Today February the 2nd marks the 73rd anniversary of the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, remembered for being one of the longest and bloodiest in the history of mankind. The importance of the triumph of the Soviet army in the field of the Great Patriotic War is essential because it is considered as the key or the beginning of the final defeat for the Germans.
This battle took place between August 23, 1942 and February 2, in what is now the city of Volgograd, called Stalingrad by then. The Glorious Red Army faced during all this time to the Wehrmacht and its axis allies, who intended to realize the invasion of the Soviet Union and thus lead to possession and domain of practically all Europe and Eurasia.
The human losses during the time of the battle add up to two million people between the military of both sides and civilians. The ultimate goal of the Germans when attempting to seize control of this area was to seize the oil wells of the Caucasus, which at that time represented a fundamental source of supply. Between offensive air and ground attacks the Germans were able to seize almost the whole town, except for the closest areas to the Volga River, where a small number of Soviet soldiers established fences that could never be demolished by the Germans.
At the end of 1942 the Soviet army managed to strike a first blow of authority to the Germans, when faced with the refusal of surrender by the same Hitler, the invaders fall in a counteroffensive from which they would not be able to recover until they surrender on February 2nd 1943. The consequences of the battle were evident and palpable, the city is in ruins and its people had to suffer for years the aftermath.
The restoration of the city should be a constant and arduous task, also reconstruct the buildings almost in entirety, also it would be necessary to rebuild the morale of its people. One of the main alternatives for this purpose has to do with football. The football team of the city had been founded in 1929 with the name of Traktorostroitel, in reference to the factory of tractors which existed in the place and throughout its history has changed its name several times, between 1942 and 1943 the team was called Traktor and nowadays its known as Rotor.
Before the beginning of the German invasion to Stalingrad, the Traktor squad was progressing in the Soviet league with a good step, taking acceptable positions in the general table and counting in its squad with prominent players. The Committee for the Defense of the City looked for support from the NKVD so Vasili Ermasov will help them to organize a football match. Ermasov took part as a soldier in the defense of the city and was also the goalkeeper of the Traktor squad prior to the outbreak of the war.
The task entrusted to Ermasov was to retrieve the team and Stadium in the town, so he began to track down his former Club teammates and also the ones from the other team of the city, the Dynamo squad. Some were found on the battlefronts, others were sent to labor camps to avoid the economic system of the U.S.S.R collapsed due to the war.
Gradually the players that received the call were arriving to Stalingrad, among them and surviving villagers began the cleaning of the ground where it had been one of the stadiums of the place, in order to develop the match. The excitement grew in the city once people found out the team that they will face, Spartak of Moscow would be sent from the same Kremlin not only to develop an activity related to football, but also as a sign of compromise with the Soviet policy.
This way, on May 2nd, 1943 in a stadium in ruins the match between a Dynamo squad, created for the occasion and Spartak Moscow was held. Before the kickoff in an official ceremony Vasili Ermasov received the order of the Red Star for his valuable contribution to the sport and Soviet politics. The match would end with a victory for the locals, with a solitary goal at minute 39 of the match. This historic episode continues to be remembered frequently in the current Volgograd, towards to 2008 another special squad was created facing Spartak again as a way of commemoration for the 65th anniversary of the historic match.
The current descendant of the Traktor squad, Rotor Volgograd also faced Spartak in 2011 when 70 years of the unforgettable match were celebrated... But traces of the battle refuse to disappear in the history of this team. In the year of 1962 a new stadium in which they would receive their rivals was built and finished, its name was Fidel Castro, over time the name changed to Central stadium of Volgograd, located close to the statue of the motherland.
The stadium will suffer considerable changes with a view to the next World Cup in Russia, a great part of the original structure will have to be demolished, in the course of the debris removal, the workers responsible for that activity have located around 10 active projectiles dating from the period of the Great War and that failed to detonate. The Rotor Volgograd squad and national teams that play any match in the stadium during the World Cup will be stepping on traces of the battle under the watchful eye of the Soviet motherland.