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Pavlov's House (Russian: дом Павлова tr. Dom Pavlova) was a fortified apartment building which Red Army defenders held for 60 days against the Wehrmacht offensive during the Battle of Stalingrad. The siege lasted from 27 September to 25 November 1942 and eventually the Red Army managed to relieve it from the siege.
The importance of the building has been contested. The fame of the building might be due to the fact that it was not at the center of the October fighting, which had shifted to the north of Stalingrad. This allowed journalists to visit Pavlov's house more easily than buildings nearer the main German assaults. The first article about "Pavlov's House" appeared on October 31, 1942.
The house was a four-story building in the center of Stalingrad, built perpendicular to the embankment of the river Volga and overseeing the "9th January Square", a large square named for Bloody Sunday. In late September 1942, between 30 and 50 soldiers of the 42nd Guards Regiment, 13th Guards Rifle Division secured the large apartment blocks from German control, following its recapture by four soldiers four days beforehand which Yakov Pavlov himself led.
The position was quickly fortified under the command of Lieutenant Ivan F. Afanasiev, who ordered the men to lay landmines in all approaches to the square, barbed wire around the perimeter of the apartment block, and to position multiple machine guns in the windows as well as a PTRS anti tank rifle. The Soviets also had large amounts of artillery support from the opposite side of the Volga. Supply and communication trenches were created leading from the rear of Pavlov’s House to the river bank of the Volga, which received supply from supply vessels which were often shelled by German artillery when crossing the river.
The strategic benefit of the house was that it defended a key section of the Volga bank. The tactical benefit of the house was its position on a cross-street, giving the defenders a 1 km (0.62 mi) line of sight to the north, south and west. After several days, reinforcements and resupply arrived for Pavlov's men, bringing the unit up to a 25-man understrength platoon and equipping the defenders with machine guns, anti-tank rifles, and mortars.
In keeping with Stalin's Order No. 227—"not one step back"—Sergeant Pavlov was ordered to fortify the building and defend it to the last bullet and the last man. Taking this advice to heart, Pavlov ordered the building to be surrounded with four layers of barbed wire and minefields, and set up machine-gun posts in every available window facing the square. In the early stages of the defense, Pavlov discovered that an anti-tank rifle—a PTRS-41—he had mounted on the roof was particularly effective when used to ambush unsuspecting German tanks; once the tanks had approached to within range of the weapon, their thin turret-roof armor was exposed to AT rifle fire from above, and they were unable to elevate their weapons enough to retaliate.
For better internal communication, Pavlov's soldiers breached the walls in the basement and upper floors, and dug a communications trench to Soviet positions outside. Supplies were brought in via the trench or by boats crossing the river, defying German air raids and shelling. Nevertheless, food and especially water was in short supply. Lacking beds, the soldiers tried to sleep on insulation wool torn off pipes but were subjected to harassing fire every night in order to try to break their resistance.
The Germans attacked the building several times a day. Each time German infantry or tanks tried to cross the square and to close in on the house, Pavlov's men laid down a withering barrage of machine gun and AT rifle fire from the basement, the windows and the roof. The defenders, as well as the civilians hiding in the basement, were eventually relieved by counter-attacking Soviet forces after holding out from 27 September to 25 November 1942.
It has been argued that whilst the house was heavily fortified, there were limited assaults against it and it was amongst the first buildings in Stalingrad to be restored after the war, having received comparatively limited damage. German archives do not support the claim for heavy fighting for the building, and Soviet military archives attach no particular importance to the house as a defensive structure. Whilst the building was originally captured by Pavlov, the commander of the position was Lieutenant Afanasev. The garrison was disbanded on the night of November 24 with troops returning to their original units. These units were then sent on the offensive with Pavlov, Afanasev. Many members of the house's garrison were killed and wounded whilst assaulting the German held "Milk House" on November 26.
Uncertainty on dates
Sources conflict on the date at which the siege began, and the date at which the Soviet reinforcements reached the building and lifted the siege.
"One of the most famous episodes of the Stalingrad battle was the defence of 'Pavlov's house', which lasted for fifty-eight days."
Pavlov's House became a symbol of the stubborn and dogged resistance of the Soviet forces during the Battle of Stalingrad, which eventually ended in a decisive victory for the Soviet forces after months of fighting and heavy casualties on both sides. The inability of the German blitzkrieg to make headway against such grinding and self-sacrificial attrition warfare made the failure to capture Pavlov's House (despite numerous attempts) stand out as a symbol of resistance against a supposedly superior force.
Pavlov's "House" was rebuilt after the battle and is still used as an apartment building today. There is an attached memorial constructed from bricks picked up after the battle on the East side facing the Volga.
After the war Pavlov communicated little with his ex-comrades, with many of them bewildered by his fame and in disagreement with the story that had been built around Pavlov. In 1985 a memorial was erected, listing the names of the garrison.
Pavlov's House was used as inspiration for a mission in the Soviet campaign of the first-person shooter video game Call of Duty. The player, playing as Junior Sergeant Alexei Ivanovich Voronin assists Sergeant Pavlov and his unit in capturing an apartment complex and defending it against a German counterattack until Soviet reinforcements arrive.
- Blazeski, Goran (10 October 2016). "The Germans lost more men attacking Pavlov's house at Stalingrad, than they did during their entire push on Paris". www.thevintagenews.com. The Vintage News. Archived from the original on 11 January 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
- Bull, Stephen (23 September 2008). World War II Street-Fighting Tactics. illustrated by Peter Dennis. Oxford, England: Osprey Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 9781782008460. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
- Kobyakov, Egor (26 February 2021). "Unknown Stalingrad: Pavlov's House, Anatomy of a Legend". www.warspot.net. Warspot. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
- Mathews, Rupert (15 June 2012). Stalingrad: The Battle that Shattered Hitler's Dream of World Domination. London, England: Arcturus Publishing. pp. 222–223. ISBN 9781848586635. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
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- Rottiers, Geert. "Pavlov's house". www.stalingrad.net. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
- Chuikov, Vasily. "Srazhenie veka" Сражение века [Battle of the Centuary] (in Russian). Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2013. Эта небольшая группа, обороняя один дом, уничтожила вражеских солдат больше, чем гитлеровцы потеряли при взятии Парижа. [This small group, defending one house, destroyed more enemy soldiers than the Nazis lost in the capture of Paris.]
- "EVROPEĬSKIE KULʹʹTURNYE T͡sENNOSTI POD OKKUPAT͡sIEĬ" ЕВРОПЕЙСКИЕ КУЛЬТУРНЫЕ ЦЕННОСТИ ПОД ОККУПАЦИЕЙ [EUROPEAN CULTURAL VALUES UNDER OCCUPATION] (in Russian). Archived from the original on 21 December 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- "Geroi strany" Герои страны [Heroes of the country]. warheroes.ru/ (in Russian). Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- Искатели - Дом Павлова.Легендарный редут, retrieved 17 September 2021
- "Ushel iz zhizni posledniĭ zashchitnik doma Pavlova v Stalingrade Kamolzhon Turgunov" Ушел из жизни последний защитник дома Павлова в Сталинграде Камолжон Тургунов [The last defender of Pavlov's house in Stalingrad, Kamolzhon Turgunov, passed away]. Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian). Moscow, Russia. 17 March 2015. Archived from the original on 7 August 2021. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
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