The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

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David1819
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The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by David1819 » 25 May 2016 04:24

Throughout the airlift attempts at Stalingrad till the 6th army surrendered the average supply was 118 tons a day. The 6th Army needed an estimate of 300 tons a day minimum. To keep 6th Army fully operational it needed an estimate 500 tons a day (what Goering claimed could be accomplished)

What if from November the 24th the Luftwaffe provided a consistent daily supply of around 500 tons of tons of rations, fuel and ammunitions to the encircled 6th army?

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by T. A. Gardner » 25 May 2016 06:25

To do that the Wehrmacht / Luftwaffe needed something I've harped on before about: Good civil engineering with mechanization.

Had 6th Army, and the German military in general, had good, mechanized civil engineering practices they could have built all-weather airfields at both ends of the air bridge for the aircraft. That would have eliminated many of the losses they suffered in aircraft and also allowed the planes to fly in much more adverse conditions.
The other thing they needed was the equivalent of the Rebecca / Eureka system the Allies developed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca/E ... ding_radar

This was originally developed to allow accurate air drops to resistance fighters in Europe but quickly became a means to make accurate air drops in general. It was a portable system so it's use was anywhere. It allowed transport planes to home on the beacon the Rebecca unit sent out and make accurate air drops in poor weather.
It was a major reason the Bastogne air drops worked so well. It was also one of the reasons the 1st British Airborne at Arnhem failed to get resupplied. Their Rebecca's were either overrun or failed to work properly.

With those two things the air supply might have worked. Without them, the Germans were not going to make it work.

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by BDV » 25 May 2016 15:01

Another tactic that can be used is the triangle deployed by AngloAmerican air forces in the Berlin blockade, with planes starting from Tsimlyanskaya, landing at Pitomnik, and departing for Salsk.

For guidance, the beam systems from Battle of Britain could have been used for guidance during night flights and/or inclement weather?
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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 May 2016 00:57

I wonder where the number 500 tons comes from? That is exactly who thought that adaquate to supply the 6th Army and the assorted extras trapped with it?

Consider 10.5cm artillery ammunition. A basic unit of fire for the Germans was usually 60 rounds per cannon. Lets use that as the daily expendenture in a fairly intense defensive battle. It was probablly more but I'll be conservative here. The standard was 36 of these cannon in a infantry division. So 36 x60 = 2160 rounds x14.81 for HE projectile = 31989kg = 35 fons of projectiles. That does not include weight of propellant & cases or containers. Actual weight is closer to 45 tons for the divisions 10.5cm ammo. Then there is the 15cm cannon ammo & the mortar ammo for the day.

What about essential food & medical supply? If you place that at one kg per man & the division averages a understrength roster of 10,000 men then another 11 tons. So we have 56 tons per div. Or for ten Inf Div 560 tons. Without allowing for the medium and heavy artilery ammon, mortar ammo, small arms ammo, radio batteries, & other essentials the estimate already exceeds the 500 ton allowance.

There was fuel for warming the soldiers, fuel for the vehicles, repair parts ect... For a static battle the number scales up rapidly over 100 tons per day for all classes of ammunition, food & medical supplies, coal vehicle fuel. Add in the requirements for the non division personnel & the minimum requirement for a 'division slice' of the whole is somewhere near 150 tons per Inf Div.

What about horses. They can be killed & reduce the food requirement for a week or two, but that imobilizes the infantry divisions. Their artillery was horse drawn. @ a average of 16 per cannon/ammo train wagon including spares x48 medium & heavy cannon thats 700+ horses to either feed, or replace when the division is to be mobile again. Unless the artillery is to be abandoned.

I suspect the actual requirement to keep this army intact and combat worthy was actually over 2500 tons per day. Even if the horses are sacrificed.

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by David1819 » 26 May 2016 03:20

Carl Schwamberger wrote:I wonder where the number 500 tons comes from? That is exactly who thought that adaquate to supply the 6th Army and the assorted extras trapped with it?

Consider 10.5cm artillery ammunition. A basic unit of fire for the Germans was usually 60 rounds per cannon. Lets use that as the daily expendenture in a fairly intense defensive battle. It was probablly more but I'll be conservative here. The standard was 36 of these cannon in a infantry division. So 36 x60 = 2160 rounds x14.81 for HE projectile = 31989kg = 35 fons of projectiles. That does not include weight of propellant & cases or containers. Actual weight is closer to 45 tons for the divisions 10.5cm ammo. Then there is the 15cm cannon ammo & the mortar ammo for the day.

What about essential food & medical supply? If you place that at one kg per man & the division averages a understrength roster of 10,000 men then another 11 tons. So we have 56 tons per div. Or for ten Inf Div 560 tons. Without allowing for the medium and heavy artilery ammon, mortar ammo, small arms ammo, radio batteries, & other essentials the estimate already exceeds the 500 ton allowance.

There was fuel for warming the soldiers, fuel for the vehicles, repair parts ect... For a static battle the number scales up rapidly over 100 tons per day for all classes of ammunition, food & medical supplies, coal vehicle fuel. Add in the requirements for the non division personnel & the minimum requirement for a 'division slice' of the whole is somewhere near 150 tons per Inf Div.

What about horses. They can be killed & reduce the food requirement for a week or two, but that imobilizes the infantry divisions. Their artillery was horse drawn. @ a average of 16 per cannon/ammo train wagon including spares x48 medium & heavy cannon thats 700+ horses to either feed, or replace when the division is to be mobile again. Unless the artillery is to be abandoned.

I suspect the actual requirement to keep this army intact and combat worthy was actually over 2500 tons per day. Even if the horses are sacrificed.
According Major Mike Thyssen's book, Zeitzler in discussions with Hitler calculated for the 6th army to remain effective it would require 500 tons per day .Von Manstein calculated a bare minimum requirement of 400 tons/day.

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by maltesefalcon » 26 May 2016 04:15

Goering must have made his claims based on the load capacity of his cargo fleet without taking any mitigating circumstances into account.

500 tons would require 250 Ju52 flights per day, roughly one every six minutes. Given the six or seven airfields a difficult but somewhat doable task.

However the Russians knew exactly where the planes needed to go and they needed to fly low to land. It was fairly easy for them to set up flak stations and fighter squadrons to thin the herd.

Also no one took into account the supplies needed to be loaded and unloaded from the transports, then reloaded onto trucks for the redistribution process. Before they could even leave the airfield, each load needed to be sorted so it would end up where it could best be utilized. This process alone would use up 10 tons of fuel per day and require 1000-2000 men. Couple that with the need to get those same goods all over a demolished city, under Russian gunfire.

This needed to be done for months on end-the troops were simply exhausted in the attempt.

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by Kristian S. » 26 May 2016 06:32

The supply for Demyansk averaged 276 tons a day for 100,000 men. So the 250,000 soldiers of the 6th army needed about 750 tons a day in order to stay intact as a fighting force.

https://books.google.de/books?id=B2-Rez ... ge&f=false

Despite the airlift the soldiers inside the Demyansk-pocket had their rations reduced by one-third and were running low on ammo.

https://books.google.de/books?id=gzSkAw ... ft&f=false

So 500 tons a day for the 6th Army can be considered the bare minimum to survive. Probably including small-arms ammunition, but without enough fuel and artillery ammo to retain any offensive capabilities (i.e. breakout).

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 26 May 2016 07:57

David1819 wrote:Throughout the airlift attempts at Stalingrad till the 6th army surrendered the average supply was 118 tons a day. The 6th Army needed an estimate of 300 tons a day minimum. To keep 6th Army fully operational it needed an estimate 500 tons a day (what Goering claimed could be accomplished)

What if from November the 24th the Luftwaffe provided a consistent daily supply of around 500 tons of tons of rations, fuel and ammunitions to the encircled 6th army?
It could be done, for a short time only .But during this short time,a rescue operation was not possible .

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 26 May 2016 08:00

Kristian S. wrote:The supply for Demyansk averaged 276 tons a day for 100,000 men. So the 250,000 soldiers of the 6th army needed about 750 tons a day in order to stay intact as a fighting force.

https://books.google.de/books?id=B2-Rez ... ge&f=false

Despite the airlift the soldiers inside the Demyansk-pocket had their rations reduced by one-third and were running low on ammo.

https://books.google.de/books?id=gzSkAw ... ft&f=false

So 500 tons a day for the 6th Army can be considered the bare minimum to survive. Probably including small-arms ammunition, but without enough fuel and artillery ammo to retain any offensive capabilities (i.e. breakout).
There were no 250000 men encircled but some 158000, thus the 750 ton a day is not correct

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 May 2016 03:29

A quick check of assorted sources suggests slightly over 200,000 German soldiers were in the pocket, 40,000+ Hiwis & perhaps 15,000 Rumanians were there as well. For maintinance and 'defensive' fighting somewhere between 700 & 800 tons per day might be adaquate. However if there are major enemy attacks on the position then the requirement for artillery ammunition will skyrocket. You also need to increase either fuel or horse fodder to move that additional ammo from the airfield to the cannons.

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by maltesefalcon » 27 May 2016 04:01

The airlift portion of the supply line is more complicated than it seems at first glance. Bear in mind the Wehrmacht logistics were being run by the same crowd that sent three army groups into Russia with no winter clothing at all the year previous. The German supply system still relied heavily on railroads plus horse drawn wagons to distribute from the rail heads. Those former jump off points did not necessarily coincide with the airfields outside the perimeter, where the goods would now have to be collected for the run into the city. All this rejigging had to be done on a moments notice.

No one took into account that the very airfields being used for the supply runs were still needed for ground attack and fighter support. Without any top cover the defenseless Tante Jus would have never survived.

Aircraft are huge fuel hogs. Therefore much of the initial loads going into the perimeter was fuel and the lions share of that was used up by the Luftwaffe before it could even get to the troops.

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 27 May 2016 10:51

Abwicklungsstab Stalingrad : on 15 october there were in what later would be the pocket 158630 men;16345 were transported from the pocket (mostly wounded) ,it is unclear if these 16345 were included in the 158630.

7765 cases are not clarified : they could have been in or out the pocket .
About the Hiwi : it is obvous that no one cared about their supplies.

About the supplies needed daily : the figures who are still circulating today are questionable, because it can be argued that in the beginning the encircled forces needed less supplies because there were a lot of reserve supplies (stocks ) available .

Could 6th Army be supplied , probably yes for a short time, till the encirclment was broken . If the encirclment was not broken, 6th Army would be starved,but when ? 10 weeks after the encirclment, 6th Army was still there ,starved but still fighting .

Why did 6th Army capitulate ? Because of a lack of supplies ? Or because it was destroyed by the Soviets ?

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by BDV » 31 May 2016 22:23

ljadw wrote:Abwicklungsstab Stalingrad : on 15 october there were in what later would be the pocket 158630 men;
As mentioned, Hiwis and Romanians, in addition to the 8th and 11th Infantry Corps, which fled unmolested (~50k men).

16345 were transported from the pocket (mostly wounded) ,it is unclear if these 16345 were included in the 158630.
Does that include people who left on leave?

About the Hiwi : it is obvous that no one cared about their supplies.
Source, please?

Could 6th Army be supplied , probably yes for a short time, till the encirclment was broken . If the encirclment was not broken, 6th Army would be starved,but when ? 10 weeks after the encirclment, 6th Army was still there ,starved but still fighting .

Why did 6th Army capitulate ? Because of a lack of supplies ? Or because it was destroyed by the Soviets ?
Given the large number of POW that had to be deathmarched (90k), likely the former.
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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 01 Jun 2016 05:50

The figures are about the strength (probably Ist-stärke) of the army units depending on 6th Army on 15 october 1942,including replacements sent until 3/2 /1943,the 2 Flak divisions are not included,neither are the Hiwi,of whom the number was unknown and if known their number would not be included in the supply calculations . Are also not included the soldiers on leave who left between 15 october and the day of Uranus,neither those who returned .There were no men who left Stalingrad on leave after Uranus .

It is a random indication ,after 22 november there were no longer any manpower figures (Paulus did not know how many men were encircled on Uranus + 1,but we can assume that the figures for Uranus 1 were not higher than those of 15 october .

The following men were transported during the encirclment

Wounded/Sick

Officers :832

Officials : 33

Enlisted : 15046

Non wounded

Officers : 94 (Hube was one of them)

Officials :15

Enlisted : 325

Total of wounded/sick : 15911

Total of non wounded :434

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Re: The 6th Army received adequate air supply at Stalingrad

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Jun 2016 06:50

The 158k Germans looks closer to the numbers of late January near the surrender, not the early weeks when the pocket first formed.

But using the lower 158k it still comes out to between 650 & 700 tons daily. That is if the artillery ammunition consumption is at average or normal levels. Intense defensive battles are not 'normal' & the Red Army was not executing a passive siege. Adding 50% to the artillery ammunition requirement boosts the gross requirement to 810 to 865 tons daily assuming the number of operating cannon is 40% below full strength. That also assumes the Hiwis, Rumanians, & the Croatian regiment are left to starve.

The question of existing supplies inside the pocket came up. Assuming a two week reserve was there when surface delivery ceased that could be some 9,000 - 10,000 tons of essentials. dragged out over the 70 days of the siege thats 166 tons per day. That plus the 500 tons daily promise gets you to the lower end of the estimates for minimum essentials, tho it is still short if the Red Armys is putting on a full court press to destroy the pocket and ammunition requirements are increased for the 6th Army.

Of course if at a minimum the Rumanians & Croats are to be fed as well, and the total number of Germans is at or over 200,000 in the first 2-4 weeks the gross requirement increases. Ditto if the requirement for artillery ammunition is doubled from the basic unit of fire.


The OP:
What if from November the 24th the Luftwaffe provided a consistent daily supply of around 500 tons of tons of rations, fuel and ammunitions to the encircled 6th army?
Lets assume a 'adaquate' number of tons of all necessary classes of supply to resist indefinitely the Red Army attack on the winter. Are the other Axis armies also well enough suppled, and provided with enough replacements of trained men to execute a sucessful relief? If not what then happens to the 6th Army its still sitting there in the pocket whilst the Axis battle front recedes to the west?

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