Friday, April 17, 2015
*repost* The Battle of Stalingrad
By far the most pivotal and important battle of WW2 was the battle of Stalingrad. Here, the Soviet forces held off and eventually defeated the Nazi 6th Army. The battle ensured for a prolonged 5 months of constant close quarters combat and air raids. The defeat of Nazi forces here marked the beginning of the end for Germany. The battle began what would seemingly be a German Victory. A 3 month push yielded the Nazi's almost 90% of the city and its limits. This advance, although slow, split the Russian forces in half and seemingly secured the city for Nazi control. The Axis forces, however, made a huge mistake. They never set up a very defensible position and pressed heavily upon retaining the city. This opened the door for Russian counter-attacks. Operation Uranus was a counter-assault launched acting upon the key weaknesses of the Axis lines. The Russians crossed the Don river and attacked the weakest points of Axis control, easily breaking the front line. Once through, Russian forces made mince meat of the few defenders the axis forces had stationed. At the end of autumn, the 6th army was surrounded. The next few weeks were brutal. German air support bombarded Russian forces as the 6th army attempted to regain position for an all out defensive. The fault however, was in the axis defenses. Operation little Saturn, launched by the Soviets, attempted to break through enemy lines and push into Stalingrad, the attempt was successful. After Little Saturn, the Axis forces were too far beyond enemy lines to receive support. After retreating from inner-city Stalingrad, Axis forces found themselves starving and without munitions. German generals preceded to slow one by one surrender and in the end, 91,000 prisoners including 22 generals, were captured. The battle was the decisive victory needed by the Allies to beat back Hitler and win the war.