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Stalingrad vs Kursk. Which was larger?

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by DangerousBob, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    So Kursk never happened after all. The only thing I don't get is that the Germans kept winning but backwards, as Smolensk was falling some 6 weeks later and Kiev after 6 weeks more. No, wait...
     
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  2. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Didn't miss ya at all :D
     
  3. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    I personally believe that Kursk was the harder punch for the Germans in the eastern front. After the disaster at Stalingrad, despite losing an entire elite army and being pushed back miles away from the Caucusus, the Germans still had potential for at least one more offensive in the eastern front. By this time the Germans were beginning to realize how much resources they had exhausted into the eastern front, men and material. As the Russians pushed back they punched a hole in the German territory leaving the southern and northern fronts of the salient exposed the the Germans. Seeing their chance, the Germans saw that this could be a big opportunity to regain their foot holding in the east, but they also knew that it was a risk because if it failed they would lose a major foot holding in the east. In the aftermath, the Germans as we all know failed. They had used so many precious resources in this last ditch attempt that they practically ran dry and could for now only remain on the defensive against the Russian steamroller.
     
  4. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    Kursk was basically the Germans last chance for a major offensive in the east
     
  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Hitler said at the time that he decided to call off operation Ziterdelle because the allies had opened a second front - the invasion of Sicily. With this was the threat of the invasion of Italy and an attack on the underbelly of Fortress Europe..
     
  6. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    IMO, Stalingrad was also far more significant than Kursk as it not only shocked and paralyzed the Germans for a bit but also permanently knocked out her allies in the east out of the war (Hungarians, Romanians and the Italian 8th army).

    If my memory serves me correctly I believe the Germans also lost more tank at Stalingrad.
     
  7. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1) The Germans lost 57000 men at Citadelle,while during the 2nd phase of Stalingrad (encirclment) they lost 175000

    2) Following Goebbels,Hitler considered Citadelle as an offensive with limited aims

    3)Manstein (yes:him) said the following :in view of the enemy's reserves,Citadelle could not be won with the available level of forces .It would require further reserves of OKH

    4)Following Zetterling and Frankson it was not possible to claim that Citadelle produced an outcome which was decisive for the war in the east .

    Conclusion :Citadelle deserves only a footnote in a book about the war in the east .
     
  8. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Right, because 57000 men is insignificant.

    Because Germany had so many other offensives in 1943.

    Because the previous German offensives were all halted prior to penetration.

    Because previous Russian Summer counter-offensives had been such resounding successes.

    Operation Citadelle was clearly nothing to write home about at all. We should just put the whole of 1943 in the footnote of your book.
     
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  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Germany lost more than 6 million men in the east .

    The dies were cast already in the summer of 1941.

    A German victory at Citadelle still would result in ... the Red Flag hanging on the Reichstag .

    The Soviet offensives that started already DURING Citadelle were much more important than Citadelle .

    All the stories about the big decisive battles are only inventions of journalists who are out of inspiration and of "historians" who want to make money :even Bagration,which was much more important than Citadelle,had only a minor importance in 1944:Germany lost 2 million men in 1944 in the east,of which less than 400000 for Bagration .
     
  10. green slime

    green slime Member

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    So, that was all the important German offensives in '43, you've listed there, I gather?

    Or are you saying that because "the die was cast in '41", that there is nothing further to add?
     
  11. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Why would any German offensive in 1943 be important ?

    As the dies were cast in the summer of 1943,what was important afterwards was what the Soviets were doing,not what the Germans were doing .
     
  12. green slime

    green slime Member

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    So, IYNSHO,

    Why did the Russians bother trying to blunt the Offensive, that is barely worthy of a footnote?
     
  13. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The Soviets knew that the Germans would attack in the Kursk region.

    They had 3 options:

    a) Anticipate by their own offensive at Kursk or elsewher,something which they didn't,maybe they were not ready,or they considered it as to risky (they knew what happened at Kharkow 2 and 3)

    A general withdrawal at Kursk,something they didn't,they never withdrawed voluntary,probably for political reasons

    c) To wait for the Germans at Kursk,stop them,and meanwhile start their own offensives .

    They chosed the last option .

    If the US had knowledge of the German attack in the Ardennes (also something not very important),probably they also would have chosen c.
     
  14. green slime

    green slime Member

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    You are aware, that your "footnote" is growing in length, and not really giving the truth at all. The Soviet Defensive preparations was hardly just them "waiting"...They were defensive preparations on a vast scale.

    Zhukov himself concluded there would be little point in trying to pre-empt the German offensive: Manstein's backhand was a painful memory.

    Considering the focus the defensive preparations received, in the orders from STAVKA, and the massive reserves (the Steppe Front) built up for the battle (the largest STAVKA ever assembled in the entire war), there can be no doubt of the importance of the impending battle had for the Soviets, regardless of your opinions. 20,000 guns and mortars, 6,000 antitank guns, the density of the minefields, trenches with a total length of 3,100 miles, and the depth of the defences of nearly 110 miles.

    All merely a footnote.
     
  15. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    If Zetterling and Frankson are saying that the outcome of Citadelle (=German failure) was not decisive for the war in the east(which means that this would be the same if Germany won),that means that Citadelle was not important,whatever was the result,and that thousands of trees were killed to write what meanly was a lot of garbage about something that deserves only a footnote in a book about the war in the east .
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1) This means that they were waiting for the Germans

    2) See my point a

    3)This does not prove the importance of Citadelle,,as a lot of the Soviet forces were gathered,not for Citadelle,but for the Soviet counter-offensives (Kutuzov..).Besides,the importance of an offensive can not be judged on the number of men,tanks,....that were committed,but on the results of the outcome of the battle
     
  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    For Citadelle,the Germans committed 625000 men,for Frühlingserwachen (march 1945) 465000.If Citadelle deserves more than a footnote,so does Frühlingserwachen .The same for Stalingrad .
     
  18. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Right, because both sides would naturally commit a large number of forces for nothing. As you do when waging war. When writing a book of history, you need to explain both what happened and why things happened.

    You're stark raving mad, if you believe that a battle involving almost the entire available armoured force of the Wehrmacht in 1943 deserves nothing more than a footnote. Regardless of the potential outcome. It deserves something of an explanation. An author should explain why it pre-occupied both STAVKA and OKH planning for the entire spring-summer of that year. Your proposed method and value systems imparts no understanding whatsoever. But why should I be surprised?

    If you wrote such a book, and dismissed the battle in such a fashion, you'd be the laughing stock of the published community. You really are reaching for the Van Daniken Award for Preposterous Claims.

    Who has said anything about Stalingrad being treated as a footnote? Is there any serious book published about the war in the East which does that? Where do you get these ideas?

    Zetterling and Franksson's conclusion is really quite limited in scope - basically that it is not possible to conclude that Zitadelle was decisive in itself. Obviously! As their book only looks at the German offensive, and not the entire events of that front. Nor does it deal with the alternatives.
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    As Goethe said : In der Beschränkung zeigt sich der Meister,which means :the first and dominating rule for an author is : brevity,concisity.Everything that's not essential is secundary and even superfluous.For someone who is writing a book about the war in the east,Citadelle and even Stalingrad are secundary and a reference to a footnote is sufficient,because,these battles had no strategic importance : a German success at Stalingrad/Kursk would have changed nothing . Commitment of big forces,big losses,is not proving that the battle was important :Germany lost in the second phase of Stalingrad (encirclment) 160000 men.If this deserves more than a footnote,what about the battles whereGermany lost 100000 men,pr 90000 men,etc?Should the rule be that the space reserved in a book to a battle be dependent on the number of casualties?If Citadelle (54000 German casualties) deserves 3 pages,would Stalingrad II (encirclment) (160000 casualties) deserve 9 pages and Bagration (400000) 24 pages ?

    Of course not .

    Only the strategic importance of a battle and the possible results on the outcome of a war should be used as norm,otherwise the reader will be lost in the details and the book will not be about the war,but about separate battles ,which is something totally different.besides,battles are not deciding wars .
     
  20. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    The thing is that every author has their style and more importantly the point they wish to convey. Nor am I impressed overly with the absolutist conceit that since Germany suffered utter defeat historically, that was the only outcome conceivable to occur and therefore the details are irrelevant.

    To offer my quote, 'the devil is in the detail'

    Stalingrad, and Kursk for that matter, did not have to evolve as they did and had they been overseen by military professionals as they would have in the west, they might have been far less costly to Germany. Even Hitler had qualms about Kursk, but would not take council of his own fears. It is in these possibilities that these battles gain their importance.

    Yes I know professionals commanded the armies, but the strategic direction came from Hitler who had his opinions on how the war should be fought as as opposed to FDR and Churchill who gave their commanders general instructions and then allowed them to maneuver their forces to reach these objectives. The war might have taken a very different course if say Eisenhower was told that he absolutely must invade at Pas de Calais because that was what FDR and Churchill wanted done.
     

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