The Battle of Stalingrad in 30 Photos

©cobbphoto.com
©cobbphoto.com

The battle commenced in August 1942 and finally ended in February 1943 when the last of the German forces surrendered.

Hailed as the single largest confrontation of the war, the battle involved nearly 2.2 million military personnel, with around 1.8–2 million were killed, wounded, or captured.

 

A soldier prepares to throw a grenade. Russia, Stalingrad.RIA Novosti archive, image #844 / Zelma / CC-BY-SA 3.0
A soldier prepares to throw a grenade. Russia, Stalingrad.RIA Novosti archive, image #844 / Zelma / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The battle was characterized by some of the most brutal close-quarter combat in history, along with a complete disregard for the civilian population that remained trapped in the city. The Luftwaffe’s bombing campaign reduced the city to rubble and no building was left undamaged.

The Barmaley Fountain, one of the symbols of Stalingrad, in 1943, right after the battle
The Barmaley Fountain, one of the symbols of Stalingrad, in 1943, right after the battle

Stalingrad controlled the entrance to the oil-rich region around the Caspian Sea and the River Volga, through which the Soviets received their Lend-Lease weaponry from the Allies. However, the city became more of a symbolic target both sides.

Situation briefing near Stalingrad between a German company commander and a platoon leader. Bundesarchiv, Bild 169-0952 CC-BY-SA 3.0
Situation briefing near Stalingrad between a German company commander and a platoon leader. Bundesarchiv, Bild 169-0952 CC-BY-SA 3.0

For the Germans, Hitler wanted to take the city since it bore the Joseph Stalin’s name, while for the Soviets, the honor of the Red Army was at stake. Additionally, preventing Stalingrad from falling into enemy hands provided a much-needed morale boost for the entire USSR.

Smoke over the city center after aerial bombing by the German Luftwaffe on the central station.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B22081 CC-BY-SA 3.0
Smoke over the city center after aerial bombing by the German Luftwaffe on the central station.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B22081 CC-BY-SA 3.0

The battle was therefore fought to the last man standing. The bleak, flattened city landscape along with the abandoned carcasses of knocked-out tanks provided a backdrop to the reality that the soldiers faced during the battle.

German Infantry in position for an attack.Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1971-107-40 CC-BY-SA 3.0
German Infantry in position for an attack.Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1971-107-40 CC-BY-SA 3.0

During the first phase of the battle, the Soviets were pushed into several narrow positions along the western riverbank of the Volga, from where they received reinforcements and staged counter-attacks.

Voronezh, Soviet Union, 1942. A German sniper and spotter in position, observing at Voronezh.
Voronezh, Soviet Union, 1942. A German sniper and spotter in position, observing at Voronezh.

These counter-attacks were extremely costly in terms of casualties, but the Red Army’s persistence and determination enabled them to retake the city, building by building, district by district.

Read another story from us: “White Lily of Stalingrad” & The Valiant Women Pilots of The Soviet Union

This gave way to Operation Uranus–the Soviet’s final effort take control over the city by encircling the German 6th Army. Cut off from reinforcements and supplies, the 6th Army was forced to surrender despite Hitler’s demands to fight to the last man.

German infantry and a supporting StuG III assault gun during the battle.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B28822 CC-BY-SA 3.0
German infantry and a supporting StuG III assault gun during the battle.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B28822 CC-BY-SA 3.0

The last of the German forces surrendered on February 2nd, 1943, marking the end of the Battle of Stalingrad. Germany had lost, and the road to the Reich was open.

 

German soldiers of the 24th Panzer Division in action during the fighting for the southern station of Stalingrad
German soldiers of the 24th Panzer Division in action during the fighting for the southern station of Stalingrad

 

A German soldier with a Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun in Barrikady factory rubble.Bundesarchiv, Bild 116-168-618 CC-BY-SA 3.0
A German soldier with a Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun in Barrikady factory rubble.Bundesarchiv, Bild 116-168-618 CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

Soviet soldiers running through trenches in the ruins of Stalingrad
Soviet soldiers running through trenches in the ruins of Stalingrad

 

German soldiers clearing the streets in Stalingrad.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B22478 Rothkopf CC-BY-SA 3.0
German soldiers clearing the streets in Stalingrad.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B22478 Rothkopf CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

Soviets preparing to ward off a German assault in Stalingrad’s suburbs
Soviets preparing to ward off a German assault in Stalingrad’s suburbs

 

Soviet soldiers in the Red October Factory
Soviet soldiers in the Red October Factory

 

Soviet marines landing on the west bank of the Volga River
Soviet marines landing on the west bank of the Volga River

 

Soviet assault troops in the battle.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R74190 CC-BY-SA 3.0
Soviet assault troops in the battle.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R74190 CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

German soldiers positioning themselves for urban warfare.Photo: Ruffneck88 CC BY-SA 4.0
German soldiers positioning themselves for urban warfare.Photo: Ruffneck88 CC BY-SA 4.0

 

Soviets defend a position.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-E0406-0022-001 CC-BY-SA 3.0
Soviets defend a position.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-E0406-0022-001 CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

Clouds of smoke and dust rise from the ruins of Stalingrad after German bombing of the city on 2 October 1942. Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1992-0903-504 CC-BY-SA 3.0
Clouds of smoke and dust rise from the ruins of Stalingrad after German bombing of the city on 2 October 1942. Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1992-0903-504 CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers above the burning city.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J20286 CC-BY-SA 3.0
Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers above the burning city.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J20286 CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

The Stalingrad Tractor Factory in the northernmost part of the city in 1942.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B22437 CC-BY-SA 3.0
The Stalingrad Tractor Factory in the northernmost part of the city in 1942.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B22437 CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

Soil after the Battle of Stalingrad in the Vladimir Military Museum.Photo: Petar Milošević CC BY-SA 3.0
Soil after the Battle of Stalingrad in the Vladimir Military Museum.Photo: Petar Milošević CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Pavlov’s House (1943)
Pavlov’s House (1943)

 

The center of Stalingrad after liberation.RIA Novosti archive, image #602161 Zelma CC-BY-SA 3.0
The center of Stalingrad after liberation.RIA Novosti archive, image #602161 Zelma CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

A German Junkers Ju 52 3 m approaching Stalingrad in late 1942
A German Junkers Ju 52 3 m approaching Stalingrad in late 1942

 

German soldiers as prisoners of war. In the background is the heavily fought-over Stalingrad grain elevator.
German soldiers as prisoners of war. In the background is the heavily fought-over Stalingrad grain elevator.

 

Romanian soldiers near Stalingrad.Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-218-0501-27 Lechner CC-BY-SA 3.0
Romanian soldiers near Stalingrad.Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-218-0501-27 Lechner CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

Soviet soldiers attack a house, February 1943.RIA Novosti archive, image #44732 Zelma CC-BY-SA 3.0
Soviet soldiers attack a house, February 1943.RIA Novosti archive, image #44732 Zelma CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

A Red Army soldier marches a German soldier into captivity. Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-E0406-0022-011 CC-BY-SA 3.0
A Red Army soldier marches a German soldier into captivity. Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-E0406-0022-011 CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

The aftermath of the Battle of Stalingrad
The aftermath of the Battle of Stalingrad

 

Generalfeldmarschall Friedrich Paulus (left), with his chief of staff, Generalleutnant Arthur Schmidt (centre) and his aide, Wilhelm Adam (right), after their surrender Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-F0316-0204-005 CC-BY-SA 3.0
Generalfeldmarschall Friedrich Paulus (left), with his chief of staff, Generalleutnant Arthur Schmidt (centre) and his aide, Wilhelm Adam (right), after their surrender Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-F0316-0204-005 CC-BY-SA 3.0