“Stalingrad Will Remain Soviet”: Russian MoD Published Declassified Documents on the Key Battle of World War II

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



In time for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation declassified archival materials that shed light on various stages of one of the most bloody battles of World War II. Among the published documents is the hand-written text of the telegram of Konstantin Rokossovsky about the capture of the Commander of the 6th German Army Friedrich Paulus. Also published are unique historical sources that describe the actions of the urban fighting assault groups that arose precisely in Stalingrad.

In anticipation of the celebration in February, 2018, of the 75th anniversary of the defeat of German fascist troops in the Battle of Stalingrad, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation declassified archival documents reflecting various stages of one of the most bloody battles of World War II.

Among the documents published for the first time is the hand-written text of the telegram report of the top military Commander of the Don front Colonel-General Konstantin Rokossovsky in the supreme command, dated January 31st, 1943, about the capture of the Commander of the 6th German Army General-Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus.

“The organized military operations of the Southern group stopped, and its capture is being done. Paulus refused to give the order to the Northern group for the termination of military operations, arguing that he doesn’t command it. The Northern group of troops of the enemy continues to show persistent organized resistance,” it is said in Rokossovsky’s report.

Documents of the German command that contain data on the course of the military operations and units of the Red Army deployed in Stalingrad, resisting fascist troops are also presented to the attention of a wide audience. They illustrate what the German military knew about the Soviet units, about their technical equipment and the completeness of their personnel.

A military sheet of the directorate of the military commandant’s office of the Stalingrad, water region, from November 7th, 1942

Also stirring great interest are the materials describing the experience of the defenders of Stalingrad. One of the sources provides a detailed description of the military operations of the urban fighting assault groups, which were created for the first time precisely in the Red Army units in support of the troops defending Stalingrad.

“The combat experience of units of our front in the big city raised many new questions in the treasure that is military art. Combat in the big city defines the tactical actions of units differently, in particular of small units. Tactics of weapons and questions of interaction are defined differently,” begins the document, classified in March, 1943.

Another document describes how sniper fighting in urban conditions was conducted. It is possible to judge the skill of Soviet snipers using the examples of participants in the fighting in Stalingrad, in particular — Vasily Zaitsev. This legendary sniper of the 62nd Army during the period from November 10th to December 17th, 1942, killed 225 soldiers and officers of the German fascist army near Stalingrad, including 11 snipers.

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Also, an archival leaflet of the main political directorate of the Red Army with an appeal to German soldiers was published.

“Having become definitively muddled in his reckless, conquering plans, Hitler shouts: ‘Take Stalingrad!’ A sea of German blood is shed, several million Germans died, while he shouts: ‘Take Stalingrad!’ You have been near Stalingrad for about a month. What did you achieve? Tens of thousands of Germans were killed near Stalingrad, while it remains and will remain Soviet,” begins the leaflet.

A separate selection of archival documents from the period of the Great Patriotic War was also prepared for demonstration at the international military and technical forum “Army-2017”.

In addition to the materials about the course of the Battle of Stalingrad, confidential papers about the events of 1942-1943 in the Caucasus, Sevastopol, and the Arctic region, which influenced the course of the Battle of Stalingrad, are presented to the attention of visitors of the forum. The fighting in these theatres prevented Hitler from concentrating a blow in one strategic direction.

The archival materials also speak about the reorganization of troops protecting the Soviet Caucasus in 1942, and about the preparation of the Black Sea group of troops of the Transcaucasian front of the Red army for the defense of Novorossiysk.

Data on arms, numbers, national structure and a political-morale condition of nine German, five Romanian, and one Slovak divisions resisting the Soviet units in the battle for the Caucasus, and also the personal characteristics of Commanders of several units of the enemy entered in the unique “reference book of fighting characteristics of divisions of the enemy before the front of the Black Sea group of troops of the Transcaucasian front”, published for the command structure in December, 1942, by the intelligence department of the HQ of the group.

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Documents for the period of the defense of Sevastopol are presented, in particular, as a graphic of submarines of the Black Sea fleet participating in the operation on supplying the besieged and blockaded Sevastopol with ammunition, the report on the last offensive of the separate brigade of naval infantry of the Black Sea Fleet in the fighting for Sevastopol and military sheets of the partisan groups of Crimea.

Also a number of materials concerning the actions of the aircraft and the ships of the Northern fleet are presented.

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