Stalingrad

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
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doogal
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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by doogal » 29 Jan 2015 21:54

Space wrangler wrote: and surrendered an entire Army without much of a fight
that's a questionable statement: if you could support this with some info on how the 6th army did not put up a fight:
Spacewrangler wrote: Hans -Valentin Hube did it and Paulus could have also
A good idea to look at the composition of 1st Pzr Army when this happened: How far they had to move: the density of forces:

Hube was flown out of Stalingrad he also far more operational experience through field commands than Paulus he also had experience to bear from his experiences of seeing what happens in this situation: Paulus was in a very difficult position:

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Erwinn » 30 Jan 2015 10:00

Paulus is an armchair general, who likes to command his forces from behind a desk.

Do you really believe some frontline General (like Rommel for example) would let his entire army trapped and wait for 1 month until a rescue come? By the time rescue efforts are close, entire army was starved...

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by ljadw » 30 Jan 2015 11:56

Wrong and loaded question

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Graeme Sydney » 30 Jan 2015 13:02

Erwinn wrote:Paulus is an armchair general, who likes to command his forces from behind a desk.
There is nothing wrong being an Armchair General - it just another style of management - that in itself is not condemnation.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Cult Icon » 30 Jan 2015 17:55

Before 1. PzA and various large commands, Hube was the commander of 16.Pz, and then commanded 14 PzK after von Wietersheim was fired in Sept 1942. He was a well balanced professional.

Paulus had some serious background deficiencies. As a staff professional, he never commanded anything larger than a battalion in the field and lacked practical, spiritual/experiential, leadership, and tactical knowledge. However, he was academic and cerebral, and was an exceptionally experienced Chief of Staff that worked well with von Reichenau. Paulus leaned towards logistics/theory and Reichenau, who was more well balanced, was the executor, the man of action and leadership. This team was successful but was broken when Reichenau died of a heart attack.

IMO, Paulus' command up to Sept. 1942 was overall competent but he lacked the ability or self confidence to creatively achieve beyond his logistics, find insightful solutions to the difficult problems, and inspire his forces. Stalingrad was a very difficult 'nut' to crack given 6 AOK's situation in Sept 1942 and required excellence.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 30 Jan 2015 19:27

Hi Cult Icon......I completely agree with your analysis of Paulus and it's implications.

Ciao
Sandeep

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 30 Jan 2015 19:38

Cult Icon wrote:A 'coup de main' on Stalingrad would radically change the course of Plan Blau. They would switch main effort to the Caucasus, peel off several divisions, and probably defend the region like Voronezh, erasing bridgeheads with active defense with a solid front line. On the Soviet side, the forces they lost in defending the approach to Stalingrad and the city itself would be still around for deployment.

This is the crux of the issue. Arguably the entire fate of WW II hinged on this. If Stalingrad fell to a coup de main and forces could be released for Caucasus....if forces were not tied up on the approaches to Stalingrad........if the massive attrition and destruction of forces at Stalingrad didn't happen....if the Luftwaffe didn't suffer those re supply losses at Stalingrad.....


Well .....? :)

Ciao Sandeep

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Graeme Sydney » 30 Jan 2015 20:57

Cult Icon wrote:Before 1. PzA and various large commands, Hube was the commander of 16.Pz, and then commanded 14 PzK after von Wietersheim was fired in Sept 1942. He was a well balanced professional.

Paulus had some serious background deficiencies. As a staff professional, he never commanded anything larger than a battalion in the field and lacked practical, spiritual/experiential, leadership, and tactical knowledge. However, he was academic and cerebral, and was an exceptionally experienced Chief of Staff that worked well with von Reichenau. Paulus leaned towards logistics/theory and Reichenau, who was more well balanced, was the executor, the man of action and leadership. This team was successful but was broken when Reichenau died of a heart attack.

IMO, Paulus' command up to Sept. 1942 was overall competent but he lacked the ability or self confidence to creatively achieve beyond his logistics, find insightful solutions to the difficult problems, and inspire his forces. Stalingrad was a very difficult 'nut' to crack given 6 AOK's situation in Sept 1942 and required excellence.
I think Paulus greatest failing was he was too obedient. And Stalingrad was beyond redemption. Given the same resources and the strategic situation Rommel wasn't about to crack the Stalingrad nut.

The defeat at Stalingrad was all Hitler's, aided and abetted by the buffoon Goring.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Cult Icon » 30 Jan 2015 21:13

If Paulus disobeyed the Fuhrer order, he would have been replaced by someone who did. He knew this and did not disobey, preferring to keep his post. His replacement was likely to have been his no.2. 6 AOK was ultimately selected as the sacrificial lamb to absorb soviet assault divisions.

Hitler deserves immense blame for the failure, but so does Paulus, to a lessor extent as he did not win at Stalingrad and burned out all his first class units. They arrived at the gates of the city with 2/3rd combat strength and had limited 'endurance' left. His command of 6 AOK in Sept 1942-Nov 1942. in reduction of the city was overall unimaginative, tactically asinine in places, and slow paced. I believe he threw away opportunities to crush the soviets and designed the overall layout of attack force suboptimally. Stalingrad initially had only 50,000 men in 62nd/64th A before the first major reinforcement, the full strength 13.GRD arrived across the Volga to reinforce. The Soviet combat elements prior to that were actually not coherent divisions but collections of fragments.

Stavka also made a critical and important decision in replacing the unsteady/under stress commander of 62nd Army with Chuikov.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by ljadw » 31 Jan 2015 07:23

Graeme Sydney wrote:
Cult Icon wrote:Before 1. PzA and various large commands, Hube was the commander of 16.Pz, and then commanded 14 PzK after von Wietersheim was fired in Sept 1942. He was a well balanced professional.

Paulus had some serious background deficiencies. As a staff professional, he never commanded anything larger than a battalion in the field and lacked practical, spiritual/experiential, leadership, and tactical knowledge. However, he was academic and cerebral, and was an exceptionally experienced Chief of Staff that worked well with von Reichenau. Paulus leaned towards logistics/theory and Reichenau, who was more well balanced, was the executor, the man of action and leadership. This team was successful but was broken when Reichenau died of a heart attack.

IMO, Paulus' command up to Sept. 1942 was overall competent but he lacked the ability or self confidence to creatively achieve beyond his logistics, find insightful solutions to the difficult problems, and inspire his forces. Stalingrad was a very difficult 'nut' to crack given 6 AOK's situation in Sept 1942 and required excellence.
I think Paulus greatest failing was he was too obedient. And Stalingrad was beyond redemption. Given the same resources and the strategic situation Rommel wasn't about to crack the Stalingrad nut.

The defeat at Stalingrad was all Hitler's, aided and abetted by the buffoon Goring.
The defeat at Stalingrad was al Zhukov's (or another Soviet general).

Blaming Hiter is saying (as did the German generals after the war) :without Hiter,we would have won at Staingrad .

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Jan 2015 07:43

Zhukov was in charge of Mars (Rzhev), Vasilevsky was in charge of Uranus.

Actually, from Armageddon at Stalingrad, Stopped at Stalingrad, and To the Gates of Stalingrad: There is enough here to show that if Paulus cleared Stalingrad in Sept 1942 in line with expectations, 6AOK's orders were to convert into defense along the Don and the Volga like 2A to the North. Uranus planning/preparation began in Sept 1942, and the forces involved fewer mechanized assets than at Rzhev ( 1,500 tanks). Paulus had to win in Stalingrad in Sept or early Oct. by the latest, or face annihilation. Another prerequisite is that 6 AOK/4PA could not bleed white; it had to maintain sufficient strength to hold the Don/Volga against Uranus- which is only possible if the city was cleared in Sept with an excellent battle plan.

Hitler had seen other cities, with a defense force being defeated by the Wehrmacht many times- Minsk fell quickly. Rostov 1941 had 80,000 Soviet troops and they were cleared out in a couple of days. He assumed the same would happen here.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Erwinn » 31 Jan 2015 09:26

How do you capture a city which is being reinforced from a river?

Why don't you try to encircle it first? Or why don't you take precautions to stop reinforcements/supplies from arriving in?

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Jan 2015 15:01

6 AOK/4PA were not in an ideal position, as they could not interdict the Volga . The key issue was the armies to the north (4TA, 1GA, 23A, 66A) that were pinning down the land bridge created by 14 PzK and 8 AK through offensives (Kotuluban I and II ) and preventing them from exerting their strength north of the city. This means that Stalingrad had to be taken quickly with an overwhelming assault, or 6AOK could not withstand the attrition. In the battle for central and southern stalingrad, 6 AOK progressed only incrementally and eliminated 40,000 Soviets in 2 weeks but these losses were replaced by moving new formations across the river, leaving soviet forces at same strength- 50,000 men.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Marcus » 31 Jan 2015 16:35

A few posts were moved to the original thread.

/Marcus

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Jan 2015 19:00

Just other thoughts about Sept. 1942, with the new thread and the benefit of hindsight. :

-Chuikov benefited much from Paulus' predictability. He even commanded down to platoon level.

-The pre-battle bombing of Stalingrad was a well known waste of aerial resources. It did not need to be so extensive.

-Paulus approached the city and created his battle plan as if he was still practicing maneuver warfare out in the open- the 'coup de main' option was off the cards but he still tried to take Stalingrad via 'coup de main' with 2 x Panzer korps even though it was a fortified region that saw 6 AOK coming for weeks. This was a mistake, and resulted in tense situations and an overall weakening of his mobile forces and armor.

-The obvious necessity of isolating 62nd/64th Army from the Volga was not sufficiently pursued; Paulus' pincer ran into a brick wall here, but quit and tried no-win options.

-There was little attempt to keep a strong ready reserve and allocate points of main effort. 6 AOK's strength was dissipated through inadequately strong attacks on a broad front. Concentration would have paid heftily if, for instance, he had supported 24. Pz's blitz into central stalingrad properly.

-Paulus seemed more focused on his orders and less focused on unit preservation, which should have been his priority once he got there; his combat elements were already down to 2/3rds, and his armor situation was even worse- closer to 1/2 the original. His next major reserve, 100 Jager, would came much later. That some of his divisions were losing 300 men a day should have alarmed him that he was doing something wrong.

-I think Paulus should have made an operational pause, rather than give attack orders for his korps piecemeal as soon as they arrived. He should have approached Stalingrad like a set-piece battle utilizing deception and accumulation of resources. He should have done more extensive planning like Manstein did for Kerch and Sevastapol. He had the powerful Fliegerkorps 8's main effort on his side, but this asset was not used in the optimal way. The subsequent operation should have involved all forces attacking with maximum deception & haste in order to have to highest probability of success. Its timetable would, by necessity, be total victory in several days of continuous strong attacks with clear objectives and sufficient force concentration on decisive points.
Last edited by Cult Icon on 31 Jan 2015 19:07, edited 1 time in total.

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