"Not one step back!" was an order issued by Josef Stalin in July 1942. He had then realized that Hitler and the German army had their eyes on the city of Stalingrad (Volgograd), a city in southern Russia by the Volga River. The city was important both logistically and ideologically as the city was named after the great Soviet leader himself.
The Battle of Stalingrad took place between August 1942 and February 1943. It is among the bloodiest battles of all time with combined casualties around 2 million. The battle was a great turning point of the whole war as the Germans now were on retreat at the eastern front for the rest of the war.
During the first week of the battle the Luftwaffe dropped around 1000 tonnes of bombs. 40 000 civilians died and the city was a burning inferno.
Even though the bombs destroyed building and caused casualties for the Russians, the bombings actually made the city easier to defend.
Stalingrad had many factories important for the Russians war-industry, among them the Stalingrad Tractor Factory, Stalingradskiy traktornyy zavod in russian (shortened STZ or CT3 that produced the T-34.
Production continued despite the fact that fighting were going on out on the streets, and sometimes even in the factory itself.
When the young men were in called in to the army women and elders took over the jobs in the factory.
A German machinegun-unit with a MG42. The unit consists of a shooter, a loader and one spotter.
Wounded soldier getting help from his friend.
Despite the fact that the Germans several times held about 90% of the city, the Russians held on to a small strip of land by the Volga shore. It meant that they could keep sending new troops in to the city. The Battle ended when the Germans finally surrendered (against Hitlers orders) due to the fact that they were completely surrounded and cut off from all supplies. Of the 100 000 Germans captured, only 6 000 returned to Germany after the war, the rest had died in prison camps.
A few more pictures on my Flickr
Edited by Rufus, 11 August 2012 - 10:40 AM.