Pavlov's House

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Pavlov's_House_in_Stalingrad.jpg
Pavlov's House in Stalingrad

Pavlov's House (дом Павлова - dom Pavlova in Russian) became the name of a well-defended apartment building during the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942-1943. It gained its popular name from Sergeant Yakov Pavlov, who commanded the platoon which first seized the building and which kept defending it throughout the battle.

The building

The house was a four-story building in the city centre of Stalingrad, built parallel to the embankment of the river Volga and overseeing a large square, the "9th January Square". The house was attacked by the German invaders in September 1942. A platoon of the 13th Guards Army was ordered to seize and defend it. The platoon was commanded by Yakov Pavlov, a junior commander replacing his wounded superior. They were successful, although only four men survived the combat. Together they went on defending the building on their own. After several days, reinforcements finally arrived, equipping the defenders with machine-guns, anti-tank rifles and mortars. The men, now a garrison of twenty-five, surrounded the building with barbed wire and minefields, and established anti-tank and machine-gun posts at the windows. For better internal communications and supplies they 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, yet usually the Germans kept shooting at the house with deafening machine-gun fire day and night. 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 took them under heavy fire from within the basement, from the windows and from the roof top. Leaving behind a square covered with burnt corpses and steel, the Germans had to retreat again.

Eventually the defenders, as well as the Russian civilians who kept living in the basement all that time, held out during intensive fighting from 23 September until 25 November 1942, when they were relieved by counter-attacking Soviet forces.

Symbolic meaning

Pavlov's House became a symbol of the stubborn resistance of the Soviet Union in the Battle of Stalingrad, and in the Great Patriotic War in general. It stands out prominently because the German armies had previously conquered cities and entire countries within weeks; yet they were unable to capture a single half-ruined house, defended most of the time by just over a dozen soldiers, in spite of trying for two months. It is reported that the building at the "9th January Square" was marked as a fortress in German maps.

Supposedly, the Germans took more casualties outside Pavlov's house than they did invading Paris, something that the defenders boasted of.

The building was left the way it was at the end of the Battle as a memorial site in today's city of Volgograd. It can be still visited today.

Template:Commonsru:Дом Павлова sr:Павловљева кућа

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