Friday, January 8, 2016

German Assault Team in Stalingrad Tractor Factory

A German assault team from 113. Infanterie-Division, supported by StuG III Ausf.F from Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 244, pause before another attack close to the remains of the “Dzershinzky” Tractor Factory (Stalingradski traktorni zavod im. F.E. Dzerzhinskogo) in Stalingrad, 15 October 1942. One of the most significant spots of the Battle of Stalingrad was at the tractor factory, which before the siege was responsible for about 50 per cent of the T-34 tanks that went in to the front lines. In an assault beginning on October 14th, five German divisions - over 90,000 men, 2,000 guns and mortars, 300 tanks, and waves of Stuka's forged a path just over two miles wide to the main source of Russian resistance in the city; at the Tractor Plant and Barrikady factory. The assault began with a one and a half hour air and artillery bombardment that crushed everything within 100 meters of the frontlines. In spite of the sheer scale of the assault it actually resembled more of a technical tour de force then it did a crude battering ram. For instance, the Germans had prepared thoroughly, including carefully mapping Russian command posts by intercepting radio signals and then targeting each one for destruction. Thus, the Germans quickly decapitated the defenders, burying entire Russian command posts under a fury of bombs and shells. In spite of a brave and spirited resistance on the part of the Russians, actually driving off the first wave and shocking the attackers who otherwise had thought nothing could have survived the bombardment, the Germans regrouped and pushed through. The picture was taken by Hans Eckle.

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