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Bombing of Stalingrad in World War II

 

Bombing of Stalingrad in World War II

Stalingrad, a Soviet city and industrial centre on the river Volga, was bombed heavily by the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II. German land forces comprising the 6th Army had advanced to the suburbs of Stalingrad by August 1942. The city was extensively bombed as a precursor to the 6th Army's first major ground offensive against the city on by 16th Panzerdivision on 23 August, breaking out from its bridgehead on the River Don north-west of the city.[1]`

Contents

  • The raids 1
  • The defences 2
  • Impact 3
  • References 4

The raids

From 3:18 pm on 23 August 1942 and through the night into 24 August units of Generaloberst von Richthofen’s Luftflotte 4 constantly attacked the city. Medium Bomber strength employed included elements of KG 27, KG 51, KG 55, KG 76, and I/KG 100.[2]`

During 23 August Luftflotte 4 flew approximately 1,600 sorties and dropped 1,000 tons of bombs on the city effectively destroying it, while three aircraft were lost. The extensive bombing caused numerous fires. In the first few hours of bombing, the headquarters of the city's air defences were bombed. The city was quickly turned to rubble, although some factories survived and continued production whilst workers militia joined in the fighting.

Stalingrad was thereafter bombed block-by-block for a further five days. According to official statistics the Soviet fighter defences of 8 VA and 102 IAD PVO claimed 90 German planes shot down, in addition to 30 by anti-aircraft defense.

The defences

The Soviet Air Force in the immediate area lost 201 aircraft from 23–31 August, and despite meager reinforcements of some 100 aircraft in August, it had 192 servicable aircraft, which included 57 fighters. The burden of the initial defense of the city fell on the 1077th Anti-Aircraft (AA) Regiment.

Impact

Stalin resisted the evacuation of civilians, in part due to the importance of the city's factories to the war effort. Many civilians,with estimates up to 40,000 were killed, and the city was destroyed. According to Tatyana Prikazchikova, a senior research fellow of the Stalingrad Memorial, about 43,000 people were killed during the first days of the bombings. The civilians that survived were involved in preparing the defense of Stalingrad. However, the rubble caused by the bombing hampered the progress of the German tanks.

Over the course of the battle through to late 1942, the Germans flew 70,000 sorties dropping over a million bombs.

References

  1. ^ Bergstrom, Christer ; "Stalingrad: The Air Battle 1942 Through January 1943" : page 72.
  2. ^ Bergstrom, Christer ; "Stalingrad: The Air Battle 1942 Through January 1943" : page 72.
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