The Battle in the City

There is very little left of the original tractor factory - a factory that was bitterly fought over. A factory from which unpainted T34s came off the production line and trundled straight into the fighting, a few miles away in the city suburbs. The old sign above hangs on a fence surrounding a housing complex adjacent to the new factory. On visiting the Tractor Factory and The Red October Plant (below) the thing that struck me, was the sheer scale of these places. Best not to ask how Evgeny and Tony managed to get us into Red October but - wow - the complete set from 'Enemy at the Gates'is there before your eyes and under your feet.

Entering one shattered building it felt like we were the first visitors since 1945. Standing next to a doorway with clear line of site across a large courtyard beyond, a kick against the debris below reveals 19 empty mauser shell cases. It is as though a sniper has just left - you can sense the drama.

The picture below (far right) shows one of the many T34 turrets that delineate the city centre front line. The area that 62nd Army held seems outrageously small - as indeed it was. The flour mill (second from left), one of the few buildings still standing on the riverside after the battle and ironically, built by a German immigrant in the early 20th century. Lyudnikov's Island, the ruins of the Rifle Division HQ is shown second from right. It is an experience to scramble down into the shattered cellars below.

civilians flour mill island

City Memorial

The Flour Mill

Lyudnikov's Island

T34 Turret

The grain elevator, below, dominates the skyline to the south of the city centre.

grain elevator

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