Our latest scenario, this one by Scott Roberts, features one of the most famous positions of the Battle of Stalingrad. On September 27, 1942, Soviet Junior Sergeant Yakov Pavlov was ordered to defend a heavily damaged, four-story apartment building on the edge of 9th January Square. The building’s position on a crossroads gave it an unrestricted view for a half-mile to the north, south, and west. It would have also been a commanding fire position for the Germans, intercepting Soviet reinforcements from the Volga.
Sergeant Pavlov and three other men scrambled across the square, throwing grenades to scatter the Germans who were attacking the house. In the building they found a number of survivors, both military and civilian. It would be another day before he could report the capture of the building, and several days before he received 20 more men as reinforcements.
The Soviets busied themselves with fortifying the building, laying mines and wire around the house. The Germans counterattacked repeatedly with tanks and infantry, but Pavlov and his men would evacuate the ground floor, seeking shelter in the basement and on the fourth floor. From the roof they would fire antitank rifles, easily penetrating the thin top armor of the panzers.
The defenders held out until November 25, when they were relieved by the counterattacking Red Army. The siege lasted a total of 60 days, longer than the entire 1940 conquest of France. In fact, Vasily Chuikov later joked that the Germans lost more men trying to take Pavlov’s House than they did taking Paris.
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