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> November 2012 - 70 years since Operation Uranus, November 1942 - November 2012
PaulC
Posted: December 19, 2012 01:25 pm
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QUOTE (MMM @ December 18, 2012 10:36 pm)
QUOTE (Imperialist @ December 18, 2012 10:53 pm)
QUOTE (PaulC @ December 18, 2012 09:07 am)
I agree that they shouldn't have entered the city. It made no sense. What made sense was to capture the Caucasus region.

Leaving the city unconquered would have meant leaving a bridgehead for the Soviets. The city had to be taken in order to eliminate the Soviet Army's use of it.

... and that's a huge thorn in most of the theories that say "Stalingrad should've been just passed"! Stalingrad, with its huge tank factory, with its role as port-city on the Volga, not the least with its symbolic name, was a "must" for an attack in that particular region! The mistake - IMHO - was that the Germans didn't cross the Volga north and south of it, surrounding it! But they didn't have the manpower to do that whilst maintaining pressure on Caucasus as well, so we're back to square one! :(



Let's go back to the original plan : the Wehrmacht intended to conquer the Caucasus in 1942 for its oil fields with the flank on the Volga, nothing about conquering Stalingrad. That was the plan embodied in Directive 41.

Hitler later made the huge mistake of splitting the forces, aiming to take both the Caucasus and Stalingrad and in the end getting fixated on Stalingrad, depleting forces heading for the Caucasus of mobile units.

What I'm proposing was for them to stick to the original plan. The capture of Stalingrad wasn't deemed necessary and I fully agree. Artillery and aviation could annihilate any production of weapons in the city and prevent the soviets from using the Volga as a transport route.

90% of the oil that supplied the Soviet Union went through the Caspian Sea on the Volga and then was distributed west and east of the Urals. With the Volga blocked, the Soviet Union would have been paralyzed.

Secondly, by concentrating more mobile units in the south, they could have probably conquered the Caucasus given the anti-soviet insurgencies going on there.
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dragos
Posted: December 19, 2012 05:28 pm
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Having the goal of reaching as far as Baku, IMO Stalingrad needed to be secured. It could have served as a base for launching an attack towards Rostov, threatening to trap all the German armies in Caucasus. The plan without securing Stalingrad was feasible only in the scenario the Red Army was collapsing and not able to launch any more major offensives.
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Taz1
Posted: December 19, 2012 09:07 pm
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In many of the articles regarding Stalingrad it is said that the Stalingrad defeat was the single most important victory of the red army in the east that they more or less won the war with Germany there but the even after the dezaster in Stalingrad german army was far from being defeted and the rusian army far from Berlin. German army totally lost the war in Russia only in sumer of 1944 . So expresion the day that change the war or world ( the begining of the russian Stalingrad ofensive ) it is not qiute exact.
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MMM
Posted: December 19, 2012 09:46 pm
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QUOTE (dragos @ December 19, 2012 08:28 pm)
Having the goal of reaching as far as Baku, IMO Stalingrad needed to be secured. It could have served as a base for launching an attack towards Rostov, threatening to trap all the German armies in Caucasus. The plan without securing Stalingrad was feasible only in the scenario the Red Army was collapsing and not able to launch any more major offensives.

... and securing without actually occupying it would have meant quite a lot of troops! I'm somehow glad that given the Romanian performances at Odessa, the Wehrmacht hadn't allotted the task of besieging Stalingrad to us! :P :P :P
Back on topic: Taz, the expression is correct, because it destroyed a myth: the myth of Wehrmacht's invincibility and of the Red Army's incapacity of sustaining a victorious offensive! And those facts were obvious there and then, for all the sides involved.
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PaulC
Posted: December 20, 2012 08:55 am
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QUOTE (dragos @ December 19, 2012 07:28 pm)
Having the goal of reaching as far as Baku, IMO Stalingrad needed to be secured. It could have served as a base for launching an attack towards Rostov, threatening to trap all the German armies in Caucasus. The plan without securing Stalingrad was feasible only in the scenario the Red Army was collapsing and not able to launch any more major offensives.

They did not trap Army Group A even with the disaster at Stalingrad. The 6th army had to means to conduct a serious defense on the Don-Stalingrad-Volga line. I believe the original plan was sound. That would have left the 4th Panzer able to help Army Group A.

Secondly, if the real push was in the Caucasus, I'd expect the German army to conquer the major ports and be supplied from Constanta by ship. A much better alternative than the roadless south Russia.

QUOTE
F├╝hrer Headquarters
April 5, 1942 
14 copies

  Directive No. 41

"Summer Campaign of 1942"

The winter battle in Russia is nearing its end. Thanks to the unequaled courage
and self-sacrificing devotion of our soldiers on the Eastern front, German arms
have achieved a great defensive success.

The enemy has suffered severe losses in men and material. In an effort to
exploit what appeared to him to be early successes, he. has expended during
the winter the bulk of reserves intended for later operations.

As soon as the weather aud the state of the terrain allows, we must seize the
initiative again, and through the superiority of German leadership and th
e German soldier force our will upon the enemy.

Our aim is to wipe out the entire defense potential remaining to the Soviets,
and to cut them off, as far as possible, from their most important centers of
war industry.

All available forces, German and allied, will be employed in this task. At the
same time, the security of occupied territories in Western and Northern Europe,
especially along the coast, will be ensured in all circumstances.

I. General Plan

In pursuit of the original plan for the Eastern campaign, the armies of the
Central sector will stand fast, those in the North will capture Leningrad and
link up with the Finns, while those on the southern flank will break through
into the Caucasus.

In view of conditions prevailing at the end of winter, the availability of troops
and resources, and transport problems, these aims can be achieved only
one at a time.

First, therefore, all available forces will be concentrated on the main operations
in the Southern sector, with the aim of destroying the enemy before the Don,
in order to secure the Caucasian oilfields and the passes through the Caucasus
mountains themselves.

The final encirclement of Leningrad and the occupation of Ingermanland may be
undertaken as soon as conditions in that area permit, or sufficient forces can
be made available from other theaters.

II. Conduct of Operations

A. The first task of the Army and Luftwaffe, when the period of thaw with its
muddy ground conditions is over, will be to establish the preliminary conditions
for carrying out our main operation.

This calls for mopping-up and consolidation on the whole Eastern front and in
the rear areas so that the greatest possible forces may be released for the
main operation. The other sectors of the front must be able to meet any attack
with the smallest possible expenditure of manpower.

Wherever, for this purpose, offensive operations with limited objectives are to
be carried out, in accordance with my orders, every effort will be made to
ensure that all available forces of the Army and Luftwaffe are ready to go into
action in overwhelming strength, in order to achieve rapid and decisive success.
Only thus shall we be able, even before the beginning of the big spring offensive,
to make our troops confident in the certainty of victory, and to instil into the
enemy a sense of his own hopeless inferiority.

B. The next task will be a mopping-up operation in the Kerch peninsulaun,
the Crimea and the capture of Sevastopol the Luftwaffe, and later the Navy,
will have the task of preparing these operations, and hindering enemy supply
traffic in the Black Sea and the Kerch Straits as energetically as possible.

In the Southern area, the enemy forces which have broken through on both
sides of Izyum (note :near Kharkov) will be cut off along the course of the
Donets river and destroyed.

Final decision concerning the mopping-up still necessary in the Central and
Northern sectors of the Eastern front must await conclusion of the present
fighting and of the muddy season. The necessary forces, however, must be
provided, as soon as the situation allows, by thinning out front-line troops.

C. The Main Operation on the Eastern Front

The purpose is, as already stated, to occupy the Caucasus front by decisively
attacking and destroying Russian forces stationed in the Voronezh area to the
south, west, or north of the Don. Because of the manner in which the available
formations must be brought up, this operation can be carried out in a series of
consecutive, but coordinated and complementary, attacks. Therefore these
attacks must be so synchronized from north to south that each individual
offensive is carried out by the largest possible concentration of army, and
particularly of air, forces which can be assured at the decisive points.

Experience has sufficiently shown that the Russians are not very vulnerable to
operational encircling movements. It is therefore of decisive importance that,
as in the double battle of Vyazma-Bryansk, individual breaches of the front
should take the form of close pincer movements.

We must avoid closing the pincers too late, thus giving the enemy the
possibility of avoiding destruction.

It must not happen that, by advancing too quickly and too far, armored and
motorized formations lose connection with the infantry following them; or
that they lose the opportunity of supporting the hard-pressed, forward-fighting
infantry by direct attacks on the rear of the encircled Russian armies.

Therefore, apart from the main object of the operation, in each individual
case, we must be absolutely sure to annihilate the enemy by the method of
attack and by the direction of the forces used.

The general operation will begin with an overall attack and, if possible, a
breakthrough from the area south of Orel in the direction of Voronezh.
Of the two armored and motorized formations forming the pincers, the
northern will be in greater strength than the southern. The object of this
breakthrough is the capture of Voronezh itself. While certain infantry divisions
will immediately establish a strong defensive front between the Orel area,
from which the attack will be launched, and Voronezh, armored and motorized
formations are to continue the attack south from Voronezh, with their left
flank on the River Don, in support of a second breakthrough to take place
towards the east, from the general area of Kharkov. Here too the primary
objective is not simply to break the Russian front but, in cooperation with
the motorized forces thrusting down the Don, to destroy the enemy armies.

The third attack in the course of these operations will be so conducted that
formations thrusting down the Don can link up in the Stalingrad area with forces
advancing from the Taganrog Artelnovsk area between the lower waters of the
Don and Voroshilovgrad across the Donets to the east. These forces should
finally establish contact with the armored forces advancing on Stalingrad.

Should opportunities arise during these operations, particularly by the
capture of undemolished bridges, to establish bridgeheads to the east or
south of the Don, advantage will be taken of them, In any event, every effort
will be made to reach Stalingrad itself, or at least to bring the city under fire
from heavy artillery so that it may no longer be of any use as an industrial or
communications center.

It would be particularly desirable if we could secure either undamaged bridges
in Rostov itself or other bridgeheads south of the Don for later operations.

In order to prevent large numbers of Russian forces north of the Don from
escaping southwards across the river, it is important that the right flank of our
forces advancing east from the Taganrog area should be strengthened by
armored and motorized troops. These will, if necessary, be formed from
improvised units.

According to the progress made in these attacks, we must not only provide
strong protection for the north-east flank of the operation; we must
immediately set about establishing positions along the Don. In this matter,
anti-tank defenses are especially important. These positions will from the first
be prepared with a view to their eventual occupation in winter, for which they
will be fully equipped.

In the first instance, units of our allies will he used to hold the Don front, which
will become longer and longer as the attack proceeds. German forces will
provide a strong supporting force between Orel and the Don, and in the
Stalingrad strip. For the rest, individual German divisions will also remain
available as reserves behind the Don front.

Allied troops will be mainly disposed so that the Hungarians are farthest north,
then the Italians, and the Rumanians furthest to the southeast.

D. The swift progress of the movements across the Don to the south, in order
to attain the operational objectives, is essential, in consideration of the season.

III. Luftwaffe

Apart from giving direct support to the Army, the task of the Air Force will be
to cover the deployment of forces in the Army Group South area by
strengthening air defences. This applies particularly to railway bridges
across the Dnieper.

If enemy forces are seen to be concentrating, the principal roads and railways
serving the concentration area will be brought under continuous attack wel
l in the enemy's rear. A first priority will be the destruction of railway bridges
across the Don.

At the opening of operations, the enemy Air Force and its ground organization
in the theater of operations will be attacked and destroyed by a concentrated
effort of all available forces.

The possibility of a hasty transfer of Luftwaffe units to the Central and Northern
fronts must be born in mind, and the necessary ground organization for this
maintained as far as possible.

IV. Navy

In the Black Sea it is the principal duty of the Navy, in so far as our combat
and escort forces and our tonnage allow, to assist in supplying the Army and
Luftwaffe by sea.

Because the battle potential of the Russian Black Sea fleet is still unbroken it is
particularly important that the light naval forces to be moved to the Black Sea
should be ready for action there as soon as possible.

The Baltic will be protected by blockading Russian naval forces in the inner
waters of the Gulf of Finland.

V. My basic order to ensure secrecy is once again to be brought to the attention
of all staffs concerned in these preparations. In this connection the attitude
to be adopted to our allies will be laid down in special instructions.

VI. The preparations planned by the various branches of the Armed Forces,
and their timetables, will be notified to me through the High Command of the
Armed Forces.

Signed: ADOLF HITLER
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Taz1
Posted: December 20, 2012 09:49 pm
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QUOTE (MMM @ December 19, 2012 09:46 pm)
QUOTE (dragos @ December 19, 2012 08:28 pm)
Having the goal of reaching as far as Baku, IMO Stalingrad needed to be secured. It could have served as a base for launching an attack towards Rostov, threatening to trap all the German armies in Caucasus. The plan without securing Stalingrad was feasible only in the scenario the Red Army was collapsing and not able to launch any more major offensives.

... and securing without actually occupying it would have meant quite a lot of troops! I'm somehow glad that given the Romanian performances at Odessa, the Wehrmacht hadn't allotted the task of besieging Stalingrad to us! :P :P :P
Back on topic: Taz, the expression is correct, because it destroyed a myth: the myth of Wehrmacht's invincibility and of the Red Army's incapacity of sustaining a victorious offensive! And those facts were obvious there and then, for all the sides involved.

The german army invincibility mith was destroed in 1941 at the gates of Moscow.Regarding Stalingrad the conquest was a must from all poit of view economic, militar, propaganda. The plan put on paper at the begining of the 1942 was one thing and the situation on the field was another thing. One of the german hope was to surond to trap large concentrations of soviet troops and destroed like 1941 but with some exceptions this was never done the russian had lerned their lessons and conserv their forces chosen to resist in strongholds like stalingrad all so with the ideea in mind of a later contraofensive. A german general said about one of the aspects of the german advans in Russia in 1942 ,, Befor me me no enemy and behind me no rezerve".
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Imperialist
Posted: January 04, 2013 10:31 am
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QUOTE (Taz1 @ December 20, 2012 09:49 pm)
The german army invincibility mith was destroed in 1941 at the gates of Moscow.

We can say that now, in 2013, but at that time it wasn't so. At the time the myth survived into 1942 too.
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cainele_franctiror
Posted: January 04, 2013 11:06 am
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last issue of Military History Review (Romanian) has articles about Stalingrad Battle

http://www.mapn.ro/diepa/ispaim/files/rim_5-6_2012.pdf
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ANDREAS
Posted: January 04, 2013 01:47 pm
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Thank you! Interesting articles indeed!
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MMM
Posted: January 04, 2013 03:28 pm
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QUOTE (Imperialist @ January 04, 2013 01:31 pm)
QUOTE (Taz1 @ December 20, 2012 09:49 pm)
The german army invincibility mith was destroed in 1941 at the gates of Moscow.

We can say that now, in 2013, but at that time it wasn't so. At the time the myth survived into 1942 too.

However, the "myth" of defeating every enemy did shatter!
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Imperialist
Posted: January 04, 2013 04:38 pm
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QUOTE (MMM @ January 04, 2013 03:28 pm)
QUOTE (Imperialist @ January 04, 2013 01:31 pm)
QUOTE (Taz1 @ December 20, 2012 09:49 pm)
The german army invincibility mith was destroed in 1941 at the gates of Moscow.

We can say that now, in 2013, but at that time it wasn't so. At the time the myth survived into 1942 too.

However, the "myth" of defeating every enemy did shatter!


Indeed. Although Britain was still undefeated. I think it's more accurate to say that the myth of the blitzkrieg was the one that died in 1941, but at the time many were expecting the German Army to prevail in 1942 after "General Winter" was about to stop supporting the Soviets.

This post has been edited by Imperialist on January 04, 2013 04:39 pm
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ANDREAS
Posted: January 04, 2013 04:57 pm
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QUOTE
However, the "myth" of defeating every enemy did shatter!

No doubt about this, I agree, and even say that consequences of withdrawal of Wechrmacht forces from Moscow were long-ranged! I have in mind the fact that Hitler became obsessed with the idea of ​​preventing the withdrawal of its forces with the famous "Haltebefehl" (Stop command) from 16.12.1941, in which he forbade any backward movement without the explicit permission, fearing that the whole front could fall apart. He demanded of the battered troops "fanatical resistance", as several times during the battle of Stalingrad. The consequences were therefore long term...
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MMM
Posted: January 05, 2013 09:51 am
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QUOTE (ANDREAS @ January 04, 2013 07:57 pm)
the famous "Haltebefehl"

Well, then it worked, preventing a withdrawal with hundreds of kilometers...
Perhaps just a lucky strike, one of the last...
Other consequences were (IMO) the "end of resistance" among the Wehrmacht's generals.
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