January 31, 1943 German Troops Surrender at Stalingrad
ConferenceThe starving German troops at Stalingrad surrendered, after being surrounded since November. Over 90,000 German troops died of starvation or exposure, while close to 100,000 died in battle during the final month. The surrender had been expressly forbidden by Hitler. Field Marshal von Paulus felt he had no choice but to surrender his 100,000 starving troops.
The Germans continued their slow advance in Stalingrad. The Soviets fought for every building and floor. The Germans had begun the battle with control of the skies, but slowly the Soviets brought more and more planes into the battle and the two air forces were evenly matched by November. By then the Germans had reached the Volga River and controlled 90% of the city. But the Soviets would not give up.
Guarding the German flanks leading to Stalingrad were Italian and Hungarian troops in the North and Romanian troops in the south. The Soviets launched a counteroffensive called operation Uranus on November 19th on the Northern and Southern flanks of the German troops in Stalingrad. The Soviets had an overwhelming advantage in troops and armor and overran the German and Axis troops . On November 23rd the Northern and Southern Soviet forces met at Kalach surrounding the German troops fighting in Stalingrad.
The Germans believed that they could supply the 250,000 German troops in Stalingrad until the German troops could be relieved. Attempts to breakthrough to the city had to be abandoned when the Soviets continued their advance. The Luftwaffe was totally incapable of supplying enough supplies to the troops who were slowly starving while running out of munitions. Hitler would no allow any attempt at breaking out by the German troops in the city.
Slowly the Soviets advanced into Stalingrad and slowly spilt the German army in parts. All of the airfields used to resupply the troops were captured by the Soviets. Finally with most of the troops wounded on January 31, 1942 , the German troops surrendered. 91,000 troops became prisoners , including 22 generals. Stalingrad was the beginning of the end for the German on the Eastern front.