From July 1942 to February 1943, Soviet forces defended the city of Stalingrad from Nazi attack. The battle began during the summer offensive of 1942, Nazi Army groups A an B had already pushed past Stalingrad to take oil fields in south west Russia, when Hitler ordered Stalingrad be attacked (Trueman, n.d.). “Some historians believe that Hitler ordered the taking of Stalingrad simply because of the name of the city and Hitler's hatred of Joseph Stalin. For the same reason Stalin ordered that the city had to be saved” (Trueman, n.d.). Stalingrad was also the center of Soviet communications and manufacturing in the south. Since Stalingrad had such a significance to the soviet war effort and because the Soviets could not allow the Nazi's to hold the oil fields in south-west Russia, Stalin issued the “Not a step back” order (Trueman, n.d.). The battle would eventually turn into one of the bloodiest in World War II with enormous civilian and military casualties.
At the beginning of the battle, General Friedrich Paulus commanded the attacking Nazi force. His army consisted of “250,000 men, 740 tanks, 1,200 aircraft, and 7,900 guns and mortars” (Luther, 2004). Paulus was known as efficient but lacking in decisiveness (Luther, 2004). General Georgy Zhukov commanded the Soviet defense of Stalingrad. His army consisted of “187,000 men, 360 tanks, 337 aircraft, and 7,500 guns and mortars” (Luther, 2004). Zhukov was an adaptive leader well known for assessing the battlefield and adjusting his tactics as the situation changed (Luther, 2004). The Nazi force had an advantage in personnel, tanks, and aircraft while the Soviets had the advantage in leadership.
During the Battle of Stalingrad, Nazi forces were eventually cut off from all logistical support. However, in the beginning of the offensive Nazi logistical support was worn thin trying to support two offenses in the same region. Soviet Logistics were hampered but still functioning throughout the battle. The Soviets used the Volga river to move supplies and personnel into and out of Stalingrad. The Soviets also had functioning factories in Stalingrad producing tanks. Many of these tanks rolled off the assembly line and were immediately driven to the front line, many without paint or gun sights (Beevor, 1998).
The Nazi generals had to consult with Hitler before any large decisions could be made. Messages had to be sent back to Germany then the commanders would have to wait for a response. The Soviet commanders on the other hand had their leader just across the river Volga. Commands were easily passed to Soviet commanders. National leaders on both sides refused to give up Stalingrad. The soviets refused to give up the city because they feared the blow to national morale (Trueman, n.d.).
Intelligence failures existed on both sides of the battle. Stalin ignored warnings that the Nazi offensive would take place in the south of Russia and bolstered Moscow's defenses instead...