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Battle Of Rostov: WW2

There were three Battle Of Rostov during the Second World War. In 1941 the Germans wrested it but within a few days the Russians took it back. In 1942 the Germans finally captured it. In 1943 the Russians finally drove away the Germans.

The fighting was fierce and intense. See the video below.

Rostov-on-Don lies at the mouth of the Don River where it flows into the Sea of Azov, a part of the Black Sea. It was strategically placed and an important target for the Germans as the gateway to the Caucuses and the oil wealth that lay there.

Rostov was a target of Barbarosa (1941). After taking Kiev (July 1941), the Germans drove deep into the Ukraine, approaching Rostov. The Germans reach the city (November 20-22, 1941). The Soviets, however, aunch a counter attack and retake the city (November 27). The massive Soviet Winter offensive before Moscow forces the Wehrmacht to retreat west. The Germans are badly damaged by the Soviet Winter offensive. They are only able to launch their Summer offensive in one sector of the front and Hitler chooses the south. Rostov becomes a target again. The Germans cut the railroad at Voronezh near the Don River (July 6). This cuts off Rostov from the rest of the Soviet Union July 9). After reaching the Don, the German offensive divides. The 6th Army, the most powerful force heads east toward Stalingrad. The smaller force moves toward Rostov and Caucasus oilfields. The Germans seized Boguchar and Millerovo in the Donetz (July 16, 1942). Panzers move to cut off Rostov from the east in a classic Blitzkrieg advance. The Germans take Rostov (July 23).


About 20,000 Jews lived in Rostow. Few fled as the Germans advanced. They were urbanized, unprepared for life hiding in the country. Many did not fear the Germans, having studied in German universities. The Germans rounded up the Jews and marched the men to a ravine just outside the city--Zmiyovskaya Balka, or the ravine of the snakes (August 11, 1942). There the killing squads shot them. The women, children and elderly followed. The Nazi killing squads gassed them in trucks and dumped their bodies in the same ravine. Communists functinaries and Red Army soldiers along with their families were also killed and buried there along with their families. The death toll came to 27,000 people. Most of Rostov's Jews who survived the War were serving with the Red Army.


With defeat looming at Stalingrad, German commanders in Caucasus begin withdrawing northward through Rostov (January 2, 1943). The last elements of the 6th Army surrender at Stalingrad (February 2, 1943). Red Army spearheads drive toward Rostov, Kharkov, and Kursk. The Soviets retake Rostov (February 14).


The Germans settling down in Rostov in July 1942. Russian boys carry their luggage. For food perhaps

A Soviet ace pilot captured by the Germans

The Russians attack to recapture Rostov


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Quotes about war....

"War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man."
--Napoleon Hill

"We have failed to grasp the fact that mankind is becoming a single unit, and that for a unit to fight against itself is suicide."
--Havelock Ellis

'Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed."
--Mao Tse-Tung (1893 - 1976)

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."
--George McGovern

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."
--Joseph Stalin

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
--Voltaire, War

In war, truth is the first casualty.
-- Aeschylus

"The ability and inclination to use physical strength is no indication of bravery or tenacity to life. The greatest cowards are often the greatest bullies. Nothing is cheaper and more common than physical bravery."
--Clarence Darrow, Resist Not Evil

"The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
--Adolf Hitler

"To walk through the ruined cities of Germany is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization."
--George Orwell

"Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country."
--Bertrand Russell

Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.
--Francis Meehan

Snippets From History

German Soldiers in Russia: Part 1

Hubert Menzel was a major in the General Operations Department of the OKH (the Oberkommando des Heers, the German Army headquarters), and for him the idea of invading the Soviet Union in 1941 had the smack of cold, clear logic to it: 'We knew that in two years' time, that is by the end of 1942, beginning of 1943, the English would be ready, the Americans would be ready, the Russians would be ready too, and then we would have to deal with all three of them at the same time.... We had to try to remove the greatest threat from the East.... At the time it seemed possible.'

Battle for Berlin, 1945

'We started to fire at the masses,' says one former German machine gunner. 'They weren't human beings for us. It was a wall of attacking beasts who were trying to kill us. You yourself were no longer human.'


Berlin after it fell to the Russians, 1945

"Vladlen Anchishkin, a Soviet battery commander on the 1st Ukrainian Front, sums up the horror of the whole event, when he tells how he took personal revenge on German soldiers: 'I can admit it now, I was in such a state, I was in such a frenzy. I said, 'Bring them here for an interrogation' and I had a knife, and I cut him. I cut a lot of them. I thought, 'You wanted to kill me, now it's your turn.'
Read More


Dramatic Pictures: Battle For Stalingrad
"...Effective command no longer possible... further defense senseless. Collapse inevitable. Army requests immediate permission to surrender in order to save lives of remaining troops."
General Paulus' radio message to Hitler on January 24, 1943

"...Capitulation is impossible. The 6th Army will do its historic duty at Stalingrad until the last man, the last bullet..."

Hitler's response to General Friedrich Paulus' request to withdraw from the city


Points To Ponder....

The fall of France was shocking. It reduced France to virtually a non-player in the Second World War. The efforts of Charles de Gualle were more symbolic than material. But the martial instincts of the French must never be doubted. Under Napoleon they were a formidable military power. The French definitely have more iron in their blood then say, the Italians [I do not mean it in a derogatory sense. War never makes sense]


Bias Of Western Historians

Soviet resistance made possible a successful Allied invasion of France, and ensured the final Allied victory over Germany.

It can hardly be called mere 'resistance'! If it hadn't been for the Russians, Hitler would have made mincemeat of British forces in Africa and landed on British shores in no time. Hitler attacked Russia first because it had more land and resources than Britain. It is as simple as that.

Eastern Front: Bias Of Western Historians