The Battle of Stalingrad was a major turning point in World War II and is considered the bloodiest battle in recorded human history. The battle was marked by the brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties on both sides. The battle is taken to include the German siege of the southern Russian city of Stalingrad (today Volgograd), the battle inside the city, and the Soviet counter- offensive which eventually trapped and destroyed the German Sixth Army and other Axis forces in and around the city. Total casualties are estimated to be over 2 million. The Axis powers lost large numbers of men and equipment, and never fully recovered from the defeat. For the Soviets, who also suffered great losses during the battle, the victory at Stalingrad marked the start of the liberation of the Soviet Union, leading to eventual victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
On August 21, 1942, the battle of Staling- rad, USSR—began, lasting 7 months and final- ly ending in a bloody defeat for the Germans, and a decisive Soviet victory, on February 2, 1943 Another important date, is the beginning of Operation Blau (operation blue)—n advance of German troops through Russian Steppes into the Caucasus to capture vital Soviet oil fields. This advance started on the 7 th of May, 1942, all the way to the 18 th of November, the same year.
The battle of Stalingrad began in the Southern part of Russia in what is today, Volgograd. Volgograd is located in the Northern Caucasus District and currently has a population of 1,011,417 people, compared to the hundreds dead due to the bloody massacre that we know now as the Battle of Stali- ngrad. The battle took place inside the city, mainly at the gates.
Although Germany had just suffered a great loss in a recent Battle, the Fuhrer, Adolph Hitler, decided to move eastward, believing that the area had used up it’s resources due to the recent hard winter, and therefore was unable to defend itself. Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, Russia (then, the Soviet Union) fought back hard receiving a victory in battle. (nobody learns, don’t mess with Russia in Winter!)
The Russians, though at the time known as the Soviet Union, were one of the two sides in the Battle of Stalingrad—they were the side being attacked by hundreds of German troops, directly after a harsh winter. The Germans, were the other side. The Offensive force, under the control of Hitler. Majority of the soldiers were sent on Operation Blau (blue) to move into Russia, causing hundreds of German deaths. Approximately 2,000,000 deaths occurred in those 7 months, Over 400,000 of the deaths were German Soldiers alone. But these deaths were not all from battle wounds. Some of the soldiers died of malnutrition, disease, and famine—especially in POW camps— something the Russians hated with a passion, they would rather die than be a POW.
Division: 29 th Motorized infantry During the Stalingrad battle, Mr. Wagner was an Unteroffizier in the 29th Motorized Infantry Division. He was part of the command staff of the 13th (Infantry Gun) Company, Infantry Regiment 71 (Motorized) and fought in the southern approaches and in the city of Stalingrad. He was wounded on September 23, 1942, and did not return to the battle and was posted on the Germany’s Western front until the end of the war. Mr. Wagner was asked a total of 150 questions, all having to do with his memory of the battle. This was his most memorable week: “We travel along a long flat dirt road for a while and came across Otto and his motorcycle parked on the side of the road near an abandoned Russian tank. We stop for a while and talked to him. He said that he was returning from his mission when he got caught-up in one the rocket attacks. He said that a few of the rounds landed near him and that he and the motorcycle had landed in a ditch on their sides.” He continued to tell the reporter about his friend Otto, who unfortunately died as a result of enemy rockets, where they buried him among others out in the Stalingrad countryside. 0
Mr. Wagner was asked a total of 150 questions, all having to do with his memory of the battle. This was his most memorable week: “We travel along a long flat dirt road for a while and came across Otto and his motorcycle parked on the side of the road near an abandoned Russian tank. We stop for a while and talked to him. He said that he was returning from his mission when he got caught-up in one the rocket attacks. He said that a few of the rounds landed near him and that he and the motorcycle had landed in a ditch on their sides.” He continued to tell the reporter about his friend Otto, who unfortunately died as a result of enemy rockets, where they buried him among others out in the Stalingrad countryside. Mr. Groth came to the United States in 1951 under the auspices of the German- American Society. He was born in Narden, Germany, a farming community on the coast of the North Sea. He was drafted in 1941 and went to the front following a short training period. While he and his fellow soldiers were in Russian territory, Mr. Groth was wounded in his right leg by shrapnel from a grenade, he was then sent to the hospital where he eventually spent 18 months. "That was quite a day" he remarked. "in the morning i had been hit by a shell fragment in the helmet. i considered this my last warning and sure enough, i was wounded before the day was over.“ when he was sent back to the front, Germany was in control of almost all of Europe. in 1945, after the breakthrough of Siegfried Line, Mr. Groth and his fellow soldiers were surrounded while defending a small border town in Poland. Mr. Groth was captured and sent to a Siberian prison camp along with 1,000 other men. while in the prison camp, they kept Mr. Groth near Starvation, working on state farms and building houses. it wasn't uncommon for a few men to die each day. luckily for him however, he was released as an "invalid" because he had a wounded leg, along with about 2000 others. Once free, with no home, no money, and no food, he returned to Farming in Narden, where his parents still resided. Finally, after working a half of a year in the Russian Zone, he traveled to the western zone where he found his sister and his uncle, and eventually found a girl and wed. Mr. Groth soon came to the United states in ’51 and he and his wife now reside in Council Bluffs.