2 February 2010, 18:28

Battle of Stalingrad as turning point of the World War II

Battle of Stalingrad as turning point of the World War II

The Battle of Stalingrad figures in history as a major battle of the Second World War, with an unprecedented number of people and military hardware involved. It ended on February 2, 1943, 67 years ago in a victory of the Soviet army over the fascist aggressors, and is often cited as one of the turning points of the war.

The Battle of Stalingrad figures in history as a major battle of the Second World War, with an unprecedented number of people and military hardware involved. It ended on February 2, 1943, 67 years ago in a victory of the Soviet army over the fascist aggressors, and is often cited as one of the turning points of the war. Soviet troops defeated five armies, including two German, two Romanian and an Italian one. The Commander of the German 6

th

Army, Field Marshal von Paulus was captured.

Survivor-witnesses call those days a hell. The battle involved over 2 million participants, 2 thousand tanks and aircraft and 26 thousand guns. In the first months the enemy army outnumbered the Soviet troops, and the outcome was long in doubt. But the city defenders were prepared to fight to the death.

Fascists bombed Stalingrad turning the city into ruins. This was followed by street fighting when Soviet soldiers and city dwellers fought for every house. Hero of the Soviet Union Pyotr Bazanov, who was a 19-year-old pilot back in 1942, recollects the following:

"I shot down the first plane on December 5th and it was a transport Junkers aircraft. Shortly after taking off I saw the target, gained height and threw a burst of fire. In a moment I saw the Junkers burning. There were 300-400 planes in the air, and we had to prevent them from reaching the Volga at a great sacrifice in life. Everyone believed in victory".

The Volga became a natural barrier for the enemy, though it was trouble enough for the Soviet soldiers too. It was extremely hard to evacuate wounded Stalingrad defenders to the hospitals, located on the far bank. The ice in the middle of the river was so thin, that only nurses could walk on it. It was a wonder how they managed to carry wounded men across the Volga.

The Battle of Stalingrad proved that fascists could be defeated and after the Soviet army's victory, the allies decided to open a "Second front" against Germany.

After the war, a square named after Stalingrad appeared in Paris, and King George VI of the United Kingdom ordered to forge a sword for the city dwellers as a sign of respect for their fortitude.

The bloodiest battles were fought for the Mamayev Kurgan in Stalingrad (now Volgograd) which became the largest mass grave in the world. Every year those, who managed to survive in the battle, gather in front of the monument on Mamayev Kurgan to pay tribute to the fellow soldiers, who gave their lives for their Motherland.

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