Stalingrad - the fate of the Romanians
28th November 1942: The Romanian Army, Hitler's largest ally on the Eastern Front, suffer devastating losses when they are overrun by the Red Army
Stalingrad was rapidly turning into a disaster for the German armed forces. Yet the tragedy in personal terms, the sheer scale of human misery involved was only just becoming apparent. The intense battles, when wave after wave of men, from both sides, had been thrown into the battle with their life expectancy measured in hours or days, had seen enough suffering as it was. Now the long, drawn-out agony of those who had survived so far was becoming clear.
The Romanians had joined Hitler’s invasion of Russia in 1941 to regain territory that had previously been seized by the Soviet Union. Against the advice of his Army commanders, the dictator General Ion Antonescu had then sent his troops deeper into Russia, where they fought in the Crimea and in the Caucasus. Then the Third and Fourth Romanian Armies were put into a supporting role in the assault on Stalingrad.
Spread out in thin positions covering a wide area west of the city, the Romanian force of some 235,000 men was understrength and ill-equipped. When the Red Army struck on the 19th November they were not only outnumbered but had no anti-tank weapons capable of confronting Soviet tanks. About 160,000 men were dead, wounded or missing in the next few months.
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