Between August 1942 and February 1943, the German and Soviet armies waged one of the bloodiest battles ever recorded. As the German army attempted to overtake Stalingrad - the namesake city of the Soviet Union's dictator Joseph Stalin - and further assert their dominance in the north, the Soviet army was under strict instructions not to surrender the city under any circumstances.
The resulting six-month-long conflict led to the loss of nearly 2 million lives, both military and civilian, with the Soviets suffering the greater number of causalities. However, despite their significant losses, the Soviets were able to hold their own throughout the entirety of the ordeal and eventually outsmarted the German army to such a great degree that they were forced to surrender their efforts.
It was with the loss of this battle that Hitler's self-assurance also began to waver, and it ultimately led to the decline and defeat of the devastating reign of the Third Reich's army.
The Battle Of Stalingrad Saw Nearly 2 Million Felled
Throughout the course of the six-month battle, Stalingrad became nothing short of a breeding ground of decay, destruction, and death. The city of Stalingrad - which served as a symbol of dominance and triumph for both Hitler and Stalin - fell under siege at the beginning of August as German soldiers finally made their way to the outskirts of the city.
It is here that the standoff between two powerful and determined armies, governed by dictatorial leaders with a penchant for winning, entered into the most brutal of battles with each side fully believing that the cards were in its favor. However, as the German army closed in on Stalingrad, leaving piles of bodies in its wake, the Soviet army was planning a strike of its own.
The Fight For The Stalingrad Grain Elevator Left The Third Reich Weak
In September, the Red Army had been pushed back to the western rear of the Volga, and things didn't look good for them. A small group of Soviet soldiers took to a grain elevator, which was basically a fortress-like structure with concrete walls. There, they withstood German fire, bombardments, and tanks. The grain even caught on fire at one point. The Soviets impressively held off the Germans for a few days, but the elevator eventually fell to SS forces.
But even though they seized the silo, German forces were beleaguered, and many more Germans had perished in the stand-off than had Soviets. The Russians had destroyed all of the grain in the silo, so there was no available food for the SS soldiers.
The German army quickly fell into disrepair after the infamous showdown, as they were no longer able to obtain food or artillery from the outside and were completely cut off. Hitler, however, refused to allow his soldiers to surrender, and - when they nearly had a chance of escape - he threatened them into staying.