Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Premier. While presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, he consolidated enough power to become the country's de facto dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies became known as Stalinism. Born to a poor family in Gori, Russian Empire, Stalin joined the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party as a youth, he edited the party's newspaper and raised funds for Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik faction via robberies and protection rackets. Arrested, he underwent several internal exiles. After the Bolsheviks seized power during the 1917 October Revolution and created a one-party state under Lenin's newly renamed Communist Party, Stalin joined its governing Politburo.
Serving in the Russian Civil War before overseeing the Soviet Union's establishment in 1922, Stalin assumed leadership over the country following Lenin's 1924 death. During Stalin's rule, "Socialism in One Country" became a central tenet of the party's dogma. Under the Five-Year Plans, the country underwent agricultural collectivisation and rapid industrialization, creating a centralized command economy; this led to significant disruptions in food production that contributed to the famine of 1932–33. To eradicate accused "enemies of the working class", Stalin instituted the "Great Purge", in which over a million were imprisoned and at least 700,000 executed between 1934 and 1939. By 1937, he had complete personal control over the state. Stalin's government promoted Marxism–Leninism abroad through the Communist International and supported anti-fascist movements throughout Europe during the 1930s in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, it signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, resulting in the Soviet invasion of Poland.
Germany ended the pact by invading the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite initial setbacks, the Soviet Red Army repelled the German incursion and captured Berlin in 1945, ending World War II in Europe; the Soviets annexed the Baltic states and helped establish Soviet-aligned governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe and North Korea. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged from the war as the two world superpowers. Tensions arose between the Soviet-backed Eastern Bloc and U. S.-backed Western Bloc which became known as the Cold War. Stalin led his country through its post-war reconstruction, during which it developed a nuclear weapon in 1949. In these years, the country experienced another major famine and an anti-semitic campaign peaking in the Doctors' plot. Stalin died in 1953. Considered one of the 20th century's most significant figures, Stalin was the subject of a pervasive personality cult within the international Marxist–Leninist movement which revered him as a champion of the working class and socialism.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Stalin has retained popularity in Russia and Georgia as a victorious wartime leader who established the Soviet Union as a major world power. Conversely, his totalitarian government has been condemned for overseeing mass repressions, ethnic cleansing, hundreds of thousands of executions, famines which killed millions. Stalin was born in the Georgian town of Gori on 18 December 1878, he was the son of Besarion "Beso" Jughashvili and Ekaterine "Keke" Geladze, who had married in May 1872, had lost two sons in infancy prior to Stalin's birth. They were ethnically Georgian, Stalin grew up speaking the Georgian language. Gori was part of the Russian Empire, was home to a population of 20,000, the majority of whom were Georgian but with Armenian and Jewish minorities. Stalin was baptised on 29 December, he was nicknamed "Soso", a diminutive of "Ioseb". Besarion owned his own workshop; the family found themselves living in poverty, moving through nine different rented rooms in ten years.
Besarion became an alcoholic, drunkenly beat his wife and son. To escape the abusive relationship, Keke took Stalin and moved into the house of a family friend, Fr. Christopher Charkviani, she worked as launderer for local families sympathetic to her plight. Keke was determined to send her son to school, something that none of the family had achieved. In late 1888, aged 10 Stalin enrolled at the Gori Church School; this was reserved for the children of clergy, although Charkviani ensured that the boy received a place. Stalin excelled academically, displaying talent in painting and drama classes, writing his own poetry, singing as a choirboy, he got into many fights, a childhood friend noted that Stalin "was the best but the naughtiest pupil" in the class. Stalin faced several severe health problems. Aged 12, he was injured after being hit by a phaeton, the cause of a lifelong disability to his left arm. At his teachers' recommendation, Stalin proceeded to the Spiritual Seminary in Tiflis, he enrolled at the school in August 1894, enabled by a scholarship that allowed him to study at a reduced rate.
Here he joined 600 trainee priests who boarded at the semina
World War II casualties
World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. An estimated total 70-85 million people perished, about 3% of the 1940 world population; the tables below give a detailed country-by-country count of human losses. World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total deaths ranging from 70 million to 85 million. Deaths directly caused by the war military and civilians killed are estimated at 50-56 million people, there were an additional estimated 19 to 28 million deaths from war-related disease and famine. Civilians deaths totaled 50 to 55 million. Military deaths from all causes totaled 21 to 25 million, including deaths in captivity of about 5 million prisoners of war. Statistics on the number of military wounded are included. More than half of the total number of casualties are accounted for by the dead of the Republic of China and of the Soviet Union; the government of the Russian Federation in the 1990s published an estimate of USSR losses at 26.6 million, including 8 to 9 million due to famine and disease.
These losses are for the territory of the USSR in the borders of 1946–1991, including territories annexed in 1939–40. The People's Republic of China as of 2005 estimated the number of Chinese casualties in the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945 are 20 million dead and 15 million wounded. In 2000, the total number of German military dead was estimated at 5.3 million by Rüdiger Overmans of the Military History Research Office. Civilian deaths are not included. However, in 2005 the German government put the war dead at 7,395,000 persons from Germany and men conscripted from outside of Germany's 1937 borders; the number of Polish dead are estimated to number between 5.6 and 5.8 million according to the Institute of National Remembrance. Documentation remains fragmentary, but today scholars of independent Poland believe that 1.8 to 1.9 million Polish civilians and 3 million Jews were victims of German Occupation policies and the war for a total of just under 5 million dead."The Japanese government as of 2005 put the number of Japanese deaths at 3.1 million.
Compiling or estimating the numbers of deaths and wounded caused during wars and other violent conflicts is a controversial subject. Historians put forward many different estimates of the numbers killed and wounded during World War II; the authors of the Oxford Companion to World War II maintain that "casualty statistics are notoriously unreliable." The table below gives data on the number of dead and military wounded for each country, along with population information to show the relative impact of losses. When scholarly sources differ on the number of deaths in a country, a range of war losses is given, in order to inform readers that the death toll is disputed. Since casualty statistics are sometimes disputed the footnotes to this article present the different estimates by official governmental sources as well as historians. Military figures include battle deaths and personnel missing in action, as well as fatalities due to accidents and deaths of prisoners of war in captivity. Civilian casualties include deaths caused by strategic bombing, Holocaust victims, German war crimes, Japanese war crimes, population transfers in the Soviet Union, Allied war crimes, deaths due to war related famine and disease.
The sources for the casualties of the individual nations do not use the same methods, civilian deaths due to starvation and disease make up a large proportion of the civilian deaths in China and the Soviet Union. The losses listed here are actual deaths; the distinction between military and civilian casualties caused directly by warfare and collateral damage is not always clear-cut. For nations that suffered huge losses such as the Soviet Union, Poland and Yugoslavia, sources can give only the total estimated population loss caused by the war and a rough estimate of the breakdown of deaths caused by military activity, crimes against humanity and war-related famine; the casualties listed here include 19 to 25 million war-related famine deaths in the USSR, Indonesia, the Philippines, India that are omitted from other compilations of World War II casualties. The footnotes give a detailed breakdown of the casualties and their sources, including data on the number of wounded where reliable sources are available.
Figures are rounded to the nearest hundredth place. Military casualties include deaths of regular military forces from combat as well as non-combat causes. Partisan and resistance fighter deaths are included with military losses; the deaths of prisoners of war in captivity and personnel missing in action are included with military deaths. Whenever possible the details are given in the footnotes; the armed forces of the various nations are treated as single entities, for example the deaths of Austrians and foreign nationals of German ancestry in eastern Europe in the Wehrmacht are included with German military losses. For example, Michael Strank is included with American not Czechoslovak war dead. Civilian war dead are included with the nations. For example, German Jewish refugees in France who were deported to the death camps are included with French casualties in the published sources on the Holocaust; the official casualty statistics published by the governments of the United States and the UK do not give the details of the national origin and religion of the losses.
Civilian casualties include deaths caused by strategic bombing, Holocaus
Blitzkrieg is a method of warfare whereby an attacking force, spearheaded by a dense concentration of armoured and motorised or mechanised infantry formations with close air support, breaks through the opponent's line of defence by short, powerful attacks and dislocates the defenders, using speed and surprise to encircle them with the help of air superiority. Through the employment of combined arms in manoeuvre warfare, blitzkrieg attempts to unbalance the enemy by making it difficult for it to respond to the continuously changing front defeat it in a decisive Vernichtungsschlacht. During the interwar period and tank technologies matured and were combined with systematic application of the traditional German tactic of Bewegungskrieg, deep penetrations and the bypassing of enemy strong points to encircle and destroy enemy forces in a Kesselschlacht. During the Invasion of Poland, Western journalists adopted the term blitzkrieg to describe this form of armoured warfare; the term had appeared in 1935, in a German military periodical Deutsche Wehr, in connection to quick or lightning warfare.
German manoeuvre operations were successful in the campaigns of 1939–1941 and by 1940 the term blitzkrieg was extensively used in Western media. Blitzkrieg operations capitalized on surprise penetrations, general enemy unreadiness and their inability to match the pace of the German attack. During the Battle of France, the French made attempts to re-form defensive lines along rivers but were frustrated when German forces arrived first and pressed on. Despite being common in German and English-language journalism during World War II, the word Blitzkrieg was never used by the Wehrmacht as an official military term, except for propaganda. According to David Reynolds, "Hitler himself called the term Blitzkrieg'A idiotic word'"; some senior officers, including Kurt Student, Franz Halder and Johann Adolf von Kielmansegg disputed the idea that it was a military concept. Kielmansegg asserted that what many regarded as blitzkrieg was nothing more than "ad hoc solutions that popped out of the prevailing situation".
Student described it as ideas that "naturally emerged from the existing circumstances" as a response to operational challenges. The Wehrmacht never adopted it as a concept or doctrine. In 2005, the historian Karl-Heinz Frieser summarized blitzkrieg as the result of German commanders using the latest technology in the most beneficial way according to traditional military principles and employing "the right units in the right place at the right time". Modern historians now understand blitzkrieg as the combination of the traditional German military principles and doctrines of the 19th century with the military technology of the interwar period. Modern historians use the term casually as a generic description for the style of manoeuvre warfare practised by Germany during the early part of World War II, rather than as an explanation. According to Frieser, in the context of the thinking of Heinz Guderian on mobile combined arms formations, blitzkrieg can be used as a synonym for modern manoeuvre warfare on the operational level.
The traditional meaning of blitzkrieg is that of German tactical and operational methodology in the first half of the Second World War, hailed as a new method of warfare. The word, meaning "lightning war" or "lightning attack" in its strategic sense describes a series of quick and decisive short battles to deliver a knockout blow to an enemy state before it could mobilize. Tactically, blitzkrieg is a coordinated military effort by tanks, motorized infantry and aircraft, to create an overwhelming local superiority in combat power, to defeat the opponent and break through its defences. Blitzkrieg as used by Germany had considerable psychological, or "terror" elements, such as the Jericho Trompete, a noise-making siren on the Junkers Ju 87 dive-bomber, to affect the morale of enemy forces; the devices were removed when the enemy became used to the noise after the Battle of France in 1940 and instead bombs sometimes had whistles attached. It is common for historians and writers to include psychological warfare by using Fifth columnists to spread rumours and lies among the civilian population in the theatre of operations.
The origin of the term blitzkrieg is obscure. It was never used in the title of a military doctrine or handbook of the German army or air force, no "coherent doctrine" or "unifying concept of blitzkrieg" existed; the term seems to have been used in the German military press before 1939 and recent research at the German Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt at Potsdam found it in only two military articles from the 1930s. Both used the term to mean a swift strategic knock-out, rather than a radical new military doctrine or approach to war; the first article deals with supplies of food and materiel in wartime. The term blitzkrieg is used with reference to German efforts to win a quick victory in the First World War but is not associated with the use of armoured, mechanised or air forces, it argued that Germany must develop self-sufficiency in food, because it might again prove impossible to deal a swift knock-out to its enemies, leading to a long war. In the second article, launching a swift strategic knock-out is described as an attractive idea for Germany but difficult to achieve on land under modern conditions, unless an exceptionally high degree of surprise could be achieved.
The author vaguely suggests that a massive strategic air attack might hold out better prospe
Australian home front during World War II
Although most Australian civilians lived far from the front line of World War II, the Australian home front during World War II played a significant role in the Allied victory and led to permanent changes to Australian society. During the war the Australian Government expanded its powers in order to better direct the war effort, Australia's industrial and human resources were focused on supporting the Allied armed forces. While there were only a small number of attacks on civilian targets, many Australians feared that the country would be invaded during the early years of the Pacific War. Robert Gordon Menzies was sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia for the first time on 26 April 1939 following the death of Joseph Lyons, he led a minority United Australia Party government, after Country Party leader Earle Page refused to serve in a Coalition government led by Menzies. On 3 September 1939, Australia entered World War II, with Menzies making a declaration of a state of war in a national radio broadcast: Earle Page as leader of the Country Party and John Curtin as leader of the Labor Party both pledged support to the declaration, Parliament passed the National Security Act 1939.
A War Cabinet was formed after the declaration of war composed of Prime Minister Menzies and five senior ministers. When Page still refused to join a government under Menzies, he was replaced by Archie Cameron as leader of the Country Party on 13 September 1939, allowing the conservative parties to re-form a Coalition by March 1940; the recruitment of a volunteer military force for service at home and abroad was announced, the Second Australian Imperial Force, a citizen militia was organised for local defence. Menzies committed to provide 20,000 men to augment British forces in Europe, on 15 November 1939 announced the reintroduction of conscription for home-defence service, effective 1 January 1940, freeing volunteers for overseas service. By June 1940, Germany had overrun the Low Countries and France leaving the British Empire standing alone against Germany. Menzies called for an ‘all in’ war effort and, with the support of Curtin, amended the National Security Act to extend government powers to tax, acquire property, control businesses and the labour force and allow for conscription of men for the "defence of Australia".
Essington Lewis, the head of Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd was appointed Director-General of Munitions Supply to assist with mobilisation of national resources. However, in spring 1940, the coal miners under communist leadership struck for higher wages for 67 days. On 15 June 1940 the Menzies government suppressed 10 communist and fascist parties and organizations as subversive of the war effort. Police and army intelligence made hundreds of raids that night, broke up public meetings in the capital cities. In July 1940, the Menzies government imposed regulations under the National Security Act placing all of Australia's newspapers, radio stations, film industry under the direct control of the Director-General of Information. Newspaper publishers complained. In January 1941, new regulations were directed against speaking disloyalty in public or in private; the regulations were aimed at "whisperers". During World War II many enemy aliens were interned in Australia under the National Security Act 1939.
Prisoners of war were sent to Australia from other Allied countries as were their enemy aliens for internment in Australia. About 7000 residents were interned including more than 1500 British nationals. A further 8000 people were sent to Australia to be interned after being detained overseas by Australia's allies. At its peak in 1942, more than 12,000 people were interned in Australia. With the 1940 election looming, a Royal Australian Airforce crash at Canberra airport in August 1940 resulted in the death of the Chief of the General Staff and three senior ministers; the Labor Party meanwhile experienced a split along pro- and anti-Communist lines over policy towards the Soviet Union for its co-operation with Nazi Germany in the invasion of Poland. At the 1940 federal election in September, the UAP–Country Party Coalition and the Labor parties each won 36 seats and the Menzies Government was forced to rely on the support of two Independents to continue in office. Menzies proposed an all party unity government to break the impasse, but the Labor Party refused to join.
Curtin agreed instead to take a seat on a newly created Advisory War Council in October 1940. Cameron resigned as Country Party leader in October 1940, to be replaced by Arthur Fadden, who became Treasurer and Menzies unhappily conceded to allow Page back into his ministry. In January 1941, Menzies flew to Britain to discuss the weakness of Singapore's defences and sat with Winston Churchill's British War Cabinet, he was unable to achieve significant assurances for increased commitment to Singapore's defences, but undertook morale boosting excursions to war affected cities and factories. Returning to Australia via Lisbon and the United States in May, Menzies faced a war-time minority government under increasing strain. In Menzies's absence, Curtin had co-operated with Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Fadden in preparing Australia for the expected Pacific War. With the threat of Japan imminent and with the Australian army suffering badly in the Greek and Crete campaigns, Menzies re-organised his ministry and announced multiple multi-party committees to advise on war and economic policy.
Government critics however called for an all-party government. After Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, Australian trade unions supported the war. Austral
Michurinsk is the second most populous town in Tambov Oblast, Russia. Population: 98,758 . Known as Kozlov, it was founded in 1635 at the northern end of the emerging Belgorod Line. A 25-kilometer earthen wall was built eastward across the open steppe blocking the Nogai Trail, a Tatar raiding route; the success of this line led to the building of further lines further south. The settlement was granted town status in 1779; the town was renamed Michurinsk in 1932 after the biologist Ivan Michurin, who had developed a genetic laboratory and agricultural testing fields in the Tambov region, dedicated to pomology and selection biology. Within the framework of administrative divisions, Michurinsk serves as the administrative center of Michurinsky District though it is not a part of it; as an administrative division, it is incorporated separately as the town of oblast significance of Michurinsk—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the town of oblast significance of Michurinsk is incorporated as Michurinsk Urban Okrug.
The town is home to Michurinsk air base. Michurinsk is twinned with: Munster, Lower Saxony, Germany Тамбовская областная Дума. Закон №72-З от 21 июня 1996 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Тамбовской области», в ред. Закона №544-З от 11 июня 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в статью 7 Закона Тамбовской области "Об административно-территориальном устройстве Тамбовской области"». Опубликован: "Тамбовская жизнь", №131, 1996 г.. Тамбовская областная Дума. Закон №232-З от 17 сентября 2004 г. «Об установлении границ и определении места нахождения представительных органов муниципальных образований в Тамбовской области», в ред. Закона №606-З от 7 декабря 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в Закон Тамбовской области "Об установлении границ и определении места нахождения представительных органов муниципальных образований в Тамбовской области"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Тамбовская жизнь", №185.. Brian L. Davies, State Power and Community in Early Modern Russia: The Case of Kozlov, 1635-1649.
Michurinsk at Encyclopædia Britannica Photos of Michurinsk News of culture and sport in Michurinsk
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war is a person, whether a combatant or a non-combatant, held in custody by a belligerent power during or after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1660. Belligerents hold prisoners of war in custody for a range of legitimate and illegitimate reasons, such as isolating them from enemy combatants still in the field, demonstrating military victory, punishing them, prosecuting them for war crimes, exploiting them for their labour, recruiting or conscripting them as their own combatants, collecting military and political intelligence from them, or indoctrinating them in new political or religious beliefs. For most of human history, depending on the culture of the victors, enemy combatants on the losing side in a battle who had surrendered and been taken as a prisoner of war could expect to be either slaughtered or enslaved; the first Roman gladiators were prisoners of war and were named according to their ethnic roots such as Samnite and the Gaul.
Homer's Iliad describes Greek and Trojan soldiers offering rewards of wealth to opposing forces who have defeated them on the battlefield in exchange for mercy, but their offers are not always accepted. Little distinction was made between enemy combatants and enemy civilians, although women and children were more to be spared. Sometimes, the purpose of a battle, if not a war, was to capture a practice known as raptio. Women had no rights, were held as chattel. In the fourth century AD, Bishop Acacius of Amida, touched by the plight of Persian prisoners captured in a recent war with the Roman Empire, who were held in his town under appalling conditions and destined for a life of slavery, took the initiative of ransoming them, by selling his church's precious gold and silver vessels, letting them return to their country. For this he was canonized. During Childeric's siege and blockade of Paris in 464, the nun Geneviève pleaded with the Frankish king for the welfare of prisoners of war and met with a favourable response.
Clovis I liberated captives after Genevieve urged him to do so. Many French prisoners of war were killed during the Battle of Agincourt in 1415; this was done in retaliation for the French killing of the boys and other non-combatants handling the baggage and equipment of the army, because the French were attacking again and Henry was afraid that they would break through and free the prisoners to fight again. In the Middle Ages, a number of religious wars aimed to not only defeat but eliminate their enemies. In Christian Europe, the extermination of heretics was considered desirable. Examples include the Northern Crusades; when asked by a Crusader how to distinguish between the Catholics and Cathars once they'd taken the city of Béziers, the Papal Legate Arnaud Amalric famously replied, "Kill them all, God will know His own". The inhabitants of conquered cities were massacred during the Crusades against the Muslims in the 11th and 12th centuries. Noblemen could hope to be ransomed. In feudal Japan, there was no custom of ransoming prisoners of war, who were for the most part summarily executed.
The expanding Mongol Empire was famous for distinguishing between cities or towns that surrendered, where the population were spared but required to support the conquering Mongol army, those that resisted, where their city was ransacked and destroyed, all the population killed. In Termez, on the Oxus: "all the people, both men and women, were driven out onto the plain, divided in accordance with their usual custom they were all slain"; the Aztecs were at war with neighbouring tribes and groups, with the goal of this constant warfare being to collect live prisoners for sacrifice. For the re-consecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, "between 10,000 and 80,400 persons" were sacrificed. During the early Muslim conquests, Muslims captured large number of prisoners. Aside from those who converted, most were enslaved. Christians who were captured during the Crusades, were either killed or sold into slavery if they could not pay a ransom. During his lifetime, Muhammad made it the responsibility of the Islamic government to provide food and clothing, on a reasonable basis, to captives, regardless of their religion.
The freeing of prisoners was recommended as a charitable act. On certain occasions where Muhammad felt the enemy had broken a treaty with the Muslims, he ordered the mass execution of male prisoners, such as the Banu Qurayza. Females and children of this tribe were divided up as spoils of war by Muhammad; the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War, established the rule that prisoners of war should be released without ransom at the end of hostilities and that they should be allowed to return to their homelands. There evolved the right of parole, French for "discourse", in which a captured officer surrendered his sword and gave his word as a gentleman in exchange for privileges. If he swore not to escape, he could gain the freedom of the prison. If he swore to cease hostilities against the nation who held him captive, he could be repatriated or exchanged but could not serve against his former captors in a military capacity. Ea
Operation Little Saturn
Operation Saturn, revised as Operation Little Saturn, was a Red Army operation on the Eastern Front of World War II that led to battles in the North Caucasus and Donets Basin regions of the Soviet Union from December 1942 to February 1943. The success of Operation Uranus, launched on 19 November 1942, had trapped 250,000–300,000 troops of General Friedrich Paulus' German 6th Army and 4th Panzer Army in Stalingrad. To exploit this victory, the Soviet general staff planned a winter campaign of continuous and ambitious offensive operations, codenamed "Saturn". Joseph Stalin reduced his ambitious plans to a small campaign codenamed "Operation Little Saturn"; the offensive succeeded in smashing Germany's Italian and Hungarian allies, applied pressure on the over stretched German forces in Eastern Ukraine and prevented further German advances to the relief of the entrapped forces at Stalingrad. Despite these victories, the Soviets themselves became over extended, setting up the stages for the German offensives of the Third Battle of Kharkov and the Battle of Kursk.
On 17 May 1942, German Army Groups A and B launched a counteroffensive against advancing Soviet armies around the city of Kharkov, resulting in the Second Battle of Kharkov. By 6 July, General Hermann Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army had taken the city of Voronezh, threatening to collapse the Red Army's resistance. By early August, General Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist's First Panzer Army had reached the oil center of Maykop, 500 kilometres south of the city of Rostov, taken by the Fourth Panzer Army on 23 July; the rapid German advance threatened to cut the Soviet Union off from its southern territories, while threatening to cut the lend-lease supply lines from Persia. However, the offensive began to peter out, as the offensive's supply train struggled to keep up with the advance and spearhead units began to run low on fuel and manpower. Operation Uranus was the codename of the Soviet strategic operation in World War II which led to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army and Fourth Romanian armies, portions of the German Fourth Panzer Army.
The operation formed part of the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad, was aimed at destroying German forces in and around Stalingrad. Planning for Operation Uranus had commenced as early as September 1942, was developed with plans to envelop and destroy German Army Group Center and German forces in the Caucasus; the Red Army took advantage of the fact that German forces in the southern Soviet Union were overstretched around Stalingrad, using weaker Romanian armies to guard their flanks. These Axis armies were deployed in open positions on the steppe and lacked heavy equipment to deal with Soviet armor. Operation Winter Storm, undertaken between 12–23 December 1942, was the German Fourth Panzer Army's attempt to relieve encircled Axis forces during the Battle of Stalingrad. In late November, the Red Army completed Operation Uranus, which resulted in the encirclement of 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.
As the Red Army continued to build strength, in an effort 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, the Luftwaffe had begun an attempt to supply German forces in Stalingrad through an air bridge. However, as the Luftwaffe proved incapable of carrying out its mission and it became more obvious that a successful breakout could only occur if it was launched as early as possible, Manstein decided to plan and launch a dedicated relief effort. After the defeat of the Romanian Army around Stalingrad and the successful encirclement of the German Sixth Army, Stalin started a counter-offensive nicknamed "Operation Little Saturn" in order to enlarge the area controlled by the Soviet Army in eastern Ukraine until Kharkov and Rostov. Zhukov states the South-Western Front was assigned a mission in which the 1st and 3rd Guard armies and the 5th Tank Army "were to strike out in the general direction of Morozovsk and destroy the enemy grouping in that sector."
They would be supported by the 6th Army of the Voronezh Front. The first stage — an attempt to cut off the German Army Group A in the Caucasus — had to be revised when General Erich von Manstein launched Operation Winter Storm on 12 December in an attempt to relieve the trapped armies at Stalingrad. While General Rodion Malinovsky's Soviet 2nd Guards Army blocked the German advance on Stalingrad, the modified plan Operation Little Saturn was launched on 16 December; this operation consisted of a pincer movement. General Fyodor Isidorovich Kuznetsov's 1st Guards Army and General Dmitri Danilovich Lelyushenko's 3rd Guards Army attacked from the north, encircling 130,000 soldiers of the Italian 8th Army on the Don and advancing to Millerovo; the Italians resisted the Soviet attack for nearly two weeks, although outnumbered 9 to 1 in some sectors, but with huge losses. Manstein sent the 6th Panzer Division to the Italians' aid: of the 130,000 encircled troops, only 45,000 survived after bloody fighting to join the Panzers at Chertkovo on 17 January.
To the south the advance of General Gerasimenko's 28th Army threatened to encircle the 1st Panzer Army and General Trufanov's 51st Army attacked the relief column directly. In a dar