The battle on the Volga lasted more than six months from the summer of 1942 to February 1943. At times more than two million men were involved on both sides.
At first, under heavy pressure from the advancing Nazi armies the Russian forces withdrew from the outer ring of defences to the inner ring in the city. But the defenders had halted the German drive, both on the Volga and in the Caucasus.
On November 19 the Russians launched their counter-offensive. By December 1942 huge Russian forces north and south of the city joined up, enclosing several hundred thousand enemy officers and men in a steel trap.
Many historians believe the Volga Battle was the greatest of all the battles fought in the Second World War. But the once proud city on the Volga had been reduced to a heap of rubble.
Historical notes by Albert Axell