Stalingrad Grain Elevator Tour
During this tour you will be able to visit one of the most iconic buildings of the struggle: the heavily embattled but fortunately surviving fortress in the southern part of the city. The legendary Stalingrad Grain Elevator.
Built in 1940 of reinforced concrete, measuring 90 metres in length, 50 metres wide and 35 metres high, the silo survived the five-months battle relatively intact. The damage to its base, concrete pillars and the many shell holes that punctured its walls were repaired after the war and the building continues to be utilised today for the storage of grain. However, the many traces of damage are still visible today. This damage came from pummeling of the building with heavy artillery (howitzers, heavy mortars, 8.8cm Flak guns), tanks and Stuka dive-bombers and fighting inside.
In spite of the devastating fire unleashed against Soviets, the Russian defenders cooped up inside the grain elevator stubbornly held on for four more days. The troops included remnants of the 35th Guards Rifle and 10th NKVD Divisions, reinforced during the night of September 16/17 by naval troops of the 92nd Rifle Brigade ferried across the river. They resisted numerous assaults with tanks and flame-throwers, and it was not until the evening of September 21 that a surprise attack from the north-west by Germans managed to rush the building, forcing the survivors of the Soviet garrison to break out. In the end German troops took 104 of them prisoner but several small groups of Russians managed to escape across the river. By midnight, the grain elevator was finally in German hands.
In total the combat at the giant Grain Elevator in the south of the city raged for seven days 16-22 September 1942. About fifty Red Army defenders, cut off from resupply, held the position for five days and fought off ten different assaults before running out of ammunition and water. Only forty dead Soviet fighters were found, though the Germans had thought there were many more due to the intensity of resistance. The Soviets burned large amounts of grain during their retreat in order to deny the enemy food.
The story of Grain Elevator defence was well-known to German troops: those divisions on the high ground south of the city had seen it being attacked for almost a week. It looked unconquerable but German assault detachments succeeded in capturing it. It therefore seemed fitting that the Elevator be on the proposed Stalingrad arm shield to be worn by all of 6. Armee’s soldiers after the victory at Stalingrad.
The German commander General Colonel Friedrich Paulus chose the image of Grain Elevator as the symbol of victory and capture of Stalingrad in person.
*STALINGRAD SHIELD (Stalingradschild): Adolf Hitler ordered a shield for the Stalingrad forces on October 2, 1942.
War artist Ernst Eigener, from Propagandakompanie 637, submitted his design depicting Stalingrad ruins and a dead soldier with a crown of barbed wire by his head. It was rejected as being too morbid. Eigener was killed in action at Stalingrad on November 20, 1942. Another prototype very similar to the Eigener design was submitted by Friedrich Paulus in person. This award for capture of Stalingrad as the shield on left sleeve should wear each German soldier participated in the siege of Stalingrad with image of Grain Elevator and Volga river below.
The tour to the Stalingrad Grain Elevator can be perfectly combined with other 3-4 hour city tours on the same day.
The main highlights of Grain Elevator fortress of Stalingrad Tour:
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