Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad is arguably the turning point in World War Two. From August 23rd 1942 to February 2nd 1943, The Red Army battled Nazi forces in close quartered urban combat. The battle began with the German Air Force dropping bombs on Stalingrad. Most of the fighting took place along the Volga River or inside the ravaged city.
Red Army soldiers using the remains of the city for cover
The Nazis were winning initially, but as the fighting became more condensed, Soviet forces were able to hold off the advance by relying on guerilla tactics. Like The Defense of Moscow, The German army was unprepared for winter, warn down from heavy fighting, and unable to properly resupply. The Red Army launched a counter offensive, targeting the weaker Hungarian and Romanian units and then encircling the entire Axis force. With their backs to the Volga River, their tanks destroyed and ammunition depleted, The Nazis were forced to surrender in February 1943. Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi leaders had publically declared that the Nazis would not be defeated at Stalingrad on several occasions. The loss had a significant effect on German moral. It was the first time The Nazis had to admit a failure. The Germans had between 220,000 and 250,000 killed men and had another 92,500 taken prisoner. An estimated 40 000 civilians were killed due to air raids on the first day of the war alone while overall The Red Army suffered 1.1 million casualties, 485,000 of them fatal.
Red Army soldiers fighting during the winter near Stalingrad