Russia prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of victory at Stalingrad -- the deadliest battle of World War Two.
The battle lasted for almost a year with relentless bombing, tank fire and heavy artillery. Some 300,000 elite German troops died in two and a half months as much from Soviet firepower as hunger and freezing temperatures. The Germans surrendered on Feb. 2, 1943.
Now the wars veterans say the battle offers lessons for generations.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) STALINGRAD VETERAN, COLONEL ANATOLIY ZHELEZNOV, SAYING:
"Everything that happened during these battles - and especially during the one in Stalingrad - we pass it on to the younger generation. We know that young people are the future of our government, so they must know the truth about the World War Two."
In a city still dominated by Soviet-era tower blocs, the memory of the war lives on
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) STALIGRAD VETERAN BORIS KOSHECHKIN, SAYING:
"In Stalingrad you became hardened in your heart. Everyone fought until the final victory. The people who fought in Staligrad are great, they've done a lot. I also fought here. It was difficult."
Many say the 200-day Battle of Stalingrad turned the tide of World War Two. While parades and fireworks are planned for Saturday -- for many veterans the celebrations have already begun.
Memories of Stalingrad (1:34)
Feb. 1 - Veterans of the Battle of Stalingrad share their World War Two memories ahead of the big jubilee celebration. Deborah Lutterbeck reports. ( Transcript )