On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet troops in the Battle of Stalingrad, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation launched a special multimedia section on its website “Stalingrad.

Great victory in a great war."

Unique archival documents about the course of the battle and the defeat of the Nazi troops on the Volga were published here: orders from the Headquarters, political reports from Soviet units, award lists and captured German documentation. 

"The Iron Law of Discipline"

The Battle of Stalingrad began on July 17, 1942.

The Nazi group, which consisted, according to various estimates, of 430 thousand people, advanced in the direction of Stalingrad, planning to go to the Volga and block the transport corridor between the southern and central regions of the USSR.

Its basis was the elite 6th Army under the command of General Friedrich Paulus.

In mid-July, the Soviet command could only oppose the Nazis in the Stalingrad direction with only about 166 thousand military personnel.

Despite the desperate resistance of the Red Army, the Nazis moved east.

As historians note, the loss of control over the Volga and the cessation of supplies of Caucasian oil could have fatal consequences for the Soviet state.

  • NPO Order No. 227

  • © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

On July 28, 1942, People's Commissar of Defense Joseph Stalin signed Order No. 227 "On measures to strengthen discipline and order in the Red Army and prohibit unauthorized withdrawal from combat positions."

"Not one step back!

This should now be our main call.

We must stubbornly, to the last drop of blood, defend every position, every meter of Soviet territory, cling to every piece of Soviet land and defend it to the last opportunity.

Our country is going through hard times.

We must stop and then push back and defeat the enemy, no matter what it costs us.

The Germans are not as strong as it seems to alarmists.

They are straining their last strength.

To withstand their blow now, in the next few months, is to ensure victory for us ... What do we lack?

There is a lack of order and discipline in companies, battalions, regiments, divisions, tank units, air squadrons.

This is now our main shortcoming.

We must establish the strictest order and iron discipline in our army if we want to save the situation and defend our Motherland ...

Alarmists and cowards must be exterminated on the spot.

From now on, the iron law of discipline for every commander, Red Army soldier, political worker should be the requirement - not a step back without an order from the high command.

The commanders of a company, battalion, regiment, division, the corresponding commissars and political workers, retreating from a combat position without an order from above, are traitors to the Motherland ... To fulfill this call means to defend our land, save the Motherland, exterminate and defeat the hated enemy, ”Stalin’s order said , published on the website of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

Marshal Alexander Vasilevsky later called this order one of the most powerful documents of the war years in terms of the depth of patriotic content.

  • Stalin's order of September 4, 1942

  • © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The headquarters of the Supreme High Command established tight control over the activities of the Soviet group in the Stalingrad region.

“The Headquarters of the Supreme High Command ordered no later than 18 hours on August 1, 1942 to inform, under what circumstances, by order or without permission and through whose fault Kletskaya was left on July 31, 1942,” says the order of the Headquarters of August 1, 1942, posted on the website Ministry of Defense.

The Soviet command constantly worked on finding the most rational schemes for command and control of troops near Stalingrad.

  • Battle of Stalingrad

“The Headquarters of the Supreme High Command orders: from 6 o’clock on August 10 to subordinate the Stalingrad Front to the commander of the South-Eastern Front, Colonel-General Eremenko, leaving Comrade Eremenko to command the South-Eastern Front concurrently ... Keep in mind both Comrade Eremenko and Comrade Gordeev that the defense Stalingrad and the defeat of the enemy coming from the west and from it to Stalingrad is of decisive importance for our entire Soviet front, ”the Stavka order of August 9 emphasizes.

In a telegram addressed to the general

Eremenko on August 23, Joseph Stalin orders the destruction of the Wehrmacht units that have broken through the front.

“Gather the aircraft of both fronts and fall on the enemy that has broken through.

Mobilize the armored trains and send them on the circular railway of Stalingrad.

Use smoke in abundance to confuse the enemy.

Fight with the enemy that has broken through not only during the day, but also at night ... The most important thing is not to panic, not to be afraid of the impudent enemy and remain confident in our success, ”writes Joseph

Stalin in a telegram.

  • Fighting in Stalingrad

  • Gettyimages.ru

  • © ullstein bild/ullstein bild

In a telegram dated August 25, sent to Chief of the General Staff Alexander Vasilevsky and member of the State Defense Committee Georgy Malenkov, Stalin declared the expediency of withdrawing Soviet troops east of the Don.

“The withdrawal must be carried out secretly and in perfect order so that it does not turn into a flight.

It is necessary to organize rearguards capable of fighting to the death in order to allow units of the army to retreat, ”the head of the People’s Commissariat of Defense emphasized.

Despite the active actions of the Soviet troops on the outskirts of the city, the Nazi army by September (after two months of fierce fighting) came close to the city limits of Stalingrad.

According to the calculations of both the Soviet command and the German command, it was expected that the city would hold out for no more than three days.

To resolve this critical situation, Joseph Stalin urgently summoned Georgy Zhukov, a representative of the Headquarters, from the Western Front.

The directive addressed to Zhukov states: “The enemy is three versts from Stalingrad.

Stalingrad can be taken today or tomorrow if the Northern Group of Forces does not provide immediate assistance.

Demand that the commanders of the troops, standing to the north and north-west of Stalingrad, immediately strike at the enemy and come to the aid of the Stalingraders.

On September 4, 1942, against the backdrop of a difficult situation on the Volga, Stalin telegraphed Zhukov: “I expect you to further force the strike in order to prevent the fall of Stalingrad.”

As a result, a group of troops of the Stalingrad Front, stationed to the north and north-west of the city, launched a counterattack on the enemy that had broken through.

Stalingrad was saved: the Germans had to withdraw a significant part of their forces to repel the Soviet counteroffensive, as a result of which their plan to quickly capture the city failed.

  • Fighting in Stalingrad

  • Gettyimages.ru

  • © Sovfoto/Universal Images Group

In autumn, the situation in the Stalingrad region became especially difficult.

Fierce fighting went on for every street, and in some cases even for every house.

The Nazis continued to rush to the Volga.

“I think that you do not see the danger that threatens the troops of the Stalingrad Front.

Having occupied the city center and advanced to the Volga north of Stalingrad, the enemy intends to take away your crossings, surround the 62nd Army and take it prisoner, and then surround the southern group of your troops of the 64th and other armies and also take them prisoner.

To prevent this danger, it is necessary to push the enemy back from the Volga and recapture those streets and houses of Stalingrad that the enemy has taken from you.

To do this, it is necessary to turn every house and every street in Stalingrad into a fortress.

Stalingrad must not be surrendered to the enemy, and that part of Stalingrad that is occupied by the enemy must be liberated, ”Stalin telegraphed Eremenko on October 5.

On October 15, an order was signed by the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command to the commander of the Don Front, which stated: “In order to provide immediate assistance to Stalingrad, the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command orders the main strike from the area of ​​\u200b\u200bheight 130.7, MTF (dairy commodity farm. -


), height 128, 9 in the general direction to Orlovka, height 75.9, where to connect with the troops of the Stalingrad Front.

Soviet counteroffensive

In November, the Nazi troops made the last hitch to crush the resistance of the Red Army units in the Stalingrad area.

She was unsuccessful.

The Nazis went on the defensive.

There were favorable conditions for the start of the counteroffensive of the Soviet troops.

It began on November 19, 1942 as part of the implementation of the plan under the code name "Uranus".

On November 23, the Red Army closed the ring around the enemy's Stalingrad grouping.

22 divisions and about 160 separate units were surrounded.

On November 28, the Headquarters officially subordinated the Stalingrad and Don Fronts to Georgy Zhukov.

The corresponding order was brought to the command of the fronts by an encrypted telephone message.

On December 11, the troops received instructions from Moscow on the final defeat of the Nazi troops in Stalingrad.

“Operation Ring is to be carried out in two stages,” reads a note labeled “particularly important” published on the website of the Ministry of Defense.

At the first stage, the western and southern enemy groupings in the Stalingrad region were to be eliminated, at the second, a general assault on the enemy's positions by the forces of two fronts was to take place.

  • The order of the headquarters on the subordination of the fronts to Georgy Zhukov

  • © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

As a result of the offensive actions of the Red Army, the morale of the German troops was undermined.

This is evidenced by excerpts from the diaries of German soldiers and documents of Wehrmacht units, as well as testimonies of German prisoners.

“Frostbites of the second and third degrees are increasing at an alarming rate.

In many cases, it has been established that they are associated with deliberate self-mutilation, ”says the order of the 371st division of the Wehrmacht dated January 4, 1943, translated by the political department of the Don Front.

  • Political report of the 138th Infantry Division

  • © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The German command demanded that those who allowed deliberate frostbite in order to evade participation in the battles be put on trial.

The Soviet command repeatedly appealed to Friedrich Paulus with an appeal to stop the resistance.

“The situation of your encircled troops is difficult.

They are experiencing hunger, disease and cold, ”the ultimatum of the Soviet command of January 8, 1943 says.

  • German prisoners of war

  • Gettyimages.ru

  • © Sovfoto/Universal Images Group

German troops tried to continue to resist.

Hitler even awarded Paulus the rank of Field Marshal, emphasizing in a radiogram sent to him that not a single German field marshal had been captured yet.

But by the end of January, the situation for the encircled group became critical.

On January 31, Paulus surrendered to the Soviet troops.

On February 2, 1943, the Stalingrad group of the Wehrmacht was completely defeated.

91 thousand Nazi soldiers surrendered.

“It was a shock for Nazi Germany,” said Mikhail Myagkov, scientific director of the Russian Military Historical Society, in a conversation with RT.

  • Message about the capture of Paulus

  • © Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

According to Miroslav Morozov, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Military History of the Iranian Institute of Radiation, Russian Academy of Sciences, the Battle of Stalingrad led to a radical turning point in the Great Patriotic War.

“After the defeat at Stalingrad, the German troops lost the opportunity to carry out operations on the scale of 1941-1942.

Any other outcome of the war, except for the complete victory of the Red Army, became unlikely, ”summed up Morozov.