The Sixth Army Sacrificed at Stalingrad?

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by kfz, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. drgslyr

    drgslyr Senior Member

    Sorry, that is valid only for the winter of 1941, for the '42 winter the Germans were in no such delusions and had prepared accordingly in terms of winter clothing supplies, special lubricants, etc. Now, of course for that the siege the logistics broke down and then all kinds of problems developed, but at the local level.

    I was referring to 1941. Why would the order stand after a year of fighting?
     
  2. Slovan

    Slovan Junior Member

    Hitler was just a bad strategist. To him, losing ground meant losing the battle, and he maintained the view that holding ground to the end was the best means of holding back the enemy. None of his generals could convince him otherwise, and imho, I believe that had Hitler stopped interfering, Germany would have won the war.

    I read a book by Wilhelm Adam, Paulus´s "adjutant" (aide-de-camp?). All of the commanding generals (Paulus, Schmidt and others) in the Pocket except Seydling (and he was yelled at and threatened by some, then promoted by Hitler to be silenced?) refused to break out to save the 6th army. They were too much indoctrined to obey at all cost. Also, they believed they would be saved, relieved, air-supplied, liberated, etc... Whatever. But never disobey! And never surrender, for Russians eat children!

    Adam himself puts this suicidal obedience to the fact that they hoped and then it was late. They knew before 19th Nov the Red Army was concentrating but were told to stay. They trusted Manstein or Hoth would come. They were forbidden under death penalty to abandon even a trench, or a mound. And told new, bigger and stronger formations were being formed to help them

    Adam who continued to live in the GDR also says Paulus admitted disaster was coming, retreat and later breakout was necessary, but he didn´t have the strength to oppose the OKH or OKW. With Halder relieved, the last objective and independent general was gone.

    Paulus excused his obedience saying that Army Group A had to be given time to retreat safely from Caucasus.

    I´d say Hitler was too proud to give up ground. But he couldn't have won the war. Not against USSR aided by the USA and the rest of the free world.

    He wouldn't have been able int he first place to get that far into Russia had Stalin not been so paranoid, mistrusting Sorge's, Churchill's and Philby's warnings. He even dispatched a last train with wheat to Germany on the night of 21st June before the onslaught.
     
  3. maattheeew

    maattheeew Junior Member

    I was referring to 1941. Why would the order stand after a year of fighting?

    I think he said that to you because this thread is about Stalingrad, not Barbarossa, and you didn't specify. I think that's what happened here, at least...
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Matthew of the Many Vowels, you are responding to a dialogue of 5 years ago... :)
     
  5. L J

    L J Senior Member

    I read a book by Wilhelm Adam, Paulus´s "adjutant" (aide-de-camp?). All of the commanding generals (Paulus, Schmidt and others) in the Pocket except Seydling (and he was yelled at and threatened by some, then promoted by Hitler to be silenced?) refused to break out to save the 6th army. They were too much indoctrined to obey at all cost. Also, they believed they would be saved, relieved, air-supplied, liberated, etc... Whatever. But never disobey! And never surrender, for Russians eat children!

    Adam himself puts this suicidal obedience to the fact that they hoped and then it was late. They knew before 19th Nov the Red Army was concentrating but were told to stay. They trusted Manstein or Hoth would come. They were forbidden under death penalty to abandon even a trench, or a mound. And told new, bigger and stronger formations were being formed to help them

    Adam who continued to live in the GDR also says Paulus admitted disaster was coming, retreat and later breakout was necessary, but he didn´t have the strength to oppose the OKH or OKW. With Halder relieved, the last objective and independent general was gone.

    Paulus excused his obedience saying that Army Group A had to be given time to retreat safely from Caucasus.

    I´d say Hitler was too proud to give up ground. But he couldn't have won the war. Not against USSR aided by the USA and the rest of the free world.

    He wouldn't have been able int he first place to get that far into Russia had Stalin not been so paranoid, mistrusting Sorge's, Churchill's and Philby's warnings. He even dispatched a last train with wheat to Germany on the night of 21st June before the onslaught.
    Philby's warnings only are an invention .:lol:
    And about Sorge :most of his information only was gossip,and,most of it was wrong .At 19 may,he was saying that the war would begin at the end of may .
    Btw ,how could Sorge know anything about Barbarossa ?Hitler expressely had forbidden that Japan should receive any information about B arbarossa,this implies that the German embassy in Japan also not should have any information .
     
  6. Sekytwo

    Sekytwo Junior Member

    Hitler was as several commanders in the 6th army said always stuck in his fantasies and glued to his little map. But what made it even worse was hilter's staff at the Wolfsschanze would call status reports of the situation in satlingrad being given by a Panzer Commander nonsense. Instead of pulling Hilter aside and letting him know just how bad the situation was from the presentration they had just recieved, they just agreed with him that his fantasies of supplying them by air would work and that the situation was not that grave.The 6th army suffered a terrible fate, like you said maybe they where just a sacrificial lamb who knows.
     
  7. Gomyway

    Gomyway Junior Member

    The strategic situation was such that the German forces in Stalingrad tied up enough Red Army assets to allow the rest of the Axis forces that had entered the Caucuses (plus other areas) to pull back in reasonable order. Had a breakout been attempted the result would have been a far greater disaster than actually occurred. Not that Hitler's orders had anything like that in mind, just that once the Axis armies had hopelessly over-extended themselves and the Red Army counter-attacked it was a case of 'damage limitation'.
     
    L J likes this.
  8. KingTiger

    KingTiger Junior Member

    The strategic situation was such that the German forces in Stalingrad tied up enough Red Army assets to allow the rest of the Axis forces that had entered the Caucuses (plus other areas) to pull back in reasonable order. Had a breakout been attempted the result would have been a far greater disaster than actually occurred. Not that Hitler's orders had anything like that in mind, just that once the Axis armies had hopelessly over-extended themselves and the Red Army counter-attacked it was a case of 'damage limitation'.

    Agreed. The 6th army held up enough resources that could have caused the collapse of the entire southern front. It almost happened anyway but for the brilliance of Manstein.
     
  9. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Perhaps the benefits of the Enigma decrypts to the Allies should also be taken into account
     
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Paulus and his crowd were sacrificed at Stalingrad but perhaps it is the wrong word to use.Hitler was a "renowned" commander down to battalion level and would not allow the men in charge, on the spot, to make decisions.Withdrawal or surrender from the bottom at battalion level was alien words to him.Had he allowed Paulus to take the neccessary field ajustments,the 6th Army would never have been encirlcled.Then interwoven with decision making was Hitler's working day.Not arising until 12 midday,interruption of his unusual sleep requirements were never made by his closest aids,irrespective of the level of decision required.

    Perhaps he was encouraged by the support that Goering promised to keep the army supplied by air...it failed and Stalingrad caused the loss of 3 months equivalent of war economy output without any gain.It finished the Luftwaffe as an offensive fighting force,a force that had easy scores in Poland,the west and the initial offensive against Russia.
     
  11. John Lawson

    John Lawson Arte et Marte

    Ah Kingtiger, I must agree, when Manstein devised the elastic defence, used bt NATO in my day, Hitler would not listen to him, however Manstein used it anyway, stopped a major Soviet thrust and saved his resources, although I like to call them men.

    Just as well ol' schicklgruber was a nut case or we all may have been wearing very stylish uniforms and jack boots, instead of serge BD and ammo boots.
     
  12. L J

    L J Senior Member

    A retreat of the 6 Army would be necessary only,if and WHEN the Germans had reliable informations about Uranus ,wel,FHO (the intelligence service of the "brilliant" general Gehlen),was,in the beginning of november,still convinced that the main Russian attack would be launched against AG Centre .
    Of course,after the war,this was suppressed (Gehlen had a reputation to protect)and as no one would protest,it was very easy to put the blame on Hitler.
    A dead Hitler was the saviour of a lot of reputations .
     
  13. L J

    L J Senior Member

    Ah Kingtiger, I must agree, when Manstein devised the elastic defence, used bt NATO in my day, Hitler would not listen to him, however Manstein used it anyway, stopped a major Soviet thrust and saved his resources, although I like to call them men.

    Just as well ol' schicklgruber was a nut case or we all may have been wearing very stylish uniforms and jack boots, instead of serge BD and ammo boots.
    And the same Manstein (I don't think he had a twin-brother) could not prevent that ,after their winteroffensive,the Russians were in march 1944 at the border of Romania .It seems that the elastic defense was no miracle solution .
    Btw,I don't know when you were in Nato,but I have the impression that Nato had as strategy,Forward Defense .
     
  14. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    A dead Hitler was the saviour of a lot of reputations

    So very true!
     
  15. John Lawson

    John Lawson Arte et Marte

    Is a forward defence one where you rush forward, to look like you're doing something, very political this one, become surrounded and then have to give in or fight to the last man?:confused:

    Forward defence is something you have to do when you have no ground to give. I feel a fight to the last man coming on here:unsure:
     
  16. L J

    L J Senior Member

    The forward defense was the préwar Soviet strategy,was an other one (withdrawal) better?that's an other discussion .
    That the forward defense failed in 1941,is no proof that this strategy was wrong .It failed because the Soviets were surprised by the German attack,and,because ,before 22 june,the situation of the Red Army was chaotic .
     
  17. Kozak

    Kozak Junior Member

    The forward defense was the préwar Soviet strategy,was an other one (withdrawal) better?that's an other discussion .
    That the forward defense failed in 1941,is no proof that this strategy was wrong .It failed because the Soviets were surprised by the German attack,and,because ,before 22 june,the situation of the Red Army was chaotic .

    Indeed. Even the Lend-Lease program was barely enough to bring them up to par.
     
  18. eddie72

    eddie72 Junior Member

    From what I gather, because the airbridge at the Cholm Pocket was a success, Goring convinced Hitler that it would also work at Stalingrad. No sacrifice but a conviction that it could be done.

    There is also a view that if Paulus had used his remaining panzers and artillery against the weaker southern arm of the encirclement before it closed and then turned on the northern arm, and given the German successes in open tank battles up to this point, the encirclement could have been prevented.

    Given how weak willed Paulus seemed to be, it is all conjecture and we will never know.
     
  19. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  20. Obergefreiter

    Obergefreiter Junior Member

    During the winter of 1941, it was apparently the right decision to stand and fight, accept being encircled in Demyansk (about a Corps), Cholm (about a Brigade) or Rzev (most of the 9th Army), waiting for the relief columns or fight their way back in order to meet them.
    But the severe losses in men and aircraft taken there by the Luftwaffe Transport Groups added to those taken at Crete in May 1941 made it impossible to adequately supply the 6th Army even under the best circumstances.
    An outbreak of the 6th Army would have been doomed, as the Red Army had concentrated huge armoured forces to the West of Stalingrad. In the open, they would have cut a weary and exhausted 6th Army, lacking fuel and ammunition, easily cut to pieces.
    For the same reason, Manstein's relief attempt, with only 2 fresh Panzer divisons and another coming from the Caucasus, had hardly any chance to succeed.
    In Germany, and most probably elsewhere, some historians as well as many veterans or otherwise interested people, put the blame for the disaster on General Paulus. He had spent most of his career in staff assignments and lacked the experience as well as the personality to lead troops under critical circumstances. With another General Officer Commanding, like Model for example, things might have ended up differently.
    True is that the stand of the 6th Army helped to bring the Army Group A back from Caucasus as the siege not only absorbed many Soviet troops, furthermore, it denied the soviets the use of the important railroad junction and forced their troop movements to make long detours.
     

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