Stalingrad is located on the West Bank of the Volga River, the largest river in Europe.
It is the hub connecting the north and South transportation of the European part of the Soviet Union.
It is the throat connecting Europe and Asia.
It is also a famous industrial center and grain storage place in the south of the Soviet Union.
Hitler arrogantly declared that after the capture of Stalingrad, Baku’s oil, Donbas’s coal and Kuban’s wheat would immediately become the resources of the German Empire.
At the same time, it can also go up along the north of Volga, surround Moscow from the East, and then exit the Persian Gulf.
Hitler boasted that it would not take a few days to achieve all this.
The Don river is a huge river.
It flows slowly through the fields of Russia, originates from the Highlands south of Moscow, flows to Rostov at the southern end of Russia and enters the Azov river.
It bends to the riverbed in the East and crosses Stalingrad and Volga rivers for less than 10 kilometers.
The river bends to the east to form a large river loop.
It is in this large river loop area that the German army will launch a fierce offensive against Stalingrad.
In order to defend Stalingrad, the army and people in the city bought time and established three lines of defense.
The outermost defense line, with a total length of 150 kilometers, extends to the East Bank of the Don River.
The middle line of defense, with a total length of more than 100 kilometers, is fortified along the narrow luoshaka and zivolina rivers.
The innermost defense line has a total length of 25 kilometers, starting from renok village in the north of Stalingrad to kuplosnoye and karasnoyamesk in the south.
At the turn of spring and summer in 1942, the defeat of the Soviet army in the Soviet German battlefield, especially in the battles of Kharkov and Kerim, made the German army regain the strategic initiative.
Then, relying on its superior forces in the southwest, the German army developed rapidly in the direction of Stalingrad and the Caucasus.
Although the Soviet army carried out tenacious resistance, it finally had to give up the economically and strategically important southern region and retreat to the Volga River and the piedmont of the Caucasus.
Before mid July, the German army went out to the great bend of the Don River and threatened the Volga River near Stalingrad, resulting in the situation of dividing the Soviet strategic defense line.
The strategic attempt of the German army is to concentrate the main force on the south wing of the Soviet German battlefield, quickly capture the Caucasus and Stalingrad, occupy the lower reaches of Baku and Volga River, seize rich oil resources, food and industrial facilities, and then take Moscow in the north and the Persian Gulf in the South.
At first, the German army focused its main force on the Caucasus, trying to guarantee the assault on the Caucasus with the offensive action in the direction of Stalingrad.
The tenacious fighting of the Soviet Army defending Stalingrad disrupted Hitler’s plan and forced him to shift the main force to the direction of Stalingrad for a decisive battle, which soon changed this direction from an auxiliary position to a decisive direction on the whole Soviet German battlefield.
In the direction of Stalingrad, the German group B army group is deployed on the front line from oriol to Kharkov.
It is composed of the second and sixth group armies, the fourth armored group army and the second Hungarian group army, with a total of 41 divisions, including 5 armored divisions, 3 motorized divisions and 6 Hungarian divisions.
The German command initially designated the sixth group army and the fourth armored group army to undertake the assault mission in the direction of Stalingrad.
As the sixth group army has the strongest combat effectiveness, it launched on the right wing of group B army group and took the task of mainly attacking Stalingrad.
However, when group B army group went out to the great bend of the Don river, Hitler thought that Stalingrad did not need so many troops, so he ordered the fourth armored group army to go south from Stalingrad and transfer to group a army group in order to attack Rostov.
In order to ensure that the sixth group army concentrated its forces to undertake the task of mainly attacking Stalingrad, the Italian eighth group army was allocated to group B army group.
The group army plans to go out to the Bank of the Don River and launch in the section from Pavlovsk to wesinskaya on the West Bank of the Don river.
The air support team of Stalingrad was strengthened in the fourth direction.
As of July 17, the offensive forces in the direction of Stalingrad had 14 divisions, 3000 artillery and mortars, nearly 500 tanks and 1200 aircraft of the German sixth group army.
Deployed in the direction of the Caucasus is the German group a army group, which is composed of the first armored group army, the 17th and 11th group armies.
In order to facilitate the unified command of the defense forces to resist the attack of the German heavy army group in the direction of Stalingrad, the Soviet supreme command decided on July 12 to form the Stalingrad front army on the original basis of the southwest front army, with timoshingo as the commander of the front army to undertake the defense task in the direction of Stalingrad.
The formation of the front army includes the 62nd, 63rd and 64th group armies transferred from the reserve team of the base camp, the 21st, 28th, 38th and 57th group armies of the former Southwest front army, the 13th, 22nd and 23rd tank armies, the eighth aviation group army and the Volga river fleet.
As of July 17, about 160000 people, 2200 artillery and mortars, about 400 tanks and 454 aircraft from the 12 divisions of the 62nd and 63rd group armies of the Soviet Army faced off with the sixth group army of the German army.
The Soviet long-range bombing air force and the land defense Air Force fighter air force can provide certain air support.
In order to defend Stalingrad and its urban area, the Soviet Army built four defense zones between the Don River and the Volga River, namely the outer layer, the middle layer, the inner layer and the urban area.
On July 17, before the battle of Stalingrad, only 40% to 50% of the works of these corridors were completed, but they still played a great role in urban defense.
More than 180000 residents of Stalingrad took an active part in the construction of the defense corridor and the front army airport.
The Stalingrad urban defense committee and the State Party committee have taken various measures to strengthen the militia and urban fire control, and organized many civilian barracks composed of workers and staff.
The measures taken by the Soviet command improved the situation in the direction of Stalingrad and eliminated the threat of the German army suddenly rushing to the Volga River.
On July 17, the Soviet Union and Germany started the battle of Stalingrad close to the ground.
The avant-garde of the sixth group army of the German army met with the forward detachment of the 62nd and 64th group armies of the Soviet Stalingrad front army on the line of the Qier River and the Zimra river at the great bend of the Don river.
Under the coordination of the eighth air force group army, the Soviet forward detachment resisted tenaciously.
The German army was forced to go out to the Soviet 62nd and 64th groups for main defense on July 22 with the strength of five divisions for six days and nightszone.
The tenacious resistance of the Soviet forward detachment eliminated the sudden attack of the German army on the main defense areas of the Soviet army.
The Soviet resistance in the support zone forced the German army to strengthen its sixth group army.
By July 22, there were 18 divisions in the formation of the group army, and the comparison of forces between the two sides became more favorable to the German army.
In addition to the comparison of artillery, the German army has advantages in other comparisons: personnel comparison of 1.
2:1, tank comparison of 2:1 and aircraft comparison of 3.6:1. The German army attempted to encircle and attack the flanks of the 62nd and 64th group armies of the Soviet army, went out to Karachi, then plunged into the Volga River along the shortest route, and occupied Stalingrad from the March.
To this end, the main force of the sixth group army of the German army formed the North Road assault group and the South Road assault group.
On July 23, a large number of German tanks and infantry broke through the right-wing defense of the Soviet 62nd group army with the air support of strong aviation.
After a detailed study of the results of the German assault in various sections of the southern wing of the Soviet German front, the Soviet supreme command believed that the direction of Stalingrad was in jeopardy.
That night, Stalin contacted the Military Commission of the Stalingrad front army by telegram.
Lieutenant general gordov, commander of the front army, reported that the German army put 150 tanks into battle, of which 35 were destroyed, but the German army did not stop moving forward and was still advancing rapidly towards Stalingrad.
Stalin said in his telegram to gordov: at present, the most important thing is not at the ferry in zimrenskaya.
But on the right wing of the front army.
The enemy put his troops into the Zimra area in order to draw our attention to the south, and it was at this time that the enemy quietly transferred its main force to the right wing of the front army.
The enemy’s military plan succeeded because we had no reliable reconnaissance.
We must consider this situation and strengthen the right wing of the front army as much as possible.
Stalin demanded that 90% of the entire aviation force be concentrated on the right wing.
He ordered: “do not divert attention from the enemy’s feints and tricks in Zimra.
Repeat, turn all assault forces to the right wing of the front army.
” He announced the forces and weapons transferred by the supreme command to the unified command of the front army, and approved the plan to form the first and fourth group armies of tanks.
Stalin reminded general gordov: Please note that once the enemy breaks through the right wing and enters the area north of gumlak on the Don river, it will cut off your railway communication with the north.
Therefore, I think the right wing of your front army is decisive at present.
Stalin also assigned an important task to the front army that will have a significant impact on the process of the battle of Stalingrad in the future: “I demand that the defense areas west of the Don River from kretskaya, rozhkovskaya to the lower kalinovka line be absolutely controlled.
” “Destroy the enemy who intrudes into the operation area of the guard division at any cost.
You have the strength to complete this task, and you should do this and never allow to withdraw from the designated defense area.
” although general gordov was fully aware of the situation of general kolpakchi, commander of the 62nd group army, Stalin again stressed to him: “please note that kolpakchi is a grumpy and impulsive man.
It would be better if he could send a firm man to help him.
It would be better if gordov himself could go to him.
” Stalin foresaw that a major war was about to happen, so he appointed chief of general staff vasilevsky as the representative of the supreme command to lead a team of officers to the Stalingrad front army.
Huasilevsky’s main task is to understand the situation at the front line and assist the leaders of the front army.
The warwicky army witnessed the increasing tension in the 62nd area.
The German army is continuing to exert pressure and has achieved remarkable results in kretskaya and yefstratovsky.
It has broken into the depth of defense and surrounded two Soviet divisions.
The German army bypassed the main force of the 62nd group army and was about to reach the Don river, causing the German army to rush to Stalingrad.
Therefore, the chief of general staff vasilevsky and the commander of the front army, lieutenant general gordov, had to take the only forced and correct solution at that time: immediately carry out anti assault with the troops of the first and fourth group armies of tanks that had not completed the task of formation.
Time is the most precious.
If you delay or miss time, the German army will cross the Don River and stick to the occupied area.
At that time, it will be very difficult to fight back the German army.
The commanders of the first and fourth group armies of Soviet tanks soon received orders to take immediate action with their existing forces to eliminate the German army wedged into the battle formation of the Stalingrad front army and restore the defensive posture.
The task of the two tank armies is to attack from the north and South and cut off the wedge-shaped offensive of the German army.
At 10:00 on 25 July, an army of the first tank group army under the command of Moskalenko began to attack, and other forces of the group army also launched an attack later.
The group army fought bravely and resolutely, forcing the German army to turn to defense and then retreat.
At dawn on July 27, the fourth tank group army under the command of klujokin began an assault with the support of infantry and artillery of the 62nd and 64th group armies.
After organizing the assault of the tank group army on the Don river, vasilevsky flew to Moscow and reported his conclusions and suggestions on the Stalingrad front army to the Soviet supreme command.
However, the war situation is changing rapidly.
While he was flying in the air, the situation on the ground changed again: the German army stopped the development of anti assault of Stalingrad front army.
On the night of July 25, Stalin instructed vasilevsky to contact Stalingrad’s front army in person and conveyed a serious warning: “the Supreme Command insisted that the front army military committee.
Make every effort to quickly eliminate the incoming enemy and restore the defensive situation”.
On July 26, Stalin instructed vasilevsky to convey more severe instructions: the supreme command was very dissatisfied with the actions of the head of the Stalingrad front army.
The Supreme Command demanded that the interior must unconditionally restore the Stalingrad area in recent days – from kretskaya to kalmekov defense line, and the enemy must be driven beyond the line of the Cher river.
If the Military Commission of the front army cannot guarantee this, please put it forward frankly.
The Supreme Command asked the commander of the Stalingrad front army to give a clear reply on whether he was prepared to implement this instruction.
Vasilevsky waited for Stalin at the transmitterThe work of the imperial fortification is more tense and urgent.
The regiment of the sixth group army of the German army, which was originally responsible for defense tasks in Pavlovsk and visenskaya, was replaced by the troops of the eighth group army of Italy and concentrated in the direction of Stalingrad.
The Soviet general staff reported to the supreme command that the German army would launch active combat operations near Stalingrad in the near future.
The general staff of the Soviet Army carefully studied the command ability of the regional forces in Stalingrad.
The front here is too long.
The German army can attack not only Stalingrad, but also to the south of Stalingrad.
The 51st group army was formed in the Stalingrad front army, but it organized defense on the other side of the Don River and south of zimrenskaya.
The Soviet general staff envisaged that it would be better if there were not one front army but two in the direction of Stalingrad.
When he learned that the fourth group army of German tanks had turned to the East, vasilevsky strengthened this idea and reported it to the supreme command in the name of the general staff.
On August 5, the supreme command ordered to divide the Stalingrad front army into two front armies – the Stalingrad front army and the southeast front army.
The demarcation line runs along the junction of the 62nd and 64th group armies, from morozovskaya to Stalingrad via upper kirskaya.
Stalingrad is in the southeast front army zone.
After gathering and adjusting their forces, the German army turned to attack on August 6.
The German army attacked the southern and Northern wings of the Soviet Army defending to the west of the Don river.
The general staff of the Soviet Army knew that the attempt of the German command was to cut off the contact between the Soviet 62nd and 64th group armies and Stalingrad, but it was unable to implement countermeasures at present because the reserve team had not arrived.
There was a disturbing situation in the Stalingrad front army zone.
The German army occupied the Don river ferry.
The head of the Stalingrad front army was extremely worried about the stability of the defense.
On August 9, when general Tikhomirov, the chief of operations of the general staff, reported the situation on the front line to Stalin, Stalin ordered to convey: I am surprised by your lack of foresight and panic.
You have plenty of troops and lack the courage to deal with this situation.
I await the news that your front army has ended the disturbing situation.
Unfortunately, the optimistic news of Stalingrad’s military did not follow.
The German army stepped up pressure and the Soviet soldiers stuck to their positions, and the situation became more and more serious day by day.
Stalingrad will become a battlefield for direct competition.
Soon after vassilevsky arrived at the general staff, he was sent to Stalingrad by Stalin.
The chief of operations of the general staff was replaced again.
In September, Tikhomirov was appointed deputy commander of the 42nd group army of the Leningrad front army, and major general Ivanov took over the post of war minister.
When the German army attacked the Volga River, using the small gap in the Soviet military deployment, with the strong support of air bombing and assault, the German army quickly put tanks into the gap, and the infantry followed the tanks.
The battle was extremely fierce, and the German army was close to the city of Stalingrad.
Under the urgent situation of Stalingrad, the Soviet general staff had to consider Stalingrad’s own situation.
The city has become the near rear of the Soviet army and is in danger of becoming the front line.
Residents evacuated from the West live here and are now in the dilemma of indiscriminate bombing by fascist German planes.
Some officers of the General Staff Headquarters headed by koznikov were ordered to go to the southeast front army to inspect the situation in the city.
Two or three days later, on August 20, the general staff received their report from Stalingrad.
Koznikov wrote: the city is densely populated, and even the foot of the wall, the garden, the banks of the Volga River and the hillside are full of people.
Due to the lack of sufficient means of transportation, the work of the evacuation department is not carried out well, and the progress of urban evacuation is too slow.
People waiting for means of transportation have to live for five or six nights in the evacuation base.
All schools and clubs are crowded with the wounded.
The field hospital had to stay in the city.
The light control is very poor.
Personally, I think we must do the following: first, martial law should be enforced throughout the city.
The second is to speed up the urban evacuation work.
The first is to evacuate field hospitals, and the second is to evacuate urban residents.
Only residents who adhere to enterprise production and can assist the army in urban defense are left in the city, and only materials needed for urban defense are left.
Third, to rectify urban order, we should appoint a strict Stalingrad urban defense Guard commander.
Fourth, in order to maintain the revolutionary order of the city, the troops and police of the people’s Committee for internal affairs must be under the jurisdiction of the garrison, and they can only fight and retreat according to the orders of the garrison.
Fifth, as soon as the battle to defend the city begins, logistics and other troops are not allowed to move in the city.
Therefore, circuitous roads should be built north of Stalingrad.
The situation is urgent and requires the supreme leading organ to intervene immediately.
General Ivanov, the chief of operations of the general staff of the Soviet army, issued instructions to the commander of the southeast front army to rectify urban order and handed a copy of the “measures to be taken” to shwernik, who was the chairman of the evacuation Committee at that time.
Evacuate Wernicke’s factories and other national property from the mainland.
These measures are very timely.
On August 23, the German tanks and motorized troops that attacked the right wing of the Soviet 62nd group army almost rushed to the Volga River in the northern suburb of Stalingrad.
The contact between the 62nd group army and the main force of Stalingrad front army was cut off.
At the same time, the fourth air force of the German army bombed Stalingrad indiscriminately.
As a result, the telephone and telegraph communications between the Soviet supreme command and Stalingrad were interrupted.
In the 62nd group army, vasilevsky had to report the war to Stalin by means of short wave radio transmission.
The telephone operator and telegraph operator took various measures to resume contact.
Late at night, cable communication was repaired.
Stalin obtained the details of Stalingrad directly from huasilevsky.
On August 25, the tank troops of German kleister were stationed in mozdok, only 50 kilometers away from the largest oil production center of the Soviet Union around Grozny and 100 kilometers away from the Caspian Sea.
On August 31, Hitler urged the commander of the Caucasus, field marshal Liszt, to gather all forces that could be mobilized to make a final attack on Grozny so that he could “get the oil field”.
Hitler’s rightThe record of his generals has never been satisfactory.
After dismissing field marshal Bock, who commanded the entire southern offensive, on July 13, he continued to scold most commanders and the staff headquarters for their slow attack.
Nevertheless, he still believes that a decisive victory is in hand.
He ordered the sixth group army and the fourth armored group army to advance along the north of Volga after the capture of Stalingrad, forming a large-scale encirclement operation and advancing into the Central Soviet Union and Moscow from the East and West.
Hitler believed that the Soviets were over and the Soviet reserve forces on the whole front line had been exhausted.
At the end of August, when Hitler held talks with field marshal Randall, his mind had shifted from the Soviet Union to Britain and the United States.
He said that the Soviet Union is now a “living space not afraid of blockade” in his eyes.
He was convinced that it would not take long to force Britain and the United States to reach a “level of peace”.
In fact, Hitler’s ideas are nothing but illusions in the mirror.
Almost all the generals in the field, like those in the General Staff Headquarters, saw the flaws in this beautiful picture.
Germany simply lacks manpower, guns, tanks, aircraft, means of transportation and other resources to achieve the goal that Hitler insisted on.
However, when field marshal hald and field marshal Liszt wanted to point out this on the front line of the Soviet German war, they were dismissed.
The Soviet resistance in the Caucasus and Stalingrad is becoming stronger and stronger, and the autumn rain season is approaching.
Even the most amateur strategists will see that the German army is facing increasingly serious danger in the southern Soviet Union.
The northern front of the sixth group army is extremely long, 350 kilometers from Stalingrad along the Don River to Voronezh, without cover.
Hitler deployed three group armies of servant countries on this line: the second group army of Hungary is to the south of Voronezh.
Italy’s Eighth Army was farther to the southeast.
The third group army of Romania is just west of Stalingrad and on the right side of the bend of the Don river.
Because of the deep hostility between Romanians and Hungarians, they had to be separated by Italians.
In the grassland south of Stalingrad, there is also the fourth servant army, the fourth group army of Romania.
Its combat effectiveness is unreliable, needless to say, its equipment is insufficient, and it lacks armor, heavy artillery and mobility.
Also, their forces are very scattered.
Romania’s third army has only 69 battalions, but it maintains a 105 kilometer long front.
But these troops were all Hitler had.
Germany cannot spare enough troops to fill this gap.
At the same time, as Hitler told hald, because he thought the Soviets were “over”, he did not worry too much about the long front exposed to the Soviet Army on the wing of the Don river.
However, this front is precisely the key.
Later Hitler found himself making mistakes, but it was too late, and then he made mistakes again and again.
The German breakthrough on the Volga River north of Stalingrad was finally stopped by the Soviet army.
The German army failed to seize the city from the March.
Although the situation was very serious, the Soviet 62nd and 64th army still persevered.
They fought bravely and tenaciously and restrained the powerful German assault group for a long time.
At the same time, it also attracted the supplementary troops of the German army and the troops of its servants.
Stalingrad region has become the place to solve the main strategic tasks in this stage of the Soviet German war.
In early September, the situation of the Soviet 62nd and 64th group armies continued to deteriorate.
The German army, which jumped to the Volga River, was not purged.
The representative of the Soviet National Defense Commission, general malinkov, the representative of the supreme command, general Zhukov and general vasilevsky came to the scene.
Their main task was to find a way to eliminate the German army that ran into the Volga River and ensure the victory of Stalingrad.
At that time, the two sides of the Soviet and German forces facing off near Stalingrad were looking for ways to complete their tasks, and the military deployment formed at the end of August remained basically unchanged.
The deployment of the Soviet army did not obviously show the concentration of troops, and so did the north of Stalingrad, which was one of the reasons why all attempts to annihilate the enemy who suddenly came to the Volga River failed repeatedly.
In addition, general Paulus, commander of the sixth group army of the German army, had expected that the Soviet army would carry out anti assault to the north of the city, and had concentrated a large number of troops and weapons here.
The German army organized a solid defense on the corridor they established leading to the Volga River, while the forces of the Soviet army groups – the fourth tank group army, the 24th group army, the first guard group army and the 66th group army were significantly weakened in continuous combat.
Day by day, the German army increased its troops to Stalingrad.
If the Stalingrad front army did not have foreign aid and did not attract German troops to other directions, it would be impossible to keep Stalingrad.
Therefore, the raids of the Soviet army groups are bound to be carried out again and again.
There are also some defects in the command of the Soviet army in Stalingrad.
The Soviet general staff soon became aware of this.