The Battle of Stalingrad was fought between the German 6th Army and a large number of Soviet Armies lasted from 23 August 1942 until 2 February 1943 for control of the city of Stalingrad in the south-western Soviet Union. The city itself was of vital strategic importance to both, but more than that the prestige of capturing the city with Stalin’s name on it made it, for Hitler, an irresistible target.
The fighting was marked by constant close quarters combat and, at first, a number of direct assaults on civilians by air raids. The battle is seen as the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare.
The heavy losses incurred by the Wehrmacht make it the most strategically decisive battle of the Second World War. It was a turning point in the European theatre, after this battle the German forces never regained the initiative in the East and were compelled to withdraw a large military force from France to replace their losses.
All pictures and captions come from the RIA Novosti archive:
“The defenders of Stalingrad”. Right: General Andrei Yeryomenko, Commander of the Red Army’s Southeast [Stalingrad] Front. Second right: Alexei Chuyanov, First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Stalingrad Regional Committee. Third right: General Alexei Kirichenko, Member of the Military Council of Stalingrad Front in Charge of Military Logistics. Fourth right: Nikita Khrushchev, Member of Politburo of Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party, First Secretary of Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine.