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79 years ago, the counter-offensive began at Stalingrad

On November 19, 1942, the famous Operation Uranus began - the Soviet counteroffensive near Stalingrad, which marked the beginning of a radical change in the course of the Great Patriotic War and the entire Second World War. In
ancient Greek mythology, Uranus personified the sky, and from his blood Erinia was born - the goddess of revenge. The counteroffensive began with a powerful 80-minute artillery barrage of 3,500 guns. Unfavorable weather conditions made the actions of aviation impossible, so the emphasis was placed on artillery preparation. Hundreds of tons of shells fell on German positions from the sky - since 1944, November 19 in the USSR began to be celebrated as the Day of Artillery (since 1964 - the Day of Rocket Forces and Artillery). The 3rd Romanian Army was literally swept away by the troops of the Southwestern Front, which advanced almost 35 kilometers towards Kalach-on-Don in a day. The commander of the 6th Romanian Infantry Division, General Laskar, and 27,000 soldiers surrendered. From the north, the 65th army of the Don Front fell on the enemy. The next day, soldiers of the 51st and 57th armies of the Stalingrad Front went on the offensive, completing the defeat of the enemy.
According to the testimony of the head of the XII Department of the General Staff "Foreign armies of the East" General Gehlen, who headed the military intelligence, as early as November 4 from a "confidant" in Moscow, a message was received about a meeting of the Military Council chaired by Stalin, where it was decided to carry out several offensive operations until November 16. including on the Don. However, the German command did not attach any importance to this, especially since aviation reconnaissance, due to worsening weather conditions, could not record the preparation of the Soviet troops for the offensive. Moreover, at 18 o'clock on November 19, the headquarters of the 6th German army planned the next day to continue routine "reconnaissance actions", which indicates a complete lack of understanding of the combat situation at the front. And only at 22 o'clock came a panicky order from the commander of Army Group B, von Weichs, prohibiting Paulus's army from all offensive actions in Stalingrad.
More than a million Soviet soldiers took part in the offensive of the three Soviet fronts, supported by 1,500 tanks, 15,000 artillery pieces and mortars, and 1,350 aircraft. On November 22, the advance detachment of the 26th Panzer Corps of the 5th Panzer Army, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Georgy Filippov, seized the bridge over the Don with a swift attack. “The Russian tank unit approached the bridge and captured it on the move without a fight, as the bridge guards mistook it for a German training unit equipped with captured Russian tanks, which often used this bridge,” infantry division commander Hans Derr made a helpless gesture in his book “ Campaign to Stalingrad ". The enemy realized that this would lead to a rapid crossing of the main forces of the advancing, and rushed to the counterattack. However, the tankers did not retreat from the captured line, waiting for the main corps forces to approach. The next day, the tank brigade of Colonel Nikolai Filippenko broke into Kalach. "These two officers with almost the same surnames - Russian and Ukrainian - by their actions saved the lives of hundreds, and maybe even thousands of their comrades-in-arms, who would have to sacrifice themselves if the seizure of the crossing resulted in a protracted battle," wrote the head of the operational department of the headquarters of Yugo -Western Front Major General S.P. Ivanov. For proactive actions that contributed to the decisive completion of the operation, G.N. Filippov and N.M. Filippenko was
awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. On November 23, the troops of the Southwestern and Don fronts closed the encirclement at Stalingrad.
According to the plans of the Soviet General Staff, it was assumed that 80 thousand soldiers and officers of the 6th German army of General Paulus would be surrounded. But the reality turned out to be even more overwhelming. The "Stalingrad cauldron" ended up with a 273,000-strong enemy group. The Germans did not know such a defeat yet. It was a real military disaster.