Skip to main content

Stalingrad, Battle of

STALINGRAD, BATTLE OF

The Battle of Stalingrad (July 17, 1942February 2,1943) was the most significant Red Army victory during World War II. It included the Red Army's defense against Operation "Blau" (Blue), the German Army's summer 1942 advance to Stalingrad, and offensive operations in the fall of 1942 and winter of 1943 to defeat German and other Axis forces in the Stalingrad region.

The defensive phase of the battle began on July 17, after German Army Groups "A" and "B" smashed the defenses of the Red Army's Briansk,

Southwestern, and Southern Fronts in southern Russia and advanced to the Don River west of Stalingrad. Initially, the newly formed Stalingrad Front, commanded by marshal of the Soviet Union S. K. Timoshenko, defended the Stalingrad region with the 21st, 62d, 63d, 64th, and 57th Armies, the 1st and 4th Tank Armies, and the 8th Air Army, which opposed the 6th Army and 4th Panzer Army of Army Group "B." After overwhelming the 62nd and 64th Army's defenses west of the Don River in late July and defeating a major counterstroke by the 1st and 4th Tank Armies, in late August General Friedrich Paulus's Sixth Army broke through Soviet defenses along the Don River and reached the Volga River north of Stalingrad, while General Hermann Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army reached the city's southwestern suburbs. The twin blows isolated the Soviet 62d and 64th Armies in Stalingrad and initiated two months of vicious and costly fighting for possession of the city. The fighting consumed the bulk of German forces and forced them to deploy weak Italian and Rumanian armies along their overextended flanks north and south of the city. While Stalin fed enough forces into Stalingrad to tie German forces down, the Stavka planned a counteroffensive, Operation "Uranus," orchestrated by General A. M. Vasilevsky, to encircle and destroy Axis forces at Stalingrad.

The offensive phase of the battle commenced on November 19, 1942, when the forces of General N. F. Vatutin's and A. I. Eremenko's Southwestern and Stalingrad Fronts pierced Axis defenses north and south of the city and joined west of Stalingrad on November 23, encircling more than 300,000 German and Rumanian forces in the city. Offensives by the Southwestern and Stalingrad Fronts along the Chir, Don, and Aksai Rivers in December destroyed the Italian 8th Army and frustrated two German attempts to rescue their forces besieged in Stalingrad. On February 2, 1943, after Bryansk, Voronezh, Southwestern, and Southern (former Stalingrad) Front forces attacked westward from the Don River and toward Rostov, General K. K. Rokossovsky's Don Front defeated and captured Paulus's 6th Army and almost 100,000 men.

At a cost of more than one million casualties, including almost 500,000 dead, missing, or captured, during the battle the Red Army destroyed or badly damaged five Axis armies, including two German, totaling more than fifty divisions, and killed or captured more than 600,000 Axis troops. The unprecedented German defeat was a turning point indicative of eventual Red Army victory in the war.

See also: world war ii

bibliography

Beevor, Antony. (1998). Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 19411943. New York: Viking

Erickson, John. (1975). The Road to Stalingrad. New York: Harper & Row.

Glantz, David M. (1995). When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

David M. Glantz

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Stalingrad, Battle of." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Stalingrad, Battle of." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stalingrad-battle

"Stalingrad, Battle of." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stalingrad-battle

Stalingrad, Battle of

Stalingrad, Battle of a long and bitterly fought battle of the Second World War, in which the German advance into the Soviet Union was turned back at Stalingrad (now Volgograd, until 1925 Tsaritsyn) in SW Russia in 1942–3. The Germans surrendered after suffering more than 300,000 casualties.
Sword of Stalingrad given by Britain to the Soviet people in 1943 in recognition of the defence of Stalingrad; the sword, presented by Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference, had engraved on its blade, ‘To the steelhearted citizens of Stalingrad, a gift from King George VI as a token of the homage of the British people.’

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Stalingrad, Battle of." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Stalingrad, Battle of." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/stalingrad-battle

"Stalingrad, Battle of." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/stalingrad-battle

Stalingrad, Battle of

Stalingrad, Battle of (1942–43) Decisive conflict marking the failure of the German invasion of the Soviet Union during World War 2. The city (now Volgograd) withstood a German siege from August 1942 to February 1943, when the German 6th Army under Friedrich von Paulus, surrounded with no prospect of relief, surrendered to the Russian General Zhukov. Total casualties at Stalingrad exceeded 1.5 million.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Stalingrad, Battle of." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Stalingrad, Battle of." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stalingrad-battle

"Stalingrad, Battle of." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stalingrad-battle