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Summer 1942. After recovering from their first Russion winter, the German forces are ready to launch thei final offensive in this war. The objective: The Caucasus oil fields. The Army Group South, reinforced by allied forces- Italian, Romanian and Hungarian - began the conquest of what remained of Ukraine and the Caucasus. The offensive unfolded as planned and the advance was spectacular, reaching the gates of Grozny itself. However, German efforts were dispersed when Hitlers Directive 45 ordered to take the city that woul give name to the most infamous battle of the war: Stalingrad.
During the months from September to November 1942 the Red Army defended the city that carried the name of thei leader, Stalin, whith a hitherto unknwon ferocity. German advance tho the Caucasus stopped and all resources and troops were diverted to the bloody struggle for the city. However, the Soviet High Command main objective was to attract the Germans to a deadly trap. The summer advance hat forced them to over extend and, when winter came, the Soviet forces would launch a series of offensives that woul trap the German 6th Army within Stalingra and destrouy most of the forces protecting its flanks.
The, until then, victoroius German Army had to beat a hasty retreat, leaving behind those trapped within Stalingrad in order to avoid that the disaster affected the whole Axis force in the south. Only on the intervention of Marshall Erich von Manstein and newly arrived reinforements a counter attack could be launched and the fron was stabilized by the end of February 1943. The campaign thus ended in a major defeat for the Axis arms. The Soviets launchend successive offensives, in the precess reaching the city of Kursk. The that brought an end to the operations until the following summer, but that is another story...