Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May 9 - Victory Day - Facts about WW2 - Eastern Front

This Friday - May 9th is a Victory Day! One of my friends and a big fan of Russian culture and history whose name is Jared shared his own story and facts that he knows about World War II (particulary Easter Front). Those of you who studied history in the USA High School will hardly know these facts.

The Great Patriotic War
Die Ostfront 1941-1945
The Eastern Front was by far the largest and bloodiest theatre of World War II. It is generally accepted as being the deadliest conflict in human history, with over 30 million killed as a result. The Eastern Front was unparalleled for its high intensity, ferocity, and brutality. More people fought and died on the Eastern Front than in all other theaters of World War II. It involved more land combat than all other World War II theatres combined. The largest number of civilian deaths in a single city was 1.2 million citizens dead during the Siege of Leningrad or блокада Ленинграда now known as Saint-Petersburg or Санкт-Петербург. The combined damage of the Eastern Front theatre consisted of complete or partial destruction of 1,710 cities and towns, 70,000 villages/hamlets, 2,508 church buildings, 31,850 industrial establishments, 40,000 miles of railroad, 4100 railroad stations, 40,000 hospitals, 84,000 schools, and 43,000 public libraries. Seven million horses, and 17 million sheep and goats were also slaughtered or driven off.

Picture of Rodina Mat' - MotherLand Statue in Volgograd

The Battle of Stalingrad
A city that was once known as Tsaritsyn until in 1925 when it was changed to the name of Stalingrad. Since 1961 it has been known as Volgograd. Anyway from 17 July 1942 until 02 February 1943 1.5 million people lost their lives in this one campaign for a single city. Fighting on Mamayev Kurgan, a prominent, blood-soaked hill above the city, was particularly merciless. The position changed hands many times. During one Soviet counter-attack, the Soviet Army lost an entire division of 10,000 men in one day. For this one hill over looking the city. This division was the 13th Guards Rifle Division, assigned to retake Mamayev Kurgan and Railway Station No. 1, on September 13. Both objectives were successful, only to temporary degrees. The railway station changed hands 14 times in 6 hours. By the following evening, the 13th Guards Rifle Division did not exist, but its men had killed an approximately equal number of Germans. This is the most famous battle of the Soviet and German Snipers. One of the most famous Soviet snipers from this battle was Vasily Zaytsev who was credited with 242 confirmed kills during the battle and a grand total of more than 300; he was also credited with killing a specially-sent German sniper named Heinz Throvald. You might remember the US made movie titled Enemy at the Gates in which this battle was filmed about. The battle of Stalingrad was one of the largest battles in human history. It raged for 199 days.

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