Stalingrad

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
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Robert Rojas
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RE: Dementia At Vinnitsa.

Post by Robert Rojas » 10 Dec 2009 16:31

Greetings to both citizen Penn and the community as a whole. Well sir, in light of your installment of Thursday - December 10, 2009 - 12:35pm, old Uncle Bob will never discount the very real possibility that the all knowing Bohemian Corporal's decision making processes were being impacted by health related issues. Apart from the gradual onset of Parkinsons disease, there was also the psychotropic "influence" of Adolph Hitler's personal physician. Doctor Theodor Morrell ostensibly transformed his already infamous client into a drug addict. Needless to say, the Wehrmacht's Sixth Army paid dearly for Der Fuhrer's renowned "infallibility". The rest, as some would say, is history. Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this repetitive topic of interest - for now anyway. In anycase, I would like to bid you a copacetic day over in the proverbial DOWN UNDER. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN - not to mention everybody else.

Best Regards From My Side Of The Pacific Rim,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 10 Dec 2009 17:00

penn wrote: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.
the intelligence department of the OKH (FHO ) assumed that the main Soviet attack during the winter offensive would take place on the front of AG Centre.
The only solution for the Germans was the withdrawal of both army groups to the line held on 28 june 1942 at the beginning of the summer offensive.
But in november,it was to late .
Source :Hitler's War P 16O -161

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Qvist
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Qvist » 10 Dec 2009 20:15

The FHO threat assessment for the winter that I have read actually stresses the likelihood of a Soviet offensive of a similar nature as in 1941-42, with a large number of attacks along most of the front, with subsequent concentration in the sectors where results were best. It also lists a large number of possible and likely sectors. Several of these are in the central sector, but it also encompasses the Stalingrad area.

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Michate
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Michate » 10 Dec 2009 21:02

That Hitler degenerated from an at least outwardly healthy men to a nervous wreck in a couple of years is rather obvious.

However no insanity is needed to explain his actions in summer 1942, when we just look at it from his contemporary perspective - that the Soviets seemed beaten after the German spring victories, but that the Brits and Americans would do their utmost to keep them in line (as they had tried in WW1 as well), either by attacking France, where the German occupation forces were quite weak, or by transferring more material, and even troops, notably to secure the most important assets, i.e. Soviet oil installations. Thus his haste in occupying key territory while simultaneously shiftiong forces. That the assumption was fallacious is rather clear, and was even known or suspected at the time (cf. the FHO assessments of late June and late August mentioned by Qvist, as well as Halder's caustic commentaries in late July) suggesting Hitler may simply have avioded to address unfavourable information. Nevertheless, once accepting the assumption, the decisions seem at least subjectively logical. In September Hitler seems to have lost his illusions, which would explain the then emerging command crisis.
Also, by September, Hitler seems to have become aware of risks of Soviet counterattacks againsto cut off the German force concentration at Stalingrad.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 10 Dec 2009 21:51

It also could be that FHO had no idea,and to cover themselves,was mentioning possible Soviet attacs from Leningrad to Stalingrad .
Magenheimer mention that on a brieving on 6 november FHO spoke of attacks in the sectot of AGC to cut off bulges in the German front .
He also mention 'while Intelligence did reckon with Soviet attacks against the allied positions on the Don,it considered this theat to be of only secondary importance and assumed an attack with the aimof destroying the whole German southern flank to be highly unlikely (his source :Predictions of the intelle-igence department east pp 47-48 and Kehrig p 101 )

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Qvist
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Qvist » 10 Dec 2009 23:11

Magenheimer mention that on a brieving on 6 november FHO spoke of attacks in the sectot of AGC to cut off bulges in the German front .
Which indeed occurred - this was "Mars", on 25 November.
He also mention 'while Intelligence did reckon with Soviet attacks against the allied positions on the Don,it considered this theat to be of only secondary importance and assumed an attack with the aimof destroying the whole German southern flank to be highly unlikely (his source redictions of the intelle-igence department east pp 47-48 and Kehrig p 101 )
I'll have to get back to that since I am not at home and have neither the documentation or Irving available. The document I was referring to however - an August FHO assessment (“Gedanken zur Weiterentwicklung der Feindlage im Herbst und Winter”, Fremde Heere Ost (I), 29.8.42) - concluded that it was likely that the Red Army retained the capacity to launch serious attacks during the upcoming winter, and identified the Stalingrad sector and the weak allied armies on its flanks as among the likely targets. It also however expected Soviet offensives to follow the pattern of the previous year, with a large number of attacks along the length of the front, followed by a gradual shift in emphasis to the places where the greatest opportunities seemed to exist. I doubt that this was a covering exercise, since this was in line with the general expectations that underlay strategic and force planning already in the spring of 1942 and also with the experience from the previous winter. But obviously this does not speak decisively to the weight of FHO assessment of present threats as of October/November.

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Guaporense
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Guaporense » 11 Dec 2009 00:55

Stalingrad was maybe the heaviest bombed city in WW2. I heard in a documentary about the battle that the Germans dropped 100,000 tons of bombs on the city. For comparison, the Germans dropped less than 70,000 tons of bombs over Britain in 1940-1941. That is true?
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

randwick
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by randwick » 11 Dec 2009 08:02

.

A point to consider is that case blue evolved quite a bit , but possession of the oil fields was the core
Not Stalingrad ,
to get the oil was very good but denying it to the soviets would be an ever better outcome
they badly needed oil too , as Stalin was well aware

My personal feeling is , even though it make sense on paper , it was a geopolitical wank

war is about crushing one's enemy , period
The stavka had grouped most of their reserves around Moscow , that was correct
destroying those forces by making a move from the south toward Tula and Moscow would have
set the Soviets forces for a battle of destruction ,that was the worst case for the red Army
The Soviet winter offensive had been pushed beyond any reasonable length ,
after the point when no further gains could be expected
the fresh forces raised had been squandered in the Soviet spring offensives , to no results
the armament factories were not yet up to speed , the fresh divisions were untrained with green officers
sure attacking Moscow from the south would be a bloody , desperate business but ...

For the Stavka , protecting Moscow , the core of the transport network was vital
without the Moscow rail links , Leningrad the Volkol front , the Arkhangelsk supplies ,
the whole northern half of the front would have been strangled , this doesn't even include the massive manufacturing base of the Moscow region and the Tula arsenals
... if the Wehrmacht didn't have the forces or the guts to go for it , then they had lost the war already
( as they had )

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Michate
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Michate » 11 Dec 2009 08:29

It also could be that FHO had no idea,and to cover themselves,was mentioning possible Soviet attacs from Leningrad to Stalingrad .
Magenheimer mention that on a brieving on 6 november FHO spoke of attacks in the sectot of AGC to cut off bulges in the German front .
He also mention 'while Intelligence did reckon with Soviet attacks against the allied positions on the Don,it considered this theat to be of only secondary importance and assumed an attack with the aimof destroying the whole German southern flank to be highly unlikely (his source :Predictions of the intelle-igence department east pp 47-48 and Kehrig p 101 )
To judge on the FHO reports, first it should be noted that the Soviets did attack in the winter in a large number of directions, from Leningrad to Stalingrad, so that is actually not wrong. One just sees the usual difficulties in the German intelligence, which was normally able to detect and localize Soviet attack preparations, but as the Soviets always prepared attacks in several different sectors at the same time, often unable to predict, which one was the main effort and therefore most dangerous.

BTW, IIRC, Kehrig also notes that still after the war and in light of the later events, both Gehlen and Heusinger saw no reason to change their assessment that the attack group on the central front was stronger than that in the Stalingrad region. And while the picture from Soviet sources may differ, I at least have yet to see clear evidence that the attacks in the Stalingrad region were really considered the main attack prior to events (i.e. before the successful pocket creation), or that the troops deployed there initially were stronger than those in the central front area.

I do have Kehrig's book and may have a look to refresh my memory, but it needs some time.

randwick
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by randwick » 11 Dec 2009 08:38

.

German Army intelligence was wrong more often than not ,
forecasting Soviet attacks all over the place wasn't too difficult ,
but pinpointing the main effort was too often a failure

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nota
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by nota » 13 Dec 2009 02:26

how did the russian tanks get across the frozen river volga in the counter attack ???

was the ice thick enuff to support their weight?

Art
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Art » 13 Dec 2009 14:09

Actually, not. There were permanent crossings over Volga operated by engineers. It must be added that even in late December when crossed Don was crossed at Verkhne-Kurmoyarskaya the ice could sustain only light tanks (T-60/70 with the weight below 10 tons).

randwick
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by randwick » 14 Dec 2009 06:07

.

A trick the Russians used was to put bundles of fagots and pour water over it ,
it made a solid mass of ice and increased the load bearing

They had crossing points already prepared to feed their bridge heads to the south and north of the salient

not clearing up those bridgeheads during the fall was a major mistake ,
but German military intelligence didn't foresee any problems :lol:

.

Michate
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Michate » 14 Dec 2009 10:35

not clearing up those bridgeheads during the fall was a major mistake ,
but German military intelligence didn't foresee any problems :lol:
This is plain dead wrong, problems were foreseen and ways to prevent them were suggested, just the means to carry them out were lacking.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by randwick » 15 Dec 2009 13:12

.

Let me refine my meaning , it was seen as a worry , especially as the Romanians were crying wolf all the time
but the worry was local attacks to relieve the pressure on the Stalingrad defenders ,
what wasn't foreseen was a major operation involving... ARMIES in a double envelopment
intel keep telling them the soviets were scrapping the bottom of the barrel
the Soviets were particularly careful to mask the size of the forces massing in the bridgeheads
very obvious defensive fortifications were undertaken to fool the Germans as to their intentions

local attacks had been brushed aside with ease in September ,so a worry yes
but not a major strategic problem ,
a single liaison officer was send to the Romanians to show them how much the German cared
and a skeletic armored corps was tasked with acting as a foil ,
Von Richthofen bombers would hammer any Soviet concentrations as they had done before

The Germans expected a stroke ,they got an avalanche

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