The Surrender of the German Sixth Army
On November 23,1942, and following the November 19, 1942 beginning of Operation Uranus, the spearheads from the Soviet Southwest and Stalingrad fronts, met at Kalach to Stalingrad’s west. They had cut off the entire German 6th Army and part of the 4th Panzer Army in a massive pocket. Following a belated and thwarted German relief effort the final role for the formerly proud and merciless 6th Army was to tie down the Soviet armies around Stalingrad as German Army Group A completed its withdrawal from the Caucusus. To that end, and even as the 6th Army slowly crumbled, it dealt out considerable death and destruction. All told, Axis forces killed some 485,751 Soviet soldiers in and around Stalingrad during these brutal months—from the 1.1 million killed or wounded during the entire campaign.
As for the German 6th Army’s fate, on January 10, 1943, the final Soviet assault on the German pocket began. Newly promoted Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus officially capitulated on February 2, 1943. Axis losses were staggering; depending on the source, 225,000 to 250,000 men, from an original army totaling 250,000 to 300,000, died or fell into captivity—this figure included the Axis and Russian personnel working with the 6th Army.