilhelm list and the latter under the command of fedor von bonk although he was shortly replaced by field marshal maximilian von vikes as army group a captured rostov and continued on their path the fourth panzer army led by hermann hoth was reassigned from army group b to go assist army group a meanwhile joseph stalin made his first major move in response to the building threat in an extreme reaction to the inevitable clash with germany the soviet leader issued order number 227 which is often referred to as the not one

step back order the order declared that no russian fighter shall retreat or back down for any reason unless given an explicit order and those who disobeyed which he deemed as traitors and cowards would be executed on the spot additionally stalin refused to evacuate the citizens of stalingrad as he claims that his troops would fight even harder with the knowledge that they had so many civilian lives to protect those troops consisted of the 21st 62nd 63rd and 64th armies alongside the eighth air army all commanded by semyon tomoshenko the stalingrad front responded quickly to the german advancement as hermann hoth

and his men began to approach from the southwest while the german sixth army was led by frederick paulus to join from the west at first the soviets were able to hold off the incursion fairly well although they did begin to give up territory very slowly when the battle of stalingrad officially kicked off germany’s sixth army had pushed the soviet 62nd and 64th armies to the outskirts of the city as the german luftwaffe dropped repetitive bombs on stalingrad quickly laying waste to most of its wooden buildings and structures over the first 48 hours many civilians were killed as the action began yet some proceeded to work in the factories

that had not been demolished by the bombs such as the stalingrad tractor factory which continued to produce soviet t-34 tanks as the struggle raged on other civilians who survived the first days were forced to build trenches and fortifications for the soviet troops by this point all russian forces were diverted to the bank of the volga river as the germans seemed to take an early upper hand and eventually pushed the soviet troops back to where they only held a small portion of land along the river the german airstrikes made this position difficult as ships coming through the volga were the soviets only way of supply

and their own air forces stood no match for wolfram von richthofen’s air fleet four despite continuous aerial reinforcements on the russian side the luftwaffe held undeniable control of the airspace over the city the soviets 1077th anti-aircraft regiment was now under immense pressure to fight off the increasing german air attacks all while the german 16th panzer division advanced from the ground despite having zero training to deal with ground assaults the 1077th fighters forced the panzers to engage with them shot for shot until the latter was finally able to disable or destroy all 37 of the soviet’s anti-aircraft guns

the germans were shocked to then discover that they had been fighting an entire regiment of woman the entire time meanwhile civilian militia groups made up of any men or women who were not still working in the factories were sent out poorly equipped to join the defensive fight small units on the ground for both sides now engaged in close combat all throughout stalingrad fighting over blocks and buildings passing control back and forth throughout september the soviets attempted to launch multiple offenses against the germans but were beaten down particularly by the luftwaffe again and again

nonetheless the german troops repeatedly failed to take key crossing points along the volga and were only able to hold the south of stalingrad thus far the 14th panzer division and 305th infantry division on the german side carried out brutal assaults on the soviet factories some of which were still being run by civilians and fought back ruthlessly against the soviet’s 138th rifle division led by colonel ivan ludnikov by november 8th the german luftwaffe had been spread thin as important units from air fleet four had to be diverted to face the allies in north africa while the axis side had also brought in pilots from the royal

romanian air force who had destroyed roughly 61 soviet aircraft in stalingrad the germans suffered the consequences of having to string their air force across multiple battle zones additionally by mid-november the russians launched a new counter-offensive code named operation uranus and planned by generals georgie zhukov alexander vasilevskiy and nikolai voronov beginning on november 19th the attack was organized in two spearheads both north and south of the german forces and took the latter completely by surprise strategically the soviets opted not to strike against germany’s sixth army and fourth

panzer army but instead aimed for the weaker flanks less protected under-supplied undermanned and made up of a demoralized team of hungarian romanian and italian troops the germans weaker flanks proved easy to penetrate for the soviets and both spearheads were reunited on november 23rd completely encircling germany’s armies in stalingrad a plea was made to the german chancellor to allow a retreat to reunite with the german forces outside the city but the armies stuck in stalingrad were simply told to stand and fight because the focus wasn’t taking every part of the city the flanks were not strengthened

enough winter had now arrived and supplies including food were now dwindling for the trapped german troops the luftwaffe was supposed to supply the ground forces but failed to deliver enough supplies finally as december ticked on germany’s chancellor ordered to bring together a special army corps to rescue their fellow fighters from stalingrad in a disastrous move the chancellor refused again to let the trapped forces try and break through the encirclement manstein and his army were simply unable to advance through the soviet line which now launched operation saturn intending to tighten their grasp around

the enclosed germans germany’s chancellor again told his men to keep fighting to the death even if need be nonetheless following the soviet launch of operation ring on january 10 1943 the german field marshal frederick paulus who had been prompted along with a reminder from his chancellor that no field marshal had ever surrendered reached his limit on january 31st paulus accompanied by 22 of his generals gave himself up two days later the only remaining 91 000 troops of the german sixth and fourth panzer armies surrendered themselves to the soviet union of the 91 thousand men who surrendered only a few thousand

would ever return home while the rest died in soviet prisons or labor camps two hundred and fifty thousand german and romanian bodies were recovered by the russians after the battle ended and the total number of casualties between the german hungarian romanian and italian troops from stalingrad is believed to number more than 900 000 roughly 40 000 civilians are believed to have perished as well which was a predictable outcome in response to stalin’s refusal to evacuate his citizens before the combat took place and others being forced to fight the answer

to why there were so many casualties in the battle of stalingrad is likely a combination of many things for one the civilian involvement in the conflict played a role another factor was stalin’s not one step back order which prevented any retreats regardless of the circumstances and required an instant execution of any soldier who still attempted to back down anyway in addition the civilians and troops within the city would have been weakened by lack of necessary food and supplies which had been cut off during and even before the battle truly began both by the germans and by the decision

the soviets had made to ship their grain and other stores out of stalingrad as another factor many soviet soldiers sent as reinforcements drowned while attempting to cross the volga river and others were very poorly equipped the life expectancy of a russian soldier and stalingrad during the battle was around 24 hours the mass deployment of troops for this battle and the psychological and economic importance of this city made the battle more deadly as the germans focused on cleaning the city and not on protecting the flanks with more men and logistics meanwhile

the soviet soldiers were not allowed to retreat and many were forced to fight not being prepared for battle essentially the battle of stalingrad was a deadly struggle for both sides but it appears that the politics and policies of stalin’s soviet union and the general tide of the battle for a large portion of its occurrence resulted in an even more devastating toll for the russian side despite coming out triumphant we have more stories

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