In July 1942, the Soviet troops suffered a series of defeats, the situation on the fronts was close to critical, and the industry evacuated to the rear could not yet meet all the needs of the Red Army – this is how military historian Alexei Isaev characterizes the situation on the eve of the Battle of Stalingrad. Nevertheless, the strategically important city was defended, and four months later, in November 1942, they launched a counteroffensive. Isaev spoke about what helped to keep Stalingrad in an interview with Izvestia.
The deep crisis of the Red Army was associated with several factors. First, Crimea and Kharkov were lost in May. At the same time, the German offensive near Voronezh began, which collapsed the front. In addition, at the end of June, the 2nd shock army was killed in the Leningrad region, and at the beginning of July, the 39th army was surrounded near Rzhev. Secondly, in 1942, the Wehrmacht began to receive more powerful anti-tank guns and tank guns in large quantities, which could hit Soviet armored vehicles at the main battle distances. This led to the fact that the counterattacks of the Red Army failed.
“The main goal that the German command set for the summer of 1942 was a campaign for Caucasian oil. It was supposed to capture, first of all, the Maikop field, the Grozny and Baku oil fields. Or at least block them so that the Red Army cannot use them, ”Isaev noted.
According to the historian, under these conditions, the capture of Stalingrad was important for the Wehrmacht, since the city was to become one of the strongholds of the defensive front to protect the troops advancing on the Caucasus.
Read more in an exclusive interview with Izvestia:
“The Wehrmacht was struck at the height of its power”