To the Death: The Battle of Stalingrad

Nathan Chandler

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Hitler despised Communists and was determined to eviscerate their forces at Stalingrad. Do you know how the Soviet forces responded to the Nazi incursion?

When did the Battle of Stalingrad begin?

The battle began in August 1942. The Nazis were scorching the Eastern Front, pushing the Soviet army farther and farther east. They had their sights set on Stalingrad.

How long did the battle last?

The Soviets had no intention of yielding ground to the Nazis at Stalingrad. Both sides suffered in a clash that lasted for more than five months.

After the Nazis captured the city, what did Hitler plan to do to males in Stalingrad?

Hitler despised communism and was certain that the males in Stalingrad would never bow to German fascism. Therefore, Hitler planned to simply kill all of them.

How did the Soviets evacuate civilians from the city?

Stalin decided that his soldiers would fight harder if civilians were still in the city … so he refused to evacuate them. Many civilians were killed during the ferocious block-by-block fighting.

The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the biggest in the history of humankind.

More than 2 million combined soldiers desperately fought for ground during the battle. It is still regarded was one of the biggest battles ever.

About how many civilians died in the battle?

Unable to evacuate and helpless in the sights of German guns, scores of civilians perished. As many as 40,000 may have died during the battle.

At the beginning of the battle, how did Germany's 6th Army fare?

The 6th Army saw immediate success as they pushed forward. Unfortunately for the Nazis, there weren't enough roads in the area, causing traffic delays that cost the army perhaps a week.

On July 28, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin issued a famous order. What was that order?

Order No. 227 read, "Not one step back!" Stalin was determined to make a stand against the Nazis at Stalingrad, no matter how bloody the battle became.

Who launched Operation Uranus?

In November, the Soviets commenced Operation Uranus, which was intended to trap or destroy Nazi forces in and around Stalingrad. More than 1 million Soviet soldiers participated in the offensive.

Including all of their allies, about how many Axis service members died during the battle?

Around 800,000 men of the Axis died during the battle. In the July heat, the bodies created an unbearable stench throughout the city.

The Soviets used only well-trained soldiers to do the fighting at Stalingrad.

The Soviets regarded the threat to Stalingrad as completely unacceptable. They ordered every soldier and citizen who could fight to make a stand against the invaders.

Many Soviet soldiers in Stalingrad attempted to flee the Nazi invasion. How did the Red Army respond to attempted desertion?

The Red Army had no time to suffer fools who didn't want to fight -- it executed deserters on the spot in order to deter other men from trying to escape.

Who conducted Operation Little Saturn?

After the Soviets threw the Nazis out of Stalingrad, they went on the offensive. Operation Little Saturn was a Soviet attempt to retake lands beyond Stalingrad.

What's the meaning of the German word "rattenkrieg"?

The Germans called Stalingrad the Rattenkrieg, or Rat War, because the Soviets fought for every square inch of the city. They even descended into the sewers to fight the Nazis.

What was Nikita Khrushchev's role in the battle?

Nikita Khrushchev was given a vital job -- to ready the city against a direct Nazi assault. Khrushchev, of course, later became the Soviet leader during the Cold War era.

The German forces in Stalingrad were eventually surrounded. How did the Nazis attempt to resupply their stranded army?

With the Soviets closing in, the trapped army was cut off from its supply lines. The Nazis took to the air, dropping supplies via parachute, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep an entire army functioning in an enemy city.

Which German air fleet was tasked with attacking Soviet forces in the city?

The Luftflotte 4 was charged with bombing Stalingrad. The planes dropped thousands of tons of bombs on the city in hopes of paving the way for Nazi ground forces.

How did the Soviet air force fare against the Luftflotte 4?

The Luftflotte 4 was one of the most powerful air groups on the planet -- they quickly overcame Soviet warplanes and gained air supremacy in the skies above the city.

As the Germans pressed farther and farther into the city, how did the Soviets manage to resupply their troops?

The Soviets were pinned against the Volga River, defending one small strip of land. To resupply the fighters, the Soviets used boats to send ammo and food across the Volga River.

The Soviet 1077th Anti-Aircraft Regiment was mostly made of which people?

Many Soviet anti-aircraft groups consisted of women. Many of these groups were poorly trained and had no real combat experience.

As Germans poured into the city, how did the women of the 1077th Anti-Aircraft Regiment respond?

Nazi tanks punched holes into the city and went on the prowl, only to find anti-aircraft guns with their barrels leveled right at them. The women of the regiment destroyed dozens of tanks before the Nazis overran their position.

Which German army was destroyed during the battle?

In December, the Soviets managed to surround Germany's 6th Army and fought off Nazi rescue efforts. The 6th finally surrendered, at a tremendous price to the Nazis -- more than 90,000 troops were captured.

What was Operation Winter Storm?

With the 6th Army encircled by Soviet forces, the Nazis launched Operation Winter Storm, a plan to break out the 6th and save it from annihilation. The Nazis surprised the Soviets but were pushed back … and the 6th was lost.

What was a major factor contributing to the failure of Operation Winter Storm?

Rather than fighting their way west to meet up with their rescuers, the stranded army units were told to stay in position. Had Hitler allowed them to move, they probably would have escaped the clutches of the Soviet army.

About how many men did the Red Army execute for attempted desertion?

Who cares about the Nazis when your own army is so brutal? Red Army commanders killed perhaps 14,000 of their own men in a desperate bid to maintain order in the ranks.

How many German soldiers died during the battle?

The Soviets punished the Germans for daring to enter Stalingrad -- around 150,000 Nazis lost their lives. Many Germans died simply because Hitler refused to retreat.

Who was Friedrich Paulus?

Friedrich Paulus was the German general in command of the 6th Army. He was initially successful at Stalingrad, but then the Soviets turned the tables on the invaders.

How many total casualties occurred during the Battle of Stalingrad?

The numbers are beyond comprehension -- about 2 million men were killed, wounded or captured during this battle. It was a battle so large that it could have been a war unto itself.

Who won the Battle of Stalingrad?

The Germans tried everything they could to break the stubborn Soviets in Stalingrad, but their efforts were in vain. The Soviets handed the Germans a crippling defeat, the likes of which the Nazis could simply not afford.

How many Axis military personnel were captured at the battle?

The Red Army nabbed nearly 110,000 Nazis, most of whom were doomed. Of those captured, only about 6,000 managed to survive Soviet hands and return to Germany in the years following the war.

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