Mikhail Muravyev: “We came to the front in July 1942. It was on the right bank of the Don, from where we fought right up to Stalingrad. Our unit is already close to Stalingrad by early September. Fighting began directly outside the city. I served at this time in the 64th Army. Throughout September and October there were fights for the city. The German tried to break through to the Volga bank, and our task was not to miss it.
About the Battle of Stalingrad is very difficult to talk about. We did not give a single high-rise without a fight, with heavy losses for the enemy. And nevertheless we did not miss him to the Volga on our site. And the most important battles were when the counteroffensive began, on November 19, 1942. At 6.30 am, an artillery preparation was opened and launched a counter-offensive. By the end of the 21st, our armies had joined in the Kalach area. The German made a counterattack here. Nothing happened, of course, he.
Then they decided to transfer Manstein's army here to break our ring and join up with Paulus's troops. But these troops were not successful. The ring is finally compressed-compressed-compressed. And by the end of January, ours had already squeezed the ring, which by then had become 30 by 60 km.
The first ultimatum was delivered on January 8, 1943. When the parliamentarians went to Paulus, they came there, but they did not return. On January 10, our mornings again went over to a decisive offensive directly in Stalingrad. By that time, a part of our army remained, and two fronts went to pursue the enemy and smash him.
We had the 62nd and 64th armies, the task was to finish the Paulus group.
The fighting took place in Stalingrad, not only for quarters, but also for each house, and in the house - for the floor. With difficulty still made their way. And although our morale was very strong, we didn’t have many people left. The gun had two, a maximum of three people, the machine gun had one, as a rule, and in a rare case, two. The 82-mm mortars did not have more than two people either. And each house was taken in Stalingrad, until it was almost taken down to the basement, then they only moved to another house. That was the resistance of the enemy.
January 24, the second was an ultimatum. And he was also refused. By the end of January, it was known that his strength was running out. On the morning of January 29, the regiment commander summoned me. I was a company commander at the time. And the regiment commander said that I had the honor - we considered any task in Stalingrad a great honor - to go with an ultimatum to the German command. The only thing I asked was how would I present this ultimatum if I do not know German. Then they gave me a German who understood Russian a little. He expressed his desire, saying: "Although, perhaps, I will not come back alive, but I think it would be a great honor for me if I tell you what purpose the envoy is going for."
He was captured. But after all, there were those who, although they fought, but with their soul supported us. That was such a German too. He was already elderly, 52−53, probably.
The front at that time was in the beam of the Queen, or the Tsaritsa River, but on our map it was called the Queen of the beam. They tied the white flag, radioed it - there the loudspeakers worked very hard at that time, because in one house ours, in the other - the Germans, that was the situation. It was reported that cease fire, now enchainer. They obeyed and the fire stopped. The flag hung a little in the window for 10 minutes. Then I jumped out of the window, the German followed me, and we went through this beam Queen. Crossed But there are no streets, nothing. It was very difficult to understand - in Stalingrad there were already solid ruins. All today in Stalingrad there are 16 houses only, which are repaired, the rest is all built anew.
We passed, maybe 300-400 meters from the Queen Beams, we needed to meet with any German who would lead us. Then we noticed that there was a German in one of the entrances. We came, the translator explained where and why we were going. He, seeing the white flag, also understood and said that he was going to report to us about the command. We stood at this entrance for maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Then he comes, it turns out that he is an officer. He brought bandages, blindfolded us, took my hand, I took the German, and we went after him.
He led us to one of the basements, went downstairs, untied our eyes. About us reported. There we also spent maybe 20 minutes. Time dragged on. Now it is very difficult for me to say exactly, because it was a great effort of strength to be in the enemy's lair, and every minute, perhaps, seemed to me doubly longer. They went out and said: "Paulus is sick, he cannot accept you." Again he blindfolded and leads from that basement to another. Also 10 minutes led us. But the text of the ultimatum remained with them.
They brought us to another basement. There were two generals there. I told them the essence of the matter - I spoke in Russian, they had their own translator. We listened. What will be the decision - you will know later. The term of the ultimatum, we have operated up to 17 hours. If by this time a truce is not returned, then all power will be dealt a blow. The fifth hour - they bring an ultimatum. Something was written on the back of our ultimatum. What exactly - I could not read. And they said: "We will not be able to let you go now, because you are now strictly oriented, where our headquarters is."
Exactly at 17 o'clock our artillery earned. And literally 20-30 minutes later, I already heard shouts of “Hurray.” At about 5:45 pm I was already liberated by my troops. Surrounded this house, captured them by the Germans.
When we surrounded the house, a German officer came and told me: “Get out.” I turned my flag and went out into the street. Reported to the regimental commander, then went to the division. Dismantled that in this ultimatum Paulus wrote: "My decision will be known to you on January 31."
We began to clean all these cellars from the Germans. They were built in large groups. Moreover, we did not even have people who would accompany them, but appointed from among them people who were senior officers, and they led them. The German was not the same.
Dawn at 9 o'clock. We with the River Station turned uphill. And by 10 o'clock we look - what is - a lot of ours. They came up and asked: “What is the matter?” It turns out that Paulus is here, now we will see how he will be taken. And wholesale brought out Paulus. They put us in the car, and they drove to us. And here the cleaning of basements began again.