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17 July 2014

The beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad

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The greatest battle against fascism started 72 years ago when a tremendously powerful German army began advancing towards Stalingrad.

The first engagements occured in the evening of July 16th 1942; on July 17th the Wehrmacht units launched a massive attack on the Soviet defense lines. The battle of Stalingrad  was to become the largest land battle in the history of mankind and define the outcome of the war.

The city was extremely important not only as an industrial center of the USSR but also as the symbol of political stability of Stalin’s regime. That’s why Hitler insisted on making it the main target of his 1942 campaign. All the power the German army could accumulate was directed there, to the city on the shores of Volga. Generalfeldmarschall Friedrich Paulus commanded 13 infantry divisions, supported by up to 700 tanks, 1200 aircraft and more than 10000 artillery pieces.

The Stalingrad front, newly created under Semion Tymoshenko’s command, was not competitive to the Germany army in terms of manpower nor equipment. Most of its soldiers were merely recruits who had to oppose seasoned veterans.

However the valor and dignity of the Soviet warriors alone was enough to prevent the German troops from capturing Stalingrad. After several months of violent battles and the complete destruction of the city, the Soviet forces performed a successful counterattack that resulted in a decisive defeat of the Wehrmacht army, the defeat that the Nazi regime did not recover from.

The War Thunder team

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