Russian general Chuikov.
“Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure,” wrote a German soldier, summing up his experience of the battle.
Stalingrad wasn’t just a battle; it ranks among the greatest episodes of human history. The scale of fighting was almost Homeric. There was bravery, there was brutality and there was cannibalism.
Courage, toughness and weapons were peripheral factors in the Battle of Stalingrad. It was the tactical superiority of the Russian soldier in a range of environments that was the key to the Russian victory.
However, the victory at Stalingrad was not simply a matter of enormous human sacrifice. It not only required winning the production battle with Nazi Germany, the Red Army also had to master the tactics of urban warfare.
Below are some images of Soviet soldiers at Stalingrad. We have avoided the more well known pictures. We have also eschewed the " Soviet-propaganda-grinning-confident-soldiers" images.
What the Russians did at Stalingrad deserves our deepest admiration. Withstanding the full might of the Wehrmacht and then destroying the German Sixth Army was no mean achievement. This is not so well known in the English speaking world because the Russians were never good at trumpeting themselves as say the Americans and British are.
This is what German Field Marshal Kleist had to say of the Russians....
VIDEO: STALINGRAD PART 1
Soviet soldiers firing anti-aircraft gun at German aircraft at Stalingrad. 1942
As the main landing area near the center of Stalingrad came under increasing pressure an alternate landing site on the Zaitsevski island was built. Here Russians soldiers build a pontoon bridge connecting the island with eastern Stalingrad under German fire.
THE VITAL ROLE OF CHUIKOV
“He was always seeking new approaches… demanding that we get really, really close to the firing line, and immediately penetrate the enemy trenches, not letting them recover from the artillery shelling. It was a novelty at the time, and not everyone approved of it. But how wonderfully it worked at Stalingrad.”
Soviet soldiers atop a German tank displaying the home made boots (made from paper) used by desperate German soldiers. Later stages of the battle when the encircled Germans were in dire straits
Street fighting in Stalingrad (Click to enlarge image)
|The tough hero. Alexander Rodimtsev. With his tough Siberian men from the 13th Guards Division (Click to enlarge image)|
WHO WAS ALEXANDER RODIMTSEV?
|Soviet soldiers walking towards Stalingrad. It is September 1942 and the Volga is not frozen yet|
Russian citizens leave their homes as the German bombs fall on Stalingrad
Soviet soldiers in a defensive position as the German assault begins on the outskirts of Stalingrad
A Stuka has just hit a Soviet boat crossing over to Stalingrad. Russian soldiers rush to help survivors swimming ashore. A pall of smoke hangs over the Volga.
A Soviet Storm Group climbs the stairs apprehensively in a building near the Red October factory. The Russians had to worry not only about the Germans but the poor state of the buildings rocked by bombs
Soviet reinforcements cross the River Volga into Stalingrad. September, 1942.
A Soviet soldier enjoys his much welcome daily quota of 100 gms of vodka from a German mess tin as his comrade looks on enviously
The Red Army attacks and captures the village of Spartanovka on the outskirts of Stalingrad. January 1, 1943. The Germans were so weak and exhausted that they did not have the strength to dig graves in the hard frozen ground for their dead.
Soviet soldiers of the 39th Guards rifle division at the "Red October" factory. January 1943.
Soviet soldiers in a German Ju-52 transport plane which crash landed in Stalingrad. November 1942
The deadly Soviet Katyusha rockets firing on German positions at night. The German soldiers hated them.
As the Sixth Army fought on in Stalingrad because of Hitler's fixation, the Soviet army as part of Operation Uranus starting encircling it. The Soviet tanks and army moved at night to avoid the prying eyes of the Luftwaffe.
Russian soldiers from the Don Front chasing retreating German soldiers into Stalingrad, pass by some dead Germans. Both sides treated the injured or surrendered with utmost brutality
Victory parade after the liberation of Stalingrad. 1943
The commander of the 13th Guards Division, which participated in the defense of Stalingrad, a Hero of the Soviet Union, Major General Rodimtsev near the staff dugout. Stalingrad, September 1942.
German planes at Stalingrad captured by the Russians. On the right the large aircraft - transport glider DFS 230, left - dive bomber Junkers Ju-87
Chuikov examines the rifle of Vasily Zaitsev as the famous Russian sniper looks on. January 1943.
Jones in his book gives an unbiased account of how the Russians defeated the Germans at Stalingrad in 1942-43.
While most would look to Beevor's "Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege" as a guide to the battle, I would tell them to not waste their time. Jones, constantly, proves how Beevor has misinterpreted the history of the battle in one way or another or rather propagated already established myths.
Many rare pictures from the battle of Stalingrad