Associated Press: Russians Liquidate Last Stalingrad Pocket:
Nazi Army Beaten :: More Generals Captured in Final Assault on Axis Survivors :: Siege Cost 500,000 Men :: 2,500 Officers Among 91,000 Prisoners -- Soviet Units Freed for Offensives
London, Wednesday, Feb. 3 -- The Red Army has completed the destruction of 330,000 trapped troops at Stalingrad, the flower of Adolf Hitler's army, Moscow announced last night in a special bulletin. This raised the Russians' announced toll of Axis casualties on the Volga since last Fall to more than 500,000 in dead and captured alone. The communique, recorded here by the Soviet monitor, said 91,000 troops, including a field marshal, twenty-three generals and thousands of other officers, had surrendered in the last three weeks.
An announcement on Sunday said more than 100,000 had been killed in twenty days, and a communique last Dec. 31 said 175,000 had been killed and 137,650 captured in the preceding six-week period, beginning with the big Red Army Winter offensive on Nov. 19.
Casualties Exceed 500,000
This represents a total of 503,650 Axis troops killed or captured since mid-November, on the basis of Russian announcements, and it does not include Axis casualties in the preceding three months of bitter fighting that raged along the Volga and inside Stalingrad. The German radio last night acknowledged the end of the trapped Nazi army, but said the battle had cost the Russians more than 300,000 men.
Russia's victory at Stalingrad released additional Red Army divisions for heavier blows 250 miles to the west, where the Russians are pushing into the Ukraine toward Kharkov and threatening Rostov on the Sea of Azov. The midnight bulletin announced continuing Red Army victories in those drives. Pokrovskoe and Nizhni Duvanka, two towns above captured Svatovo on the Kupy-ansk-Voroshilovgrad railway in the Ukraine, fell to the Russians yesterday, the communique said. This placed the Russians twenty-seven miles from Kupyansk, an important rail junction on the line leading to Kharkov. In the Caucasus the Russians advancing up the Tikhoretsk-Rostov railway occupied Pavlovsk, only seventy-five miles below Rostov. Other units wheeling south-westward from Tikhoretsk captured Korenovsk, only thirty-five miles from Krasnoday. Another Russian column is within forty miles of Rostov in a drive paralleling the thrust from Tikhoretsk.
Aside from the huge territorial strides of the Russians, the destruction of Axis troops and equipment was regarded as even more important in the Allied fight to force the Nazis to their knees. More than 2,500 officers were captured, the Russians said. Field Marshal General Friedrich Paulus, commander of the Nazi Sixth Army, surrendered last Sunday with fifteen Axis generals. Last night's bulletin announced that Col. Gen. Walther Heitz, commander of the Eighth Army Corps; Lieut. Gen. Streicher, commander of the Eleventh Corps, and innumerable other officers had put down their arms.
The Soviet bulletin said "trophies are still being counted in one of the biggest battles in the history of wars," but listed this booty as captured since Jan. 10, when the final push began: Fifty-six locomotives, 1,125 railway cars, 750 planes, 1,150 tanks, 6,700 guns, 1,462 mortars, 8,135 machine guns, 90,000 rifles, 61,102 trucks, 7,369 motor cycles, 480 carts, tractors and transports; 320 radio transmitters, three armored trains, 235 ammunition and arms dumps and a large amount of other equipment.
The Moscow radio said Marshal Nikolai N. Voronof and Co. Gen. Konstantin Rokossovsky, the Red Army leaders, sent a message to Premier Joseph Stalin at 6:30 P. M., saying: "Carrying out your order, troops on the Don front at 4 P.M., Feb. 2, finished the rout and annihilation of encircled enemy troops at Stalingrad." Then Premier Stalin issued the following order:
Order of the day by the Supreme Commander in Chief to the troops of the Don front:
To the representative of the Supreme Commander in Chief, Marshal of Artillery, Comrade Voronoff; to the commander of the troops on the Don front, Col. Gen. Rokossovsky:
I congratulate you and the troops of the Don front on your successful carrying out of the liquidation of the encircled enemy troops at Stalingrad. I express my gratitude to the commanders of the Red Army men and the political workers of the Don front for their excellent military activities.
The Supreme Commander in Chief,
The city named for Mr. Stalin already was trying to make the skeleton ruins of the town livable again. Sappers were clearing the streets of mines imbedded in broken pavements and side walks as the Axis prisoners, dirty, ragged, hungry and half-frozen, awaited transfer to concentration camps.
The siege of Stalingrad began last Aug. 25. It was the highwater mark of the 1942 offensive that rolled eastward from the Kurks-Kharkov-Taganrog line, struck Voronezh on the upper Don and veered southwestward to the Volga and the Caucasus foothills. Tonight Soviet troops not only had broken the last resistance at Stalingrad but were advancing far to the west over ground where they had themselves retreated in the early days of last Summer's Nazi push. Both sides undoubtedly suffered heavily in the long bitter battle of attrition. Premier Stalin said once that the first sixty days of siege cost the Germans 100,000 men, 1,000 planes and 8,000 tanks. On Sept. 30, Herr Hitler declared the city would be conquered and said "you may rest assured that no human being will be able to oust us from there."
Russia's powerful counter-blow was struck on Nov. 19. Red Army wings on both sides of the city crossed the Volga and hammered out a junction on the Don River, twenty-five miles west of Stalingrad. Reinforcements flooded into the captured terrain to seal the fate of the 330,000 trapped Germans. With all German relief efforts smashed, the Nazis were reduced to supplying their Stalingrad forces by transport plane. Hundreds of these were shot down, and as the circle contracted there no longer were any airfields available to the Germans. The last Russian push at Stalingrad began on Jan. 10, when the Germans refused to surrender. German communiques became more and more reticent at first, then began to picture the men as martyrs who, while fighting "only with rifle butts and bayonets," were preventing the Russians from expanding successes elsewhere.
The erasure of the final Nazi at Stalingrad came three days after Berlin's gloomy celebration of the tenth anniversary of Herr Hitler's rise to power.