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Liveblogging World War iI: September 16, 1942

A memo:

To: L. P. Beria, People's Commissar for Internal Affairs
From: N. N. Selivanovsky, Chief, Special Department, Stalingrad Front, People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs
Subject: The Situation in Stalingrad
Date: September 16, 1942

According to the situation at 2400 hours on September 15, the enemy in Stalingrad occupied the elevator, to which 40 enemy tanks and groups of motorized infantry have penetrated, and the House of Specialists, situated immediately adjacent toe th Volga--150-180 meters fro the crossings. Here tehe enemy brought up more than 20 tans an groups of submachine gunners and mortar men

The enemy was occupying the railroad depot, the former State bank building, and a number of other buildings which they have turned into strongpoints. The enemy has occupied Mamaev Kurgan (Hill 102), which dominates all of Stalingrad and the left bank of the Volga--a radius of 20-30 kilometers from the Volga by which he ha taken under his control all crossings and roads leading to Krasnaia Sloboda.

Arriving here during the night, 13th Guards Rifle Division (commanded by Major General Rodimtsev), which was withdrawn for reformation in August and has been on the march constantly for the past two weeks, was fighting with the enemy in Stalingrad on 15 September.>The division's soldiers employ their weapons poorly, and the division reached its positions in Stalingrad without ammunition. The division undertook measures to obtain ammunition.

During combat on 15 September, 13th Guards Rifle Division lost 400 men killed and wounded and expended all of the ammunition for its automatic weapons, and, nevertheless, the division still has not received ammunition and artillery as of midnight on 16 September.

The division is experiencing a sharp need for artillery; it needs it to destroy the building where the enemy submachine gunners are lodged.

The matter of transporting wounded to the left bank of the Volga is very bad. The commander of 13th Guards Rifle Division hs no means whatsoever for transporting the wounded.

The lightly wounded soldiers are building rafts themselves, carrying the seriously wounded on them, and, while crossing to the left bank are easily carried by the currents along the Volga, where they disperse into the villages an search for help.

Such is the situation in 62nd Army.

In general, Stalingrad was not prepared for defense. Fortifications were not built in the street in timely fashion, and there were no sorts of warehouses with ammunition, medical supplies, and food dug into the ground in Stalingrad.

The units fought street battles for only a single day, and there was already no ammunition. Now ammunition and food must be delivered across the Volga--across a single working crossing, and then only at night.

Through the Front commander Comrade Eremenko, the question is asked about the immediate delivery to 13th Guards Rifle Division in Stalingrad during the night of 500,000 rounds for automatic weapons, 10,000 antitank rifles, 10 guns with shells, and the allocation of one or two river trawlers to transport the wounded and the organization of the crossing of 1500 soldiers who remained without crossing on the night of 14-15 September.

The enemy has been firing on the crossings over the Volga from artillery, mortars, and automatic weapons fire all of the past days and, today, put three of the four operating pairs of ferries out of action.

As before, enemy aircraft are subjecting our units in Stalingrad to constant bombardment and, today, began bombing Krasnaia Sloboda.

Before 13th Guards Rifle Division's arrival in Stalingrad, 62nd Army's blocking detachment halted the enemy in the vicinity of the railroad station. Many of the comrades in the department have been recommended for governmental decorations for displaying valor in battle.

Instances of disorganization and carelessness are continuing to take place. A personal visit to Stalingrad on the night of 15-16 September revealed that 13th Guards Rifle Division Command Post and 62nd Army commander's communications post, which are located in the NKVD building on the bank of the Volga, have not been fully tied into with the Volga in spite of the fact that the enemy is situated 100-150 meters from the Command Post and the signal center. This has been pointed out to Comrade Rodimtsev, the commander of 13th Guards Rifle Division, nd measures for the organization of the defense and strengthening of security of th Command Post are being taken.

There is still another characteristic instance that relates on communications work and speaks to the short-sightedness. For example, just now two soldiers who were carrying two batteries from the field radio station of 13th Guards Rifle Division's 42nd Rifle Regiment met on the street in Krasnaia Sloboda Having crossed the Volga on improvised boats, they were now bound for the division's rear, and, not knowing where to have the batteries recharged, all the while the radio stations were not operating.

At 2200 hours on 14 September, after penetrating along Medveditskaia Street, a group of enemy automatic weapons men captured the Command Post of 8th Separate Company of the City Commandant's Command, which was located in a mine gallery. While seizing this Command Post, about 80 men were captured, and now those taken prisoner were used in small groups to transport ammunition to the German automatic weapons men. One such group numbering 6 men was recaptured by NKVD personnel in the vicinity of 13th Guards Rifle Division's Commnd Post, of which 4 men were shot in front of the ranks as traitors to the Motherland. An investigation is under way.

During the battle for the NKVD building on 15 September, a woman calling herself Volodina, who spoke the German language and was actively taking part in combat as an automatic weapons man on the German side, was taken prisoner Because she was wounded, the situation did not permit interrogation, and our worker shot Volodina.

The Special Department of 62nd Army's People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs [NKVD] is creating a special group made up of operational Red Army men for arresting all suspicious pesos.

At 2300 hours on 15 September, one such group was fired upon from one of the houses in the vicinity of the city's bazaar. During a search of the house, five men in Red Army uniforms were discovered in the basement. All 5 men were arrested. An investigation is under way.

From 13 to 15 September, the blocking detachment of 62nd Army's Special Department detained 1218 men: of these, 21 were shot, 10 were arrested, and the rest were sent to their units. The majority of those detained came from 10th NKVD Division and the associated regiment of 399th Rifle Division, which was abandoned on the battlefield by the regiment' commander and commissar.

For displayed cowardice--fleeing from the field of battle and abandoning units to the mercy of their fate, the commander of the associate regiment of 399th Rifle Division, Major Zhukov, and the commissar--Senior Political Worker Raspopov--have been shot in front of the ranks.