Stalingrad

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Linoxilos
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Linoxilos » 09 May 2009 22:00

Hitler attacked Soviet Union in 22nd of June. He had already descended in Balkans (Albanian, Bulgary and Romania were axis allies, Yugoslavia and Greece were defeated).
The italian spring attack against Greece wasn't succesfull. Furthermore, britsih has set foot on Greece making Hitler enter Greece (from Yugoslavia). This delayed his attack against Soviet Union.

Would it be different if Hitler didn't have to loss time and resources in Greece?


Another factor that influenced the germans in Soviet Union was the severe cold. I've seen a documentary in History channel about a british POW camp (it seemed to be a hotel than a camp) for high ranking german officers. They were discussing german matters thinking that their discussions were private. However, the british not only listened to them but they also recoreded every single discussion.

One officer claimed that the whole world knows about the extreme cold except two men: Napoleon and Hitler.

PS: i found a flash quizz about eastern front (in greek language)
http://www.flashtrackz.com/el/games/fre ... front.html
My ID card says Tsioudakis George.

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bf109 emil
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by bf109 emil » 12 May 2009 16:17

Has anyone had the honor or privilege to read Von Paulus 'I stand here under orders!'. published in 1956 a year before his death?

Alex Tijerina
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Alex Tijerina » 12 May 2009 18:31

That book is in Spanish from what I have heard.

mezsat2
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by mezsat2 » 13 Jun 2009 08:24

vszulc wrote:
crh19792000 wrote:The biggest thing I can never understand is why Hitler decided to commit his forces to Stalingrad. There was no value at all in capturing the city.


There were lot's of good reasons to take it. By controlling Stalingrad, Germany could have cut off rail and river traffic, effectivly cutting the Soviet Union in two, and preventing the Soviet Union access to it's oilfields in Kaukasus.

Also: What would have the alternative been for the 6th army. Sleep on the steppe? The army needed a place to spend the winter, rest, refit and so on.


Agreed, although rail and river traffic (north/south, anyway) could have been shut down without taking the city. The biggest problem for the Germans had they allowed the Russians to keep the city, even "blocked", is it would have become a permanent, and very dangerous, bridgehead for Soviet forces to accumulate in from across the Volga. Large German forces would be tied down there indefinitely (out on the steppe) to contain it.

It's already been discussed how difficult crossing the Volga and holding a bridgehead opposite Stalingrad would be for the Wehrmacht.

As I stated in another thread, the best option they had would have been for 4th and 1st Panzer Armies to encircle the Soviet armies before Stalingrad, take the city before Stalin moved all his forces down there from Moscow, and hold it until 6th Army arrived. 17th army would take Rostov, clear the Kuban (as much as possible), and hold there. Once 6th Army was firmly entrenched at Stalingrad (and had the Don/Volga isthmus solidly fortified), the whole of southern Russia would be cut off. Then 1st and 4th Panzer Armies would be free to blitz the Caucasus.

In the final analysis, though, the Germans would have had a hell of a time keeping the Russians on the north side of the Don between Stalingrad and Voronezh and the whole thing would probably collapse eventually.

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bf109 emil
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by bf109 emil » 21 Jun 2009 07:13

In the final analysis, though, the Germans would have had a hell of a time keeping the Russians on the north side of the Don between Stalingrad and Voronezh and the whole thing would probably collapse eventually.

true as once the river freezes it no longer becomes a barrier or obstacle but a patch of ice to cross connecting one bank to the other

mezsat2
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by mezsat2 » 23 Jun 2009 10:23

bf109 emil wrote:
In the final analysis, though, the Germans would have had a hell of a time keeping the Russians on the north side of the Don between Stalingrad and Voronezh and the whole thing would probably collapse eventually.

true as once the river freezes it no longer becomes a barrier or obstacle but a patch of ice to cross connecting one bank to the other



True. In the event, Zhukov may have concentrated the forces he assembled for Uranus and blasted straight through the Donetz basin to the sea of Azov- thereby creating an even worse disaster for the Germans.

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bf109 emil
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by bf109 emil » 24 Jun 2009 06:21

True. In the event, Zhukov may have concentrated the forces he assembled for Uranus and blasted straight through the Donetz basin to the sea of Azov- thereby creating an even worse disaster for the Germans.

Good point, but i think foremost on his mind as was Hitlers was to capture Stalingrad, Stalins was to win back or defeat the 6th army encamped there as opposed to....like you say even a bigger victory

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by mezsat2 » 15 Jul 2009 03:11

The point is that the entire offensive was fundamentally flawed by leaving the left flank virtually wide open with only poorly trained and equipped satellite armies facing numerous strong Russian bridgeheads on the Don for hundreds of miles. The Russians could have potentially ended the war for all intents and purposes by driving through to the sea west of Rostov. Instead of just 6th army, it would have trapped the 17th, 1st and 4th panzer and all the satellite forces.

The Germans may have been able to evacuate a few units across Kerch into the Crimea, but without fuel and supplies, it wouldn't have amounted to much and certainly they'd have lost all their equipment. In Zhukov's defense, he probably didn't have the necessary intel to guarantee the Germans had little or no strategic reserve to counter such a thrust. Stalingrad, meanwhile, was a "bird in the hand".

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Qvist
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Qvist » 15 Jul 2009 13:15

The Germans may have been able to evacuate a few units across Kerch into the Crimea, but without fuel and supplies, it wouldn't have amounted to much and certainly they'd have lost all their equipment. In Zhukov's defense, he probably didn't have the necessary intel to guarantee the Germans had little or no strategic reserve to counter such a thrust.


Actually, unless I am much mistaken, much of Heeresgruppe A was withdrawn across Kerch, with their equipment. For that matter, the whole 17th Army was withdrawn across the Kerch strait while under combat pressure, when the bridgehead was abandoned later in 1943.

cheers

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bf109 emil
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by bf109 emil » 16 Jul 2009 02:12

Qvist wrote:
The Germans may have been able to evacuate a few units across Kerch into the Crimea, but without fuel and supplies, it wouldn't have amounted to much and certainly they'd have lost all their equipment. In Zhukov's defense, he probably didn't have the necessary intel to guarantee the Germans had little or no strategic reserve to counter such a thrust.


Actually, unless I am much mistaken, much of Heeresgruppe A was withdrawn across Kerch, with their equipment. For that matter, the whole 17th Army was withdrawn across the Kerch strait while under combat pressure, when the bridgehead was abandoned later in 1943.

cheers


Erich von Manstein, when asked about Stalingrad by Leon Goldensohn june 14 1946 at Nuremberg commented the chance for Paulus to breakout was before encirclement, afterward would have to much risk, especially in winter.

Q.Did he believe Hitlers order for Paulus to fight to the last was a reckless order?
-NO von Manstein agreed with Hitlers order saying if Paulus had capitulated before the end, the Russians would have had the advantage of withdrawing forces against Paulus and against the southern front where i had only two Romanian armies. Therefore, the resistance of the Sixth German Army, even to the last man, was necessary.

Q.Did Manstein mean that it was necessary despite the fact that it would cost so many lives, as Paulus had testified before his tribunal a few months ago?
-He replied with the same cold monotony, " Yes. Lives would have been lost anyway. And a breakthrough of the Russians at that time would have meant the loss of the war and the complete defeat of Germany."

source page 354 The Nuremberg Interviews by Leon Goldensohn

mezsat2
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by mezsat2 » 16 Jul 2009 10:36

Qvist wrote:
The Germans may have been able to evacuate a few units across Kerch into the Crimea, but without fuel and supplies, it wouldn't have amounted to much and certainly they'd have lost all their equipment. In Zhukov's defense, he probably didn't have the necessary intel to guarantee the Germans had little or no strategic reserve to counter such a thrust.


Actually, unless I am much mistaken, much of Heeresgruppe A was withdrawn across Kerch, with their equipment. For that matter, the whole 17th Army was withdrawn across the Kerch strait while under combat pressure, when the bridgehead was abandoned later in 1943.

cheers


Manstein also asserted Army Group A (and just about everything else east of the Donets would be lost completely if the Russians drove through to Rostov in Jan. 43 (which most likely would have occurred if 6th Army retreated and freed the siege forces- as bf109 references above). As for the October 43 evac, I'm not sure how it got done since all the Germans had was a 1000 ton a day cable tram across the straight. It was either a gradual process or they procured some kind of shipping. Maybe they didn't have much left to evac.

jerimiah
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by jerimiah » 01 Oct 2009 17:40

maybe they used railways?

Michate
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Michate » 02 Oct 2009 08:52

-NO von Manstein agreed with Hitlers order saying if Paulus had capitulated before the end, the Russians would have had the advantage of withdrawing forces against Paulus and against the southern front where i had only two Romanian armies. Therefore, the resistance of the Sixth German Army, even to the last man, was necessary.


Manstein on (IIRC) 20 January 1943 proposed in a telephone talk to Hitler to allow 6th army to surrender, but Hitler turned it down.

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bf109 emil
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by bf109 emil » 08 Oct 2009 22:48

Michate wrote:
-NO von Manstein agreed with Hitlers order saying if Paulus had capitulated before the end, the Russians would have had the advantage of withdrawing forces against Paulus and against the southern front where i had only two Romanian armies. Therefore, the resistance of the Sixth German Army, even to the last man, was necessary.


Manstein on (IIRC) 20 January 1943 proposed in a telephone talk to Hitler to allow 6th army to surrender, but Hitler turned it down.

this was some aprox some 60 days after Stalingrad was surrounded...I can see Manstein saying this at this date, but not in November of 1942 when Hitler ordered Paulus to continue fighting, as to try a breakout across the Don in winter with little or no armour against a surrounding force would have as Manstein agree's futile, and also as manstein suggests that to surrender at this time might have allowed more of the 6th army to become captive, but in doing so would have released the Soviet forces encircling Stalingrad the ability to be released and turn on his own army. One which he states would have had little chance with rumanian divisions etc. at this time to fend of such an attack

Manstein was ordered to hold the Don - Chir front at all costs, and prevent further Russian breakthroughs towards Rostov. In addition he was to assist with the rescue of 6th Army at Stalingrad, operation 'Winter Storm'. He arrived at his new Army Group HQ on the 24th of November, his 55th birthday. The same day he signaled to Paulus: 'Shall do everything in my power to relieve you. In the meantime it is imperative that 6th Army, while holding Volga and north front in compliance with the Fuhrer's orders


Mainstein would later write: 'The situation of the two Army Groups, Don and A, would have taken a disastrous turn if Paulus had surrendered at the beginning of January'.

penn
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by penn » 10 Dec 2009 12:35

Case Blau was flawed from the start. Quite simply the offensive and it's overall aims were nearly as large as Barbarossa, but with less resources allocated.

Initially the Luftwaffe was instrumental in early successes, providing excellent and quick air support for the ground forces, but this effort was dilluted as the campaign wore on. Remember the first moves for Case Blau was the offensive to clear out the Crimea in May 42. Attritional losses and a wider expanded range of objectives weakened the Luftwaffe effort and Chiukov's tactics of hugging German forces in the fighting west of Stalingrad proved to be effective.

Fortunately for the Soviets Stalin was convinced not to interfere in the fighting as he was regarded as a worse general than Hitler. Conversely as the campaign lumbered on Hitler's intervention in operations increased, with less than stellar results.

Was it possible Hitler suffered a major health crisis at his Eastern Front headquarters during the long hot summer of the campaign. Quite possibly his judgement and decision making was flawed because of the heat.

Penn.

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