Battle Of Stalingrad David Sanz Soblechero 4ºA Corregido
Battle of Stalingrad 1942 David Sanz Soblechero 4ºA
Background to the battle of Stalingrad <ul><li>In 1942 Russia had lost six million soldiers. With the artic winter’s help, Russians stopped the exhausted Germans before Moscow and pushed them back a bit. In summer German military was again read. </li></ul><ul><li>Hitler’s Generals wanted to attack in the direction os Moscow again, but Hitler now personally commanded the German army and he listened to his generals much less than before. </li></ul>Hitler Stalin
Hitler’s plans <ul><li>For 1942 summer, Hitler had made a plan (Operation Blue) that consist in concentrate all available forces in southern flank, destroy de Russians front line, and then advance in two directions: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advance far South-East, through the mountainous Caucasus region, to capture the rich oil fields on the Caspian Sea. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advance East, to Stalingrad, a major industrial and transportation center on the West bank of the wide Volga river, the main waterway of inner Russia, that runs all the way from North of Moscow to the Caspian Sea in the South. </li></ul></ul></ul>
Hitler’s obsession <ul><li>Hitler’s directive did not demand to occupy the city of Stalingrad. It was the stubborn battle to uccupy the city, and later Hitler’s refusal to retreat from Stalingrad, that cost him his entire Southern campaign, and horrible losses to both sides. Hitler became obsessed with occuping Stalingrad, and remained obsessed with it despite everything, unil the large German force in near Stalingrad was destroyed to the last man. </li></ul>Soldiers advancing in the ruins of Stalingrad
German attack <ul><li>German attack in South Russia began on June 28, 1942. The Germans advanced rapidly, and were followed by their Italian, Romanian and Hungarian allies (that secure the long German flanks). The Russian front collapsed and the Germans rapidly advanced towards South Russia’s last natural line of defense, the Volga. </li></ul><ul><li>Russian 62nd and 64th armies West of Stalingrad could not stopped the German advance before the city. They’re pushed back towards Stalingrad. </li></ul><ul><li>On August 23, 1942, the German 6th army captured a 8km wide strip along the river bank, German tanks began to sink crossing ships and ferries. The Luftwaffe’s 4th air fleet began to heavily bombard the city. The Battle of Stalingrad began. </li></ul>
The urban batlle <ul><li>Germans were confident that although Stalingrad’s defenders fought fanatically from the beginning, they will quickly occupy the city. Russians side things didn’t look better. They’re initially 40,000 troops in Stalingrad (mostly equipped by reserve soldiers and those of the local population who where not evacuated). It is assumed that Stalingrad might be lost in a few days. </li></ul>Soldiers advancing in the ruins of Stalingrad
Commanders <ul><li>Two commanders were selected and given the task of saving Stalingrad: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the national level, General Zhukov leave Moscow front and go to South Russia and save what he can. He was the best and most influential Russian General of WW2, practically served as Stalin’s military “crisis solver”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In the local level, General Vasily Chuikov, an aggressive and determined commander, was called to the regional command post. The severe situation was presented to him, and he was appointed the new commander of the Russian 62nd army, which still held the most of Stalingrad. </li></ul></ul>General Zhukov General Vasily Chuikov
General Vasily Chuikov <ul><li>When he came to Stalingrad, the 62nd army already lost half of his troops (its soldiers became a death trap, many tried to escape across the Volga). General Chuikov knew that the only way to keep holding Stalingrad was to buy some blood. </li></ul><ul><li>Stalingrad’s defenders were informed that the secret police guards all crossing points on the Volga, and everyone crossing the river without permission will be shot on the spot. </li></ul><ul><li>A stream of fresh reinforcement began to arrive. The elite 13th Guards division, was send across the Volga into Stalingrad just in time to repeal a German attack that reached the Volga near the center of the city. Only 320 of 10,000 warriors survived the battle of Stalingrad, but they saved Stalingrad in the most critical moment. </li></ul><ul><li>In the fighting he had to move his command post in the city from place to place to avoid being killed or captured. </li></ul>
Chuikov’s Strategy <ul><li>Sending more reinforcement to replace the dead was not enought. In order to reduce losses, Chuikov’s strategy was to narrow the gap between the Russian position and the German’s one to the absolute minimun, so close that the German Stuka dive bombers will not be able to drop their bombs on the Russians positions without risking the German soldiers. </li></ul><ul><li>As a result, the fighting in Stalingrad was reduced to an endless series of small battles for every street,building, floor or even every room in a building. Some key positions changed hands up to fifteen minutes during the battle. </li></ul>
Tanks, dive bombers, morters… <ul><li>The German advantege in heavy fire by tanks and dive bombers was gradually matched by Russian artillery reinforcement of all types, from mortars to rocket launchers, which were concentrated East of the Volga , where the German tanks could not sweep them, and were protected from the Stuka dive bombers by many anti aircrat guns. </li></ul>A Russian morter.
German major attack <ul><li>At the end of October 1942, the Russians held only a narrow strip and some isolated pockets in Stalingrad, and the Geman tried one more major attack in an attempt to take it before winter, but the exhaustion and rising shortage of ammunation stopped them, but fighting continued. </li></ul>Hitler pushed more divisions closer to Stalingrad and into the city. He assumed that the Russians were consuming their last remaining reserves and that therefore a massive Russian attack in German flanks was not expected. He was wrong…
The Russian counter attack (1) <ul><li>Germans again understimated the Russian resources. The continued weakening of the German flanks behind Stalingrad, as more and more German unit were pushed to the city, was the anticipated opportunity for which General Zhukov prepared since the battle of Stalingrad began. </li></ul><ul><li>* like in the battle of Moscow a year before, the harsh Russian </li></ul><ul><li>winter returned, sharply reducing the German army’s mobility </li></ul><ul><li>and observation capabilities. </li></ul>German soldiers.
General Zhukov’s Estrategy <ul><li>General Zhukov planned and prepared a massive Russian counter attack (code named operation Uranus), that would attack the German flanks at their two weakest points, 100 miles West of Stalingrad, and 100 miles South of it. The two Russian forces will meet far Southwest of Stalingrad and encircle the entire German 6th army near Stalingrad and cut its supply lines. </li></ul>Zhukov prepared a giant surprise attack, and when the Russian concentrations were finally notices by the Germans at the end of October, it was almost too late to do anything, but the disbelief at the German side, and Hitler’s obsession, prevented them from significantly responding. When the German chief of staff suggested to abandon Stalingrad to shorten the German lines, Hitler didn’t accept it.
The Russian counter attack (2) <ul><li>Russian counter attack began on November 19, 1942. It was the first fully prepared Russian attack in the WW2, and it was a great success. The Russians attacked the sectors of the German flanks held by the 3rd and 4th Romanian armies. The Russians knew that the Romanian forces had lowest morale and lest supplies. </li></ul><ul><li>Under the sudden pressure of the massive Russian artillery and advancing tank columns, the Romanian lines collapsed within hours, and after two days the Romanians surrended. Germans units moved to face the advancing Russians, but it was too late, and in four days the two spearheads of the Russian pincer movement met each other about 100 km of Stalingrad. </li></ul>
The besieged Germans <ul><li>The entire German 6th army was now trapped in and near Stalingrad. To prevent the Germans from breaking the encirclement, the Russians expended the corridor which separeted the 6th army from the rest of the German military to a width of over 100 miles, and quickly moved 60 divisions and 1000 tanks there. But instead of breaking out the encirclement, General von Paulus (6th army’s commander) was immediately ordered by Hitler to remain in his position. </li></ul>
Air supply operation <ul><li>Herman Goering (Hitler’s deputy and head of the Luftwaffe) promised Hitler that his Luffwaffe will supply the 6th army, promising to fly 500 tons of supplies per day, but it flew less than 100 tons per day, much less than needed. The 6th army quickly run out of fuel, ammunation, and food, and the German soldiers starved severely. </li></ul>Air supply.
German straggle <ul><li>Germans advanced just 60km in the direction of Stalingrad, before they’re pushed back by a Russian counter attack. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite their isolation and starvation, the German 6th army kept fighting, and fortified its position as mutch as its could. </li></ul>
Russian final attack <ul><li>On January 10, 1943, 47 Russian division attacked the 6th army from all directions. Knowing that captivity in Russia will be very cruel, the Germans kept fighting a hopeless battle. </li></ul>A week later, the large German pocket was shrunk by half, pushed towards Stalingrad, and only one runway remained in German hands, and it was under fire.
Results of the battle of Stalingrad <ul><li>On February 2, 1943, the last German resistance ended. Hitler was furious, accusing von Paulus and Gloering for the tremendous losses, instead of accusing himself. </li></ul><ul><li>The Germans lost almost 150,000 soldiers and 91,000 more were captured by Russians. </li></ul><ul><li>In Stalingrad, the German army lost its formidable image of being invincible. Russian soldiers everywhere now knew that they were victorious, and their morale boosted and remained high until the end od the war. It boosted British and American morale too. </li></ul><ul><li>It was clear that the battle of Stalingrad was a major turning point of WW2, that the direction of the war turned against Germany. </li></ul>