Horse Grazes in Stalingrad Ruins

Russian women leave a shelter in Stalingrad, while a horse grazes nearby. 9,796 civilians survived the "cauldron" to be liberated by the Red Army when 6th Army surrendered on February 2, 1943. The Russian panje (peasant) horse was able to withstand cold better than the European stock the Germans brought with them, and by the time 6th Army reached Stalingrad, many of its 27,000 horses had been confiscated from the panje, along with their two-wheel wagons, which looked as ancient as their design. Over three-quarters of the German Army were horse-drawn. Some 17,000 horses were evacuated a week before the Soviet Operation Uranus encircled the 6th Army at Stalingrad. Promised 500 tons a day via an air bridge, far less than that amount arrived, and the remaining 12,000 horses were eaten. By January 1943, the 6th Army had little food and most of the horses were dead. Witnesses described the steppe surrounding Stalingrad as covered with the carcasses of horses; the Germans ate horsemeat through the Fall of 1942. The starved animals had little flesh to consume but even that caused some soldiers to become sick; the soldiers were so starved they could no longer tolerate the concentrated protein.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Friday, December 18, 1942
Stalingrad Oblast
Soviet Union