The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War 2 in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943. It was among the largest on the Eastern Front and was marked by its brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties. It was amongst the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly two million. In its defeat, the crippling losses suffered by Germany's military proved to be insurmountable for the war. The battle was a turning point in the war after which the German forces attained no further strategic victories in the East.
The German offensive to capture Stalingrad commenced in late summer 1942, supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing which reduced much of the city to rubble. The German offensive eventually became bogged down in house-to-house fighting; and despite controlling over 90% of the city at times, the Wehrmacht was unable to dislodge the last Soviet defenders clinging tenaciously to the west bank of the Volga River.In November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus; a two-pronged attack, targeted at the inferior Romanian and Italian forces which were protecting the German 6th Army flanks. The success of these attacks caused the weakly held flanks to collapse and the 6th Army to be cut off and surrounded inside Stalingrad. As the Russian winter set in, the 6th Army weakened rapidly from cold, starvation and ongoing Soviet attacks. Command ambiguity coupled with Adolf Hitler's resolute belief in the "power of the will" and the value of "standing fast" further compounded the German predicament. Eventually, the failure to break the encirclement by relieving German forces, coupled with the failure of re-supply by air, caused the final collapse. By early February 1943, German resistance in Stalingrad had ceased and the remaining elements of the surrounded 6th Army had either surrendered or had been destroyed.
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