The Volga is the longest river in Europe with a catchment area of 1,350,000 square kilometres. It is Europe's largest river in terms of discharge and drainage basin; the river flows through central Russia and into the Caspian Sea, is regarded as the national river of Russia. Eleven of the twenty largest cities of Russia, including the capital, are located in the Volga's drainage basin; some of the largest reservoirs in the world are located along the Volga. The river has a symbolic meaning in Russian culture and is referred to as Волга-матушка Volga-Matushka in Russian literature and folklore; the Russian hydronym Volga derives from Proto-Slavic *vòlga "wetness, moisture", preserved in many Slavic languages, including Ukrainian volóha "moisture", Russian vlaga "moisture", Bulgarian vlaga "moisture", Czech vláha "dampness", Serbian vlaga "moisture", Croatian vlaga "moisture" and Slovene vlaga "moisture" among others. The Slavic name is a loan translation of earlier Scythian Rā "Volga" "wetness", cognate with Avestan Raŋhā "mythical stream" and Vedic Sanskrit rasā́ "dew, juice.
The Scythian name survives in modern Mordvin Rav "Volga". The Turkic peoples living along the river referred to it as Itil or Atil "big river". In modern Turkic languages, the Volga is known as İdel in Tatar, Атăл in Chuvash, Idhel in Bashkir, Edil in Kazakh, İdil in Turkish; the Turkic peoples associated the Itil's origin with the Kama. Thus, a left tributary to the Kama was named the Aq Itil "White Itil" which unites with the Kara Itil "Black Itil" at the modern city of Ufa; the name Indyl is used in Adyge language. Among Asians, the river was known by its other Turkic name Sarı-su "yellow water", but the Oirats used their own name, Ijil mörön or "adaptation river". Presently the Mari, another Uralic group, call the river Jul, they called the river Volgydo, a borrowing from Old East Slavic. The Volga is the longest river in Europe, its catchment area is entirely inside Russia, though the longest river in Russia is the Ob–Irtysh river system, it belongs to the closed basin of the Caspian Sea, being the longest river to flow into a closed basin.
Rising in the Valdai Hills 225 meters above sea level northwest of Moscow and about 320 kilometers southeast of Saint Petersburg, the Volga heads east past Lake Sterzh, Dubna, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan. From there it turns south, flows past Ulyanovsk, Samara and Volgograd, discharges into the Caspian Sea below Astrakhan at 28 meters below sea level. At its most strategic point, it bends toward the Don. Volgograd Stalingrad, is located there; the Volga has many tributaries, most the rivers Kama, the Oka, the Vetluga, the Sura. The Volga and its tributaries form the Volga river system, which flows through an area of about 1,350,000 square kilometres in the most populated part of Russia; the Volga Delta has a length of about 160 kilometres and includes as many as 500 channels and smaller rivers. The largest estuary in Europe, it is the only place in Russia where pelicans and lotuses may be found; the Volga freezes for most of its length for three months each year. The Volga drains most of Western Russia.
Its many large reservoirs provide hydroelectric power. The Moscow Canal, the Volga–Don Canal, the Volga–Baltic Waterway form navigable waterways connecting Moscow to the White Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. High levels of chemical pollution have adversely affected its habitats; the fertile river valley provides large quantities of wheat, has many mineral riches. A substantial petroleum industry centers on the Volga valley. Other resources include natural gas and potash; the Volga Delta and the nearby Caspian Sea offer superb fishing grounds. Astrakhan, at the delta, is the center of the caviar industry. A number of large hydroelectric reservoirs were constructed on the Volga during the Soviet era, they are: Volgograd Reservoir Saratov Reservoir Kuybyshev Reservoir – the largest in Europe by surface Cheboksary Reservoir Gorky Reservoir Rybinsk Reservoir Uglich Reservoir Ivankovo Reservoir Volgograd Nizhny Novgorod Kazan Samara Saratov Tolyatti Yaroslavl Astrakhan Ulyanovsk Cheboksary Tver The area downstream of the Volga believed to have been a cradle of the Proto-Indo-European civilization, was settled by Slavs and other Turkic peoples in the first millennium AD, replacing the Scythians.
The ancient scholar Ptolemy of Alexandria mentions the lower Volga in his Geography. He calls it the Rha, the Scythian name for the river. Ptolemy believed the Don and the Volga shared the same upper branch, which flowed from the Hyperborean Mountains; the Russian ethnicity in Western Russia and around the Volga river evolved among other tribes, out of the East Slavic tribe of the Buzhans. Several localities in Russia are connected to the Buzhans, like for example Sredniy Buzhan in the Orenburg Oblast and the Buzan river in the Astrakhan Oblast. Buzhan is a village in Nishapur, Iran. Subsequently, the river basin played an important role in the movements of peoples from Asia to Europe. A powerful polity of Volga Bulgaria once flourished where the Kama jo
25th Army (Soviet Union)
The 25th Army was a Red Army field army of World War II that served in the Russian Far East. Formed in June 1941, the 25th Army did not see combat until the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in August 1945, when it advanced into northern Korea. After World War II it was responsible for the Soviet Civil Administration in the northern Korean Peninsula, helped establish a Communist state in North Korea under the rule of Kim Il-Sung; the army remained in North Korea until it was withdrawn in 1948, was stationed in Primorsky Krai until its 1957 disbandment. It was formed in the Soviet Far East Front on the basis of the headquarters of the 43rd Rifle Corps on 20 June 1941 in accordance with an order of 8 March. Headquartered at Voroshilov, it was commanded by Lieutenant General Filipp Parusinov; the army comprised 39th Rifle Corps with 32nd Rifle Division, 40th, 92nd Rifle Divisions, as well as the 105th Rifle Division and the 106th, 107th, 108th, 110th, 111th Fortified Areas as Army troops. The army was responsible for defending the border in Primorsky Krai.
On 10 August 1943, the army became part of the Maritime Group of Forces, which on 20 April 1945 became part of the Far Eastern Front, was soon directly subordinated to the Stavka. In June, Colonel General Ivan Chistyakov took command of the army. On 5 August, the army became part of the 1st Far East Front, redesignated from the Maritime Group of Forces in preparation for the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. At the time, the 393rd Rifle Division and the 7th and 113th Fortified Areas were in the army's direct subordination. By the beginning of the invasion on 9 August, the army included the 39th Rifle Corps with the 40th, the 384th, the 386th Rifle Divisions, the 393rd Rifle Division, the 7th, 106th, 107th, 108th, 110th, 111th, the 113th Fortified Areas. During the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, the army fought in the Harbin-Kirin Offensive. By the end of 10 August the army overcame Japanese resistance to capture the Dongning, Dongxin-zhen, the Hunchun fortified areas, cut the Dongning-Tumyntsa-Hunchun road, advanced through Japanese defenses to a depth of 15 kilometres to 20 kilometres.
On 11 August, the 25th Army captured Laoheishan and Hunchun, on the next day captured the ports of Unggi and Rason on the east coast of Korea alongside landing forces of the Pacific Fleet. As a result of its advances, the army received the 5th Army's 17th Rifle Corps and the 88th Rifle Division and 10th Mechanized Corps from front reserve. With the reinforcements, the army received a new task: to advance south and cut the communications between Japanese troops in Korea and those in Manchuria, in cooperation with the Pacific Fleet landing forces, to capture ports on the east coast of Korea. In fulfilling this task, the army defeated parts of the Japanese 3rd and 34th Armies and captured Wangqing on 15 August, Chongjin on 16 August and Yanji on 17 August, among others. Between 18 and 20 August, the army disarmed surrendered Japanese troops, was redeployed to the Pyongyang area at the end of the month; the army's headquarters was established at Pyongyang on 26 August after Chistyakov rejected the option of Hamhung on the previous day after the 25th Army was given the task of occupying what would become North Korea.
The location of the 25th Army's headquarters in Pyongyang determined the location of the future North Korean capital. After the end of the war with Japan it included 39th Rifle Corps and 88th Rifle Corps and 8 fortified regions but they were all reorganised in 1946 into machine-gun artillery divisions. There were the 72nd, 76th, 218th, 259th Tank Brigades. On 1 October, the army became part of the Primorsky Military District; the two corps were disbanded in August 1946 and 65th Rifle Corps was transferred to the 25th Army from the 5th Army. The division of Korea between the United States and the Soviet Union after the defeat of Japan had been agreed to at the Tehran Conference in 1943; the 25th Army served as the occupation force in north of the 38th parallel while the U. S. Army Military Government in Korea was established in the south. Under the Soviet Civil Administration the 25th Army helped place Kim Il-Sung and the Korean Workers' Party into power, they assisted with the purges of former collaborators, businessmen and religious leaders.
These people would either flee to the future South Korea or would be banished or imprisoned in the Hamgyong Province. In late 1948, the army was withdrawn from North Korea and stationed in southern Primorsky Krai on the Korean and Chinese borders, as well as on the Peter the Great Gulf coast, its headquarters was located in Shkotovo. In March 1953 the army included the 9th, 10th, 21st, 24th Machine-Gun Artillery Divisions; the 10th Mechanized Division had become part of the 65th Rifle Corps by this time, the 40th Rifle Division was directly subordinated to the army. In April 1953, the Primorsky Military District was disbanded, the army became part of the Far Eastern Military District; the army's last commander was Lieutenant General Ivan Rubanyuk, who assumed command on 18 May 1953. The 65th Rifle Corps and its divisions were disbanded in the summer of 1956 and the remaining 25th Army rifle divisions became motor rifle divisions in the spring of 1957. On 1 May, the army included the 40th, 84th, 147th, the 148th Motor Rifle Divisions.
In December 1957, the army was disbanded and its remaining divisions transferred to the 5th Army. The 84th, 147th, 148th Divisions were disbanded along with the 25th Ar
A field army is a military formation in many armed forces, composed of two or more corps and may be subordinate to an army group. Air armies are equivalent formation within some air forces. A field army is composed of 100,000 to 150,000 troops. Particular field armies are named or numbered to distinguish them from "army" in the sense of an entire national land military force. In English, the typical style for naming field armies is word numbers, such as "First Army". A field army may be given a geographical name in addition to or as an alternative to a numerical name, such as the British Army of the Rhine, Army of the Niemen or Aegean Army; the Roman army was among the first to feature a formal field army, in the sense of a large, combined arms formation, namely the sacer comitatus, which may be translated as "sacred escort". The term is derived from the fact that they were commanded by Roman emperors, when they acted as field commanders. While the Roman comitatensis is sometimes translated as "field army", it may be translated as the more generic "field force" or "mobile force".
In some armed forces, an "army" has been equivalent to a corps-level unit. Prior to 1945, this was the case with a gun within the Imperial Japanese Army, for which the formation equivalent in size to a field army was an "area army". In the Soviet Red Army and the Soviet Air Forces, an army was subordinate in wartime to a front, it contained at least three to five divisions along with artillery, air defense and other supporting units. It could be classified as either tank army. In peacetime, a Soviet army was subordinate to a military district. Modern field armies are large formations which vary between armed forces in size and scope of responsibility. For instance, within NATO a field army is composed of a headquarters, controls at least two corps, beneath which are a variable number of divisions. A battle is influenced at the field army level by transferring divisions and reinforcements from one corps to another to increase the pressure on the enemy at a critical point. NATO armies are commanded by a general or lieutenant general.
Armeeoberkommando Military unit Military history List of numbered armies
Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky was a Soviet military commander in World War II, Marshal of the Soviet Union, Defense Minister of the Soviet Union in the late 1950s and 1960s. He contributed to the major defeat of Germany at the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Budapest. During the post-war era, he made a pivotal contribution to the strengthening of the Soviet Union as a military superpower. Born in Odessa, After the death of his Catholic father, Malinovsky's mother left the city for the rural areas of Ukraine, remarried, her husband, a poverty-stricken Ukrainian peasant, refused to adopt her son and expelled him when Malinovsky was only 13 years old. The homeless boy survived by working as a farmhand, received shelter from his aunt's family in Odessa, where he worked as an errand boy in a general store. After the start of World War I in July 1914, only 15 years old at the time, hid on the military train heading for the German front, but was discovered, he convinced the commanding officers to enlist him as a volunteer, served in a machine-gun detachment in the frontline trenches.
In October 1915, as a reward for repelling a German attack, he received his first military award, the Cross of St. George of the 4th class, was promoted to the rank of corporal. Soon afterwards, he was badly spent several months in the hospital. After his recovery, he was sent to France in 1916 as a member of the Western Front Russian Expeditionary Corps. Malinovsky fought in a hotly contested sector of the front near Fort Brion and was promoted to sergeant, he suffered a serious wound in his left arm, received a decoration from the French government. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the French government disbanded some Russian units, but others were transferred to a newly created unit called the Russian Legion, attached to the Moroccan Division. Malinovsky fought against the Germans until the end of the war. During this time, he was awarded the French Croix de guerre and promoted to senior NCO, he returned to Odessa in 1919, where he joined the Red Army in the Civil War against the White Army and fought with distinction in Siberia.
He remained in the army after the end of the conflict, studying in the training school for the junior commanders, rose to commander of a rifle battalion. In 1926, he became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, membership of, a prerequisite for promotion in the military. In 1927, Malinovsky was sent to study at the elite Frunze Military Academy, he graduated in 1930, during the next seven years he rose to the Chief of Staff of the 3rd Cavalry Corps, where his commander was Semyon Timoshenko. After the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Malinovsky volunteered to fight for the Republicans against the right-wing nationalists of General Francisco Franco and their Italian and German allies, he participated in directing several main operations. In 1938, he returned to Moscow, being awarded the top Soviet decorations, the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner, in recognition of his service in Spain. In the spring of 1941, who served the People's Commissar for Defence, was alarmed by the massive German military buildup on the Soviet borders, as the Wehrmacht was secretly preparing for Operation Barbarossa.
In order to strengthen the Red Army field command, he dispatched some of the top officers from the military academies to the field units. Malinovsky was promoted to General-Major, took command over the freshly raised 48th Rifle Corps, 9th Army in the Odessa Military District. A week prior to the start of the war, Malinovsky deployed his corps close to the Romanian border. After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, with the Red Army suffering enormous defeats and losing hundreds of thousands of troops in German encirclements, Malinovsky emerged a competent general, his corps of three formed rifle divisions faced German Blitzkrieg along the line of the Prut River. While, as a rule, Red Army generals would lead their forces from behind the frontline, Malinovsky went to the crucial sectors of the battles to be with his soldiers and encourage them. Unable to stop the Wehrmacht, Malinovsky had to retreat along the Black Sea shore, while frustrating enemy attempts to encircle his troops; the Germans succeeded in cornering his corps in Mykolaiv, but Malinovsky breached their ring and retreated to Dnipropetrovsk.
In August, he was promoted to Chief of Staff of the badly battered 6th Army, soon replaced its commander. He was promoted to General-Leytenant. After the retreat of the Red Army to the Donbass, Malinovsky commanded a joint operation of the 6th and 12th armies, managing to drive the Wehrmacht out of the region. In December 1941, Malinovsky received command of the Southern Front, consisting of three weak field armies and two division-sized cavalry corps, they were short of manpower and equipment, but Malinovsky managed to push deep into the defenses of the Germans, after 6 months of fighting, were suffering from fatigue and shortages as well. On 12 May 1942, Malinovsky and the Southwestern Front, under the overall command of Timoshenko, launched a joint attack in the Second Battle of Kharkov pushing the Germans back 100 kilometres. Timoshenko suffered a heavy defeat. Although Stalin, in spite of opposition by his top military advisers, supported the ill-fated Kharkov offense, he became suspicious that Malinovsky had intentionally failed his
5th Combined Arms Army
The 5th Combined Arms Red Banner Army is a Russian Ground Forces formation in the Eastern Military District. It was formed in 1939, served during the Soviet invasion of Poland that year, was deployed in the southern sector of the Soviet defences when Adolf Hitler's Operation Barbarossa began in June 1941 during World War II. In the disastrous first months of Barbarossa, the 5th Army was destroyed around Kiev. Reformed under Lelyushenko and Govorov, it played a part in the last-ditch defence of Moscow, in the string of offensive and defensive campaigns that saw the Soviet armies liberate all of Soviet territory and push west into Poland and beyond into Germany itself; the 5th Army itself only advanced as far as East Prussia before it was moved east to take part in the Soviet attack on Japan. Since 1945 under the Soviet and now Russian flag it has formed part of the Far East Military District keeping watch on the border with the People's Republic of China; as the Russian armed force shrunk it found itself part of the larger Eastern Military District in the twenty-first century.
The 5th Army was created in August 1939 in the Special Kiev Military District from the Northern Army Group. In September 1939 the 5th Army took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland, justified by the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact; the Army was placed under the command of I. G. Sovietnikov. On 22 June 1941, the 5th Army consisted of the 15th Rifle Corps, as well as the 27th Rifle Corps, the 22nd Mechanised Corps, the 2nd Fortified Region, seven artillery regiments, 2 NKVD border regiments, an engineer regiment; the Army's rifle divisions were assigned to cover the Lutsk-Rovno approaches to the Ukraine and were tasked to man the Kovel and Vladimir-Volynsk fortified districts. The Army was stationed in barracks up to forty miles from the frontier, would need three to four days to take up its positions. On 22 June, the 15th Rifle Corps managed to take its place in the line, holding the sector from Vlodava to Vladimir-Volynsk, but that same day, the southern end of the line at Vladimir-Volynsk "began to buckle in," in John Erickson's words.
The main German thrust in the sector came at the junction point between the 5th Army and its neighbour to the south, the 6th Army, both the 5th and 6th Armies committed their mechanised forces to try to stem the gap, but without success. The Commander Southwestern Front, Mikhail Kirponos, decided to halt this with an attack into the flank of Panzer Group 1 using all the available mobile forces – five mechanised corps; this was unsuccessful in the face of the thrusting German advance, lack of coordination from the various Soviet formations, acute shortage of equipment and spares, lack of proper equipment radio sets. Meanwhile General M. I. Potapov, now commanding the 5th Army, was ordered on 29 June to make another attack on Panzer Group 1's flank from the woods of Klevany. Amid these efforts, Kirponos managed to withdraw most of his Front to a new line on the old Soviet/Polish border, prevented the Germans from rupturing the Soviet defensive line; the 11th Panzer Division took Berdichev on 7 July, the juncture between the 5th and 6th Armies was broken.
The gap between the 5th and 6th Armies widened to forty miles. To remedy the situation another counterattack was ordered, Potapov, now commanding the 15th and 31st Rifle, 9th, 19th and 22nd Mechanised Corps, was directed to strike northwards from Berdichev and Lyubar. However, his forces had been badly worn down: the 9th Mechanised Corps had 64 tanks left, the 22nd less than half that number, the rifle regiments of 31st Corps had "no more than three hundred men." Potapov's force cut the Zhitomir highway and kept up the pressure for a week, afterwards remained as a thorn on the German Sixth Army's northern flank. By 7 September the 5th Army was threatened with being split in two by the Second Army coming from the east and the Sixth Army's northern outflanking of Kiev; the Stavka refused permission for the 5th Army to withdraw, as they were still hoping for results from a counterattack by the Bryansk Front. By 9 September Stalin had given authority for the 5th Army to withdraw but by it was trapped, on 20 September Potapov and his command group were taken prisoner.
In the disastrous battle, the German forces encircled forces from the 5th, 21st, 26th, 37th Armies, captured Kiev, claimed 665,000 prisoners. The 5th Army was re-raised for the second time in October 1941, under the command of Dmitri Lelyushenko, as part of the Soviet Western Front. Recent sources give the actual re-raising date as 11 October 1941, it included two three tank brigades. At the Battle at Borodino Field, on a former Napoleonic battlefield, the first elements of the reforming Army to arrive at the front—two regiments of the Soviet 32nd Rifle Division and the 18th and 19th Tank Brigades—attempted to halt the German 10th Panzer Division and Das Reich divisions which were striking for Mozhaisk. Lelyuschenko was wounded and General L. A. Govorov took over. What thin reserves there were ran out, Mozhaisk fell on 18 October; that year the Army took part in the Klin-Solnechogorsk offensive operation. On 15 November, another German strike toward Moscow opened, but while
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
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet