Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

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bam
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Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by bam » 05 Apr 2018 23:04

On Jan 9th 1943 the Soviets offered 6. Armee a chance to surrender, with safety guarantees. They offered all troops & wounded would be fed & cared for, and repatriated at the end of the war. Paulus refused to even meet the negotiators.
On 28th Jan 43 General Daniels apparently took the unilateral decision to surrender his 376. ID.
On 30th/31st, IV. Armee-Korps in the Southern pocket surrendered before Paulus.
Paulus & the central pocket was captured on 31st. General Strecker surrendered the final northern pocket on 2nd Feb.

Did the troops who surrendered early get treated any better by the Soviets?

I have read, somewhere, that troops in the Northern pocket who were caught on the 1st of Feb were treated much worse than those captured on the 2nd,as the Soviets were rightfully pissed off at the seemingly pointless continued resistance, cos there was still hard fighting on the 1st.
Did Daniel's early surrender get better treatment for those 376. ID troops?

From the bits I've read from the few German pow survivors, they were all treated equally badly by the time they made it to a pow camp, and in those camps they met rumanians & Germans who'd been captured in the November 42 encirclement, who had also suffered big die offs after capture.
I read a good book by an Italian alpini who got captured in Dec 42,who stated camp conditions were barbaric and there was another massive die off of Italians over winter, due to inadequate food, no medicines, awful housing, no heat, and opportunistic epidemics of typhus etc. He had stated that some Germans who were captured with them were shot immediately, so he felt the Italians had got better treatment !! It's all relative...
(they were all still treated better than the soviet pows held by Germany in the pocket, let's not forget, who were left outdoors without any food, in winter)

So would the Soviets have been able to honour their offer of surrender on the 9th? Could they have fed & housed the 200,000+ axis troops in the pocket on the 9th?
Or was the offer a hollow ruse, as per the promises made to other German surrounded troops, eg Breslau where the offer of safety for the city's civilians wasn't even honoured, nevermind the troops,.

ljadw
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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by ljadw » 06 Apr 2018 15:53

bam wrote:On Jan 9th 1943 the Soviets offered 6. Armee a chance to surrender, with safety guarantees. They offered all troops & wounded would be fed & cared for, and repatriated at the end of the war. Paulus refused to even meet the negotiators.
On 28th Jan 43 General Daniels apparently took the unilateral decision to surrender his 376. Id.
On 30th/31st, IV. Armee-Korps in the Southern pocket surrendered before Paulus.
Paulus & the central pocket was captured on 31st. General Strecker surrendered the final northern pocket on 2nd Feb.

Did the troops who surrendered early get treated any better by the Soviets?

I have read, somewhere, that troops in the Northern pocket who were caught on the 1st of Feb were treated much worse than those captured on the 2nd,as the Soviets were rightfully pissed off at the seemingly pointless continued resistance, cos there was still hard fighting on the 1st.
Did Daniel's early surrender get better treatment for those 376. ID troops?

From the bits I've read from the few German pow survivors, they were all treated equally badly by the time they made it to a pow camp, and in those camps they met rumanians & Germans who'd been captured in the November 42 encirclement, who had also suffered big die offs after capture.
I read a good book by an Italian alpini who got captured in Dec 42,who stated camp conditions were barbaric and there was another massive die off of Italians over winter, due to inadequate food, no medicines, awful housing, no heat, and opportunistic epidemics of typhus etc. He had stated that some Germans who were captured with them were shot immediately, so he felt the Italians had got better treatment !! It's all relative...
(they were all still treated better than the soviet pows held by Germany in the pocket, let's not forget, who were left outdoors without any food, in winter)

So would the Soviets have been able to honour their offer of surrender on the 9th? Could they have fed & housed the 200,000+ axis troops in the pocket on the 9th?
Or was the offer a hollow ruse, as per the promises made to other German surrounded troops, eg Breslau where the offer of safety for the city's civilians wasn't even honoured, nevermind the troops,.
It would not help for Berlin, as a German POW was the same as a dead German .

For the 160000 Germans in the pocket, an earlier capitulation would not make much difference, as most of them were already in a very bad situation on 9 January ;a few thousand of the 91000 who capitulated on 31 January /2 February returned to Germany ; if they had capitulated on 9 January, not much more would have returned to Germany .

Dann Falk
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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Dann Falk » 06 Apr 2018 16:43

Greetings Ijadw.

To answer your question…”would an early surrender… on 9 Jan 43, make much difference to the survivable rate of the Axis Troops at Stalingrad”. To answer this I’m using two quotes from my unpublished book on the 64th Army.

On 30 December 42
“Also on this date, the Soviet leadership is finally starting to respond to the almost unique situation of dealing with large numbers of enemy prisoners. The Deputy of the NKVD (Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs) A.I. Serov sent a memo to his superior L.P. Beria, head of the NKVD regarding the treatment of POWs. Serov points out the high mortally rate among prisoners taken so far in and around Stalingrad.

This memo covers four main points:
1. Romanian and Italian prisoners were not fed by the German for 6-7 and even 10 days before being captured.
2. Once captured, prisoners were marched 125-190 miles to reach a railroad, without supplies or food for 2-3 days. The rear part of the Red Army is not organized to handle this POW effort.
3. POWs are not fed or given clothing during their forced march and upon reaching the trains they are given flour to eat instead of bread.
4. The rail wagons provided to transport the prisoners to the rear are not fitted with bunks or stoves and each car is loaded with 50-60 prisoners (note: an enclosed rail car (box car) would normally carry some 40 men).

He sums up his memo by saying, contrary to orders, wounded and sick prisoners of war are not taken to frontline hospitals but sent to the regular collection points for POWs. He then goes on to say, “All these circumstances lead to physical exhaustion of war, as a result they die before sending to the rear, as well as in transit.” Beria responds by ordering comprehensive changes in how POWs are to be handled. Orders implementing these changes were issued by 2 January, but few changes were actually made. The mistreatment of prisoners would continue and the death rate would rise even further.”

Then later on…

On 26 January 43
“In keeping with their lack of preparation for dealing with the POW issue, the Don Front finally acts at this late date. The growing numbers of POW falling into their hands had become a problem so the Deputy Commander of the Don Front rear, Lieutenant General I.G. Councillors, orders the Chief of Logistics of the 64th Army, Major General G.V. Alexandrov, to organize a camp for prisoners of war from Stalingrad in the area around Beketovka, to be operational by 31 January. General Laskin was present when this order was delivered to General Alexandrov, and he remembers how “Alexandrov hurriedly ran to the phone and called the chief of the rear of the Red Army General A.V. Khruleva, wanting to know why he was being stabbed in the back this way! General Alexandrov shouted into the phone, why are you assigning me to feed ninety thousand prisoners? Where are we going to get the food and how are we going to cook it? I have an army of my own people. The rear of the army already exhausted by providing six months under enemy fire a huge army. Consider the situation and that on the orders of the commander (Shumilov) we collect weapons, equipment and ammunition of the enemy scattered over a wide expanse of steppe near Stalingrad. Please entrusted the catering of prisoners to another army”. General Khruleva told Alexandrov that he had the “skill to come out of any difficult situation” and that is why he was given this task. He also stated “we'll help you” (that is, the Don Front will help). Despite promises, General Alexandrov knew it was not possible to carry out this order under the current circumstances. In the end, the order was not changed and promised food and medical support from the Don Front never really arrived. So the 64th Army would do what it could to handle the growing flood of prisoners with its limited resources. After all, these POWs were the hated enemy, who really cared if they starved, froze or died of disease. “

So the answer to your question is no. The Red Army and the Don Front were in no position to properly care for thousands of enemy POWs before, during or after the Stalingrad pocket surrendered. So most of these POWs were going to die anyway.

Hope this helps clear up the situation.

ljadw
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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by ljadw » 06 Apr 2018 18:24

Very nice ! :thumbsup:

bam
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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by bam » 07 Apr 2018 18:48

"Hope this helps clear up the situation"
Yes thank you, that is good info. Gen.Alexandrov's immediate reaction is to say its impossible, so those giving the order knew it couldn't be fulfilled, but issue it anyway to cover their arses. Very soviet.
It seems no special preparations were made in advance of the 9th Jan surrender offer, and by then the Soviets were already utterly failing to look after pows from the end of December.
So, the sad conclusion appears to be that Paulus and gen Schmidt (the real decision maker in 6th army) were correct to order Never Surrender. That's depressing. There really was no room for the luxury of taking prisoners on the ostfront, neither side could look after them.

ljadw
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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by ljadw » 07 Apr 2018 19:05

bam wrote:"Hope this helps clear up the situation"
Yes thank you, that is good info. Gen.Alexandrov's immediate reaction is to say its impossible, so those giving the order knew it couldn't be fulfilled, but issue it anyway to cover their arses. Very soviet.
It seems no special preparations were made in advance of the 9th Jan surrender offer, and by then the Soviets were already utterly failing to look after pows from the end of December.
So, the sad conclusion appears to be that Paulus and gen Schmidt (the real decision maker in 6th army) were correct to order Never Surrender. That's depressing. There really was no room for the luxury of taking prisoners on the ostfront, neither side could look after them.
Hm

1) They DID surrender...and on 31 January they ORDERED to surrender .



2 ) A lot of Germans surrender after the encirclment, but before the general capitulation .(at least 15000 )

3) From a military POV,the refusal to surrender was correct,as a POW was the same as a KIA: 6th Army continued the (not big ) fighting during 10 weeks, enabling AGA to evacuate the Caucasus .

4) the Soviet surrender offer did not imply that the Soviets would take care of the German POWs but was only an attempt to liquidate as soon as

possible the Stalingrad pocket, something which would make a lot of Soviets available for other missions .

5 ) Both sides took a lot of POWs :the Germans some 3,3 million in 1941.

Art
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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Art » 08 Apr 2018 09:41

ljadw wrote: 2 ) A lot of Germans surrender after the encirclment, but before the general capitulation .(at least 15000 )
According to the Don Front the number of POWs taken from 10 to 27 January was circa 40 000 (conflicting reports):
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=153923726
https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=153923725
So-called "general surrender" on 31 January - 2 February was not so general as it is commonly believed - a large part of POWs were taken before it happened.

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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Art » 08 Apr 2018 14:21

Dann Falk wrote:the chief of the rear of the Red Army General A.V. Khruleva
A.V. Khrulev (without "a").

Here is a report by a GUPVI commission which inspected POWs camps at Stalingrad in March 1943

Image

Image

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The report mainly stressed physical exhaustion of prisoners at the moment of capture as a prime reason of giant death rate.

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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Dann Falk » 08 Apr 2018 16:21

Thanks Art for the spelling correction and the report. I need to do some translating...:)

Is this report from the TsAMO archive? if so do you know the ID#.

Dann

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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Art » 08 Apr 2018 16:32

It's a copy attached to the memorandum from Beria to Stalin (3 April 1943) which upon approval by Stalin was registered as the GKO decree No. 3124ss:
http://sovdoc.rusarchives.ru/#showunit& ... 91;tab=img

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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Art » 08 Apr 2018 21:26

Dann Falk wrote: On 30 December 42
“Also on this date, the Soviet leadership is finally starting to respond to the almost unique situation of dealing with large numbers of enemy prisoners.
As early as 25 November 1942 chief of UPVI NKVD ordered to allocate rations for additional 100 000 prisoners expected in December 1942 and to create by 1.1.43 a monthly stock of rations for 120 000 prisoners (20 000 already present plus expected 100 000) (NKVD order No.002581 of 25.11.42)
That was the first reaction to a large influx of POWs, at least the first that I know. Pay attention that provision of prisoners with food and other supplies and related planning was in general a responsibility of the NKVD. Still I don't quite understand who exactly was supposed to supply rations to POWs in the front-line zone.
On 26 January 43
“In keeping with their lack of preparation for dealing with the POW issue, the Don Front finally acts at this late date.
There is probably some misunderstanding with this text as it implies that catering of POWs was supposed to be provided indefinitely by units that captured them. In fact according to the existing system prisoners were supposed to be evacuated to the rear, first to the NKVD reception points then to the NKVD's forward camp (in case of the Don Front - camp No.50 at Frolovo some 130 km from the Stalingrad) and then to the NKVD camps in the interior zone. The army was to provide rations only on the first stages of evacuation. That system worked Ok while the numbers of POWs were small. What really happened to the Stalingrad pocket prisoners was contrary to this normal system, as they stayed for a long time in camps or hospitals organized near the Stalingrad itself. It's not quite clear why it happened. Probably the numbers were too large to handle by the existing system of evacuation, many of prisoners were definitely too weak and exhausted to make foot march to Frolovo or they needed hospital treatment. There were also logistical problems: as the pocket ceased to exist several hundred thousand men of the former Don Front had to be transferred elsewhere which took several months and clogged railroads in the area. Anyway the prisoners stayed in the area instead of early evacuation.

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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Dann Falk » 09 Apr 2018 16:35

Nice one Art.

I did not know about the November NKVD report. Thanks.

February 25 1943
The NKVD takes over total control of all the remaining POW camps from the Red Army in and around the Stalingrad area. They have listed in 13 different camps some 142,861 prisoners. So on this date the NKVD is totally responsible for the POWs. Stalingrad was now in the rear area, far from the front.

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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Art » 09 Apr 2018 19:31

Ok, I've checked a supply plan for the operation against the Stalingrad pocket. This document was prepared by the HQ of the Don Front circa 28 December 1942 (TsAMO RF, f.206, op.262, d.138, ll.45). The part relating to prisoners of war was :
Evacuation of prisoners of war and special contingent.

1. Army reception points for the POWs will be deployed:
21 A - Bol'she-Nabatovsky
65 A - Kislyaki
24 A - Shirokov
66 A - Dubovka
A front distributing camp at Frolovo (*)
Ilovlya station will be assigned as an embarkation station for evacuation by railroad.
Convoying POWS from the army reception points to the camp will be assigned to the 227 NKVD Convoy Regiment. The staff of the regiment is at Ilovlinskaya.

1[sic!]. Army collection and transfer point for former Red Army's personnel will be deployed:
21 A - Frolovo
66 A - Log
24 A - Alayev
66 A - Sadki
Dispatch of personnel from the army point to NKVD central camp will be made by railroad according to Moscow's orders.

3.Evacuation of prisoners of war and former Red Army's personnel will be organized with a view to have an average daily throughout up to 10 000 men. Scheme of evacuation is attached.

Image
* NKVD POW camp No.50 - see the previous message

Regarding food supply the same document said that in principal types of products (flour, meat and fish, cereals and groats, fats, vegetables) the Don Front had stocks equivalent to 10-15 days of supply. Further situation was supposed to be strained as delivery in the next 10 days was expected to be smaller than expenditure in all items except meat and fish. A brief comment to this section said that possible requirement of POWs were not included in the count.

The document was prepared before 57, 62 and 64 Armies were transferred to the Don Front from the former Stalingrad Front, hence no mention of them.

The manifest idea of this plan was that prisoners were supposed to be evacuated to the interior ASAP via normal channels of evacuation.

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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Art » 09 Apr 2018 19:34

Dann Falk wrote:N
February 25 1943
The NKVD takes over total control of all the remaining POW camps from the Red Army in and around the Stalingrad area. They have listed in 13 different camps some 142,861 prisoners.
Where is it from?

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Re: Would or did early Stalingrad surrender help?

Post by Dann Falk » 09 Apr 2018 20:39

The reference comes from:
French L. Maclean, Stalingrad, The Death of the German Sixth Army on the Volga, 1942-1943 vol #2, Schiffer, 2013, p 334-335.

He has a list of his sources, mostly German unit histories, but they are not numbered, just bunched together.

Nice map and good info.

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