From the memoirs of a German pilot: about the last flight into the Stalingrad “cauldron”
The Battle of Stalingrad, according to most historians, became a turning point in the Great Patriotic War. During the brilliantly carried out Operation Uranus by the Soviet command, the 6th Wehrmacht Army under the command of Field Marshal Paulus was surrounded.
A German pilot who carried out his last flight into the Stalingrad cauldron on January 23, 1943, tells in his memoirs about the state of the Wehrmacht soldiers who were surrounded.
As the military man writes, after landing at the Stalingrad airfield (as it was recorded in his logbook), a sad picture appeared before him.
In the severe frost, which in those days reached minus thirty degrees and below, most Wehrmacht soldiers were dressed in light uniforms.
The Germans from the 1942th Army, attacking Stalingrad from July to November 6, looked hungry and completely demoralized.
- says the notes of the Luftwaffe pilot.
The airfield service vehicles had no fuel at all. Therefore, the aircraft crew decided to drain some of their fuel from the tanks.
Of the huge number of wounded, as a German soldier writes, their plane could only carry eight. True, just before departure a curious incident occurred.
So, the author of the memoirs opened the hatch and climbed out to fix the elevator, which had been bent from the impact during landing. While he was coping with the task assigned by the aircraft commander, another wounded man crawled into the hatch.
- wrote the pilot, who, at his own peril and risk, decided to leave the “uninvited guest” on the plane.
The commander did not know anything about this.
It later turned out that this Henkel 111 flight was the last one into the Stalingrad cauldron. Already on the same day, the only airfield remaining under Wehrmacht control was lost by the Germans.
- archive photo
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