Battle of Stalingrad Facts

Here are some facts about the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the major conflicts to take place in World War 2.

  • The Battle of Stalingrad was fought between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Both sides were trying to take control of the city of Stalingrad (now named Volgograd). It started on 23rd August 1942 until 2nd February 1943.
  • Many historians consider the Battle of Stalingrad to be one of the bloodiest battles to ever be fought. There were incredibly heavy military and civilian casualties and much of the fighting was carried out at close quarters.
  • While it is largely remembered for the destruction of the German 6th Army, there were well over 1.1 million Soviet causalities as well. At least 40,000 civilians living in the area were killed.
  • Operation Barbarossa was the German plan to quickly defeat the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. The plan failed and in 1942, Germany made the decision to attack Stalingrad in order to prevent the US sending aid and supplies to the Soviet Union via the Persian corridor. Also because Stalingrad was named after Joseph Stalin the leader of the Soviet Union, it also had symbolic importance.
  • German troops were flanked by armies from its Axis allies. Soldiers from Italy, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Finland were all involved in the Battle of Stalingrad.
  • At the height of the German occupation of Stalingrad, the German 6th Army controlled nearly 90 percent of the city. The life expectancy of newly arrived Soviet troops was around one day at the point and a Soviet officer would be killed on average within three days.
Battle of Stalingrad
Soviet troops wait for a German attack.
  • Operation Uranus was the successful plan by the Soviet Red Army to focus their attacks on the weaker German flanks. The Red army managed to surround the German 6th Army.
  • Adolf Hitler personally ordered the German 6th Army to remain and fight. In the end (despite efforts to air drop supplies to the cornered men) the German soldiers ran out of food and ammunition, and, after withstanding the Red Army for nearly two months, they were forced to surrender.
  • In 1945, Stalingrad was given the title Hero City. This marked the heroic actions of the Soviet soldiers who gave their lives to defend the city, and acknowledged how the battle was one of the key turning points of WW2.

What next? Discover more World War 2 facts by visiting our World War 2 resources page.

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