Road to Destruction: Operation Blue and the Battle of Stalingrad, 1942-43 : a Photographic History

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Helion & Company, 2008 - History - 125 pages
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'Road to Destruction' offers a unique visual insight into the climactic Battle of Stalingrad during the autumn and winter of 1942-43. Pushing forward through the southern steppes aiming to capture the vital Caucasian oil fields, before being caught up in some of the most vicious street fighting known in military history, the German 6th Army was bled white and ultimately destroyed.

The author has drawn on a wide selection of rare and mostly previously unpublished photographs accompanied by in-depth captions to provide a superb photographic history of this key turning point in the Second World War. The images reveal the unfolding story, through the hopeful beginnings and major successes at the beginning of operations, as German forces cut a rapid swathe towards the oil fields.

By early autumn 1942, the Germans were seemingly on the brink of success as they reached the banks of the Volga and the vitally important city of Stalingrad. Yet the Red Army dug extremely deep, and relying on grim determination, courage and resourcefulness, fought bitterly. The German advance was slowed to a crawl, as incredibly bitter hand-to-hand fighting took place throughout the city.

The situation for the German troops became worse and worse, winter set in, and with it major Soviet counterattacks. By late November 1942 the situation was worsening for the Germans fighting at Stalingrad. Completely encircled, Soviet forces slowly closed in as the vicious winter took hold, and the Luftwaffe's air support operations became increasingly ineffective. The remnants of 6th Army surrendered in February, shadows of the troops that had advanced across the steppes the previous summer. In all, the horrendous fighting resulted in more than 1.5 million casualties on both sides.

An important visual record of one of history's greatest and most bitterly fought battles.

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Photographic Acknowledgements
Volga Reached
Bitter Fighting

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About the author (2008)

Ian Baxter has been collecting wartime photographs and writing books on military subjects for many years. He lives in Essex, England.

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