Stalingrad

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Aida1
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Aida1 » 02 Nov 2022 18:58

Konig_pilsner wrote:
02 Nov 2022 17:46
You are turning things upside down. And ignoring Hitlers interference which messed things up. Going for two objectives at the same time instead of a phased approach was wrong.
Hey Aida1,

I suggest you look at the maps above Art provided in post #273 regarding the rail network in the region. Then ask yourself how you would supply an army of that size on the single railroad heading from Rostov to Stalingrad. A diversion south was needed at least to get on the southern track. You can also read Halder's diaries regarding the traffic nightmare at Rostov.

The attack south was not made for logisitical reasons. And there were not the forces to go for two objectives.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Aida1 » 02 Nov 2022 19:00

Konig_pilsner wrote:
02 Nov 2022 17:46


Perhaps its simplistic, not quite sure if it is inaccurate. I guess in your opinion Paulus was not responsible for the actions/movements of the Army he was commanding.

KP
You made him reponsible for decisions above the army level.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by mezsat2 » 03 Nov 2022 08:50

Konig_pilsner wrote:
02 Nov 2022 16:41
Hitler's plan was fine, the General's execution of the plan not so much. As always the disconnect between OKH and OKW was a bigger obstacle then Russian resistance, leading to the Voronezh debacle and the Rostov traffic jam. The army needed to be split in July since AGS was too big to be supported on one axis, and Hitler was right again.
Even if they'd cordoned off and fortified the Don/Volga landbridge, these waterways were frozen
solid in winter, and therefore offered no real defensive protection.
Not to sure how eager I would be driving a KV1 over ice in late November. Point is mute regardless since it was the bridgeheads over the Don that allowed for the early date of the attack, as well as the speed and flexibility of the attack itself to so quickly overwhelm the Romanian defenders. Had the bridgeheads been eliminated any attack over the Don would have been much slower allowing for the Germans to coordinate a much better response then historical.



KP
That's precisely my point- there were no "bridgeheads" which needed to be established over the Don at all by January. The whole thing was solid as concrete. KV1, even, could easily cruise right over it. IMHO this was never considered at all by the GHC. They just saw a river on a map and considered it to be some kind of barrier to Soviet counterattack.

The only way the Wehrmacht could have secured the Don from Voronezh to the bend would have been heavily fortified 88 Flak positions along every 100 yards of the front with supporting infantry (and mortars/lighter AT guns, etc.), well-dug in machine gun positions, and enormous amounts of provisions/ammo. They would need scattered Panzer battalions here and there to blunt breakthroughs as well. This was clearly beyond their capability at the time.

The Luftwaffe was fully committed to the front (plus Crimea) and could have lent virtually no defensive support.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Aida1 » 03 Nov 2022 14:13

mezsat2 wrote:
03 Nov 2022 08:50
Konig_pilsner wrote:
02 Nov 2022 16:41
Hitler's plan was fine, the General's execution of the plan not so much. As always the disconnect between OKH and OKW was a bigger obstacle then Russian resistance, leading to the Voronezh debacle and the Rostov traffic jam. The army needed to be split in July since AGS was too big to be supported on one axis, and Hitler was right again.
Even if they'd cordoned off and fortified the Don/Volga landbridge, these waterways were frozen
solid in winter, and therefore offered no real defensive protection.
Not to sure how eager I would be driving a KV1 over ice in late November. Point is mute regardless since it was the bridgeheads over the Don that allowed for the early date of the attack, as well as the speed and flexibility of the attack itself to so quickly overwhelm the Romanian defenders. Had the bridgeheads been eliminated any attack over the Don would have been much slower allowing for the Germans to coordinate a much better response then historical.



KP


The only way the Wehrmacht could have secured the Don from Voronezh to the bend would have been heavily fortified 88 Flak positions along every 100 yards of the front with supporting infantry (and mortars/lighter AT guns, etc.), well-dug in machine gun positions, and enormous amounts of provisions/ammo. They would need scattered Panzer battalions here and there to blunt breakthroughs as well. This was clearly beyond their capability at the time.

That is far too dense. 88 mm per 100 m is seriously over the top. :roll: :roll: Mobile reserves are far more important.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Peter89 » 04 Nov 2022 08:22

mezsat2 wrote:
03 Nov 2022 08:50
Konig_pilsner wrote:
02 Nov 2022 16:41
Hitler's plan was fine, the General's execution of the plan not so much. As always the disconnect between OKH and OKW was a bigger obstacle then Russian resistance, leading to the Voronezh debacle and the Rostov traffic jam. The army needed to be split in July since AGS was too big to be supported on one axis, and Hitler was right again.
Even if they'd cordoned off and fortified the Don/Volga landbridge, these waterways were frozen
solid in winter, and therefore offered no real defensive protection.
Not to sure how eager I would be driving a KV1 over ice in late November. Point is mute regardless since it was the bridgeheads over the Don that allowed for the early date of the attack, as well as the speed and flexibility of the attack itself to so quickly overwhelm the Romanian defenders. Had the bridgeheads been eliminated any attack over the Don would have been much slower allowing for the Germans to coordinate a much better response then historical.

KP
That's precisely my point- there were no "bridgeheads" which needed to be established over the Don at all by January. The whole thing was solid as concrete. KV1, even, could easily cruise right over it. IMHO this was never considered at all by the GHC. They just saw a river on a map and considered it to be some kind of barrier to Soviet counterattack.

The only way the Wehrmacht could have secured the Don from Voronezh to the bend would have been heavily fortified 88 Flak positions along every 100 yards of the front with supporting infantry (and mortars/lighter AT guns, etc.), well-dug in machine gun positions, and enormous amounts of provisions/ammo. They would need scattered Panzer battalions here and there to blunt breakthroughs as well. This was clearly beyond their capability at the time.

The Luftwaffe was fully committed to the front (plus Crimea) and could have lent virtually no defensive support.
Germany did not have the strength for that. We went over the smorgesbord of statistics countless times. The Soviet force generation was well beyond the German ability to counter it. Despite this, all three army groups and the command in Northern Africa planned offensive operations. Even if the Germans secured the Don line and abandoned the thrust towards the Caucasus completely, their operational reserves would have been chewed up by the Soviet offensives all along the front. In fact the August offensives in the center and the north depleted their best reserves already, and it costed the Germans dearly to hold their lines during the winter.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Art » 04 Nov 2022 10:11

mezsat2 wrote:
03 Nov 2022 08:50
That's precisely my point- there were no "bridgeheads" which needed to be established over the Don at all by January. The whole thing was solid as concrete. KV1, even, could easily cruise right over it.
That is how it was in real life (afer-action report of the 2 Guard Meachanized Corps):
By the end of the day of 29.12.43 the corps was concentrated in the region of Verkhne-Kurmoyarksoye with an objective of crossing the Don in this area and capturing the district center of Tormosin.

Attaining the objective assigned to the corps involved crossing the Don River.
Absence of crossings over the Don prepared in advance in the area and insufficient sickness of ice (the ice was 30-40 cm sick) jeopardized movement of tanks to the west bank of the Don.
Under supervision of the 2 Guards Army’s commander of engineers building of an ice bridge over the Don started on 29.12.42 by strengthening of ice with timber from local resources.
After the ice bridge was completed at 3.00 30.12.42 passage of T-34 tanks to the west side of Don was started, but the ice bridge over the Don, constructed in such haste using meager local resources in a place where the width of the river reached 200 meters, didn’t secure passage of T-34 tanks and the first T-34 which went to the bridge fell through and drowned.
In view of this complicating development the deputy commander of the 2 Guards Army major general com. Kreizer ordered to immediately transfer the corps to the west bank of the Don without T-34 tanks, which were concentrated at Verkhne Kurmoyarskoye.
Simply speaking the ice on the Don cold only sustain 9-ton T-70 tanks.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by mezsat2 » 04 Nov 2022 11:09

Art wrote:
04 Nov 2022 10:11
mezsat2 wrote:
03 Nov 2022 08:50
That's precisely my point- there were no "bridgeheads" which needed to be established over the Don at all by January. The whole thing was solid as concrete. KV1, even, could easily cruise right over it.
That is how it was in real life (afer-action report of the 2 Guard Meachanized Corps):
By the end of the day of 29.12.43 the corps was concentrated in the region of Verkhne-Kurmoyarksoye with an objective of crossing the Don in this area and capturing the district center of Tormosin.

Attaining the objective assigned to the corps involved crossing the Don River.
Absence of crossings over the Don prepared in advance in the area and insufficient sickness of ice (the ice was 30-40 cm sick) jeopardized movement of tanks to the west bank of the Don.
Under supervision of the 2 Guards Army’s commander of engineers building of an ice bridge over the Don started on 29.12.42 by strengthening of ice with timber from local resources.
After the ice bridge was completed at 3.00 30.12.42 passage of T-34 tanks to the west side of Don was started, but the ice bridge over the Don, constructed in such haste using meager local resources in a place where the width of the river reached 200 meters, didn’t secure passage of T-34 tanks and the first T-34 which went to the bridge fell through and drowned.
In view of this complicating development the deputy commander of the 2 Guards Army major general com. Kreizer ordered to immediately transfer the corps to the west bank of the Don without T-34 tanks, which were concentrated at Verkhne Kurmoyarskoye.
Simply speaking the ice on the Don cold only sustain 9-ton T-70 tanks.
I agree my assessment was an exaggeration, but you get the point. One 88 per km may have sufficed, and Germany probably had those pieces available were they not committed to defense from air attacks by GB. Nonetheless regarding tanks, all manner of infantry, trucks, and towed artillery could have easily established bridgeheads all along the Don by late Jan.-Feb. 1943. Especially had the winter been as severe as a year earlier- which it was not.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Konig_pilsner » 04 Nov 2022 17:22

I agree my assessment was an exaggeration, but you get the point. One 88 per km may have sufficed, and Germany probably had those pieces available were they not committed to defense from air attacks by GB. Nonetheless regarding tanks, all manner of infantry, trucks, and towed artillery could have easily established bridgeheads all along the Don by late Jan.-Feb. 1943. Especially had the winter been as severe as a year earlier- which it was not.
Hi Mezsat2,

I get what you are thinking, and you are not wrong that a river is easier to cross when it is frozen, it is just still harder then having a bridgehead. Just look at how stubbornly AGC held on to the one at Yelnya ( against AH's wishes).

While waiting until Jan/Feb when the ice is at its thickest may allow the Russians to cross the river in multiple locations with its light units, it would still restrict heavy equipment. Deeper snow means slower movement and the colder weather takes a toll on the advancing troops with no shelter. It also affects timing. Just like at Moscow the Russians wanted to attack at the moment when the Germans were at their maximum exertion. In November when 6th Army was encircled they had ammunition for less then 10 days of fighting, (forget actual number I think it was 3-9 days). By January offensive actions would be limited and the 6th Army would largely be in static defensive positions and building up supplies.

I have never once heard anyone claim that holding an opposing river bank is bad military strategy. I have heard people say that allowing multiple bridgeheads over the river bank you are defending is bad military strategy. Uranus was going to occur regardless, and the Army was going to be threatened, but allowing these bridgeheads is what doomed the 6th Army to encirclement instead of a tactical withdraw or German victory.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Konig_pilsner » 04 Nov 2022 17:29

That is far too dense. 88 mm per 100 m is seriously over the top. :roll: :roll: Mobile reserves are far more important.
Hi Aida1,

This is the the first thing you have said that I agree with.

If anyone wants to see how a frozen river should be defended check out the Chir River battles. 11th panzer decimated the 5th Tank Army using just infantry and tanks. No 88mm per 100m required!

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Peter89 » 04 Nov 2022 17:59

Konig_pilsner wrote:
04 Nov 2022 17:22
I agree my assessment was an exaggeration, but you get the point. One 88 per km may have sufficed, and Germany probably had those pieces available were they not committed to defense from air attacks by GB. Nonetheless regarding tanks, all manner of infantry, trucks, and towed artillery could have easily established bridgeheads all along the Don by late Jan.-Feb. 1943. Especially had the winter been as severe as a year earlier- which it was not.
Hi Mezsat2,

I get what you are thinking, and you are not wrong that a river is easier to cross when it is frozen, it is just still harder then having a bridgehead. Just look at how stubbornly AGC held on to the one at Yelnya ( against AH's wishes).

While waiting until Jan/Feb when the ice is at its thickest may allow the Russians to cross the river in multiple locations with its light units, it would still restrict heavy equipment. Deeper snow means slower movement and the colder weather takes a toll on the advancing troops with no shelter. It also affects timing. Just like at Moscow the Russians wanted to attack at the moment when the Germans were at their maximum exertion. In November when 6th Army was encircled they had ammunition for less then 10 days of fighting, (forget actual number I think it was 3-9 days). By January offensive actions would be limited and the 6th Army would largely be in static defensive positions and building up supplies.

I have never once heard anyone claim that holding an opposing river bank is bad military strategy. I have heard people say that allowing multiple bridgeheads over the river bank you are defending is bad military strategy. Uranus was going to occur regardless, and the Army was going to be threatened, but allowing these bridgeheads is what doomed the 6th Army to encirclement instead of a tactical withdraw or German victory.
They've tried, they've failed. I am more familiar with the battle accounts of the assaults on the Сторожевое, Коротояк and Урыв-Покровка bridgeheads by the 2nd Hungarian Army (also some German units participated in the battles). I mean if the Axis focused on clearing these bridgeheads and providing the weaponry Mezsat2 was talking about to build a defense in depth, then the whole Axis drive on the Caucasus would never materialize.

The defense of the Don line could yield - at best - approximately the same result as the holding of the Rhzev salient: battered units which may have to retreat in March 1943 but definately in the summer of 1943.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Aida1 » 04 Nov 2022 18:51

Konig_pilsner wrote:
04 Nov 2022 17:22


I have never once heard anyone claim that holding an opposing river bank is bad military strategy. I have heard people say that allowing multiple bridgeheads over the river bank you are defending is bad military strategy. Uranus was going to occur regardless, and the Army was going to be threatened, but allowing these bridgeheads is what doomed the 6th Army to encirclement instead of a tactical withdraw or German victory.
What really doomed 6th army was Hitlers insistence on taking Stalingrad.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Aida1 » 04 Nov 2022 18:52

Peter89 wrote:
04 Nov 2022 17:59
Konig_pilsner wrote:
04 Nov 2022 17:22
I agree my assessment was an exaggeration, but you get the point. One 88 per km may have sufficed, and Germany probably had those pieces available were they not committed to defense from air attacks by GB. Nonetheless regarding tanks, all manner of infantry, trucks, and towed artillery could have easily established bridgeheads all along the Don by late Jan.-Feb. 1943. Especially had the winter been as severe as a year earlier- which it was not.
Hi Mezsat2,

I get what you are thinking, and you are not wrong that a river is easier to cross when it is frozen, it is just still harder then having a bridgehead. Just look at how stubbornly AGC held on to the one at Yelnya ( against AH's wishes).

While waiting until Jan/Feb when the ice is at its thickest may allow the Russians to cross the river in multiple locations with its light units, it would still restrict heavy equipment. Deeper snow means slower movement and the colder weather takes a toll on the advancing troops with no shelter. It also affects timing. Just like at Moscow the Russians wanted to attack at the moment when the Germans were at their maximum exertion. In November when 6th Army was encircled they had ammunition for less then 10 days of fighting, (forget actual number I think it was 3-9 days). By January offensive actions would be limited and the 6th Army would largely be in static defensive positions and building up supplies.

I have never once heard anyone claim that holding an opposing river bank is bad military strategy. I have heard people say that allowing multiple bridgeheads over the river bank you are defending is bad military strategy. Uranus was going to occur regardless, and the Army was going to be threatened, but allowing these bridgeheads is what doomed the 6th Army to encirclement instead of a tactical withdraw or German victory.
They've tried, they've failed. I am more familiar with the battle accounts of the assaults on the Сторожевое, Коротояк and Урыв-Покровка bridgeheads by the 2nd Hungarian Army (also some German units participated in the battles). I mean if the Axis focused on clearing these bridgeheads and providing the weaponry Mezsat2 was talking about to build a defense in depth, then the whole Axis drive on the Caucasus would never materialize.

The defense of the Don line could yield - at best - approximately the same result as the holding of the Rhzev salient: battered units which may have to retreat in March 1943 but definately in the summer of 1943.
But the german army will be in better shape and things will be more difficult for the red army.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Konig_pilsner » 04 Nov 2022 19:29

I mean if the Axis focused on clearing these bridgeheads and providing the weaponry Mezsat2 was talking about to build a defense in depth, then the whole Axis drive on the Caucasus would never materialize.
Hey Peter89,

Yeah to be clear, I would never advocate to anything close to what Mezsat2 proposed. Clearing the bridgeheads would be done by Army Group B and afterwards a similar force (Romanian) as historically left to defend the Don. This would slow the German crossing of the Don at Kalach but would free up German infantry later. This could have been done, putting the 6th Army in a much better position to deal with the coming Russian offensive at the expense of a quick capture of Stalingrad (which obviously never materialized anyway).

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Konig_pilsner » 04 Nov 2022 21:23

Just for fun I figured I would post an excerpt from Furher Dierctive 41 issued on April 5th of 1942 preceding the commencement of Case Blue.
According to the progress made in these attacks, we must not only provide strong protection for the northeast flank of the operation; we must immediately set about establishing positions along the Don River. In this matter, antitank defences are especially important. These positions will from the first be prepared with a view to their eventual occupation in winter, for which they will be fully equipped.

In the first instance, units of our allies will be used to hold the Don River front, which will become longer and longer as the attack proceeds. German forces will provide a strong supporting force between Orel and the Don River, and in the Stalingrad strip. For the rest, individual German divisions will also remain available as reserves behind the Don River front.
Sounds like Hitler had an idea in April of what would be coming in winter :) . Yet despite his written order, large bridgeheads were left over the Don with only token attempts to eliminate them. Buy hey, it is all Adolf's fault right?

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Aida1 » 05 Nov 2022 07:10

Konig_pilsner wrote:
04 Nov 2022 21:23
Just for fun I figured I would post an excerpt from Furher Dierctive 41 issued on April 5th of 1942 preceding the commencement of Case Blue.
According to the progress made in these attacks, we must not only provide strong protection for the northeast flank of the operation; we must immediately set about establishing positions along the Don River. In this matter, antitank defences are especially important. These positions will from the first be prepared with a view to their eventual occupation in winter, for which they will be fully equipped.

In the first instance, units of our allies will be used to hold the Don River front, which will become longer and longer as the attack proceeds. German forces will provide a strong supporting force between Orel and the Don River, and in the Stalingrad strip. For the rest, individual German divisions will also remain available as reserves behind the Don River front.
Sounds like Hitler had an idea in April of what would be coming in winter :) . Yet despite his written order, large bridgeheads were left over the Don with only token attempts to eliminate them. Buy hey, it is all Adolf's fault right?
You are conveniently ignoring that nothing of that was done sufficiently because Hitler wanted to go south too quickly and his insistence on taking Stalingrad before anything else .

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