Incredible Urban Combat Pictures From Stalingrad – Not One Step Back

The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle on the Eastern Front of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (present Volgograd) in Southern Russia, on the eastern boundary of Europe. The battle started on 23rd August 1942, but the first fights directly in the city started on 13 September 1942.

Introduction

Hitler’s planned summer offensives in 1942 assumed a constant offensive, despite the fact that his army wasn’t ready for such task in the Autumn of 1942. Soviet forces weren’t prepared for that battle as well, especially low morale caused by previous withdraws were painful. Red Army commanders were well aware of that so Stalin’s Order No. 227 was issued to prevent any possible acts of desertions or cowardice:

“Enemy throws to battle new forces and doesn’t encounter its heavy losses, crawls to into Soviet lands, capturing new regions, havocs and destroys our cities and villages, rapes and kills Soviet population… German occupant forces by all means want to take Kuban and Northern Caucasus rich in bread and oil… Units of South front led by scaremongers left Rostov and Novocherkassk without serious resistance and without orders from Moscow, they covered their colours with shame.

Population of our country loves and respects the Red Army, but now people are disappointed that the Red Army leaves our people to be enslaved by German oppressors and runs further to the east. Some not so smart people comfort themselves by conversations that we can run further to the east, because we have a lot of land, many people and we’ll always have plenty of bread. They use this to justify their infamous actions on the fronts.

… but further retreat to the east means to sentence to death our people and our Motherland, every bit of our land given to the enemy will enforce him and will weaken our defense, our Motherland.”

Joseph Stalin

The battle of Stalingrad turned into a fight of desperation and heroic actions.

"The members of the Military Council of the Stalingrad Front." The members of the Military Council of the Stalingrad Front (left to right): Member of the Politburo of the CPSU (b), the secretary of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine Nikita Khrushchev, member of the Military Council of the Front for the rear, Major-General Alexei Ilarionovich Kirichenko, 1st Secretary of the Stalingrad regional party Alexey Semenovich Chuyanov, commander of the South-East (Stalingrad) front, General Andrei Ivanovich Eremenko. The Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). Russia, Volgograd (RIA Novosti archive, image # 882837 / Knorring / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / Wikipedia)
“The members of the Military Council of the Stalingrad Front.” The members of the Military Council of the Stalingrad Front (left to right): Member of the Politburo of the CPSU (b), the secretary of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine Nikita Khrushchev, member of the Military Council of the Front for the rear, Major-General Alexei Ilarionovich Kirichenko, 1st Secretary of the Stalingrad regional party Alexey Semenovich Chuyanov, commander of the South-East (Stalingrad) front, General Andrei Ivanovich Eremenko. The Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). Russia, Volgograd. Photo Credit.

Order No.227 “Not One Step Back” became later on a slogan of Soviet resistance against the German invasion.

This battle was the turning point of the war on the entire Eastern Front. Third Reich never recovered their losses in the outcome and whole Operation Barbarossa turned into Operation Bagration.

Photos

Soviet soldiers fighting for every floor of every building (Russiainphoto.ru / Public Domain)
Soviet soldiers fighting for every floor of every building. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
(Russiainphoto.ru / Yuri Chernyshov / Public Domain)
Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Yuri Chernyshov.
German infantry and Sturmgeschütz III, summer 1942 (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B28822 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / Wikipedia)
German infantry and Sturmgeschütz III, summer 1942. Photo Credit.
Soviets preparing to ward off a German assault in Stalingrad's suburbs (Public Domain / Wikipedia)
Soviets preparing to ward off a German assault in Stalingrad’s suburbs
German Oberleutnant with a Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun in Barrikady factory rubble in 1942 (Bundesarchiv, Bild 116-168-618 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / Wikipedia)
German Oberleutnant with a Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun in Barrikady factory rubble in 1942. Photo Credit.
(Russiainphoto.ru / A. Kapustiansky / Public Domain)
Soviet troops before the battle. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Dmitry Baltermants.
(Russiainphoto.ru / A. Kapustiansky / Public Domain)
Severe winter in Stalingrad. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / A. Kapustiansky.
Fight at the factory "Red October" (Russiainphoto / Jacob Ryumkin / Public Domain)
Fight at the factory “Red October”. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto / Jacob Ryumkin.
(Russiainphoto.ru / George Lipskerov / Public Domain)
Soviet artillery. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / George Lipskerov.
Fight on the street of Stalingrad (Russiainphoto.ru / Jacob Ryumkin / Public Domain)
Fight on the street of Stalingrad. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Jacob Ryumkin.
A bath wasn't the worst defense (Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma / Public Domain)
A bath wasn’t the worst defense. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
Every house was important for both sides in Stalingrad (Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma / Public Domain)
Every house was important for both sides in Stalingrad. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
Effort of every single soldier was important (Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma / Public Domain)
Effort of every single soldier was important. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
Pavlov's House (Public Domain / Wikipedia)
Pavlov’s House
Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber over the neighborhood west of the Red October factory; some of the administration buildings are at lower right; Bayonet Gully is at top right (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J20510 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / Wikipedia)
Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber over the neighborhood west of the Red October factory; some of the administration buildings are at lower right; Bayonet Gully is at top right. Photo Credit.
Red Army in a destroyed building firing from every window (Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma / Public Domain)
Red Army in a destroyed building firing from every window. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
War created many friendships for a long time (Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma / Public Domain)
War created many friendships for a long time. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
Stalingrad's graveyard (Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma / Public Domain)
Stalingrad’s mass grave. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
Fights of the Pavlov's House (Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma / Public Domain)
Fights over the Pavlov’s House. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
"Red October" factory was a place of ferocious fights (Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma / Public Domain)
“Red October” factory was a place of ferocious fights. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
Soviet soldiers on the factory roof ((Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
Soviet soldiers on the factory roof. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
German troops sallying from the long trench by the Schnellhefter Block in Stalingrad North (Public Domain / Wikipedia)
German troops sallying from the long trench by the Schnellhefter Block in Stalingrad North
Red Army relocates position (Russiainphoto.ru / Emmanuel Evzerihin / Public Domain)
Red Army relocates position. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Emmanuel Evzerihin
Famous fountain in destroyed Stalingrad (Russiainphoto.ru / Emmanuel Evzerihin / Public Domain)
Famous fountain in destroyed Stalingrad. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Emmanuel Evzerihin
Often there were nothing more than just ruins (Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
Often there were nothing more than just ruins. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
Every day there were more vast places like that (Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
Two Soviet soldiers aiming their guns via the window. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
Red Army soldiers crawling on the top of the ruins (Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
Red Army soldiers crawling on the top of the ruins. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
Factory workers often participated in fights (Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
Factory workers often participated in fights. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
Soviet soldiers running through barbed wire (Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
Soviet soldiers running through barbed wire. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
Stalingrad Tractor Factory (Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
Stalingrad Tractor Factory. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
Stalingrad Tractor Factory (Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
Stalingrad Tractor Factory. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
Stalingrad Tractor factory (Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
Stalingrad Tractor factory. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
Flag of the Victory in Stalingrad(Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma / Public Domain)
Flag of the Victory in Stalingrad. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Georgi Zelma.
A Red Army soldier marches a German soldier into captivity (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-E0406-0022-011 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / Wikipedia)
A Red Army soldier marches a German soldier into captivity. Photo Credit.
German Prisoners of War (Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich / Public Domain)
German Prisoners of War. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Shaikhet Arkady Samoylovich.
Stalingrad after the battle (Russiainphoto.ru / Aron Zamsky / Public Domain)
Stalingrad after the battle. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Aron Zamsky.
The center of Stalingrad after liberation (RIA Novosti archive, image #602161 / Zelma / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / Wikipedia)
The center of Stalingrad after liberation. Photo Credit.
For Stalingrad - the war ended (Russiainphoto.ru / Anatoly Yegorov / Public Domain)
For Stalingrad – the war ended. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Anatoly Yegorov.
Ruins... (Russiainphoto.ru / Author Unknown / Public Domain)
Ruins… Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Author Unknown.
And ruins (Russiainphoto.ru / Author Unknown / Public Domain)
And ruins. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Author Unknown.
Vast destruction of the city (Russiainphoto.ru / Author Unknown / Public Domain)
Vast destruction of the city. Photo Credit: Russiainphoto.ru / Author Unknown.