Walther-Peer Fellgiebel was a German author and a key member of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients. Fellgiebel served in World War II reaching the rank of a Major, he was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Walther-Peer Fellgiebel's father was the General Erich Fellgiebel. Fellgiebel joined the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients in 1954 and as of 1961 served on the board of directors, he became head of the order commission of the AKCR in 1970, a position he held until 1985. From this work evolved the book Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes, 1939–1945. For many years this book was considered a reference work on this topic. Fellgiebel himself indicated that the book was not official; the deteriorating situation of Nazi Germany during the final days of World War II left a number of nominations incomplete and pending in various stages of the approval process. In some of these instances the AKCR accepted and listed holders of the Knight's Cross with questionable evidence.
Author Veit Scherzer analyzed the German Federal Archives and found discrepancies in 193 instances of the original 7,322 listings by Fellgiebel. Fellgiebel's work was translated into English in 2003 as Elite of the Third Reich: the Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, 1939-45. Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 7 September 1943 as Oberleutnant as chief of the 2./leichte Heeres Artillerie-Abteilung 935 Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes, 1939–1945: Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer: Elite of the Third Reich: the Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, 1939-45, West Midlands, England: Helion. ISBN 9781874622468
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established after the 1917 October Revolution; the Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; the Red Army provided the largest land force in the Allied victory in the European theatre of World War II, its invasion of Manchuria assisted the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan. During operations on the Eastern Front, it accounted for 75–80% of casualties the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS suffered during the war and captured the Nazi German capital, Berlin. In September 1917, Vladimir Lenin wrote: "There is only one way to prevent the restoration of the police, and, to create a people's militia and to fuse it with the army."
At the time, the Imperial Russian Army had started to collapse. 23% of the male population of the Russian Empire were mobilized. The Tsarist general Nikolay Dukhonin estimated that there had been 2 million deserters, 1.8 million dead, 5 million wounded and 2 million prisoners. He estimated the remaining troops as numbering 10 million. While the Imperial Russian Army was being taken apart, "it became apparent that the rag-tag Red Guard units and elements of the imperial army who had gone over the side of the Bolsheviks were quite inadequate to the task of defending the new government against external foes." Therefore, the Council of People's Commissars decided to form the Red Army on 28 January 1918. They envisioned a body "formed from the class-conscious and best elements of the working classes." All citizens of the Russian republic aged 18 or older were eligible. Its role being the defense "of the Soviet authority, the creation of a basis for the transformation of the standing army into a force deriving its strength from a nation in arms, furthermore, the creation of a basis for the support of the coming Socialist Revolution in Europe."
Enlistment was conditional upon "guarantees being given by a military or civil committee functioning within the territory of the Soviet Power, or by party or trade union committees or, in extreme cases, by two persons belonging to one of the above organizations." In the event of an entire unit wanting to join the Red Army, a "collective guarantee and the affirmative vote of all its members would be necessary." Because the Red Army was composed of peasants, the families of those who served were guaranteed rations and assistance with farm work. Some peasants who remained at home yearned to join the Army. If they were turned away they would prepare care-packages. In some cases the money they earned would go towards tanks for the Army; the Council of People's Commissars appointed itself the supreme head of the Red Army, delegating command and administration of the army to the Commissariat for Military Affairs and the Special All-Russian College within this commissariat. Nikolai Krylenko was the supreme commander-in-chief, with Aleksandr Myasnikyan as deputy.
Nikolai Podvoisky became the commissar for Pavel Dybenko, commissar for the fleet. Proshyan, Steinberg were specified as people's commissars as well as Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich from the Bureau of Commissars. At a joint meeting of Bolsheviks and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, held on 22 February 1918, Krylenko remarked: "We have no army; the demoralized soldiers are fleeing, panic-stricken, as soon as they see a German helmet appear on the horizon, abandoning their artillery and all war material to the triumphantly advancing enemy. The Red Guard units are brushed aside like flies. We have no power to stay the enemy; the Russian Civil War occurred in three periods: October 1917 – November 1918: From the Bolshevik Revolution to the First World War Armistice, developed from the Bolshevik government's nationalization of traditional Cossack lands in November 1917. This provoked the insurrection of General Alexey Maximovich Kaledin's Volunteer Army in the River Don region; the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk aggravated Russian internal politics.
The situation encouraged direct Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, in which twelve foreign countries supported anti-Bolshevik militias. A series of engagements resulted, amongst others, the Czechoslovak Legion, the Polish 5th Rifle Division, the pro-Bolshevik Red Latvian Riflemen. January 1919 – November 1919: Initially the White armies advanced: from the south, under General Anton Denikin; the Whites defeated the Red Army on each front. Leon Trotsky reformed and counterattacked: the Red Army repelled Admiral Kolchak's army in June, the armies of General Denikin and General Yudenich in October. By mid-Nove
Operation Winter Storm
Operation Winter Storm was a German offensive in World War II in which the German 4th Panzer Army unsuccessfully attempted to break the Soviet encirclement of the German 6th Army during the Battle of Stalingrad. In late November 1942, the Red Army completed Operation Uranus, encircling some 300,000 Axis personnel in and around the city of Stalingrad. German forces within the Stalingrad pocket and directly outside were reorganized under Army Group Don, under the command of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein. Meanwhile, the Red Army continued to allocate as many resources as possible to the eventual launch of the planned Operation Saturn, which aimed to isolate Army Group A from the rest of the German Army. To remedy the situation, the Luftwaffe attempted to supply German forces in Stalingrad through an air bridge; when the Luftwaffe proved incapable of carrying out its mission and it became obvious that a successful breakout could occur only if launched as early as possible, Manstein decided on a relief effort.
Manstein was promised four panzer divisions. Due to German reluctance to weaken certain sectors by redeploying German units, the task of opening a corridor to the German 6th Army fell to the 4th Panzer Army; the German force was pitted against several Soviet armies tasked with the destruction of the encircled German forces and their offensive around the lower Chir River. The German offensive made large gains on the first day; the spearhead forces were able to defeat counterattacks by Soviet troops. By 13 December, Soviet resistance slowed the German advance considerably. Although German forces took the area surrounding Verkhne-Kumskiy, the Red Army launched Operation Little Saturn on 16 December. Operation Little Saturn crushed the Italian 8th Army on Army Group Don's left flank, threatening the survival of Manstein's entire group of forces; as resistance and casualties increased, Manstein appealed to Hitler and to the commander of the German 6th Army, General Friedrich Paulus, to allow the 6th Army to break out of Stalingrad.
The 4th Panzer Army continued its attempt to open a corridor to the 6th Army on 18–19 December, but was unable to do so without the aid of forces inside the Stalingrad pocket. Manstein called off the assault on 23 December and by Christmas Eve the 4th Panzer Army began to withdraw to its starting position. Due to the failure of the 6th Army to break out from the Soviet encirclement, the Red Army was able to continue the strangulation of German forces in Stalingrad. On 23 November 1942, the Red Army closed its encirclement of Axis forces in Stalingrad. Nearly 300,000 German and Romanian soldiers, as well as Russian volunteers for the Wehrmacht, were trapped in and around the city of Stalingrad by 1.1 million Soviet personnel. Amidst the impending disaster, German chancellor Adolf Hitler appointed Field Marshal Erich von Manstein as commander of the newly created Army Group Don. Composed of the German 4th Panzer and 6th Armies, as well as the Third and Fourth Romanian Armies, Manstein's new army group was situated between German Army Groups A and B.
Instead of attempting an immediate breakout, German high command decided that the trapped forces would remain in Stalingrad in a bid to hold out. The encircled German forces were to be resupplied by air, requiring 680 t of supplies per day. However, the assembled fleet of 500 transport aircraft were insufficient for the task. Many of the aircraft were hardly serviceable in the rough Soviet winter; the German 6th Army, for example, was getting less than 20% of its daily needs. Furthermore, the Germans were still threatened by Soviet forces which still held portions of the Volga River's west bank in Stalingrad. Given the unexpected size of German forces closed off in Stalingrad, on 23 November Stavka decided to strengthen the outer encirclement preparing to destroy Axis forces in and around the city. On 24 November, several Soviet formations began to entrench themselves to defend against possible German incursions originating from the West; the Soviets reinforced the encircling forces in order to prevent a successful breakout operation by the German 6th Army and other Axis units.
However, this tied down over ½ of the Red Army's strength in the area. Planning for Operation Saturn began on 25 November, aiming for the destruction of the Italian 8th Army and the severing of communications between German forces west of the Don River and those operating in the Caucasus. Meanwhile, planning began for Operation Koltso, which aimed at reducing German forces in the Stalingrad pocket; as Operation Uranus concluded, German forces inside the encirclement were too weak to attempt a breakout on their own. Half of their remaining armor, for example, had been lost during the defensive fighting, there was a severe lack of fuel and ammunition for the surviving vehicles, given that the Luftwaffe was not able to provide adequate aerial resupply. Manstein proposed a counterstrike to break the Soviet encirclement of Stalingrad, codenamed Operation Winter Storm. Manstein believed that—due to the inability of the Luftwaffe to supply the Stalingrad pocket—it was becoming more important to relieve them "at the earliest possible date".
On 28 November, Manstein sent Hitler a detailed report on Army Group Don's situation, including the strength of the German 6th Army and an assessment on the available ammunition for German artillery inside the city. The dire strategic situation made Manstein doubtful on whether or not the relief operation could afford to wait to receive all units earmarked for the offensive. Stavka
Romanian armies in the Battle of Stalingrad
Two Romanian armies, the Third and the Fourth, were involved in the Battle of Stalingrad, helping to protect the northern and southern flanks of the German 6th Army as it tried to conquer the city of Stalingrad, defended by the Soviet Red Army in mid to late 1942. Overpowered and poorly equipped, these forces were unable to stop the Soviet November offensive, which punched through both flanks and left the 6th Army encircled in Stalingrad; the Romanians suffered enormous losses, which ended their offensive capability on the Eastern Front for the remainder of the war. Following the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in August 1939, Romania lost one third of its territory without a single shot being fired, as Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were annexed by the Soviet Union on June 28, 1940, after Romania yielded to a Soviet ultimatum; as a result, King Carol II was forced to abdicate in September 1940, General Ion Antonescu rose to power. In October, Romania joined the Axis and expressed its availability for a military campaign against the Soviet Union, in order to recapture the provinces ceded in June.
After a successful summer campaign in 1941 as part of Army Group South, the Romanian Armed Forces regained the territory between the Prut and Dniestr rivers. General Antonescu decided to continue to advance alongside the Wehrmacht, disregarding the Romanian High Command's doubts over the possibility of sustaining a mobile warfare campaign deep inside Soviet territory. In October 1941, the Romanian Fourth Army occupied Odessa after a protracted siege which caused more than 80,000 casualties on the Romanian side, severe destruction and many casualties among the civilian population; the spring and summer of 1942 saw the Third and Fourth Romanian Armies in action in the Battle of Crimea and the Battle of the Caucasus. By the fall of 1942, the two armies were poised to join the attack on Stalingrad. In September 1942, the Romanian Third and Fourth Armies took up their positions around Stalingrad together with the first elements of the Romanian Air Corps: on September 16, the 7th Fighter Group, on September 25, the 5th Bomber Group and, on October 4, the 1st Bomber, 8th Fighter, 6 Fighter-Bomber and 3rd Bomber Group arrived with the mission of providing air support for the Third Romanian and 6th German Armies.
The Romanian Third Army, commanded by General Petre Dumitrescu, was transferred from the Caucasus and replaced five Italian and two German divisions between Blij Perekopa and Bokovkaya, with the task of defending a front 138 km long, far beyond its capabilities. To make things worse, the Soviets had two bridgeheads over the Don River, at Serafimovich and Kletskaya, which the German High Command ignored, despite repeated requests by General Dumitrescu for permission to eliminate them. At the start of the Soviet offensive in November 1942, the Third Army had a nominal strength of 152,492 Romanian troops and 11,211 German troops, being made up from 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Army Corps in a single echelon from West to East, with 7th Cavalry and 15th Infantry Divisions in reserve; the Long Range Recon and the 112th Liaison Squadrons were at its disposal. In November came the German XLVIII Panzer Corps, composed of the 22nd Panzer Division and the 1st Armoured Division, put in reserve, it had the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 8th Motorized Heavy Artillery Regiments and the 41st Independent Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion.
Opposite the 3rd Army was the Southwestern Front, with a staggering force of 5,888 artillery pieces, 728 tanks and 790 planes. The Romanian Fourth Army, commanded by General Constantin Constantinescu, with 75,580 men, occupied a line south of the city, between Staraya Otrada and Sarpa, it comprised the 7th Army Corps. The Romanian Air Corps put at its disposal the 15th, 16th, 17th Observation and the 114th Liaison Squadrons covering a front of 270 km long, thus the 18th Cavalry covered a line of 100 km. The reserve consisted of the 6th Roşiori Regiment, the 27th, 57th Pioneer Battalions and the 57th Recon Group; the Fourth Panzer Army had in the area the 29th Motorized Infantry Division. This army was supposed to check the advance of the Stalingrad Front, which possessed 4,931 artillery pieces and 455 tanks. Most of these formations were in deplorable shape, with at best 73% of necessary manpower, with the 1st Infantry Division going as low as 25% and an nonexistent arsenal of heavy antitank guns.
Between these two armies was the Sixth German Army, under General der Panzertruppe Friedrich Paulus. On 19 November at 0530, in the sector of the Third Romanian Army, artillery barrages battered the entire front line, while blizzards, snow fall, -20 degrees Celsius made close air support impossible; the Soviets assaulted the positions of the 14th Infantry Division with the 5th Tank Army and the junction between the 13th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division with the 21st Army, with a total of 338,631 men against three weak divisions. The 37mm and 47mm AT guns were useless against Soviet tanks, so the Romanian troops had to use grenades, anti-tank mines and Molotov cocktails. In the first hours, they managed to delay the advance and destroy some armor, but they had to retreat or be encircled; the Soviets attacked west of Tsaritsa Valley and at Raspopinskaya, but were repulsed. In response to the situation that developed south of Kletskaya, the 48th Armored Corps was ordered to move towards the Soviet main thrust and shortly afterwards, the 22nd Panzer Divi
Sir Antony James Beevor, is an English military historian. He has published the 20th century in general. Born in Kensington, Beevor was educated at two independent schools, he went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he studied under the military historian John Keegan, before receiving a commission in the 11th Hussars on 28 July 1967. Beevor served in England and Germany and was promoted to lieutenant on 28 January 1969 before resigning his commission on 5 August 1970. Beevor has been a visiting professor at the School of History and Archaeology at Birkbeck, University of London and at the University of Kent, he revised his 1982 The Spanish Civil War in 2006 as The Battle for Spain, which keeps the structure and some language from its predecessor, but uses the updated narrative and detailed style of his Stalingrad book. The reworked release adds characters and archival research from Russia, he is descended from a long line of writers, being a son of "Kinta" Beevor, the daughter of Lina Waterfield, an author and foreign correspondent for The Observer and a descendant of Lucie Duff-Gordon.
Kinta Beevor wrote A Tuscan Childhood. Antony Beevor is married to biographer Artemis Cooper, his best-known works, the best-selling Stalingrad and Berlin - The Downfall 1945, recount the World War II battles between the Soviet Union and Germany. They have been praised for their vivid, compelling style, their treatment of the ordinary lives of combatants and civilians and the use of newly disclosed documents from Soviet archives, his 2012 book The Second World War is noted for its focus on the conditions and grief faced by civilians and women and for its "masterful" coverage of the war in East Asia. Beevor's expertise has been the subject of some commentary, he has appeared as an expert in documentaries related to World War II. Overall, his works have been translated into over 30 languages with over 6 million copies sold. In August 2015, Russia's Yekaterinburg region considered the banning of Beevor's books, accusing him of Nazi sympathies citing his lack of Russian sources when writing about Russia, promoting false stereotypes introduced by Nazi Germany during World War II.
Beevor responded by calling the banning "a government trying to impose its own version of history" like other "attempts to dictate a truth" such as the denial of the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. In January 2018, Beevors's book about the Battle of Stalingrad was banned in Ukraine. Beevor told RFE/RL: "I must say, this sounds astonishing. There's nothing inherently anti-Ukrainian in the book at all." Beevor was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2017 New Year Honours for "services in support of Armed Forces Professional Development". Beevor is a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a member of Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana and a commander of the Order of the Crown. Beevor was elected an honorary Fellow of King's College London in July 2016, he was awarded an Honorary D. Litt. From the University of Bath in 2010, an honorary doctorate from the University of Kent, awarded in 2004, his book Crete: The Battle and the Resistance for which he won the Runciman Prize, administered by the Anglo-Hellenic League for stimulating interest in Greek history and culture.
Beevor has been recognized with the 2014 Pritzker Military Museum & Library's Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Tim O'Brien, the 2013 recipient, made the announcement on behalf of the selection committee; the award carried a purse of $US 100,000. In July 2016, he was awarded the Medlicott Medal for services to history by the UK based Historical Association. Beevor sits on the Council of the Society of Authors. Crete: The Battle and the Resistance Runciman Prize Stalingrad Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction Wolfson History Prize Hawthornden Prize for Literature Berlin:The Downfall 1945 Longman-History Today Trustees' Award The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 La Vanguardia Prize for Non-Fiction He has written thirteen books and non-fiction. Antony Beevor has edited books, including: A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941–1945 by Vasily Grossman. ISBN 9780375424076He has contributed to several other books, including: The British Army and Society into the Twenty-First Century, ed by Hew Strachan What Ifs? of American History: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, by Robert Cowley, Antony Beevor and Caleb Carr.
Official website Antony Beevor Stalingrad Berlin - The Downfall 1945 Antony Beevor discusses his book on the Spanish Civil War Antony Beevor on IMDb Appearances on C-SPAN Interview on The Second World War at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on 21 June 2012 Sir Antony Beevor on Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 19 February 2017
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe; the designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the used term Reichswehr, was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, one of Adolf Hitler's most overt and audacious moves was to establish the Wehrmacht, a modern offensively-capable armed force, fulfilling the Nazi regime's long-term goals of regaining lost territory as well as gaining new territory and dominating its neighbors; this required the reinstatement of conscription, massive investment and defense spending on the arms industry. The Wehrmacht formed the heart of Germany's politico-military power. In the early part of the Second World War, the Wehrmacht employed combined arms tactics to devastating effect in what became known as a Blitzkrieg, its campaigns in France, the Soviet Union, North Africa are regarded as acts of boldness.
At the same time, the far-flung advances strained the Wehrmacht's capacity to the breaking point, culminating in the first major defeat in the Battle of Moscow. The operational art was no match to the war-making abilities of the Allied coalition, making the Wehrmacht's weaknesses in strategy and logistics apparent. Cooperating with the SS and the Einsatzgruppen, the German armed forces committed numerous war crimes and atrocities, despite denials and promotion of the myth of the Clean Wehrmacht; the majority of the war crimes were committed in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Italy, as part of the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, the Holocaust and Nazi security warfare. During the war about 18 million men served in the Wehrmacht. By the time the war ended in Europe in May 1945, German forces had lost 11,300,000 men, about half of whom were missing or killed during the war. Only a few of the Wehrmacht's upper leadership were tried for war crimes, despite evidence suggesting that more were involved in illegal actions.
The majority of the three million Wehrmacht soldiers who invaded the USSR participated in committing war crimes. The German term "Wehrmacht" stems from the compound word of German: wehren, "to defend" and Macht, "power, force", it has been used to describes any nation's armed forces. The Frankfurt Constitution of 1849 designated all German military forces as the "German Wehrmacht", consisting of the Seemacht and the Landmacht. In 1919, the term Wehrmacht appears in Article 47 of the Weimar Constitution, establishing that: "The Reich's President holds supreme command of all armed forces of the Reich". From 1919, Germany's national defense force was known as the Reichswehr, a name, dropped in favor of Wehrmacht on 21 May 1935. In January 1919, after World War I ended with the signing of the armistice of 11 November 1918, the armed forces were dubbed Friedensheer. In March 1919, the national assembly passed a law founding a 420,000-strong preliminary army, the Vorläufige Reichswehr; the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May, in June, Germany signed the treaty that, among other terms, imposed severe constraints on the size of Germany's armed forces.
The army was limited to one hundred thousand men with an additional fifteen thousand in the navy. The fleet was to consist of at most six battleships, six cruisers, twelve destroyers. Submarines and heavy artillery were forbidden and the air-force was dissolved. A new post-war military, the Reichswehr, was established on 23 March 1921. General conscription was abolished under another mandate of the Versailles treaty; the Reichswehr was limited to 115,000 men, thus the armed forces, under the leadership of Hans von Seeckt, retained only the most capable officers. The American historians Alan Millet and Williamson Murray wrote "In reducing the officers corps, Seeckt chose the new leadership from the best men of the general staff with ruthless disregard for other constituencies, such as war heroes and the nobility". Seeckt's determination that the Reichswehr be an elite cadre force that would serve as the nucleus of an expanded military when the chance for restoring conscription came led to the creation of a new army, based upon, but different from, the army that existed in World War I.
In the 1920s, Seeckt and his officers developed new doctrines that emphasized speed, combined arms and initiative on the part of lower officers to take advantage of momentary opportunities. Though Seeckt retired in 1926, the army that went to war in 1939 was his creation. Germany was forbidden to have an air force by the Versailles treaty; these officers saw the role of an air force as winning air superiority and strategic bombing and providing ground support. That the Luftwaffe did not develop a strategic bombing force in the 1930s was not due to a lack of interest, but because of economic limitations; the leadership of the Navy led by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, a close protégé of Alfred von Tirpitz, was dedicated to the idea of reviving Tirpitz's High Seas Fleet. Officers who believed in submarine warfare led by Admiral Karl Dönitz were in a minority before 1939. By 1922
Operation Koltso was the last part of the Battle of Stalingrad. It resulted in the capitulation of the remaining Axis forces encircled in the city; the operation was launched on 10 January 1943 with a mass artillery bombardment of the German positions outside the city by the seven encircling Soviet armies. In the first three days, the Soviets lost 26,000 men and over half their tanks; the western half of the Stalingrad pocket had been lost by 17 January. On the 10th, it became clear. "The 44th, 76th and 28th Infantry Divisions were badly hit." The 3rd Infantry Division, deployed on the southwestern corner of the cauldron since the end of Nov. 1942, was ordered to retreat to new defensive positions to avoid encirclement. The fighting paused for four days while the Soviet forces regrouped and redeployed for the next phase of the operation; the second phase of the offensive began on 20 January with a Soviet push toward the airfield at Gumrak. Two days the airfield was occupied by the Soviets, its capture meant an end to the evacuation of the German wounded and that any further air supply would have to be by parachute.
Paulus on 22 January sent a radio message to OKH: Russians in action in 6 km wide on both sides Voroponovo, some with flags unfurled to the east. No way to close the gap. Withdrawal to neighboring fronts who are without ammunition and not feasible. Supply with ammunition from other fronts no longer possible. Food at an end. More than 12,000 unprovided for wounded in the encirclement. What orders shall I give the troops who have no more ammunition and will be further attacked with heavy artillery and massed infantry? Fastest decision necessary because dissolution in some places started. Confidence in the leadership still exists; the Axis retreated back into the city itself. But resistance to the Soviet advance diminished due to the exhaustion of all supplies on the Axis side. On 25 January, LI Corps commander Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach told his divisional commanders to decide for themselves on the matter of surrender, he was relieved of his command by Paulus. Seydlitz-Kurzbach fled the German lines under German fire and surrendered to the Soviets.
On 26 January, detachments of 21st Army met up with the 13th Guards Division to the north of the Mamaev Kurgan, which cut the Axis pocket in Stalingrad in two. Paulus and many of his senior German commanders were in the smaller southern pocket based in the city center of Stalingrad; the northern pocket was led by XI Corps commander General Strecker and centered in the area around the tractor factory. In bitter fighting, the Soviets cleared the city center. By 31 January, German resistance in the southern pocket was confined to individual buildings. Soviet forces reached Paulus's headquarters in the Univermag Department Store and the remaining German soldiers ceased their resistance. Soviet Staff officers entered the building and negotiated terms with General Schmidt. Paulus refused to participate directly. In Soviet captivity, Paulus denied claiming to have been taken by surprise, he refused to issue an order to the remaining Germans in the southern pocket to surrender. He denied having the authority to issue an order for the northern pocket to surrender.
The entire Soviet force at Stalingrad now concentrated on the northern pocket. Intense artillery fire was used to reduce resistance. Soviet forces followed up, destroying any remaining bunkers with direct fire at short range from tanks or artillery. General Strecker continued to resist based on the idea that tying down the Soviet armies at Stalingrad as long as possible would help the German situation elsewhere in the Soviet Union. By the early morning of 2 February, Strecker was informed that one of his officers had gone to negotiate surrender terms with the Soviets, he decided to put an end to the fighting. He sent a radio message to Germany, saying that his command had performed its duty to the last man and surrendered. Organized Axis resistance in the city ended