Soviet soldiers advance through the snow-covered ruins during the Battle of Stalingrad. The Axis offensive to capture Stalingrad began on 23 August 1942 and would culminate in one of the bloodiest and most destructive battles in military history. The Axis suffered 850,000 total casualties (wounded, killed, captured) among all branches of the German armed forces and its allies; 400,000 Germans, 200,000 Romanians, 130,000 Italians, and 120,000 Hungarians, and scores of Bulgarian, Croatian, Bosnian, Spanish and French volunteers were killed, wounded or captured. Out of the nearly 110,000 German prisoners captured in Stalingrad, only about 5,000 would live to return to Germany. Soviet archival figures place Soviet military personnel as having suffered 1,129,619 total casualties; 478,741 killed or missing in action and 650,878 wounded or sick. The total number of civilians killed during the Battle of Stalingrad is unknown, but presumed to be extraordinarily high, as the constant close quarters combat was often marked by disregard for civilian inhabitants of the city. Stalingrad (now, Volgograd), Volgograd Oblast, Russia, Soviet Union. January 1943.