Stalingrad

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AJFFM
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by AJFFM » 24 Feb 2015 16:57

One cannot speculate where the offensive should have gone without knowing exactly why it went its original course in the first place.

The Germans must have considered other venues for the Summer Offensive of 42. To judge whether they chose wrong or right depends on what made them chose the Southern axis in the first place.

I have always been inclined to think the Southern axis of attack was actually the right decision, here was a German weak point and prime ground for tank warfare. The Kharkov May Operation nearly broke the German lines and the Red Army was nowhere near as strong as 43 nor with enough experience. Had the Red Army postponed its attack to August I would bet it would have been successful in liberating Kharkov an that would have put the Germans in a tougher position than in the easily defensible North and Center.

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BDV
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by BDV » 24 Feb 2015 18:04

Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but the Wehrmach had experience with jumps into the void far away from the supporting logistical infrastructure, twice in 1941 (July 10th-July 31st and October 10th-November 3oth) , both times with abysmal results.

What was the thing that would make THIS jump into the void end better than the 1941 debacles?



P.S. Also, if the german focus is on modest in scope but gainful attacks, I cannot see the Soviet Kharkov attack going anywhere, as long as Luftwaffe is on hand (on account of not being involved in cockamammie long range actions). Even historical see the bitter Soviet experience of the Sinyavino Offensive.
Last edited by BDV on 24 Feb 2015 21:01, edited 1 time in total.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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doogal
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by doogal » 24 Feb 2015 18:45

ajffm wrote:One cannot speculate where the offensive should have gone without knowing exactly why it went its original course in the first place.
I would say we can speculate then : we know the numerous arguments put forth as to why Blau was needed strategically, (we can easily reference Hitlers lengthy directive). Its tactical genesis is well known, and also the changes in the operational premise of the armies involved.

Generally though I have no ingrained problem with the operation up to a certain point, but the whole seize distant oil production deep into the Caucasian flank strikes me as wishful thinking.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by steverodgers801 » 25 Feb 2015 00:59

Germany would not have had enough troops for a full front offense in 1943. Just because the Germans sit doesn't mean the Soviets don't attack and they have a much greater production capacity so they would be even more prepared. The reason Hitler wanted the oil is he understood Germany could not fight with out more oil.

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BDV
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by BDV » 25 Feb 2015 02:27

steverodgers801 wrote:Germany would not have had enough troops for a full front offense in 1943. Just because the Germans sit doesn't mean the Soviets don't attack and they have a much greater production capacity so they would be even more prepared. The reason Hitler wanted the oil is he understood Germany could not fight with out more oil.
Well, I think they did not get enough to make up for what was burned going from Rostov to Maikop. The alternative was not do nothing but ruthlessly exploit every single weakness in the Soviet position, e.g the precarious position of all Soviet forces North-West of Rzhev. That was actually done in Bustard Hunt, and at Izyum (true, as part of a vastly larger operation).
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ChrisDR68 » 25 Feb 2015 14:53

steverodgers801 wrote:The reason Hitler wanted the oil is he understood Germany could not fight with out more oil.
I've read a lot about Operation Blue and the logic behind the entire enterprise is still lacking for me. If the Germans wanted the oil from the oilfields of the Caucasus they must have known that the Soviets would utterly destroy them if they were threatened by Axis troops. From what I gather it could then take the Germans up to 2 years to get the wells operating properly again. Far too late to do them any good :roll:

If on the other hand the main purpose of the offensive was to deny the oil of the region to the Soviets then why not aim most of AGS straight for Astrakhan to cut the Caucasus off from the rest of the USSR once Voronezh was captured? To deny the Soviets the oil the Germans didn't need to actually occupy the region with troops. Just make it impossible for the Soviets to get the oil from the wells to the Red Army and Air Force.

The thinking behind the operational plan doesn't seem to be entirely joined up unless I'm missing something :?

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by AJFFM » 25 Feb 2015 17:37

doogal wrote:
ajffm wrote:One cannot speculate where the offensive should have gone without knowing exactly why it went its original course in the first place.
I would say we can speculate then : we know the numerous arguments put forth as to why Blau was needed strategically, (we can easily reference Hitlers lengthy directive). Its tactical genesis is well known, and also the changes in the operational premise of the armies involved.

Generally though I have no ingrained problem with the operation up to a certain point, but the whole seize distant oil production deep into the Caucasian flank strikes me as wishful thinking.
Directives and counter-directives, postponements and adjustments to time tables don't point out to a well thought out plan.

What I am interested in is the counter-arguments and other arguments put forwards by German Staff. Were there other venues of Operation or not? I think the Nazis by moving 11th Army and creating more SS, Luftwaffe and Heer divisions did explore other options for the Summer of 42 and my question is why did they not follow?

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by AJFFM » 25 Feb 2015 17:44

BDV wrote:
steverodgers801 wrote:Germany would not have had enough troops for a full front offense in 1943. Just because the Germans sit doesn't mean the Soviets don't attack and they have a much greater production capacity so they would be even more prepared. The reason Hitler wanted the oil is he understood Germany could not fight with out more oil.
Well, I think they did not get enough to make up for what was burned going from Rostov to Maikop. The alternative was not do nothing but ruthlessly exploit every single weakness in the Soviet position, e.g the precarious position of all Soviet forces North-West of Rzhev. That was actually done in Bustard Hunt, and at Izyum (true, as part of a vastly larger operation).
To add to BDV's excellent points above the Germans in WWI had a highly developed Defence-in-Depth doctrine that produced miracles in terms of troop availability and logistics management. I don't see the Germans losing more men from an elastic defence strategy applied in the east which would have caused far more casualties on the Red Army than an actual offensive. In Operation Mars (Germans on defence) the casualty ratio (all casualties) was nearly 8:1 compared with the 2:1 or 3:1 in normal offensive operations lead by the Germans.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 25 Feb 2015 19:00

ChrisDR68 wrote:
steverodgers801 wrote:The reason Hitler wanted the oil is he understood Germany could not fight with out more oil.


If on the other hand the main purpose of the offensive was to deny the oil of the region to the Soviets then why not aim most of AGS straight for Astrakhan to cut the Caucasus off from the rest of the USSR once Voronezh was captured? To deny the Soviets the oil the Germans didn't need to actually occupy the region with troops. Just make it impossible for the Soviets to get the oil from the wells to the Red Army and Air Force.
What you are proposing was out of the question : Germany had not the means to go to Astrachan .

And,about Hitler : he did not want the oil(he did not need the oil),but,he was thinling/convinced that the SU needed the oil,something which was very problematiced and probably wrong .Whatever,already in 1941,he planned to go to the Caucasus,because he needed to eliminate the SU before a real intervention from the US,and,goibg to Astrachan would not deprive the SU of the oil it needed .

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by BDV » 25 Feb 2015 19:55

ljadw wrote:What you are proposing was out of the question : Germany had not the means to go to Astrachan .
They got to Ordzhonikidze (Vladikavkaz), only 75 km closer, with diverting axes of attack.

And,about Hitler : he did not want the oil(he did not need the oil),but,he was thinling/convinced that the SU needed the oil,something which was very problematiced and probably wrong.
Indeed, and makes sense.

To your later point, though, I don't know whether Bolshevik Russia could weather losing the Caucasus oil after losing the Donbas coal.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ChrisDR68 » 25 Feb 2015 20:38

ljadw wrote:What you are proposing was out of the question : Germany had not the means to go to Astrachan .

And,about Hitler : he did not want the oil(he did not need the oil),but,he was thinling/convinced that the SU needed the oil,something which was very problematiced and probably wrong .Whatever,already in 1941,he planned to go to the Caucasus,because he needed to eliminate the SU before a real intervention from the US,and,goibg to Astrachan would not deprive the SU of the oil it needed .
Here is a situation map from July 23rd 1942:

Image

From Vororezh to Stalingrad is 566km while from Stalingrad to Astrakhan is 423km.

If Hitler had ordered most of his mobile forces at this time into one axis of advance instead of two are you still convinced they couldn't have reached the mouth of the Volga River on the Caspian Sea sealing off the Caucasus by land to the Soviets?

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doogal
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Re: Stalingrad

Post by doogal » 26 Feb 2015 00:34

And what may I ask do they do when they arrive.
The would have a southern Flank along a mountain range and develop an even more extensive flank along the Volga , how exactly would they hold there positions, committing the bulk of their armour could have been disastrous lodged on the edge of the Caspian sea. The soviets would have sabotaged every oil terminal and well, and the Heer would be in an exceedingly risky position: Its a wonder they did not let the Germans push further so that they could hang themselves:

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by Cult Icon » 26 Feb 2015 02:07

The Soviets were also suffering from severe logistics problems themselves- from what I got from reading To the Gates/Armageddon in Stalingrad was that the Germans actually had the upper hand in this region, although marginal. 23.Pz/3.Pz unit histories give the impression that logistics was a bigger problem than the Soviets, which were not seriously capable until around Nov 1942. The region's operations relied on those of the surgical- spec ops type in places.

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 26 Feb 2015 08:03

BDV wrote:
ljadw wrote:What you are proposing was out of the question : Germany had not the means to go to Astrachan .
They got to Ordzhonikidze (Vladikavkaz), only 75 km closer, with diverting axes of attack.

And,about Hitler : he did not want the oil(he did not need the oil),but,he was thinling/convinced that the SU needed the oil,something which was very problematiced and probably wrong.
Indeed, and makes sense.

To your later point, though, I don't know whether Bolshevik Russia could weather losing the Caucasus oil after losing the Donbas coal.
1)The SU survived the loss of the Donbas Coal

2)It survived also the de facto loss of the Caucasus oil : it ended the war with some 50 % of its prewar oil

3)The German experts had warned that there was no certainty at all that the loss of the Caucasus oil would result in the collaps of the SU,as before the war,the SU produced more oil than it needed and as there were no informations about the quantity of oil the SU needed during the war .Source : Germany and WWII VI,P 808 (German edition).

The occupation of the Caucasus was giving Germany an infinitesimal chance to win the war in the East,as Germany did not need an infinitesimal chance ,but a certainty,they transformed infinitesimal in certainty ,and Bob's your uncle .

The Germans were as the proverbial Sahara walker,desperately searching for water,and,suddenly,they saw a mirage,they knew it was a mirage, but they decided that it was reality :it was a source of water,they would arrive at this source,and they would be saved .

It was so in the summer of 1941,in the summer of 1943 and later .

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Re: Stalingrad

Post by ljadw » 26 Feb 2015 08:13

ChrisDR68 wrote:
ljadw wrote:What you are proposing was out of the question : Germany had not the means to go to Astrachan .

And,about Hitler : he did not want the oil(he did not need the oil),but,he was thinling/convinced that the SU needed the oil,something which was very problematiced and probably wrong .Whatever,already in 1941,he planned to go to the Caucasus,because he needed to eliminate the SU before a real intervention from the US,and,goibg to Astrachan would not deprive the SU of the oil it needed .
Here is a situation map from July 23rd 1942:

Image

From Vororezh to Stalingrad is 566km while from Stalingrad to Astrakhan is 423km.

If Hitler had ordered most of his mobile forces at this time into one axis of advance instead of two are you still convinced they couldn't have reached the mouth of the Volga River on the Caspian Sea sealing off the Caucasus by land to the Soviets?
It is very improbable that,if they arrived at Astrachan,they could prevent the transport of the oil to the Soviet hinterland .

Besides,your starting point is not correct : the Germans were not planning to go to Astrachan to seal off the Caucasus by land .The Wolga was the (initial) limit of the German expansion .

The whole concept of Blau was to defeat ddefinitively the SU at the start of the campaign,and this would result in a) AGA being able to occupuy the Caucasus and b) AGB to go from Voronezh to Astrachan .What would remain of the Red Army would be chased away to the east of the Wolga,no longer constituting a danger,and Bob would again be your uncle .

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