This week in the War, 14–20 September 1942: Battle of Stalingrad approaches its dramatic climax

Stalingrad, September 1942 [Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1974-107-66/ CC-BY-SA]

Stalingrad, September 1942 [Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1974-107-66/ CC-BY-SA]

This week in the war, on 14 September 1942, infantry of von Paulus’s Sixth Army broke through the Soviet lines and into the centre of Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad was approaching its climax.

The following day, hundreds of Stuka dive-bombers attacked the city but the Russians defended the ruins of their factories and continued to hold out. House-to-house and hand-to-hand fighting continued throughout the week and was reported in detail in Red Star. Russian women fought alongside their men, as had happened already in Leningrad.

By the end of the week, 20 September 1942, newspapers were making reference to ‘Heroic Stalingrad.’ That phrase, and likewise ‘the heroic defenders of Stalingrad,’ appeared in papers across the Soviet Union. Press across the world took up the call, comparing the battle for Stalingrad with such First World War epics as Verdun.

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