The "Square to the Heroes" is the fifth part of the immens memorial complex on the Mamayev Kurgan (Mamayev Hill) and consists of a water poul with a surface of 2202 square meters and on both sides a row of statues. The elongated water poul symbolizing the river Volga, which proved to be an excellent natural obstacle for the enemy during the battle of Stalingrad. There is also a 112 meter long wall on the left side of the square, with the following inscription:
“Iron wind was blowing into their faces, but they kept advancing and again and again the enemy was taken over by a superstitious feeling: were there really humans attacking them? Were they mortal?”
The Mamayev hill (height 103.0 on military maps) was the highest point in Stalingrad (today: Volgograd) and thus an important objective of the German 6th Army during the battle of Stalingrad. Fighting for this hill began on 13 September 1942, when German troops assaulted the fortified Mamayev, which was defended by elements of the Soviet 62th Army. When the Germans took the hill, they began firing on the centre of Stalingrad. The Soviet 13th Guards-rifle Division (10,000 men strong) retook Mamayev on 16 September 1942, suffering extreme losses. The Germans assaulted the hill an avarage of 12 times a day and the hill changed several times of ownership during the battle. The 6th German Army managed to take half of Mamayev hill on 27 September 1942. This situation remained unchanged untill the defenders's relief by the Sovjet winter offensive on 26 January 1943.
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- Text: Kaj Metz
- Photos: Auke de Vlieger