Luftwaffe Initial Response To Air Supply Of Stalingrad

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Alter Mann
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Luftwaffe Initial Response To Air Supply Of Stalingrad

Post by Alter Mann » 26 Apr 2004 00:35

From 'Enemy At The Gates' by William Craig:

Fuhrer Order of 1525 hrs, 21 November 1942 says: "Sixth Army will hold positions despite threat of temporary encirclement . . . Keep railroad line open as long as possible. Special orders regarding air supply will follow!"

Lt. Gen. Martin Fiebig, commander of the Eighth Air Corp, during a conversation with Gen. Schmidt asked, "How do you propose to keep the army supplied?" Schmidt replied, "That will have to be done from the air." Fiebig was astonished. "A whole army? It's quite impossible! I advise you not to be optomistic."

Fiebig hung up and called Richtofen, who then phoned Jeschonnek and raged at him: "You've got to stop it! In the filthy weather we have here there's not a hope of supplying an army of 250,000 men from the air. It's stark staring madness! . . ."

brustcan
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Luftwaffe response to supply Stalingrad

Post by brustcan » 26 Apr 2004 05:31

Luftwaffe chief Jeschonnek and Army Chief Zeitzler went to see Hitler
at Berchtesgaden on the Sunday that the 6th Army became surrounded. The meeting did not go well, explaining to Hitler, that the Luftwaffe would
be overtaxed. Must of the Ju-52 transport fleet was committed to supply
Rommel in North Africa. It was at this point that Goering's personel
representative at the Fuhrer's HQ, General Bodenschatz left the meeting,
and phoned Goering at his home Karinhall. Goering then telephoned
Jeschonnek, and expressly forbade him to "put the Fuhrer further out of
sorts" Of course the air-lift was possible! Two days later on the 24th,
General Zeitzler tried once more to change Hitler's mind, and confronted
Goering. Zeitzler asked Goering if he knew how many daily sorties were
needed to supply the army...and Goering answered "not personally"
being somewhat embarrassed. Every day 500 tons would have to be
landed. Goering said "I can manage that" to which Zeitzler said that it was
a lie! Goering turned red in the face and looked like he was going to
attack Zeitzler, when Hitler intervened, saying "The Reichsmarschall has
made his announcement and I am obliged to believe him" The fate of
the 6th Army was thus sealed.

Max von Schuler-Kobayashi
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Post by Max von Schuler-Kobayashi » 26 Apr 2004 15:32

Wasn't this over optimisim based on the previous years air supply of the Demyansk pocket? I beleive that 100,000 men were supplied through the winter. However the pocket was relativly close to the German lines, much fewer troops than in Stalingrad, and transport aircraft suffered severe losses, making further air supply missions difficult. I think this was a political move by Goering for more power in the Reich hiearchy. Otherwise it doesn't make sense.

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Alter Mann
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Fat Herman

Post by Alter Mann » 26 Apr 2004 16:05

Goering was certainly in disfavor at the time after the failure of the BoB and the Allied bombing of Berlin where air raid sirens were sometimes called 'Meyer's hunting horns'. That makes it even more difficult to understand why Hitler would listen to him at all with so much at stake. In Speer's memoirs I read that Hitler had told Speer several times that he gave in to Goering on occasion to keep from hurting his feelings, but this time Hitler's decision led to the loss of an army and also, oddly enough, in Hitler losing what little faith he had left in the General Staff. I've never read that it affected his relationship with Goering.

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hauptmannn
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Post by hauptmannn » 26 Apr 2004 16:54

Goering sometimes noted that reports from "der kessel" ere soo defeatist becase they described soo bad conditions that he disregarded it along with the general staff. He probably even falsified figures on the number of sorties flown by transport aircraft

brustcan
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Re: Fat Herman

Post by brustcan » 27 Apr 2004 08:31

Alte Mann wrote:Goering was certainly in disfavor at the time after the failure of the BoB and the Allied bombing of Berlin where air raid sirens were sometimes called 'Meyer's hunting horns'. That makes it even more difficult to understand why Hitler would listen to him at all with so much at stake. In Speer's memoirs I read that Hitler had told Speer several times that he gave in to Goering on occasion to keep from hurting his feelings, but this time Hitler's decision led to the loss of an army and also, oddly enough, in Hitler losing what little faith he had left in the General Staff. I've never read that it affected his relationship with Goering.
I believe that Hitler had already made up his mind for the 6th Army to hold
it's ground. His excuse for doing so, was when his "old pal" from the start
of the Nazi Party, and now the heir to the Third Reich(should Hitler die),
Goering stepped in and said the Luftwaffe could do the job. An interesting
note, the air-lift was not that well organized, and on January 14, 1943
Field Marshal Erhard Milch of the Luftwaffe was ordered by Hitler to
personally take charge of the air-lift. When he arrived on the 16 of January
he was amazed at how bad the situation was, compared to what was told
to him at Hitler's HQ. When Stalingrad fell, Milch reported to Hitler on Feb. 2nd. Milch told Hitler if he were Paulus, he would have disobeyed orders
and broken out. Hitler coldly replied then he would have had Milch's
"head"....to which Milch replied...Mein Fuhrer it would have been worth it,
one field marshal sacrificed to save three hundred thousand men!.
Thanks brustcan.

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Cantankerous
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Re: Luftwaffe Initial Response To Air Supply Of Stalingrad

Post by Cantankerous » 12 Sep 2023 20:45

A couple new books have come out that contain new info on how the Luftwaffe airlift to the German 6th Army:

Stalingrad Airlift 1942–43: The Luftwaffe's broken promise to Sixth Army (from Osprey Publishing):
https://ospreypublishing.com/us/staling ... 472854315/

To Save An Army: The Stalingrad Airlift:
https://www.amazon.com/Save-Army-Stalin ... 1472845412

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