Five infantry (389th, 79th, 305th, 100th and 295th) and two tank (24th and 14th) divisions, reinforced by four fresh combat engineer battalions, took part in the operation. The position and condition of the 62nd Army was extremely difficult. It consisted of: 47 thousand people, about 800 guns and mortars (caliber 76 mm and larger) and 19 tanks. The new offensive of the German army coincided with the beginning of a powerful ice drift on the Volga, which greatly worsened the situation of Soviet soldiers deprived of supplies. Volga flotilla could not make their way to the right bank.
By the end of November 11, the Germans managed to break through the defenses of the 241 Infantry Regiment of the 95 Infantry Division, capture the southern part of the Barricades factory and break through to the Volga in the 500 width. But the enemy could no longer change the general situation. In other areas, all attacks successfully fought off. The enemy divisions suffered such huge losses that only numbers remained of many of them. For example, the 305-I and 79-I German divisions lost almost all personnel. The troops of the 62 Army were also drained of blood. Her divisions numbered 500-700 people. In the 13-th Guards Rifle Division there were about 1500 fighters.
The fighting was still characterized by extreme tenacity and bitterness. This time the Germans had high hopes for the sapper units. The German officer, battalion commander Helmut Welz wrote: “... Under the cover of night, the subunits occupy their initial positions, companies and platoons are pulled up. Checked again weapon and means of close combat. From my own experience I know what is happening in these moments. Suddenly silence breaks. Gun volleys one by one, continuously. From the black carpet behind us to the sky soar short fiery flashes. There are hundreds of them. Shells are torn on the slopes of heights and slopes of hollows, in ruins, on embankments. Everything is trembling from the buzz. Waves of hot air roll over us. A thick child spreads over the ground, the first dawn rays penetrate through it, they illuminate the desert terrain, which was blown up by shells and bombs.
Russian volley-by-volley hits the Russian positions. There should be nothing alive. Continuously beat heavy guns. Towards the first rays of the rising sun, bombers with black crosses rush in an enlightened sky ... They swoop down and with a howl drop their bomb load onto the target ... Any other 20 meters, and they (German infantry) are already taking advanced Russian positions! And suddenly they lie down under hurricane fire. On the left in short bursts of machine guns beat. Russian infantry appears in the craters and at the firing points, which we have already considered destroyed. We can see the helmets of Russian soldiers. Every moment we see how our advancing soldiers no longer rise, and our rifles and machine guns no longer rise from their hands. ”
It seemed that the Germans won the fight. However, “... Everyone is rushing back. Behind them are a few sappers. So, our retreat! It's time to bring the bulk of the battalions into battle, but nothing like that happens. Another two or three minutes, and the first helmets of Russian soldiers are already visible. Russian gradually accumulate, form into groups, pursuing randomly retreating sappers. Where are the remaining forces of the five battalions? Are the retreating groups all that? All that's left? The Russians are now approaching their starting position, they are exposed to the same hurricane artillery fire as in the morning. The infantry regiment begins to move. Russian promotion stops. Only in some places are trying to continue. The lines are fixed, freeze. All again as before. As before the attack, as yesterday, as a week ago! What an obsession, did I ever have a dream about this whole fight? Five fresh battalions went on the offensive, five battalions were fighting like at home on a training parade ground. And the result? Most of them were killed, some were injured, the rest were broken, utterly broken. Enchanted place! No matter how you try to take it, you come across granite. ”
In the letters of German soldiers, a fierce battle in the city is very figuratively and really described: “Stalingrad is hell on earth, Verdun, Red Verdun with new weapons. We attack daily. If we succeed in taking 20 meters in the morning, in the evening the Russians will throw us back. ” In another letter, the German corporal informs the mother: “You will have to wait a long time for the special message that we have Stalingrad. The Russians do not surrender, they fight to the last man. ” In the US, the “New York Herald Tribune” wrote: “Such battles do not lend themselves to strategic calculation. They are conducted with burning hatred, with passion ... "
For the third time, the defense of the 62 Army was split into three main centers of struggle: the Rynok area, Spartanovka, where the group of Colonel S.F. Gorokhov’s isolated forces from the main forces of the army fought against October 14, each left for 124-149 people); the eastern part of the Barrikady factory, where the 500 Infantry Division of I. I. Lyudnikov, no more than 600 fighters, continued to defend strenuously on a narrow bridgehead; then, after a rupture of several hundred meters, the main front of the Chuikov army was marching from the Red October to the pier (part of the 138, 500 of the rifle divisions, the combined regiment of the 95 of the rifle division, part of the 45 of the Guards and 193 rifle divisions). The left flank of this sector was occupied by the 39-I Guards Division of Major General A.I. Rodimtsev, whose positions were held near the Volga coast. The territory of Voroshilovsky district (from the city center to the Kuporosnoy gully) was occupied by the Germans. The southern part of the city, from Kuporinoe to Krasnoarmeisky (rural) district, continued to defend units of the 284 Army commanded by Major General Shumilov. Having pushed the defenders of Stalingrad almost to the very bank of the Volga, the troops of Paulus’s army were powerless to throw Soviet soldiers into it. Each advance step cost the enemy enormous losses and lost military significance.
After the German troops broke through to the Volga south of the Barricades plant, the 138-I division was cut off from the main forces of the 62 Army. Ludnikova’s division fought three German divisions, keeping the area about 700 m along the front and 400 m in depth. The Soviet soldiers reflected from the north, west and south of the enemy's attack, were cut off from their neighbors and their rears. The supply of the 138 Rifle Division with ammunition and food, as well as the evacuation of the wounded, was carried out with great difficulty through the r. Monetary Volozhka, separating the division from the island Zaitsevsky, and r. Volga. 11 November The 138-Infantry Division, in the shelves of which the 70-100 fighters remained, repulsed six enemy attacks.
A divisional commander of the Soviet division cites a letter from a German officer who was killed in battle for the “Lyudnikov Island”: “We need to get to the Volga. We see her - less than a kilometer away. We are constantly supported aviation and artillery. We fight as if obsessed, but we can’t make our way to the river. The whole war in France lasted in less than one Volga plant. We took large cities and lost fewer people than on this God damned patch of land. Probably suicide bombers are fighting against us. They do not receive reinforcements, since we control the crossing. They just decided to fight to the last soldier. And how many of them remain there - the last? And when will this hell end? .. "
This was the last success of the German 6 Army. Continuous battles continued until mid-November 1942, but all subsequent German attacks were repulsed. Even the Berlin newspapers recognized: “For the first time in stories the modern city is held by the troops until the last wall is destroyed ... this enemy does not spare his own city. Our offensive, despite its numerical superiority, does not lead to success. " The German army finally exhausted and its actions were paralyzed. His main strike force was bloodless, the Germans lost the initiative and went on the defensive. At this time, the Soviet army was preparing for a decisive counteroffensive.
Fighters of the 138 Infantry Division are fighting in the area of the plant "Barricades"
With a machine gun in his hands and a food thermos on his back with rations for the city’s defenders, the Red Armyman sneaks through the ruins of Stalingrad
Sniper of the 39 Guards Rifle Regiment of the 13 Guards Division A.I. Chekhov at the firing line in Stalingrad
By mid-November 1942, the advance of the German forces was halted on the whole front. The German army was drained of blood, lost the initiative and was forced to finally go on the defensive. The large Stalingrad group of the Wehrmacht was drawn into protracted bloody battles and was deprived of its main trump card - the ability to maneuver. Stalingrad, as Hitler feared, turned for the German army "into an all-devouring trick."
On this strategic defensive operation of the Battle of Stalingrad ended. By the end of the defensive period of the battle of Stalingrad, the 62 Army held the area north of the Stalingrad Tractor Plant, the Barikady plant, and the north-eastern quarters of the city center. 64-I army defended the approaches to its southern part. The troops of the Stalingrad, South-Eastern and Don fronts fulfilled their tasks, holding back the powerful offensive of the enemy in the Stalingrad sector, creating the prerequisites for the decisive counteroffensive of the Red Army.
During the defensive battles Wehrmacht suffered huge losses. In the struggle for Stalingrad, the enemy lost about 700 thousand killed and wounded, over 2 thousand guns and mortars, more 1000 tanks and assault guns and over 1,4 thousand combat and transport aircraft. Instead of non-stop advancement to the Volga, enemy troops were drawn into protracted, fierce battles in the Stalingrad area. The German command plan for the summer of 1942 was thwarted (battles for Stalingrad and the Caucasus). At the same time, Soviet troops also suffered heavy losses in personnel - 644 thousand people, of which irrevocable - 324 thousand people, sanitary 320 thousand people. Loss of weapons amounted to: about 1400 tanks, more than 12 thousand guns and mortars and more 2 thousand aircraft.
The Stalingrad strategic defensive operation prepared the conditions for the Red Army to launch a counteroffensive with the aim of decisively defeating the enemy at Stalingrad. In this situation, the Soviet Supreme High Command concluded that it was here, on the southern wing of the Soviet-German front, in the autumn of 1942 that the most favorable conditions were created for offensive operations.
Thus, although both offensive wings of the German group South in the summer campaign 1942 of the year were successful, in October they were already at the limit of their capabilities. And Hitler, instead of sacrificing either the Caucasus or Stalingrad, which allowed him to survive during the winter campaign of 1942 - 1943, having occupied a shortened front line, continued to insist on mastering and retaining both positions. Although the Führer himself considered the far-advanced arc of the German front on the Don and the Volga dangerous. Moreover, by its own propaganda, which announced 8 in November: “Stalingrad is in our hands”, the Führer deprived himself of political decision-making freedom. Now, leaving the city meant recognizing your strategic and political defeat.
Moreover, the main forces and means of the Stalingrad group were concentrated directly in the Stalingrad area. The troops of the German grouping were located in unfavorable conditions on a huge arc with the summit near Stalingrad between the Volga and the Don rivers. Its flanks to the north-west and south of Stalingrad were covered with less efficient Romanian and Italian formations. In the Stalingrad direction, the Wehrmacht did not have large operational reserves. Communications were stretched for thousands of kilometers and were vulnerable over vast areas. The chief of the German General Staff, General Halder, clearly saw the danger of such a situation and proposed a solution - to withdraw the troops from Stalingrad and, at the expense of the liberated divisions, create a solid front along the Don line. However, Hitler preferred to take a chance and replaced the Chief of General Staff.
It is clear that the Soviet high command also saw everything well. KK Rokossovsky noted: ““ With an objective assessment of the current situation and in anticipation of the approaching winter, the enemy had only one way out - an immediate withdrawal to the greatest possible distance. But, underestimating the capabilities of the Soviet Union, the enemy decided to hold the space seized by him, and this used our Supreme High Command in a timely manner in the current situation. The long awaited moment has come for us. ” In late September, the Soviet command began to develop a plan and directly prepare a counteroffensive on the Stalingrad sector.
Arrows divisions of Lieutenant Rogov are fighting in the area of the plant "Barricades". November 1942 g. Photo rare by the presence in the frame of a self-loading rifle Tokarev SVT-40 in a sniper version. The sniper version of the SVT-40 was inferior in accuracy and effective range of the Mosin sniper rifle of the 1891 / 30 model, and therefore by the middle of the war it was replaced in production by an outdated and less rapid-firing, but more accurate, “Mosinka”. Photo source: http://waralbum.ru/
Mortar IG Goncharov and G.A. Gafatulin firing on German positions in the Stalingrad area of 120-mm mortar