No other word to describe the situation for the Wehrmacht's Sixth Army at Stalingrad, known by the men inside of it as the "Cauldron", by the winter of 1942, and of course it's written clearly on the face of this weary German soldier.
December marked just the beginning of the Red Army's siege of the Germans and the latter's seemingly unending misery. December would be defined by two large Russian offensives towards the middle of the month, Operations Little Saturn and Winter Storm (both of which I'll talk about in the coming weeks). In addition to a gnawing enemy the Germans were up against an equally bitter (quite literally) adversary: the winter. Though the previous winter of 1941/42 had been the coldest in Europe in about 250 years, the winter of 1942/43 was nothing to be taken lightly. Some records show temperatures having plummeted to as low as -40°F (-40°C) at times, with one even mentioning -47°F (-44°C). Many tend to agree with one another and state the average temperatures during that fateful winter as falling anywhere between -20°F and -30°F (-28°C to -34°C). Daytime temperatures barely rose to a numbing -13°F (-23°C), "warm" compared to anything else.
Man, machine, and mind alike froze.