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In November 1942, as the Battle of Stalingrad continued to rage, the Red Army launched a devastating counter-attack from outside the city. The Soviet forces smashed the German siege and encircled Stalingrad, trapping some 290,000 soldiers of the German 6th Army inside.
For almost three months, during the harshest period of the Russian winter, the besieged German troops endured atrocious conditions. Freezing cold and reliant on dwindling food supplies from Luftwaffe air drops, thousands died from starvation, frostbite or infection, if not from the fighting itself.
This important work reconstructs the grim fate of the 6th Army in full by, for the first time, examining the little-known story of the field hospitals and central dressing stations. The author has trawled through hundreds of previously unpublished reports, interviews, diaries and newspaper accounts to reveal the experiences of soldiers of all ranks, from simple soldiers to generals.
The book includes first-hand accounts of soldiers who were wounded or fell ill and were flown out of the encirclement; as well as those who fought to the bitter end and were taken prisoner by the Soviets. They reflect on the severity of the fighting, and reveal the slowly ebbing hopes for survival. Together they provide an illuminating and tragic portrait of the climactic events at Stalingrad.
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