The unrelenting battle for Stalingrad continues

German troops pause before another attack close to the remains of the Tractor Factory, Stalingrad, October 1942.

Lieutenant General Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov (prior to 1943), sometimes nicknamed ‘The Stone’, he masterminded the obstinate defence of Stalingrad.

In Stalingrad the fighting was as intense as ever. A major attack on the part of the city around the Tractor Factory was launched by the Germans. The Soviet forces continued their tactics of ‘hugging the enemy’, developed by General Chuikov. They kept as close as possible to the German troops – making the use of heavy weapons and dive-bombing as difficult as possible.

The infantry were ready to get up close to the Panzers and other armour and finish them off with Molotov cocktails. Within the factory buildings the battles were over individual rooms and workshops – sometimes the rooms changed hands many times in bitter hand to hand fighting. Yet the Russians were under constant pressure, facing attack after attack, and the HQ units, themselves located on the west bank of the Volga, were not immune.

The war diary of General Chuikov, commander of the 62nd Army, recorded the following for October 15:

0530 hours: Like yesterday, the enemy has started today with a reinforced artillery preparatory barrage on the front of Mokraja Metschetka-Red October district.

0800 hours: The enemy is attacking with tanks and infantry. The battle is raging on the entire front.

0930 hours: The attack of the enemy on the Stalingrad tractor works has been beaten off. At the courtyard of the works, ten fascist tanks are burning.

1000 hours: Tanks and infantry have overrun the 109th Guards Rifle Regiment of the 37th Division.

1130 hours: The left wing of the 524th Rifle Regiment of the 95th Rifle Division is overrun. About fifty tanks are rolling over the battle order of the regiment.

1150 hours: The enemy has taken the sport grounds of the Stalingrad tractor works. Our units that have been cut off fight on in the encirclement.

1200 hours: The commander of the 117th Rifle Regiment, Guards Major Andrejew, has been killed.

1220 hours: A radio message from a unit of the 416th Regiment from the hexagonal housing block: “Have been encircled, ammunition and water available, death before surrender!”

1230 hours: Dive-bombers attack the command post of General Scholudov, who is without radio communications in a neighboring bunker that has collapsed. Take over the communications to the units of this division.

1310 hours: Two bunkers in the army command post have collapsed. One officer is sticking in the mass of earth with his legs, but we can dig him out.

1320 hours: Through a pipe we have pumped air into the bunker of General Scholudov.

1440 hours: The telephone link with the units has gone down. We have switched to radio and mutual confirmation by signals officers.

1525 hours: The headquarters guard has entered combat.

1600 hours: The connection to the 114th Guards Regiment has been severed. Its situation is unknown.

1620 hours: About 100 tanks have penetrated the grounds of the tractor factory. The enemy’s air force is overhead as before and is attacking us with bombs in low-level flights.

1635 hours: Regimental commander Lieutenant Colonel Ustinow requests that his command post is to be bombarded, as he is encircled by submachine gunners.

1700 hours: The signallers can write down only with difficulty the radio messages of the units that continue to fight on even though encircled.

2100 hours: Another radio message of the 37th Guards Division:
“They’re still fighting. ”

This document appears in translation in Winter Storm: The Battle for Stalingrad.

Images courtesy War Albums Ru.

German engineers advancing in Stalingrad with an Assault Gun – Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III) – providing some support.

German infantry advancing in Stalingrad.

Soviet infantry defending their positions in the ruins of Stalingrad.

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