In Russia and many of the former Soviet Republics World War II is called The Great Patriotic War.
» After Operation Barbarossa the fronts between Soviet and Nazi forces in the USSR (CCCP) had stood nearly immobile from AD 1941 October when the worst winter on record for several decades froze the armies in its icy grip.
» The German forces, prepared for an another lightning quick campaign, were not adequately prepared for the winter and suffered a great deal more than did their Russian counterparts. Additionally atrocities against the people had lead many previously anti-Stalin patriots that had greeted the Nazi Armies as liberators to turn partisan and carry out many attacks behind German lines. All this contributed to slight ebb of the Nazi tide, but at great cost to the Soviets.
» The attack once again moved forward on AD 1942 May 8th, this time the focus was the grain rich Ukraine and oil rich Caucusus in the south. The first offensive was in Crimea where Soviet forces still held Sevastopol and the Kerch peninsula. The peninsula was easy after a three-week siege and Sevastopol fell on July 2.
» With this out of the way the Nazi armies pushed on toward the Don River. The Germans took a lot of ground, but the Soviets withdrew in good order preserving their strength. The German Sixth Army crossed the Don and advanced on the Volga River, just north of Stalingrad (Volgagrad). The theory was that if Stalingrad were to be taken it would cut off the Caucasus oil fields to the south and stop much of the critical petrol supplies to the Soviets. Further south the city of Rostov had been taken again and by August 23 they had penetrated almost to the Caspian Sea. But this was as far as they got.
» Hitler threw everything he could at Stalingrad, but failed to take it in some of the most bitter fighting of the war. Meanwhile General Zhukov was assembling troops to the east and November 19 struck a counterblow that encircled the German Sixth Army. Hitler refused to allow a retreat and the whole army was lost, the last remnants surrendering AD 1943 February 2nd.
» Almost everything they had won during AD 1942 was lost during the Soviet winter offensive of AD 1942-1943. The Germans made some gains during the summer of 1943, but they never recovered from the loss of some 300,000 men at Stalingrad and one million over the course of the 1942 summer campaign. As part of that counter offensive on AD 1943 July 5th the battle of Kursk was joined. Vast numbers of tanks and men met in the largest battle in human history, a desperate gamble by Adolf Hitler for victory. They were unable to break the Soviets and for the first time the Germans had to retreat before Soviet armies in the summer.
» Thereafter the forces of Russia advanced slowly but steadily westward. Kharkov was retaken on AD 1943 August 23rd, Smolensk September 25, Kiev November 6, and finally the siege of Leningrad was lifted on AD 1944 January 15th.
» The Soviet Union had won, but at the cost of some 20 million lives, at the very least. Some of these deaths are attributed to Stalin, perhaps correctly, because anyone that surrendered to the Nazis were considered traitors and either summarily shot or sent to the gulag when they were recaptured.«