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By Edwin P. Hoyt

The tale of the siege through the acclaimed writer of Hitler's WarIn 199 Days, acclaimed historian Edwin P. Hoyt depicts the epic conflict for Stalingrad in all its electrifying pleasure and savage horror. greater than the bloodiest skirmish in history-a momentous clash costing 3 million lives-the siege was once a hinge upon which the process historical past rested. Had the purple military fallen, the Nazi juggernaut may have rolled over Russia. Had the German's now not held out in the course of these previous few months, Stalin may have painted Europe crimson. Now, over 50 years after the main striking conflict of the second one millenium, the reality approximately this decisive second is ultimately published.

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Two dozen brigades and divisions were moving on Army Group Center. The Germans had been telling themselves that the Russians did not have new troops to throw into the battle and were moving soldiers from other areas. Bock still believed that. But that day, the Army Group North spearhead that had been aiming to make contact with Army Group Center in the assault on Moscow found itself almost surrounded in the blizzard that raged in the area. The Russians had brought in twenty-seven trainloads of troops in three days.

The current production of artillery, machine guns, and mortars was not enough to cover the recent losses on the Eastern Front. The army was scouring its resources for trucks, buses, and other vehicles, and the search was going on as far away as France. And once these vehicles were driven east, they would need repairs. 12 Hitler's order to the men of the Eastern Front to hold at all costs came at the time that Stalin was pressing his generals to carry out the second phase of the Soviet first winter offensive, to surround and wipe out Army Group Center.

They had already stopped and the Germans were retreating. There was not to be any retreat, said Hitler, except to prepared positions. What did that mean? The fairy-tale communique said Oberkommando des Heeres (the army high command) would start recalling the panzer and motorized divisions to Germany for refitting. Recall to Germany? The divisions would be lucky if they could survive and get back to the rear areas, which at the moment seemed unlikely. The Hitler directive caused the generals to wonder even more than before if their leaders knew what was happening at the front.

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