71 years from Operation Winter Storm

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alecsandros
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71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby alecsandros » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:42 am

Hello everybody,
These days there are 71 years from the last attempt to save the GErman 6th Army encircled at Stalingrad.
Had Hitler allowed von Paulus to breakthrough towards Manstein, most of the army could have been saved...

Any thoughts on this ?

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RF
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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby RF » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:36 pm

My thoughts are that the Fuhrer would have been better off following the advice of Zeitzler in September 1942 when he commented on the dangers of having such a huge salient on the Volga front and recommended pulling back from Stalingrad then. Hitler could then have saved the Romanians as well as the full strength Sixth Army and then have that full force available for Kursk in the following year and be able to launch Zitadelle much earlier - before the Russians were ready.

Had Paulus fought his way out when surrounded - had Hitler of course sanctioned it - then only a part of the Sixth Army would have been saved as it was already substantially degraded by Operation Uranus and the street fighting in Stalingrad. What would have been saved wouldn't significantly have helped in 1943.
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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby alecsandros » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:33 pm

Ahhh ,
I didn't know about Zeitler... at all :oops:

Sure, a more early withdrawal would have saved most of the Axis troops there...

Thanks,

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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby ede144 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:24 pm

The failure was to go to Stalingrad at all. It distracted from the campaign target, the Russian oilfields

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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby Byron Angel » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:48 am

ede144 wrote:The failure was to go to Stalingrad at all. It distracted from the campaign target, the Russian oilfields


..... Looking at a map of the operational area, I would personally have been terrified to commit any large force southward into the mountainous Caucasus region without first seizing Stalingrad. A German thrust southward into the Caucasus would have left Stalingrad, with its excellent river and rail logistical connections, in its left rear to serve as a staging area for a Soviet offensive toward Rostov. Such an attack, if successful, would have cut off the entire German force in the Caucasus. The German (i.e. Hitler's) error was in attempting to execute both the Stalingrad and Caucasus operations simultaneously; I would have sought to settle affairs at Stalingrad as a first priority.

Strictly my opinion, of course.

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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby alecsandros » Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:50 am

IIRC, they ran into trouble in the Caucasus because of the narrow passes, which could be easily defended by a handfull of troops.
Moreover, KV-1 tanks were operational in the area, and because of the terrain they could not be outflanked. Attacking them from the front with Pz-IIIs was not an option, either...

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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby RF » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:00 pm

Byron Angel wrote: The German (i.e. Hitler's) error was in attempting to execute both the Stalingrad and Caucasus operations simultaneously; I would have sought to settle affairs at Stalingrad as a first priority.


The whole German plan in 1942 was flawed, it was very much a continuation of the late summer 1941 thrust into the Ukraine and ignoring Moscow as the primary target.

What the Germans should have done from December 1941 onwards - given that the USA was now in the war - was mobilise for total war, give priority to a long range strategic heavy bomber force, and the Heer to target Moscow properly instead of going off again into the South. Also the Germans and their Finnish allies should have tried to cut the Murmansk railway.
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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby RF » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:04 pm

alecsandros wrote:Ahhh ,
I didn't know about Zeitler... at all :Thanks,


Zeitzler was temporarily OKW Chief of Staff, reputedly excellent at logistics but not a Nazi. Htler disregarded his advice because he lacked ''National Socialist ardour''. He was quickly replaced.
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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby Byron Angel » Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:11 pm

RF wrote: The whole German plan in 1942 was flawed, it was very much a continuation of the late summer 1941 thrust into the Ukraine and ignoring Moscow as the primary target.

What the Germans should have done from December 1941 onwards - given that the USA was now in the war - was mobilise for total war, give priority to a long range strategic heavy bomber force, and the Heer to target Moscow properly instead of going off again into the South. Also the Germans and their Finnish allies should have tried to cut the Murmansk railway.



..... I largely agree. The capture of Moscow offered the best chance of achieving victory, or at least some sort of enduring position of advantage, in the East. Not only was Moscow the seat of government, it was more importantly (IMO) the linchpin of the entire Soviet rail network, including its line of lateral communications. I would venture to say that the loss of Moscow would have logistically doomed Leningrad and, thereafter, the Murmansk front.

I'm not sure, however, about the strategic bombing force - (a) whether Germany would have been able to develop and field one of sufficient weight; (b) of what ultimate utility such a bombing force would have been on the Eastern Front. Nevertheless, Hitler certainly approached war with an impressive degree of insouciance for someone whose ambition was to conquer the world.


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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:06 pm

One of the rationales to the drive southward was to secure the oil fields there. Of course a secure source of oil was a long term imperative.

The Germans had a lot irons in the fire at that point. The Afrika Korps, the campaigns in the east, all the while the western Allies were building up with supplies and war materials traversing the Atlantic. This is where they ultimately needed to put more effort into.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:12 pm

The Stalingrad encirclement and the failure of the Germans to extracate themselves from the situation is another example of Goering's bad leadership, or at least a failure of Goering to confront Hitler with reality. Goering boasted that the Luftwaffe could keep the 6th Army supplied so there was no urgent need to breakout when they still possibly could. This concept was seazed upon by Hitler who could not stand the very idea of retreat. Of course the Luftwaffe could not begin to supply the 6th Army.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby alecsandros » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:19 am

... Dave, Byron,
You're probably right, the Stalingrad campaign was full of mistakes.
However, my impression is that even so, the 6th Army would have beaten the russians off eventualy, if it weren't for the heavy supplies the USA and UK sent to the Russians during summer-autumn of 1942.
Also, the shyness of Japan to press the russians in the east meant the Red Army had a continuous stream of reinforcements coming from the eastern steppes. [the Red Army lost over 1 million soldiers at Stalingrad. Despite this, they had another million troops fighting during Operation Uranus...]

In short: my thought is that the 6th Army lost because of inadequate manpower and equipment. Even with perfect Luftwaffe support, it was just a matter of more time before capitulation. The russians were to many and fielded to much equipment...

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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby Byron Angel » Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:37 pm

alecsandros wrote:... Dave, Byron,
You're probably right, the Stalingrad campaign was full of mistakes.
However, my impression is that even so, the 6th Army would have beaten the russians off eventualy, if it weren't for the heavy supplies the USA and UK sent to the Russians during summer-autumn of 1942.
Also, the shyness of Japan to press the russians in the east meant the Red Army had a continuous stream of reinforcements coming from the eastern steppes. [the Red Army lost over 1 million soldiers at Stalingrad. Despite this, they had another million troops fighting during Operation Uranus...]

In short: my thought is that the 6th Army lost because of inadequate manpower and equipment. Even with perfect Luftwaffe support, it was just a matter of more time before capitulation. The russians were to many and fielded to much equipment...



..... We are moving a little far afield from the "official" topic of the thread, but IMHO the USSR loses its war without the support of Lend-Lease. The amount of goods and raw materials delivered to the USSR between late 1941 and 1945 were unbelievably prodigious.

Hoping St Nicholas has been as good to you this year as Santa Roosevelt was to Stalin for four Christmases in a row.

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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby alecsandros » Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:10 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
Hoping St Nicholas has been as good to you this year as Santa Roosevelt was to Stalin for four Christmases in a row.

B

Thank you very much Byron,
Hope you're doing well,

best of wishes this Christmas,

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RF
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Re: 71 years from Operation Winter Storm

Postby RF » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:36 pm

Byron Angel wrote:I'm not sure, however, about the strategic bombing force - (a) whether Germany would have been able to develop and field one of sufficient weight; (b) of what ultimate utility such a bombing force would have been on the Eastern Front. Nevertheless, Hitler certainly approached war with an impressive degree of insouciance for someone whose ambition was to conquer the world.


In making this recomendation I wasn't actually thinking of the Russian Front specifically. You may have overlooked my preamble of ''now the USA is in the war'' my thinking was that a strategic heavy bomber force would be essential for hitting Britain and the US homeland hard while the USSR was still in the war. The USSR with its factories in the Urals might be a template target for the genesis of such a force, but if Germany is to defeat the USA (particulary as the Japanese cannot do it) then the Germans have to bring the US mainland under concentrated fire. Wolf packs off the US east coast hardly touches the US war potential - what are needed are sub launched rockets and the Amerika bomber developed to the full.
IF nazi court politics and inter-service rivalry had been put aside, if the armaments industry was properly knocked into shape with mass production, standardisation of weapons and ammunition, raising productivity and good quality control Nazi Germany could have given the USSR and the USA a real run for their money. Especially if the Fuhrer had pushed also for atomic research......
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