n the Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943),
Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in Southern Russia.
Marked by fierce close-quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it is one of the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, with an estimated 2 million total casualties.
After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw considerable military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses.
The German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army.
The attack was supported by intense Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble. The battle degenerated into house-to-house fighting, as both sides poured reinforcements into the city.
By mid-November, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River.
On 19 November, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the 6th Army’s flanks.
The Axis flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area.
Adolf Hitler was determined to hold the city at all costs and forbade the 6th Army from attempting a breakout; instead, attempts were made to supply it by air and to break the encirclement from the outside.
Heavy fighting continued for another two months.
At the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad, having exhausted their ammunition and food, surrendere:932 after five months, one week and three days of fighting.