Stalingrad

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ChrisDR68
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Stalingrad

Post by ChrisDR68 » 26 Jan 2015 13:19

[Split from "Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander"]
ljadw wrote:I disagree : the Stalingra disaster still would occur,even if the Germans had captured Stalingrad,because,the Wolga line could only be held if the SU had collapsed before the Germans were at the Wolga .

Even if the Germans were not going to the Wolga,they still would fail in the Caucasus (besides,the German economic experts had warned against the asumption that the SU would collaps without the oil of the Caucasus).

And,even if the Germans were not going to the Caucasus,they still would fail at the Wolga .

What most people are failing to understand (due to the post war German propaganda) is that defeat or victory in the East did not depend on what the Germans could/wouls/should do,but on what the Soviets could/would/should do;after all ,the Soviets were potentially the strongest party .
What you seem to be saying was that Operation Blue was a lousy strategic plan that had very little chance of succeeding. I agree with this view. That Blue was primarily Hitler's strategic thinking is certainly a black mark against him. If by a miracle they had captured the Caucasus all the way to Baku it still would have taken the Germans up to 2 years to get the oilfields into operation. A hopeless timetable for Germany in 1942.

In my view the German strategic offensive in 1942 should have been another pincer attack aimed at surrounding Moscow. The Soviet rail system would have been brought into chaos had Moscow fallen and the Germans had a good chance of cutting off and destroying substantial Soviet forces.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by ljadw » 26 Jan 2015 13:52

No : without hindsight,Blau was the only chance for the Germans to win the war in the East in 1942 (with hindight,it was already to late),even Halder supported Blau . The Moscow option was considered and was rejected,because the Ostheer was already to weak,and because it was unlikely that the SU would give up in Moscow was captured .

The Germans were not going to the Caucasus to capture the oilfields (Germany had oil enough),but to deny the oilfields to the Soviets,because they errorneously assumed that the SU would collaps without the oil of the Caucasus,although the expert of the Wirtschaftsministerium had warned that this was very questionable .

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Erwinn » 26 Jan 2015 15:00

ljadw wrote:No : without hindsight,Blau was the only chance for the Germans to win the war in the East in 1942 (with hindight,it was already to late),even Halder supported Blau . The Moscow option was considered and was rejected,because the Ostheer was already to weak,and because it was unlikely that the SU would give up in Moscow was captured .

The Germans were not going to the Caucasus to capture the oilfields (Germany had oil enough),but to deny the oilfields to the Soviets,because they errorneously assumed that the SU would collaps without the oil of the Caucasus,although the expert of the Wirtschaftsministerium had warned that this was very questionable .
If the real objective was really the Caucasus, why did the plan had so many flaws? The directive of splitting the AG created enormous logistical difficulties with Hitler expecting both Army Groups to advance along different logistics routes.

For example, instead of sending Italian Alpine Corps to the Army Group A, it stayed with Paulus's 6th Army. This created difficulties for AG-A because of the mountanious terrain on the Caucasus. They were left with only 3 Mountain Division and 2 regular Infantry division. Besides after some time into advancing resources and existing troops from AG-A were started to get pulled off to the Stalingrad sector.

Also there is one other thing: Sending 11th Army to Leningrad while it's obviously needed at South.

Therefore I don't think Hitler really wanted Caucasus. He was obsessed with Stalingrad and that doomed the entire Summer offensive.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Cult Icon » 26 Jan 2015 15:29

The main objective for plan blau was the Caucasus and the oil. Taking Stalingrad by costly attrition warfighting was not even considered in the planning. In the planning, they only wanted to taking Stalingrad by 'coup de main' or cut it off.

There were the preliminaries, Blau I, Blau II, Blau III. The first three were partial successes and were not full victories because the RKKA had a fighting retreat tendency unlike 1941. The fourth was canceled.

After Blau II, the planning was literally thrown out of the window, and the Germans improvised. The battles to penetrate the Great Bend of the Don required much more forces than anticipated, and 6 AOK had to be reinforced. By the time they got to the city, the combat elements were down to 2/3rds strength. Their successes were 380,000 irrecoverable Soviet losses. Not nothing, but far less than what they needed. In the Caucasus, they were advancing at the same time at their fastest rate but finally reached an impasse where a decision had to be made: Caucasus or Stalingrad? Stalingrad was chosen.

The writing on the wall was already seen, and Hitler, like a year ago, thought Stalingrad would be the easier goal to obtain. The Germans outnumbered 62nd/64th Army and had never had serious issues clearing a city defended elements of this size before.

By this stage in the war, the Germans and their allies were clearly the weaker party, much more so than in 1941.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Alixanther » 26 Jan 2015 15:36

OKW's plan was sound in the beginning. That means that only AGS had plenty of space to manoeuver in order to shift the front line to an advantageous position.

Why AGS? Because Moscow was already attacked and OKW saw it was heavily fortified so it had to be bypassed either by North or by South.

You cannot attack North without taking Leningrad first. While starving, there was a noticeable military force in Leningrad and they could - in cooperation with forces outside the pocket - disrupt or even pocket a German offensive without securing Leningrad first.

As you can see, the only reasonable way to attack in '42 was in the South. Until Voronezh, everything was fine. However, instead of going for Rostov, they should have taken Stalingrad first.

What next? Well, instead of going for Caucasus, they should have swung North from Voronezh, crush the Soviet armor then aim for a position behind Moscow. Moscow need not be assaulted.

Stalingrad was not "Hitler's obsession". OKW and Hitler realized that most of SU troops were infantry and they tried to put a strain on Soviet transportation by trying to succesively reach and challenge various geographically remote points of USSR. There's no other military justification. Nobody opposed the advance on Stalingrad. However, Halder opposed the advance in Caucasus. That's why Hitler got berserk after receiving Jodl (just coming back after visiting the AGS during the offensive) and him telling that everything was ok and going on plan. Hitler accused (probably both of) them of conspiracy and took direct command of the entire corp which was heading into Caucasus.

If you really want to point out a "Hitler's obsession", that must be the advancement into Caucasus.
Last edited by Alixanther on 26 Jan 2015 15:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Cult Icon » 26 Jan 2015 15:38

The Soviets made the mistake of believing that the Germans would attack Moscow axis in 1942 and concentrated their forces there. That is why in the south, the bottom fell out quickly at first.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Alixanther » 26 Jan 2015 15:44

Cult Icon wrote:The Soviets made the mistake of believing that the Germans would attack Moscow axis in 1942 and concentrated their forces there. That is why in the south, the bottom fell out quickly at first.
There's no mistake on to the Soviet part. Any communist regime strengthens their capital, as it is not only the central command but their focal propaganda point of interest. They could afford losing 1/3 of USSR but not Moscow. They were spot on.

SU had no forces to squander at the beginning of Blue. They put them where they could count - meaning especially at Voronezh. While being eroded, they succeeded into containing the German attack and pushed them back from the bridgehead position. That's Soviet victory. That's before Stalingrad counterattack. No mistake either.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 26 Jan 2015 15:56

doogal wrote:

I have always believed that if Germany had committed the bulk of her forces East in the very beginning there was a window of opportunity to smash the SU before they could achieve there military and industrial potential.
What other forces could the Germans have deployed against Russia in 41 ? What were the formations they didnt commit in Russia which they should and could have pl?

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Cult Icon » 26 Jan 2015 15:57

The Soviets had a new generation of improved combat forces, particularly armored in the pipeline circa summer-fall of 1942. These forces, would later appear as Uranus, Mars, and other large scaled offensives starting Nov. 1942. They refrained from deploying these forces prematurely and wasting them.

They believed the goal of the German summer strategic offensive was Moscow- that is why the south (Blau I/II) fell quickly, and the south was more weakly defended than the center.

Actually, the Soviets retreated almost immediately against Blau I.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Alixanther » 26 Jan 2015 16:02

Cult Icon wrote:The Soviets had a new generation of improved combat forces, particularly armored in the pipeline circa summer-fall of 1942. These forces, would later appear as Uranus, Mars, and other large scaled offensives starting Nov. 1942. They refrained from deploying these forces prematurely and wasting them.

They believed the goal of the German summer strategic offensive was Moscow- that is why the south (Blau I/II) fell quickly, and the south was more weakly defended than the center.

Actually, the Soviets retreated almost immediately against Blau I.
Soviet forces lost more armor at Voronezh than in all other fronts combined. You cannot expect anyone to believe they did not commit their forces and retreated on all fronts. Actually they counterattacked so hard at Rzhev that the strategic reserves of the OKW had to be commited there, otherwise there was fear the AGC would collapse. Soviet forces retreated on secondary fronts only.

RKKA mounted equally important both in strength as in significance (counter)offensives, both before and after Stalingrad. The fact they're not usually talked about, that's because most of them were considered defeats in Soviet historiography.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Cult Icon » 26 Jan 2015 16:09

^^
Well, Glantz and other soviet sources believe...Look at the Soviet reserves.

The Soviets lost more armor than Voronezh trying to buy time by defending the Great Bend of the Don - Stalingrad Front lost over 1,000.

The Soviet armor counterstrokes against Blau I/ Blau II, and Great Bend of the Don were largely aimed at buying time for an organized retreat and to establish stronger defenses/force concentrations in the rear.

By Sept. of 1942, the Soviets were counterattacking with powerful forces against multiple axes, including the Voronezh, Stalingrad, and the Caucasus. They created two bridgeheads around Stalingrad that were never sealed off by 6 AOK ,4.PzA, or the axis allies, which were later used in Uranus. The Germans defending Voronezh were outnumbered and outgunned, and did not have the intiative.

In July, Hitler was annoyed by von Bock's complaints, eventually fired him, and then split his forces in pursuit into the Caucasus and Stalingrad. He was over-optimistic, and believed the Soviets were "on the run". In fact this was defense-in depth/elastic defense on a massive scale.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by doogal » 26 Jan 2015 18:48

On 31 July Hitler spoke about his intentions in more detail, as recorded by Halder: 'He still would have preferred to attack Russia this year. But this would be impossible, as the campaign would continue into the winter. A standstill would be cause for concern. The operation only makes sense if we crush the Russian state in one go. The objective is the destruction of the vitality of Russia. Gaining territory alone is insufficient. The operations must be divided into two parts: (1) Thrust along the Dnieper towards Kiev. (2) Attack through the Baltic states towards Moscow. Finally, conduct a pincer operation from north and south.' Hitler thought 120 German divisions sufficient for the campaign, leaving 60 divisions for occupied Norway, France, Belgium, and Holland.[5]
[1] Gerhard L. Weinberg, ‘Der deutsche Entschluß zum Angriff auf die Sowjetunion’, Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, vol. 1, issue 4 (1953).
[2] Documents for the Nuremberg Trials 1946-48, Halder’s diary, 26 July 1940.
[5] Halder’s diary, 31 July 1940, 1 August 1940, and 29 October 1940.
Give me time and ill find a list of divisions which could have been brought back to be added to Barbarossa: Quite simply though Germany garrisoned Europe with 1/3 of her armed forces: Spread to thin even in 1941: now the fact is they existed: And again I am very simply applying this to Hitler,(and I generalise at times) that he over committed very early on with disparate operations which only drained man power which was needed elsewhere:
But again I am simply pointing out that here was the decisive theatre, and the C in C had a duty to commit the largest possible force, you beat the SU you can re-garrison in strength later:

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by hms2011 » 27 Jan 2015 00:18

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
What other forces could the Germans have deployed against Russia in 41 ? What were the formations they didnt commit in Russia which they should and could have pl?
2nd, 5th, 15th, 21st PzD comes to mind.
5th and 6th MtD.
7th Fliger.
A few ID.
~100-150k additional riflemen in the replacement army.
And maybe a 20% increase in aircrafts.


Of course, all this means the Germans would have to make some tough choices and abandon a few secondary/tertiary theaters.
But given their weak position in the spring of '41, they couldn't afford to spread their forces to thinly, and had to concentrate on the really important one.

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by Cult Icon » 27 Jan 2015 02:33

2.Pz and 5.Pz were deployed in the USSR in 1941, they only came later. 7.Flieger was also shipped to AGN. The two Pz. were used to boast combat strength before Typhoon. A what-if is if the Germans quit after the Vyazama-Bryansk pockets and Hitler authorized an end to operations, and then a defense/rebuild. It made little sense to continue afterwards as the gambling odds were getting intolerable..

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Re: Was Hitler really incompetent as the Supreme Commander

Post by ljadw » 27 Jan 2015 08:02

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

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