The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

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Stugbit
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The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Stugbit » 04 Aug 2018 18:28

Hello Guys,

I have read recently the Osprey book of the Caucasus Campaign by Robert Forczyk and I found many interesting things.

I used to think that most of the Germans Fall blau mistakes took place only in the north, with the shifting of forces to Heeresgruppe B and all the way the Germans managed the Stalingrad Battle at that time. But now, I can see that both offensives had many mistakes commited by their commanders as well, with many erros from the main leader in the South, Wilhelm List, it seems.

The Germans, at the key moments of the offensive, even managed to waste Mountain troops fighting on the steppes and panzer units stuck on mountains. They also wasted forces sending them to almost irrelevant objectives like the city of Tuapse.

But what Forczyk don`t explain very clearly, is why it happened that way. Such military mistakes in the decisions and bad planning are just a matter of command incompetence and inexperience? So the blame is to be placed in the decisions took by Wilhelm List alone?

What can you tell me, guys? There`s no much information about this campaign and would like to understand it better.

My best regards!

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Boby » 04 Aug 2018 21:28

The Germans failed because the Soviets were stronger than AG A.

That List, Ruoff and Kleist committed mistakes (where?) doesn't change this fact.

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Stugbit » 04 Aug 2018 22:06

The Soviet were not really stronger in terms of force in the Caucasus, It was one of the few frontlines where they had a numerical equivalence with the Germans (if not less material and men), and the Germans were somehow superior tecnologically there also. But the Soviet were defending a favorable position there, because of the rough terrain, and the Germans many times played the Soviet game.

As I said, at the key moments of the Campaign -September/August- many German mountain units were in the steppes, instead of the mountains where they should have been, and some armour units were forced into the mountains in place of the troops, which proved impractical for them. List lost his job mainly because of that reason by the way, it seems.
For his part, Ruoff was responsible for the attack towards Tuapse, which wasted important forces in a really difficult attacking site - not to tell an unnecessary objective.

The Germans would certainly not reach Baku, but if wasn't for the mistakes, they could have performed way better. It was possible for them to take the city of Grozny. Latter, they had to retreat in the winter because the Soviet offensive in the north, Operation Uranus, was threatening to cut their supply lines in the Manych River. If they didn't went for Stalingrad so bad and instead hold the region and flanks around the city there, managing to stand the Soviet November attack, they wouldn't have to retreat from the Caucasus.

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Boby » 05 Aug 2018 11:15

1) How many troops the RKKA have in the Caucasus? I only have FHO estimates
date / total / front / Armee reserve / Heeres reserve
28.7.1942 836.800 / 756.000 / 76.800 / 4.000
27.8.1942 762.000 / 448.000 / 254.000 / 60.000
26.9.1942 650.400 / 365.200 / 200.000 / 85.200
26.10.1942 723.600 / 439.600 / 156.000 / 128.000
http://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/n ... ect/zoom/9

Another one giving a comparison
Verpflegungsstärke der Verbündeten nach Angaben Gen.Qu. (ohne rückw. Heeresgebiet)
H.Gr. A = 434.800

Iststärke der sowjetrussischen Verbände in Front, Armee- u. Heeres-Reserve einschl. H.Tr.
in Front einschl. H.Tr. = 266.350
Armee- u. Heeres-Res. einschl. H.Tr. = 252.240
Insgesamt = 518.590
FHO (IIc), Nr. 2669/42 g.Kdos. v. 21.9.1942 «Gegenüberstellung der verbündeten und der sowjetrussischen Kräfte (Stand: 20.9.1942)« (NARA, T 78/346, Fr. 6304388)

2) The old story: the germans were always superior but someone made mistakes (Hitler or a commander) that prevented victory.

3) Tuapse and Novorossisjk were important ports and naval bases, not "unnecessary objectives".

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Stugbit » 05 Aug 2018 16:14

They reached as far as Terek River, even handicapped with withdrawals for the Heeresgruppe B. No inferior Army could reach that far.

When they had to retreat in the winter, there was no cul-de-sac or huge men losses, they made a perfect retreat, even manage to keep the Kuban. That`s because the Red Army were short of a strong force for a pursuit. Most of their tank force there were weaker Lend Lease ones, they kept the T-34s in the North.

The Soviet were also handling a uprising in Chechenia against thousands of rebels there. So they were somehow split.

And even if we ignore all these facts I`m showing you, why would List lose his job so early in the Campaign if wasn`t for any mistake, in the first place?

Considering all the mistakes took in Battles like Stalingrad, Kursk, etc. I think it`s quite much possible for command erros having played an important role in the German performance in the Caucasus.


By the way, you sound like I`m depreciating the Germans for my questions. How would it be if I just told you that they had a chance of winning? What you suggest? For us stop questioning things and start to pay tribute to all German officers who carry a swastika in their uniforms?

And I did not made sure List was to blame. If he did really commited mistakes, we have to look what kind of conditions and the context he was when he took his decisions, that`s why I started this topic here.

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Boby » 05 Aug 2018 17:06

Hi

List was fired (Hitler exploded over the committment of XXXXIX. Geb.Korps) because there was no progress in the Caucasus by early September. Here is a nice map of the actual positions on 9 September
http://www.gutenberg-e.org/esk01/maps/L ... t42_lg.jpg

Why would the germans fail only because they made mistakes? It was because the RKKA prevented it. So why 17. Armee never captured Tuapse? Because of mistakes by List and Ruoff or because there was an opponent defending it?

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Stugbit » 05 Aug 2018 17:33

Hello, Boby

Thank you for the map.

My difficulty in undestanding the situation lies in the fact that most of the German objectives in that Campaign were sited North of the mountains, and the Caucasus Mountain Chain there runned West-East. So, It seems to me that would be possible for a task force to even reach Baku without comprimising itself deep in these mountains. The only task the Gebirgjäger would have to take -in my opinion- was to cover the flanks of those forces sliding throught the steppes, and their main problem would be the many rivers that cross the region.

Since the Germans were there most for the oil, City ports in the Black Sea Cost like Tuapse weren`t interesting enough points for such an large scale advance and as I said, their objectives were sited North of the mountains, not South. Anyway, the Soviets couldn`t mount any kind counter-attack from Tuapse and like since there was this wall of Mountains blocking almost everything there.

I read that the Germans had a shortage of fuel at the beginning of the Campaign, that could itself be responsible for their shift towards the southern objectives, instead of the main ones.

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Stugbit » 06 Aug 2018 13:51

Boby, do you have more information about Wilhelm List dismissal? You said Hitler exploded with him, but do you have some more details to give?

Best regards.

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Boby » 06 Aug 2018 15:03

Yes, that was a well known episode at FHQ. You can read some details in Ziemke, Moscow to Stalingrad, here:
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... on-18.html (pp. 375 f.)

Irving, Hitler's War, here:
http://www.fpp.co.uk/books/Hitler/1977/ ... er/24.html

and Wegner, "The War against the Soviet Union 1942-1943", Chapter V/3 "September at Vinnitsa", here:
https://books.google.es/books?id=e9znk7 ... onepage&q=

Hope it helps
Boby,
Last edited by Boby on 06 Aug 2018 21:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Stugbit » 06 Aug 2018 20:13

Hello, Boby.

Thank you very much for the links.

My best regards

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by AriX » 19 Aug 2018 08:20

Imho, it would be better for Germans to attack Astrakhan and create field defence on Manych river. In this case, supply by Volga river stop and AG B durring "Uranus" would have serius backup.

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Kelvin » 23 Oct 2018 10:36

Stugbit wrote:
04 Aug 2018 22:06
The Soviet were not really stronger in terms of force in the Caucasus, It was one of the few frontlines where they had a numerical equivalence with the Germans (if not less material and men), and the Germans were somehow superior tecnologically there also. But the Soviet were defending a favorable position there, because of the rough terrain, and the Germans many times played the Soviet game.

As I said, at the key moments of the Campaign -September/August- many German mountain units were in the steppes, instead of the mountains where they should have been, and some armour units were forced into the mountains in place of the troops, which proved impractical for them. List lost his job mainly because of that reason by the way, it seems.
For his part, Ruoff was responsible for the attack towards Tuapse, which wasted important forces in a really difficult attacking site - not to tell an unnecessary objective.

The Germans would certainly not reach Baku, but if wasn't for the mistakes, they could have performed way better. It was possible for them to take the city of Grozny. Latter, they had to retreat in the winter because the Soviet offensive in the north, Operation Uranus, was threatening to cut their supply lines in the Manych River. If they didn't went for Stalingrad so bad and instead hold the region and flanks around the city there, managing to stand the Soviet November attack, they wouldn't have to retreat from the Caucasus.

Obviously, it was mistake committed by German higher leadership, including Hitler and Halder. Heeresgruppe A was stripped of many valuable resources like three Italian Alpine divisions, Grossdeutschland and 16.Motorized divisions, some Romanian cavalry units. Too little force for too longer distance and fast away target. Diversion of forces to Stalingrad of course played a vital role in failure of Blau. German high command did not appreciate the value of Soviet large reserves. They always this was their last reserves, no more, then several new Armies appeared and then come one by one.

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by jesk » 24 Oct 2018 07:28

There's still a problem with the climate arose. The offensive of the 17th Army in the fall of 1943 sank in the mud. The climate of Berlin and the climate of Tuapse, for comparison. All this from the mountains flows into the valleys and turns into a swamp. This is also a mistake of Hitler. He ordered the main blow inflicted in the area of Tuapse, Sochi. There are only 8 divisions left in 1 panzer army.

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1. Panzerarmee
Order of battle (24 June 1942)
XXXXIV. Armeekorps
- 257. Infanterie-Division
- 101. leichte Infanterie-Division
- 97. leichte Infanterie-Division + Wallonische Infanterie-Bataillon 373
- 68. Infanterie-Division
Gruppe Strecker (XI. Armeekorps)
- 1. Gebirgs-Division
- Romanian 1st Infantry Division
- 454. Sicherungs-Division
Romanian VI Army Corps (subordinated to Gruppe Strecker)
- Romanian 4th Infantry Division
- Romanian 20th Infantry Division
- Romanian 2nd Infantry Division
Gruppe von Mackensen (III. Armeekorps (mot))
III. Armeekorps (mot) (subordinated to Gruppe von Mackensen)
- 14. Panzer-Division
- 16. Panzer-Division
- 22. Panzer-Division (most)
- 60. Infanterie-Division (mot)
LI. Armeekorps (subordinated to Gruppe von Mackensen)
- 384. Infanterie-Division
- 62. Infanterie-Division
- 44. Infanterie-Division
- 71. Infanterie-Division
- 297. Infanterie-Division

Order of battle (15 Nov 1942)
At the disposal of the 1. Panzerarmee
- General-Kommando z.b.V.
- Befehls-Stab Steinbauer
- 50. Infanterie-Division (part)
III. Panzerkorps
- Romanian 2nd Mountain Division
- 23. Panzer-Division + SS-Division “Wiking” (part)
- 13. Panzer-Division + verstärktes Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 99
LII. Armeekorps
- SS-Division “Wiking” (most) + 50. Infanterie-Division (part)
- 111. Infanterie-Division
- 370. Infanterie-Division
XXXX. Panzerkorps
- 3. Panzer-Division

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by Kelvin » 24 Oct 2018 08:39

Hitler forget the main objective of Blau is Caucasus oilfield. Victories in Kerch and Kharkov made him overconfidence in himself and overlooked Russian reserves. If he foucussed on original target and 6. Armee was only for flank protection. Perhap the end of autumm, Baku was probably captured as reinforcement to Caucasus was difficult and only dependent upon US material support through Iran.

And 11. Armee was important force for invasion of Caucasus but was diverted to Leningrad front , except 46.infanterie division and Romanian units.

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Re: The Heeresgruppe A military planning in Fall Blau.

Post by jesk » 24 Oct 2018 21:21

13 and 23 panzer divisions were stopped in the designated area. It was necessary to have more divisions for a breakthrough in the Transcaucasus, this is obvious.

http://www.gutenberg-e.org/esk01/maps/L ... 42a_lg.jpg

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