History 08/02/20 “Red Verdun”: what the battle with the red Army so named by the Germans,

And Stalingrad (1942-1943), and less famous today Rzhevskaya battle (1942-1943) was a Grand burial ground of the German army, after which she was unable to recover and gave the strategic initiative to the red army. The Germans and their allies lost in Stalingrad 1.5 million people killed, wounded and missing. Rzhev — less, up to 800 thousand soldiers and officers.

it was Huge, and the loss of the Soviet Union. But if the Soviet veterans remember about these battles with a sense of pride and sacrifice, the Germans in his memoirs about these events somewhat differently. A Grand victory at Stalingrad is considered a turning point in the war, but she was trained and backed by the blows of the red army, the Wehrmacht, in other places, and especially near Rzhev. German veteran F. Langanke about the battle of Rzhev wrote: “It was a war in its terrible and horrible guise” and battles there, too, contributed to the subsequent crisis of discipline and faith in the victory of the soldiers of the Wehrmacht approached them in the moral breakdown. But the tragedy of Stalingrad with the Germans near Rzhev has happened — neither grandiose environment, nor a disorderly retreat. A strong defense of the Rzhev, organized by the Century Model, and was not finally broken by the Soviet offensive. The Germans left the Rzhev because of the defeat on the Volga — there was no point in staying because of the inevitable retreat. And the Germans retreated, preserving the order. Horst Grossmann, Lieutenant General, commander of the 6th infantry division of the Wehrmacht that fought in the area of Rzhev, wrote the book “Rzhev — the corner stone of the Eastern front”. In it, he wrote about hardness, durability and aging of German units on that land, “won in a hard struggle, on the successful defense which the blood mass is broken off countless enemy units.” For Grosmann Rzhev was the place relatively prosperous, where “German soldiers survived”. Some veterans wrote about the Rzhev as “bloodier than Stalingrad”. But anyway, I formed a vision of what “left undefeated German soldiers Rzhev the battlefield.” The brutality of the battle for Rzhev explained its strategic value as a “springboard for a leap to Moscow.”

an Entirely different experience for the Germans was Stalingrad. The city’s name became synonymous with catastrophe, the monstrous destruction, personal injury and the beginning of the end of the Wehrmacht and Nazi Germany. This battle the German generals and the rank and file thought of as the moment of rotation, and brutal fights where he described these words as “hell,” “bloody nightmare”, “endless horror”, “red Verdun”, “chopper”, etc. In Stalingrad, the Germans realized that this is the end: all previous vision of the world and the future collapses, destroyed the myth of Hitler as a great military leader and faith in the success of the war.

the German major-General Hans Doerr wrote: “For Germany the battle of Stalingrad was the gravest defeat in her history, Russia is her greatest victory. At Poltava (1709) Russia won the right to be called a great European power, Stalingrad was the beginning of its transformation into one of the two greatest world powers.” For some Germans, this event was sad, for others — giving hope for an end to Nazi Europe and the tragic war, but Stalingrad is not exactly leave anyone. Shortly after the war became extremely popular book by H. Schroter’s “Stalingrad. Great battle through the eyes of a war correspondent. 1942-1943”. Schroeter said that for the Germans it was the moment of recognition of the superiority of Russian “untermensch” above them in the military: “To the question: “Why did the battle of Stalingrad lasts so long?” one of the correspondents said, “one could write a thousand pages with reasons, and each following page would be more important than the previous one. On the first page would be written: the Russian always was a good soldier, implicitly carrying out orders of anyabout superiors and obey their fate, moreover, he was always unpretentious. We’re talking about the strong resistance of the Russian, taking into account only the number of tanks, guns and power weapons. And here we’re making a mistake, as it does not take into account the nature of the Russian people — it is thanks to him was possible is an active and powerful resistance.” And as all that have followed after Stalingrad, obviously led to may 9, 1945 and a dramatic change in the lives of each, and Stalingrad itself, as noted by the researcher of historical memory Th. Hellbeck, in German memoirs noted as traumatic rupture of the personal biography as a personal turning point. And despite the fact that Rzhevskaya battle was one of the largest military conflicts in world history in General, it has remained in the shadow of the legendary Stalingrad.

Konstantin Dmitriev

© Russian Seven

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