Battle of Prokhorovka
The Battle of Prokhorovka was fought on 12 July 1943 near Prokhorovka, 87 kilometres southeast of Kursk in the Soviet Union, during the Second World War. Taking place on the Eastern Front, the engagement was part of the wider Battle of Kursk, occurred when the 5th Guards Tank Army of the Soviet Red Army attacked the II SS-Panzer Corps of the German Wehrmacht in one of the largest tank battles in military history. In April 1943, the German leadership began preparing for Operation Citadel, with the objective of enveloping and destroying the Soviet forces in the Kursk salient, by attacking and breaking through the base of the salient from north and south simultaneously; the German offensive was delayed several times due to the vacillation of the leadership and the addition of more forces and new equipment. The Soviet high command, had learned of the German intentions, therefore used the delay to prepare a series of defensive belts along the routes of the planned German offensive; the Soviet leadership massed several armies deep behind their defences as the Stavka Reserve.
This army group, the Steppe Front, was to launch counteroffensives once the German strength had dissipated. The 5th Guards Tank Army was the primary armoured formation of the Steppe Front. On 5 July 1943 the Wehrmacht launched its offensive. On the northern side of the salient, the German forces bogged down within four days. On the southern side, the German 4th Panzer Army, with Army Detachment Kempf on its eastern flank, attacked the Soviet defences of the Voronezh Front, they made steady progress through the Soviet defensive lines. After a week of fighting, the Soviets launched their counteroffensives – Operation Kutuzov on the northern side and a coinciding one on the southern side. On the southern side of the salient near Prokhorovka, the 5th Guards Tank Army engaged the II SS-Panzer Corps of the 4th Panzer Army, resulting in a large clash of armour; the 5th Guards Tank Army suffered significant losses in the attack, but succeeded in preventing the Wehrmacht from capturing Prokhorovka and breaking through the third defensive belt – the last fortified one.
The German high command, unable to accomplish its objective, cancelled Operation Citadel and began redeploying its forces to deal with new pressing developments elsewhere. The Red Army went on a general offensive, conducting Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev on the southern side and continuing Operation Kutuzov on the northern side; the Soviet Union thus seized the strategic initiative on the Eastern Front, which it was to hold for the rest of the war. After the conclusion of the battle for the Donets, as the spring rasputitsa season came to an end in 1943, both the German and Soviet commands considered their plans for future operations; the Soviet premier Joseph Stalin and some senior Soviet officers wanted to seize the initiative first and attack the German forces inside the Soviet Union, but they were convinced by a number of key commanders, including the Deputy Supreme Commander Georgy Zhukov, to assume a defensive posture instead. This would allow the German side to weaken themselves in attacking prepared positions, after which the Soviet forces would be able to respond with a counter-offensive.
Strategic discussions occurred on the German side, with Field Marshal Erich von Manstein arguing for a mobile defence that would give up terrain and allow the Soviet units to advance, while the German forces launched a series of sharp counterattacks against their flanks to inflict heavy attrition. But for political reasons, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler insisted that the German forces go on the offensive, choosing the Kursk salient for the attack. On 15 April 1943 he authorised preparations for Unternehmen Zitadelle; the German offensive plan envisioned an assault at the base of the Kursk salient from both the north and south, with the intent of enveloping and destroying the Soviet forces in the salient. The two spearheads were to meet near Kursk. From the south, the XLVIII Panzer Corps and General Paul Hausser's II SS-Panzer Corps, forming the left and right wings of the 4th Panzer Army commanded by Colonel General Hermann Hoth, would drive northward; the III Panzer Corps of Army Detachment Kempf was to protect Hoth's right flank.
The 4th Panzer Army and Army Detachment Kempf were under Army Group South, commanded by Manstein. Air support over the southern portion of the offensive was provided by Colonel General Otto Deßloch's Luftflotte 4 and its major air formation, the 8th Air Corps; the German offensive slated to commence in the beginning of May, was postponed several times as the German leadership reconsidered and vacillated over its prospects, as well as to bring forward more units and equipment. The Soviet leadership, through their intelligence agencies and foreign sources, learned about the German intentions, therefore the multiple delays by the German high command, OKW, allowed them a great deal of time to prepare their defences. Employing defence in depth, they constructed a series of defensive lines to wear down the attacking panzer formations. Three belts made up of extensive minefields, anti-tank ditches, anti-tank gun emplacements were created; the Voronezh Front, commanded by General Nikolai Vatutin, defended the southern face of the salient.
The Steppe Front, commanded by Colonel General Ivan Konev, formed the strategic reserve. It was to be held back east of the salient; this formation included Lieutenant General Alexei Zhadov's 5th Guards Army and Lieutenant General Pavel Rotmistrov's 5th Guards Tank Army. The Wehrmacht met heavy resistance. There were far more
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists and Catholics, led by General Francisco Franco. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets, different views saw it as class struggle, a war of religion, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, between fascism and communism; the Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975. The war began after a pronunciamiento against the Republican government by a group of generals of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces under the leadership of José Sanjurjo; the government at the time was a moderate, liberal coalition of Republicans, supported in the Cortes by communist and socialist parties, under the leadership of centre-left President Manuel Azaña.
The Nationalist group was supported by a number of conservative groups, including the Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Right-wing Groups, including both the opposing sides of Alfonsists and the religious conservative Carlists, the Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista, a fascist political party. Sanjurjo was killed in an aircraft accident while attempting to return from exile in Portugal, whereupon Franco emerged as the leader of the Nationalists; the coup was supported by military units in the Spanish protectorate in Morocco, Burgos, Valladolid, Cádiz, Córdoba, Seville. However, rebelling units in some important cities—such as Madrid, Valencia, Málaga—did not gain control, those cities remained under the control of the government. Spain was thus left militarily and politically divided; the Nationalists and the Republican government fought for control of the country. The Nationalist forces received munitions and air support from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, while the Republican side received support from the Soviet Union and Mexico.
Other countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, continued to recognise the Republican government, but followed an official policy of non-intervention. Notwithstanding this policy, tens of thousands of citizens from non-interventionist countries directly participated in the conflict, they fought in the pro-Republican International Brigades, which included several thousand exiles from pro-Nationalist regimes. The Nationalists advanced from their strongholds in the south and west, capturing most of Spain's northern coastline in 1937, they besieged Madrid and the area to its south and west for much of the war. After much of Catalonia was captured in 1938 and 1939, Madrid cut off from Barcelona, the Republican military position became hopeless. Madrid and Barcelona were occupied without resistance, Franco declared victory and his regime received diplomatic recognition from all non-interventionist governments. Thousands of leftist Spaniards fled to refugee camps in southern France.
Those associated with the losing Republicans were persecuted by the victorious Nationalists. With the establishment of a dictatorship led by General Franco in the aftermath of the war, all right-wing parties were fused into the structure of the Franco regime; the war became notable for the passion and political division it inspired and for the many atrocities that occurred, on both sides. Organised purges occurred in territory captured by Franco's forces so they could consolidate their future regime. A significant number of killings took place in areas controlled by the Republicans; the extent to which Republican authorities took part in killings in Republican territory varied. The 19th century was a turbulent time for Spain; those in favour of reforming Spain's government vied for political power with conservatives, who tried to prevent reforms from taking place. Some liberals, in a tradition that had started with the Spanish Constitution of 1812, sought to limit the power of the monarchy of Spain and to establish a liberal state.
The reforms of 1812 did not last after King Ferdinand VII dissolved the Constitution and ended the Trienio Liberal government. Twelve successful coups were carried out between 1814 and 1874; until the 1850s, the economy of Spain was based on agriculture. There was little development of a bourgeois commercial class; the land-based oligarchy remained powerful. In 1868 popular uprisings led to the overthrow of Queen Isabella II of the House of Bourbon. Two distinct factors led to the uprisings: a series of urban riots and a liberal movement within the middle classes and the military concerned with the ultra-conservatism of the monarchy. In 1873 Isabella's replacement, King Amadeo I of the House of Savoy, abdicated owing to increasing political pressure, the short-lived First Spanish Republic was proclaimed. After the restoration of the Bourbons in December 1874, Carlists and Anarchists emerged in opposition to the monarchy. Alejandro Lerroux, Spanish politician and leader of the Radical Republican Party, helped bring republicanism to the fore in Catalonia, where poverty was acute.
Growing resentment of conscription and of the military culminated in the Tragic Week in Barcelona in 1909. Spain was neutral in World War I. Following the war, the working class, industrial class, military united in hopes of removing the corrupt central government, but were unsuc
Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov was a Soviet military officer. He was the commander of the 62nd Army during the Battle of Stalingrad. Following World War II, Chuikov was Chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, commander of the Kiev Military District, Chief of the Soviet Armed Forces and Deputy Minister of Defense, head of the Soviet Civil Defense Forces. Chuikov was twice awarded the titles Hero of the Soviet Union and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States for his actions during the Battle of Stalingrad. In 1955, he was named a Marshal of the Soviet Union. Following his death in 1982, he was interred at the Stalingrad Memorial at the base of the Mamayev Hill, the site of heavy fighting. Born into a peasant family in the village of Serebryanye Prudy in the Tula region south of Moscow, Chuikov was the eighth of 12 children and the fifth of eight sons. At the age of 12, he left school and his family home to earn his living in a factory in Saint Petersburg, turning out spurs for cavalry officers.
Chuikov and all his brothers fought in the Russian Civil War. During the turmoil of the Russian Revolution of 1917, Chuikov became unemployed; the same year, an older brother arranged for Chuikov to be recruited into the Red Guards. The year after, in 1918, he joined the Red Army. In October 1918, Chuikov saw active service when he was sent to the Southern Front as a deputy company commander to fight against the White Army. In the spring of 1919, he became commander of the 40th Regiment, part of the 5th Army under Tukhachevsky facing the White Army under Kolchak in Siberia. Chuikov's record of service during the Civil War was distinguished. In the fighting from 1919 to 1920 he received two awards of the Order of the Red Banner for bravery and heroism, he was wounded four times—one, in Poland in 1920, left a fragment in his left arm that could not be operated on. It caused him to lose temporary use of his arm. Chuikov carried this war wound for the rest of his life, it led to septicaemia breaking out in 1981, causing a nine-month illness and his death.
He left his regiment in 1921 to continue his studies at the Frunze Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1925. On account of his excellent academic performance, Chuikov was invited to stay at the Frunze Military Academy for another year to study Chinese language and history in the Orient Studies Department. In the fall of 1926, Chuikov joined a Soviet diplomatic delegation that toured Harbin, Port Arthur, Dalian and Beijing, cities in northeastern and northern China. After completing his studies in the fall of 1927, Chuikov was dispatched to China as a military attaché. Chuikov traveled extensively in southern China and Sichuan, became fluent in Chinese, gained a deeper understanding of Chinese politics and culture. In 1929, during the China Eastern Railway Incident, Chuikov was forced to leave China after the Soviet Union broke diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on July 13. Chuikov was assigned to the newly-formed Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army in Khabarovsk and worked on military intelligence, reporting to Vasily Blyukher, the commander of the Far Eastern Army.
The Soviet Far Eastern Army defeated the Northeastern Army of Zhang Xueliang, Chuikov participated in negotiations that restored Soviet control of the China Eastern Railway. Chuikov commanded the 4th Army in the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, he commanded the 9th Army in the Russo-Finnish War of 1940. He was sent to China as an adviser to Chiang Kai-shek. In May 1942, the USSR recalled him. According to Chuikov's memoirs, his recall was due to Nationalist China claiming that the USSR was providing military aid as part of an attempt to draw the USSR into the Second Sino-Japanese War. On returning to Moscow, Chuikov was placed in command of the 64th Army, on the west bank of the Don River; the 64th Army took part in the fighting withdrawal to Stalingrad, shortly before the Battle of Stalingrad itself began, Chuikov was made commanding general of the more important weak 62nd Army, to hold Stalingrad itself, with the 64th on its southern flank. It was at Stalingrad that Chuikov developed the important tactic of "hugging the enemy", by which Soviet soldiers kept the German army so close to them as to minimize the airpower enjoyed by the Wehrmacht.
Chuikov had witnessed firsthand the blitzkrieg tactics the Wehrmacht had used to sweep across the Russian steppe, so he used the Germans' carpet-bombing of the city to draw panzer units into the rubble and chaos, where their progress was impeded. Here they could be destroyed with Molotov cocktails, Antitank Rifles, Soviet artillery operating at close range; this tactic rendered the German Luftwaffe ineffective, since Stuka dive-bombers could not attack Red Army positions without endangering their own forces. After the victory at Stalingrad, the 62nd Army was redesignated the Soviet 8th Guards Army. Chuikov commanded the 8th Guards as part of 1st Belorussian Front and led its advance through Poland heading the Soviet offensive which conquered Berlin while the Allied forces were wiping out what was left in Southern and Western Germany in April/May 1945. Chuikov's advance through Poland was characterized by massive advances across difficult terrain. On 1 May 1945, who commanded his army operating in central Berlin, was the first Allied officer to learn about Adolf Hitler's suicide, being informed by General Hans Krebs who had come to Chuikov's headquarters under a white flag.
He accepted the surrender of
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Mamayev Kurgan is a dominant height overlooking the city of Volgograd in Southern Russia. The name in Russian means "tumulus of Mamai"; the formation is dominated by a memorial complex commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad. The battle, a hard-fought Soviet victory over Axis forces on the Eastern Front of World War II, turned into one of the bloodiest battles in human history. At the time of its installation in 1967 the statue named The Motherland Calls on Mamayev Kurgan formed the largest free-standing sculpture in the world; when forces of the German Sixth Army launched their attack against the city centre of Stalingrad on 13 September 1942, Mamayev Kurgan saw fierce fighting between the German attackers and the defending soldiers of the Soviet 62nd Army. Control of the hill became vitally important. To defend it, the Soviets had built strong defensive lines on the slopes of the hill, composed of trenches, barbed-wire and minefields; the Germans pushed forward against the hill. When they captured the hill, they started firing on the city centre, as well as on the city's main railway station under the hill.
They captured the Volgograd railway station on 14 September 1942. On the same day, the Soviet 13th Guards Rifle Division commanded by Alexander Rodimtsev arrived in the city from the east side of the river Volga under heavy German artillery fire; the division's 10,000 men rushed into the battle. On 16 September they recaptured Mamayev Kurgan and kept fighting for the railway station, taking heavy losses. By the following day all of them had died; the Soviets kept reinforcing their units in the city. The Germans assaulted up to twelve times a day, the Soviets would respond with fierce counter-attacks; the hill changed hands several times. By 27 September, the Germans again captured half of Mamayev Kurgan; the Soviets held their own positions on the slopes of the hill, as the 284th Rifle Division defended the key stronghold. The defenders held out until 26 January 1943; the battle of the city ended one week with an utter German defeat. When the battle ended, the soil on the hill had been so churned by shellfire and mixed with metal fragments that it contained between 500 and 1,250 splinters of metal per square meter.
The earth on the hill had remained black in the winter, as the snow kept melting in the many fires and explosions. In the following spring the hill would still remain black; the hill's steep slopes had become flattened in months of intense shelling and bombardment. Today, it is possible to find fragments of bone and metal still buried deep throughout the hill. After the war, the Soviet authorities commissioned the enormous Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex. Vasily Chuikov, who led Soviet forces at Stalingrad, lies buried at Mamayev Kurgan, the first Marshal of the Soviet Union to be buried outside Moscow. Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev was reburied there in 2006; the monumental memorial was constructed between 1959 and 1967, is crowned by a huge allegorical statue of the Motherland on the top of the hill. The monument, designed by Yevgeny Vuchetich, has the full name The Motherland Calls!. It consists of a concrete sculpture, 52 metres tall, 85 metres from the feet to the tip of the 27-metre sword, dominating the skyline of the city of Stalingrad.
The construction uses concrete, except for the stainless-steel blade of the sword, is held on its plinth by its own weight. The statue is evocative of classical Greek representations of Nike, in particular the flowing drapery, similar to that of the Nike of Samothrace. Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Kiev Mound of Glory Mamayev Hill museum in Volgograd, official homepage. Gigapixel panoramas, created on 9 May 2005 for Google Earth, 60 years after the end of the war in Russia Iconicarchive photo gallery Satellite photo at Google Maps
A division is a large military unit or formation consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 30,000 in nominal strength. In most armies, a division is composed of several brigades; the division has been the default combined arms unit capable of independent operations. Smaller combined arms units, such as the American regimental combat team during World War II, were used when conditions favored them. In recent times, modern Western militaries have begun adopting the smaller brigade combat team as the default combined arms unit, with the division they belong to being less important. While the focus of this article is on army divisions, in naval usage division has a different meaning, referring to either an administrative/functional sub-unit of a department aboard naval and coast guard ships, shore commands, in naval aviation units, to a sub-unit of several ships within a flotilla or squadron, or to two or three sections of aircraft operating under a designated division leader.
Some languages, like Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Polish, use a similar word divizion/dywizjon for a battalion-size artillery or cavalry unit. In administrative/functional sub-unit usage, unit size varies though divisions number far fewer than 100 people and are equivalent in function and organizational hierarchy/command relationship to a platoon or flight. In the West, the first general to think of organising an army into smaller combined-arms units was Maurice de Saxe, Marshal General of France, in his book Mes Rêveries, he died without having implemented his idea. Victor-François de Broglie put the ideas into practice, he conducted successful practical experiments of the divisional system in the Seven Years' War. The first war in which the divisional system was used systematically was the French Revolutionary War. Lazare Carnot of the Committee of Public Safety, in charge of military affairs, came to the same conclusion about it as the previous royal government, the army was organised into divisions.
It made the armies more flexible and easy to maneuver, it made the large army of the revolution manageable. Under Napoleon, the divisions were grouped together because of their increasing size. Napoleon's military success spread the corps system all over Europe; the divisional system reached its numerical height during the Second World War. The Soviet Union's Red Army consisted of more than a thousand divisional-size units at any one time, the total number of rifle divisions raised during the Great Patriotic War is estimated at 2,000. Nazi Germany had hundreds of numbered and/or named divisions, while the United States employed 91 divisions, two of which were disbanded during the war. A notable change to divisional structures during the war was completion of the shift from square divisions to triangular divisions that many European nations started using in World War I; this was done to pare down chain of command overhead. The triangular division allowed the tactic of "two forward, one back", where two of the division's regiments would be engaging the enemy with one regiment in reserve.
All divisions in World War II were expected to have their own artillery formations the size of a regiment depending upon the nation. Divisional artillery was seconded by corps level command to increase firepower in larger engagements. Regimental combat teams were used by the US during the war as well, whereby attached and/or organic divisional units were parceled out to infantry regiments, creating smaller combined-arms units with their own armor and artillery and support units; these combat teams would still be under divisional command but have some level of autonomy on the battlefield. Organic units within divisions were units which operated directly under Divisional command and were not controlled by the Regiments; these units were support units in nature, include signal companies, medical battalions, supply trains and administration. Attached units were smaller units that were placed under Divisional command temporarily for the purpose of completing a particular mission; these units were combat units such as tank battalions, tank destroyer battalions and cavalry reconnaissance squadrons.
In modern times, most military forces have standardized their divisional structures. This does not mean that divisions are equal in size or structure from country to country, but divisions have, in most cases, come to be units of 10,000 to 20,000 troops with enough organic support to be capable of independent operations; the direct organization of the division consists of one to four brigades or battle groups of its primary combat arm, along with a brigade or regiment of combat support and a number of direct-reporting battalions for necessary specialized support tasks, such as intelligence, logistics and combat engineers. Most militaries standardize ideal organization strength for each type of division, encapsulated in a Table of Organization and Equipment which specifies exact assignments of units and equipment for a division; the modern division became the primary identifiable combat unit in many militaries during the second half of the 20th century, supplanting the brigade.