Late in August of 1942 the German Sixth Army bore down on Stalingrad. The German commander, General Freidrich Paulus, had much to contemplate regarding how he would approach the task of seizing the city that would become the bane of his existence and end his military career in catastrophic fashion. Stalingrad sprawled down the broad Volga River's western bank in a long (at over 25 miles) strip of land. Problematically for it's defenders, the Volga's western bank rose significantly higher than it's east bank.
Over the past month we have looked at four major Soviet offensives launched against the German Sixth Army's northern flank as it attempted to clear the Soviet 62nd Army from Stalingrad (pictured in the image to the right). In particular, the Red Army's First Kotluban offensive had an enormous impact on events inside the city. As bad as the Second through Fourth Kotluban offensive's went for the Soviet Don Front's army's they also would impact not only the fighting within Stalingrad, but the German perception of the threat to Sixth Army posed by Army Group B's overextended front.