"Casualty Evacuation", German Infantry 1942
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On Germany's eastern front, the Axis formed by Germany, Italy and Japan defeated Soviet offensives in the Kerch Peninsula and at Kharkov and then launched their main summer offensive against southern Russia in June, 1942, to seize the oil fields of the Caucasus. The Soviets decided to make their stand at Stalingrad which was in the path of the advancing German armies and by mid-November the Germans had nearly taken Stalingrad in bitter street fighting when the Soviets began their second winter counter-offensive, starting with an encirclement of German forces at Stalingrad and an assault on the Rzhev salient near Moscow, though the latter failed disastrously. By early February, the German Army had taken tremendous losses; their troops at Stalingrad had been forced to surrender and the front-line had been pushed back beyond its position prior to their summer offensive.1