Why the Stalingrad Airlift Failed

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
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Re: Why the Stalingrad Airlift Failed

Post by phylo_roadking » 27 Aug 2008 14:06

First, the Germans did little to improve or maintain their airfields in the engineering sense. Flying in some mechanized construction equipment and improving the runways should have been a priority. This would have also allowed construction of new airfields to relieve congestion
Not at THAT time of year. Remember the order things happened in - first the mud of the Rasputitsa, THEN the drop in temperature to freeze the nud - THEN the snows. By the time the Airlift became essential, they were well outside the window for improvement.

The other issue is - weight. Mobile earthmoving equipment - even of the period - is HEAVY. NONE of the aircraft deployed except the two 290's could be remotely described as "heavy lift". But it's also BIG - look at the existing film of 38Ts practising loading aboard Gigants. Absolutely NO room to spare - and the 38T was narrower than most heavy vehicles the Wehrmacht was deploying by then.

Quite literally the best thing the Germans could do was find a bit of ground and drive a panzer over it a few times....then walk a few hundred non-combatants over it. Look at the drivetrain of a piste tractor for making ski runs...

The fact that they simply DIDN'T do this, mitigates in favour of the argument that they couldn't.

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Re: Why the Stalingrad Airlift Failed

Post by lordgort » 28 Feb 2021 03:18

Qvist wrote:
24 Jul 2008 08:54
Right. So now all we need to do is to establish if

a) the Germans possessed a type of glider that was suitable for the task, in terms of load acapcity for example
b) that these Gliders were available in sufficient numbers
c) that they, and whatever supporting paraphernalia and /or personnell they required, could easily and with sufficient quickness be transported to the relevant airfields, and the supply of new gliders maintained for as long as neccessary
d) That sufficient pilots to operate them were at hand
e) That the airfields available had the neccessary characteristics to allow them to operate
f) That flying these gliders were practically feasible under the weather conditions prevalent, which were those of deep russian winter

Here speaks a man with knowledge of logistics, so often overlooked when talking about historic or contemporary military operations.
Last edited by lordgort on 28 Feb 2021 03:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why the Stalingrad Airlift Failed

Post by AnchorSteam » 28 Feb 2021 04:55

Paulus had 3 days to put together a Panzer Corps and send it to the best Airbase in the whole area, along with whoever could have walked there in that time.
With that base still in German hands, 6th Army could have held out for much longer and been in much better shape... but Kalach could only have been held it some way could have been found to deal with the collapse of the Italian Army later on.
That's another story, i suppose.

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Re: Why the Stalingrad Airlift Failed

Post by ljadw » 11 Jun 2021 12:00

The Airlift could only succeed if there were enough operational aircraft AND enough supplies available .
And, I see, as I suspected,that this last point is ignored.
The LW could transport to Stalingrad only the supplies that were available .

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