I've often read about Stalingrad, but one piece of info eludes me. At the time of their surrender, the Germans were reduced to 2 'pockets'. How big were they in terms of area?

  • 3
    Actually the Two pockets were further divided into three by the end. North, South and Center. South and Center surrendered on the same day. North held out for two days more.
    – NSNoob
    Oct 18, 2017 at 14:28
  • 1
    Found a Map of situation in Stalingrad in 1943, when it ended Hosted and approved by US Military Academy Westpoint. The scale puts the combined size of the encircled 6th army to be 15-20 KM long.
    – NSNoob
    Oct 18, 2017 at 14:54
  • 2
    Russian wiki: Operation "Ring" map
    – Matt
    Oct 18, 2017 at 16:00
  • 1
    @sds By 25-26 January 1943, yes. However, as it was already mentioned, on 28th January the Southern Pocket was divided into two more parts. Also, XI corps, which held the Northern Pocket, had surrendered on 2nd February 1943 (which is the official end of the Stalingrad battle) at the Barrikady factory, i.e. in the southern part of the Northern Pocket. So I presume the Northern Pocket was significantly shrunk during the last days.
    – Matt
    Oct 18, 2017 at 16:53
  • 4
    @NSNoob - That comment looks to me a lot more like an answer to the question than a comment on the question. Just sayin...
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 18, 2017 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


The most detailed map, I was able to find, is here.

As you can see both "pockets" at the time of a surrender had area of only a few square kilometers.

However, by the 25th January (the last day the 6th German army had a continuous front line) the area under German control was still upto 100 square kilometers. In the morning of the 26th January the Red army started the new wave of a massive offence along the whole front line, which not only resulted in the occupying of the Mamayev Kurgan and nearby territories (which effectively meant that the German XI corps wasn't longer connected to the rest of the army - "Northern pocket"), but also led to other significant advances, so the area under German control was almost halved at the end of the day. Nonetheless, the fierce fights were going for at least four days more - 27-30 January.

"South" (Paulus) capitulated on the 31st January, while holding only few blocks in the city center. "North" (Strecker) still resisted, so it was set under heavy artillery fire until the surrender (2nd February).

  • Excellent, just what I was looking for. The situation was dire, but I was curious as to where over 1/4 of a million people were crammed into! And 5,000 made it home alive....
    – Homer
    Oct 20, 2017 at 0:42
  • @Homer 250000 is an estimated total strength of the 6th army by the start of the operation "Ring", i.e. 10.01.43. Between 10th and 25th of January they lost both a huge area and a vast number of soldiers.
    – Matt
    Oct 20, 2017 at 6:26

I've heard that in the early part of the encirclement both moral and discipline stayed high, roads were cleared of snow as needed and there were no signs of a crack up initially. 200+K just in the 6th army plus satellite army troops in a cauldron of approx 60 sq miles and you have a major city plus some of the native population. You’d be close in population and size to say Newark NJ, a sizable city. Even at surrender there were 90k from 6th army. Probably bigger than say Flint Michigan. They say the “chain dogs” (German military police) kept order, sometimes in draconian fashion.

New contributor
Secondbestman is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.