Author Topic: Urban Warfare Project Case Study #1: Battle of Stalingrad  (Read 619 times)

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Urban Warfare Project Case Study #1: Battle of Stalingrad

John Spencer and Jayson Geroux | 06.26.21

The Battle of Stalingrad (modern-day Volgograd) occurred from August 23, 1942 to February 2, 1943 during World War II (1939–1945). The city is in the southwestern region of what was then the Soviet Union. The majority of the city rests on the west bank of the Volga River 970 kilometers southeast of Moscow. The Volga flows southwesterly into the city, passing through it before turning directly east and then curving gently to the southeast toward the Caspian Sea.
The Battle

The battle was fought by the Axis powers of Army Group B—principally the German 6th Army commanded by Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus within the city—and the Soviet Union’s Stalingrad Front and its subordinate 62nd Army (commanded by General Vasily Chuikov) and 64th Army (commanded by General Mikhail Shumilov). Known as the biggest defeat in the history of the German Army, the battle destroyed Germany’s reputation of invincibility and sent the country into a more-or-less defensive mode for the duration of the war. The battle nearly guaranteed that Germany had begun the path to defeat on the Eastern Front.

The German Army Group South’s original strategic intent was to advance to and seize the Caucasus oil fields but German leader Adolf Hitler’s additional strategic desire to capture the city named after his rival, the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin, was too tempting to refuse. The city was also an attractive target because it produced Soviet armored fighting vehicles and other military equipment. Seizing the city would allow half of Army Group South to provide a certain level of protection to the other half by shielding the latter’s northeastern flank as it advanced to the Caucasus; thus, its capture at the operational level was considered crucial by the Germans. Hitler thus split Army Group South into two smaller army groups, with Army Group A continuing south toward the Caucasus while Army Group B diverted east toward the city.