After an extremely successful
summer campaign, the Germans came upon the Volga fortress of Stalingrad.
Here the Red army had dug in and was determined to make a stand. Sensing
total victory, the Germans threw more and ever more troops into the fighting.
But for the first time in the war, German infantry found the Russians their equal.
Rebuffed by stiff resistance, the Germans committed crack assault engineers.
Gradually, the Germans cleared one block, then another—only to lose them
again to sudden Russian counterattacks. By October 5, the Germans had almost
taken the key Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works. However, the fighting had been so
heavy that the line troops occupying the surrounding area were exceptionally
weak from the previous week’s combat. At that point, the Russians counterattacked
with their crack 37th Guards to break the ring the Germans had thrown
around the factory and reinforce the desperate defenders.