Stalingrad

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

Post by doogal » 31 Jan 2015 19:03

Was not the 6th Armies original task to create a defensive flank along the Volga with Stalingrad as a subsidiary objective: ? as found in which ever number directive Blau came under... Once Blau was under way the Split into two Army groups of AGS and there diverging operations seems to be the crux of the matter. Once again the Wehrmacht was not strong enough for the multiple operations which Hitler aimed at:
Paulus should not have been given command without the proper experience (how many COS were promoted to command a large formation without true operational pedigree) Surely a pliable experienced commander could have been placed in charge of AOK6.... better still should one of the senior corps commanders not have taken over???????

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Cult Icon » 01 Feb 2015 05:12

Politics had something to do with it: Field Marshal von Reichenau was Hitler's minion, and helped expand his power over the armed forces. Paulus was his right hand man, his patron... which secured Paulus' career. Paulus was also deputy Chief of the General Staff under Halder and drafted the plans and wargames for Barbarossa. He was a General staff elite, and was on the short list for being a chief of the OKH.

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doogal
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by doogal » 01 Feb 2015 07:24

FM v Kleist:
"The capture of Stalingrad was subsidiary to the main aim. It was only of importance as a convenient place, in the bottleneck between Don and the Volga, where we could block an attack on our flank by Russian forces coming from the east. At the start, Stalingrad was no more than a name on the map to us."
Said post war and in the line with Fuhrer Directive 41 see Blau(2)

Fuhrer Dir 45: Operation Heron: Roughly advance of AGB begins 23rd July : Reaches STG 23rd August
The decision to send 4PZA to aid 1PZA delays arrival of German forces in the Stalingrad area

The alteration of what was already an improbable mission to carry out, dilution of strength, diverging operational goals, bad leadership, and all this on top of logistical problems that were already being felt in July:
Add to that an inexperienced commander, who could not find novel solutions to what was a tactical dilemma: quite a mess

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 01 Feb 2015 10:25

doogal wrote:Was not the 6th Armies original task to create a defensive flank along the Volga with Stalingrad as a subsidiary objective: ? as found in which ever number directive Blau came under... Once Blau was under way the Split into two Army groups of AGS and there diverging operations seems to be the crux of the matter. Once again the Wehrmacht was not strong enough for the multiple operations which Hitler aimed at:
Paulus should not have been given command without the proper experience (how many COS were promoted to command a large formation without true operational pedigree) Surely a pliable experienced commander could have been placed in charge of AOK6.... better still should one of the senior corps commanders not have taken over???????
Pauus had been appointed commander of the 6th Army in november 1941,when Reichenau succeeded Rundstedt as commander of AGS.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 01 Feb 2015 10:34

doogal wrote:FM v Kleist:
"The capture of Stalingrad was subsidiary to the main aim. It was only of importance as a convenient place, in the bottleneck between Don and the Volga, where we could block an attack on our flank by Russian forces coming from the east. At the start, Stalingrad was no more than a name on the map to us."
Said post war and in the line with Fuhrer Directive 41 see Blau(2)

Fuhrer Dir 45: Operation Heron: Roughly advance of AGB begins 23rd July : Reaches STG 23rd August
The decision to send 4PZA to aid 1PZA delays arrival of German forces in the Stalingrad area
Kleist was right AND wrong : while it was so that the Caucasus was the main aim, Weisung 45 expressely mentionned the capture of Stalingrad :

Mission of AGB :

- to construct a defensive line on the Don

-to advance to Stalingrad to eliminate there the enemy forces ,to capture the city and to block the detroit between the Don and the Woga and also the river

And,Weisung 41 (april 1942 :wink: ) also mentionned Stalingrad .

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Cult Icon » 02 Feb 2015 01:44

IMO the Kotluban offensives in Sept. should have ticked off von Weichs, Hoth, and Paulus that something abnormal was going on that was occurring behind the surface. In Sept. Stalingrad Front sacrificed 130,000 men pinning down 8 AK and 14 PzK to save 62nd/64th Army. These troops made repeated frontal attacks all month, and absorbed an enormous quantity of ammunition along with over three thousand sorties from Fliegerkorps 8.
doogal wrote:
The alteration of what was already an improbable mission to carry out, dilution of strength, diverging operational goals, bad leadership, and all this on top of logistical problems that were already being felt in July:
Add to that an inexperienced commander, who could not find novel solutions to what was a tactical dilemma: quite a mess

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Erwinn » 07 Feb 2015 09:28

Excellent documentary on Paulus:

von Reichenau "Foster father of Paulus" :D

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Marcus
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Marcus » 15 Feb 2015 12:08

Please stay on topic, i.e. the battle of Stalingrad.

/Marcus

ML59
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ML59 » 15 Feb 2015 15:31

Ok, sorry for that.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by AJFFM » 15 Feb 2015 17:24

On the topic of the Opening days of Barbarossa, start a new thread and we will talk about it there.

As for Stalingrad, I also would like to know the source of the "Moscow Option" of 42. Anyone with a map (and the history of the Barbarossa campaign) would know that was impossible to be done in the summer of 42 with such concentration of forces in and around Moscow.

A push towards the Caucasus was the only possible way since Leningrad was under siege and the Red Army almost continuously launched large scale offensives to blunt the German forces.

Whether a push towards Stalingrad was worth it I think yes. Stalingrad while appealing in name also was a railway head and a military production center. I think a screening force would have been a better option instead of outright taking it but the decision was done.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Marcus » 15 Feb 2015 17:58

A discussion about the opening days of Barbarossa was split off into a new thread at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 6&t=213854

/Marcus

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 17 Feb 2015 09:13

ljadw wrote:15 and 21 PzD were needed in North Africa.

Almost all combat worthy units were committed for Barbarossa,even some non combat worthy divisions .

5 and 6 Mt were going to the east (Finland) in september/october 1941

Ditto. ....that is the fact. ...There was no possibility of ramping up German forces in Russia in 41 beyond what had been sent.

The basic problem was the Russian project itself. Unnecessary, unwise, unsound and self defeating.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ChrisDR68 » 17 Feb 2015 13:47

AJFFM wrote:On the topic of the Opening days of Barbarossa, start a new thread and we will talk about it there.

As for Stalingrad, I also would like to know the source of the "Moscow Option" of 42. Anyone with a map (and the history of the Barbarossa campaign) would know that was impossible to be done in the summer of 42 with such concentration of forces in and around Moscow.

A push towards the Caucasus was the only possible way since Leningrad was under siege and the Red Army almost continuously launched large scale offensives to blunt the German forces.

Whether a push towards Stalingrad was worth it I think yes. Stalingrad while appealing in name also was a railway head and a military production center. I think a screening force would have been a better option instead of outright taking it but the decision was done.
Do you mean concentration of Soviet forces around Moscow?

I've just read an account of the preparations the Germans made before Operation Blue was launched and they really struggled to get replacements not just of soldiers but motor vehicles and horses following the Soviet winter offensives of 1941/42. Imo Blue was an unwise choice as the distances involved inevitably meant the attacking German forces were stretched thinner and thinner the more they advanced.

If they were going to attack in the south at all they should have sent pretty much the entire mobile attacking force as one body from Vorenezh (once it had been captured) straight to Astakhan. That would have cut off all the Soviet forces in the Caucasus as well as cutting the Soviet's oil supply routes from there. Having one large military force instead of the two in the otl would also have made supplying it more straight forward.

They also should not have sent the 11th army north to capture Leningrad after the capture of the Crimea. That was needed in the south to help solidify Blue. As late as August 1942 Hitler constantly underestimated the Soviets thinking their resistance had been broken which is why he decided to weaken the forces dedicated to the operation.

Because they were weak compared to a year earlier, the Germans needed concentration of force and a less intricate and complicated offensive plan in 1942.
Last edited by ChrisDR68 on 17 Feb 2015 19:12, edited 1 time in total.

AJFFM
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by AJFFM » 17 Feb 2015 17:36

Yes. According to Glantz nearly 60% of all Red Army divisions were in or near the Moscow region with the ability to deploy anywhere along the huge front thanks to the fact that Moscow was the main rail and industrial center of the USSR.

As for whether it was wise or not to launch Blau it depends on strategic assessment. German was facing a potential war on three front in May 42 (remember Dieppe), the better now better armed better equipped better lead Red army was menacing the German army in relentless offensives from Crimea (Operation Bustard Hunt) through Ukraine (2nd Kharkov) passing through Moscow (Rzhev) and finishing with Leningrad (Vlasov and other offensives there).

Moving the 11th army was out of necessity not convenience and the time to achieve a strategic breakthrough was getting short. It was now or never, the Germans gambled and lost. That is simply it.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ChrisDR68 » 19 Feb 2015 18:32

Looking at a map of Operation Blue one of the things that stands out is the huge salient between Demyansk and Rzhev to the north west of Moscow. While Von Manstein was capturing the Crimea in May and June of 1942 would it have been possible for the Germans to pinch out this salient before the Blue offensive proper was launched on June 28th?

That would have shortened their front line freeing up troops as well as capturing who knows how many Soviet troops that were stationed inside the salient and all of their equipment.

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