The battle of Stalingrad proved to be one of the greatest turning points in World War II. In the beginning of the World War II Stalingrad was one of the largest industrial producing cities in the war. The main production of Stalingrad was tanks, mortars, heavy guns, and automatic weapons. Not to mention the city was named after Stalin himself. The battle of Stalingrad involved and area about 100,000 sq. km., and lasted for almost seven months. Over the course of the battle it involved approximately two million men, 2000 tanks, some 2600 guns and mortars and more than 2000 planes. (1) During this time the Soviet Union was in hard times. The Germans had occupied much of the Caucasus including Ukraine and Byelorussia. They also had or were well about to have the Baltic Republics, and much of the Kransondor Region. (1)
The Germans had gained control of the Moscow and Donbas coal fields, the iron and steel plants in Krivoi, Rog, and Kerch, not to mention about 40% of the Russians rail way system. This alone was causing major problems for the Soviet Union in the beginning of this battle.
The Battle of Stalingrad started out very hard for the Soviets. The were pushed
(1) Information was taken from Hitler’s War written by Edwin P. Hoyt.
back, to the Volga river and the Germans carried out saturation bombing of the city those first few days with more than 2000+ sorties which dropped close to 5 million of bombs on the city. “We’d been through a lot in the war up to that time, but what we saw in Stalingrad an August 23rd was like a nightmare. Bombs were exploding all a round us and the sky was filled with columns of fiery smoke. Near the oil-storage tanks (they were situated on the banks of the Volga north of the town center) huge sheets of flame stabbed the sky, deluging the ground with a sea of fire and acrid fumes. Torrents of burning oil and petrol flowed on the Volga till its surface was a river of fire. Boats in the river were ablaze, asphalt on the streets emitted choking fumes and telegraph poles flared up like matches. The earth of Stalingrad was crumpled and blackened. The city seemed to have been struck by a terrible hurricane, which whirled it into the air, showering the streets and squares with rubble. The air was hot, stifling and filled with acrid fumes which made breathing difficult.” Quoted by Marshal A. Yeremenko, Commander-in-Chief of the Stalingrad front.
This bombing alone killed approximately forty thousand people and injured one hundred and fifty thousand people. Most of the 500,000 residents of Stalingrad took refuge in basements and gullies during the bombing which lead to the high death toll. With in the next week of the battle of Stalingrad the population had been reduced to about 400,000 people. The Soviets City Defense Committee organized an evacuation of some 300,000 people, factory equipment and other supplies across the Volga under continuous enemy fire.
The Germans Actually entered the city on the 13th of September, and for the next 143 days they would fight in the city without prevail. “Houses all over the city were burning and at night their smoky glow filled the horizon. Day and night the earth was shaken by the thunder of the bombing and the artillery barrage. The wreckage of crashed bombers lay scattered in the streets and the air screamed with shells from the ack-ack, but not for a moment did the bombing stop. The besiegers were trying to turn Stalingrad into hell on earth. But it was impossible to remain inactive- you had to fight, you had to defend the city amid the fire, the smoke and the blood. This was the only way you could live, the only way you had to live.” Quoted by Konstantin Simonov.
By the End of September, a platoon from the 42nd Guards had taken control of a four-story building some 900 feet from the Volga near a square. A Sergeant by the name of Yacov Pavlov was in command. Sergeant...