Meeting of the Fronts Memorial, Kalach-on-Don, Russia

This memorial commemorates the events of November 23, 1942, when the initial encirclement of German forces at Stalingrad was achieved. The Soviet counter-offensive, Operation Uranus, was launched on November 19, when the Southwest Front and Don Front attacked the 3rd Romanian Army to the north of the city. On the following day, to the south, Stalingrad Front was launched against 4th Romanian Army. The poorly trained and supplied Romanians were in no state to withstand the attacks and quickly buckled, allowing the Soviets to stream into the wide open spaces in 6th and 4th Panzer Armies’ rear.

156At about 4:00 pm on November 23rd, elements of Southwestern Front’s 4th Tank Corps and Stalingrad Front’s 4th Mechanised Corps linked near Kalach to form the initial encirclement.

The monument was built in 1954 by the famed sculptor Evgeniy Vuchetich, whose other works include the Motherland Calls statue on Mamayev Kurgan in the heart of Volgograd and the Treptower Park Memorial in Berlin. It stands on an 11-metre-tall mound that was raised using soil extracted during the building of the Don-Volga Canal. The 17-metre-tall sculpture includes four figures: two infantrymen, a tanker and a cavalryman.

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Two memorial walls are placed below the main inscription. One bears the inscription “23 ноября 1942 года  в  районе  Калача  советские войска  Юго-Западного и Сталинградского фронтов  во взаимодействии  с войсками  Донского фронта   завершили  оперативное  окружение  противника, что  привело к  последующему  разгрому  330-тысячной группировки немецко-фашистских войск, прорвавшихся к  Волге,” which means “On November 23rd, 1942, in the Kalach region, Soviet troops of the Southwestern and Stalingrad Fronts, in conjunction with troops of the Don Front, completed the operation to surround the enemy, which led to the final defeat of the 330.000-strong group of German-fascist troops that had broken through to the Volga.”

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The second reads “Потомки наши не забудут никогда величие духа и сказочной крепости русских солдат у берега Дона и  Волги. В боях по окружению немецко-фашистских войск  отличились 19-я,45-я,157-я дивизии, 102-я танковая, 14-я мотострелковая  и 31-я механизированная  бригады.” This translates as “Our descendents will never forget the great spirit and fantastic strength of the Russian soldiers on the banks of the Don and Volga. In the battles to surround the German-fascist troops, the 19th, 45th and 157th Divisions and 102nd Tank, 14th Motorised Infantry and 31st Mechanised Brigades distinguished themselves.”

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The memorial stands at the village of Pyatimorsk on the banks of the Don-Volga Canal, beside lock gate No.13, the last gate before the canal flows into the Tsimlyanskoye Reservoir. It is a few miles from the spot where the actual link up occurred, as this was flooded during the construction of the canal.

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