Life and Fate Read Along, Part 3 Chapter 12

This post, covering Part 3, Chapter 12 is part of The Slavic Literature Pod’s chapter a day read along of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate. Learn more about our project here.

At this point in the novel, it’s perhaps worth recalling the military situation at the start of Life and Fate. Small pockets of the Red Army holding out in positions not far from the Volga river; no reinforcements and supplies only available via dangerous river crossing; the Wehrmacht only needing to conquer mere hundreds of meters across the edge of the city to establish control over Stalingrad. 

What neither those Red Army holdouts in Stalingrad nor the Wehrmacht know is that this has been a delaying tactic. The Soviet Union — under a plan by Commander Yeremenko — has been selling its soldiers’ lives slowly, hoping they can hold out long enough for the reinforcements to sweep in and crush the Wehrmacht.