July 28 • Soviet leader Joseph Stalin issues his famous order: ‘Not a step back!’ The NKVD ruthlessly prevents soldiers retreating.
August 20 • Soviet troops are pushed back from the western bank of the Don. At this point, the German Sixth Army is 37 miles away from Stalingrad.
August 21 • General Freidrich Paulus’s 6th Army crosses the Don. The following day, German tanks race to Stalingrad. At this point, the evacuation of the city is still under way.
August 23 • By 4pm, Paulus’s armoured division reaches Stalingrad from the north. But it fails to capture the city immediately, and the Germans suffer sustained attacks from the Red Army.
September 27 • Paulus fails in another attempt to storm the city.
October 4 • Paulus captures the station, pushing the Soviets towards the Volga but paratroopers halt the advance.
November 19 • Soviet troops start their counter-offensive, codenamed Operation Uranus.
November 22 • Soviet forces had encircled some 290,000 men east of the Don.
The operation to finish off the surrounded troops, codenamed Ring, was carried out by the Don Front, reinforced by three armies of the disbanded Stalingrad Front.
January 9 • Soviet commander Konstantin Rokossovsky issues an ultimatum for the Nazi troops to surrender, but Paulus refuses to give up on Hitler’s orders.
January 10 • Soviet heavy artillery and mortars open fire all along the front of the 65th Army, which begins storming the German 6th Army positions from the west.
January 17-22 • The assault is halted to realign Soviet forces.
January 22-26 • New attacks split the 6th Army in two, and Soviet troops link up near Mamayev Kurgan.
February 2 • With all hope of resistance ended, Field Marshal Paulus surrenders, dismissing Hitler’s orders to commit suicide – and a total of 110,000 Axis soldiers go into captivity.
The annihilation of the Sixth Army, which had conquered Paris and invaded huge areas of Russia, Belorussia and the Ukraine, marked the beginning of the end for Hitler and the start of the Red Army’s advance towards Berlin.