Fighting in Stalingrad - Interview with General Rodimzev

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Yukiko-san’s avatar

Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:42 pm

The following is from the book "Die Stalingrad Protokolle" by Jochen Hellbeck. It's only available in German and since I think many people here would be interested I decided to translate a small passage. Might do more if interest is there.
It's an extract from an interview with General Rodimzev, commander of the 13th Guards Rifle, held in early 1943 in the city of Stalingrad. Since it was never realeased it's not censored like his memoirs and most other accounts (eg. Zaitsev).

Here is a map of Stalingrad with the houses mentioned by him highlighted (also Objs on Pavlov). I tried my best to identify the buildings on the aerial photo. The School Nr. 38 he talks about is mentioned nowhere, just as the outpatient clinic.

The L-formed House and the Railway House kept us from crossing the Volga and walking around freely. We could only move through the trenches. That's why the commander [he doesn’t mention a name, maybe Tchuikov] gave the task of capturing these points - the L-formed House, the Railway House and the School Nr. 38. For this task I used a strengthened battalion of the 34th Regiment, Commander Panichin. He had the task of capturing the L-formed House and the School Nr.3. The 42nd Regiment was to capture the Railway House and the School Nr. 38, advance to the 9th January Square and set up there. I went to the command post of the 42nd Regiment, the mill [Still stands today]. ... e_1600.jpg
From there I could observe very well. The operation was planned very carefully, every soldier knew what to do and where to go and from where to open fire. The artillery was to fire on the targets for 10 minutes, the assault would commence during this strike. The distance to the enemies was 40-50 metres, at one point stood the L-formed House, at the second point the Railway House, the School Nr. 38 was about 100 metres away. You had to run across the 9th January Square, which was under strong enemy fire. The 34th and 42nd Regiment who got this task dug forwards day and night and came about 20-30 metres close to the enemy. At night they dug trenches and during the day they hid from the enemy, in the morning they camouflaged the work, they got very close to them like that. They managed this in 8 days, dug about 60 metres. It wasn’t many that worked there, two men would take turns. The dirt wasn’t thrown out to the top, but brought back and dumped into the Volga. That were the preparations for the assault. The attack was scheduled for the 3. December, 10 am. I went to the observation post of the 7th Company of the 42nd Regiment. The commander of the Regiment was there, Commisar Wawilon stayed there. He went to a different observation post. I could see the L-formed House, the store for military personnal and the 9th January Square. Panichin had the order to commence a surprise attack without artillery preparation, enter the L-formed House at 6am, fortify there, and at 10am the assault on the School Nr. 38 would begin. Before that methodic fire until 4am, at 4am all artillery would cease. At 10am the 42nd Regiment was to attack. The artillery preparations would start 6.15am, methodic fire until 9.40 to destroy single enemy embrasures. We took the guns outside and fired directly on the outpatient clinic. We also had a flamethrower company, 28 flamethrowers, 10 for Panichin at the L-formed House and 18 for the 42nd Regiment. They had the task to burn the Germans out of the basement during the taking of the outposts.
We took these houses multiple times, but we couldn’t hold them because the men didn’t cooperate very well. The enemy counterattacked and the men either died or went back into the trenches. So we had to from a group who stayed there and fortify after taking it. The operation was planned quite right by itself. At 6 the group enterned the L-formed house without a single shot. Everything on the top was immedeatly destroyed [from Artillery fire, as mentioned before I assume]. There were 6 floors. They entered and the fighting in the rooms and floors began. Our men were upstairs, they were downstairs, some on the 7th floor [he probably means the roof]. They were already carrying corpses outside, ours and theirs. Now there was the issue: It would be bad if we couldn’t get them out of the basement. There were 60 Germans there. Later we captured just there 17 MGs, flamethrowers, two anti-tank cannons and a grenade launcher.
Panichins deputy Kuzarenko had the task of clearing the basement. The house had a lot of cellars. Above one they beat a hole into the ceiling with a crowbar and held three flamethrowers into the hole. About 20 men were there, all were burned. Above a different one they lay 250kg of trinitrotoluene [TNT] on the ceiling and blew them up. Everyone stayed there and like that they entered the basement and cleared the rest. A couple germans escaped. The battle took 26 hours, the next morning we had cleared the building completly and started to fortify. Now the distance from each other was 30 metres, no one could take the School Nr. 38. This house was very important, you could see all of Stalingrad from there.

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Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:12 pm

This is fucking awesome! I love reading about the different experience of soldiers in Stalingrad, keep them coming if you have the time!

I am not sure but maybe School #38 or maybe #3 appear on one of the RO2 maps. School #5 is on Commissar's House.

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Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:00 pm

That part you wrote about , wow ,i never thought the Reds had Flamethrowers in Stalingrad , great bit of History m8
but like you Caffeine we would rather that never happens ,

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