Hell’s Gate, Shanderovka, 1943. As every day passed, the Soviet double encirclement tightened and began to choke the German garrisons that were trapped inside. It was a matter of time before the Germans were either shot or taken prisoners by the thousands. But the Fuhrer insisted on holding the ground to the last man. Field Marshal Erich von Manstein was not willing to lose his men in a fight they could not win. Knowing that disgrace would fall upon him, he ignored Hitler’s direct order and commanded a retreat to save as many soldiers as possible. But when the Soviets realized what he was doing, they raced to capture the only hill that opened the way for a breakthrough.
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