Mamayev Kurgan statue

The battle of Stalingrad (August 1942 - February 1943) was the death of Hitler's dream of the conquest of Europe and is probably the most famous battle in history.

The hill in Stalingrad (now Volgograd) known as Mamayev Kurgan rises to a height of 102 metres above sea level. Placed as it is almost in the centre of the city its heights hold a commanding position over the whole city, the Volga and the area across the river. Thus he who commanded the hill, in a sense, commanded the city. During the Battle for Stalingrad it was the site of the most intense fighting and was called the most important hill in Russia.

Mamayev Kurgan was the highest point in the city and was bitterly fought over through January 1943. A recent tourist described his visit to the site:

At the top we talked with a veteran. One of four machine gun company commanders who fought on the hill. He spent 11 days fighting on the summit. "Did you meet Chuikov?" I ask. "Yes" he said, "before going up the hill he said:

'we hold ... you take the hill ... you go to die ... die expensively'".

Completed in 1967, the statue "Motherland is Calling" is 52 metres high (171 feet) and is made of 5,500 tons of concrete and 2,400 tons of metal. The sword is stainless steel and is 29 metres long weighing 14 tons. The hanging part of the scarf ways 250 tons. The statue not fixed to its foundation by anything but its own weight. At night the statue is illuminated by floodlights.

Want more info about the battle of Stalingrad?

Much of the stuff found thru google is a waste of time (game sites and stuff).

There are many good books at the library, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

There are two well-known videos available: (1) The 1993 German movie Stalingrad (made for the 50th anniversary of the battle) and (2) The 2001 US movie Enemy at the Gates. The German movie follows the actions of a German company of soldiers who, initially certain they will win the war, are gradually reduced to oblivion. The US movie shows matters from the Russian side, taking great liberties with the famous story of the duel between the top Russian snipper Vassili Zaitsev and his German counterpart while using up half the screen time with a fatuous and shallow love story in Hollywood soap opera fashion. Both videos are worth seeing but the German movie is by far the more compelling.

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