The Battle of Stalingrad (July 17, 1942-Feb. 2, 1943), was the successful Soviet defense of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in the U.S.S.R. during World War II.
Situated on the western bank of the Volga River, Stalingrad was a center of heavy industry and transshipment by rail and river but, being the namesake of the leader of the Red Army, its great propaganda value was the true value of the city. The battle for the city turned into one of the bloodiest in World War II with combined casualty numbers near two-million. The Germans were ordered to take the city at any cost, ìsurrender is forbiddenî, while the Red Army was ordered to take “Not one step back”.
Individual streets were fought over using hand-to-hand combat. Even the sewers were the sites of firefights. Buildings had to be cleared room by room through the bombed-out debris of residential neighborhoods, office blocks, basements and apartment high-rises. Some of the taller buildings, blasted into roofless shells by earlier German aerial bombardment, saw floor-by-floor, close quarters combat, with the Germans and Soviets on alternate levels, firing at each other through holes in the floors. The Germans, calling this unseen urban warfare Rattenkrieg (“Rat War”), bitterly joked about capturing the kitchen but still fighting for the living room and the bedroom.
The Germans captured up to 90% of the city by early November but they failed to fully assert their authority. Areas taken by the Germans during the day, were re-taken by the Russians at night. The central railway station of the city changed hands thirteen times and the Mamayev Kurgan (the highest ground elevation in the city) was captured and recaptured eight times.
(Mratnimiat has no particular meaning in English, German, Polish, Russian or Ukranian, however if you spell it backwards (Ta i min tam) and read it in Swedish, it roughly translates to “Take my intestine”) [Fan generated content by: Joe Arino]