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Was Stalingrad yet another Manstein's Lost Victory?

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by Tamino, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Goering clearly promised the aid without consulting any of his aids and with out knowing whether it was possible or not. Manstein has a couople of bios out, I justread one that wasnt that interesting for me. Paulus, I havent seen any specific, he may be in a complilation biography and I have seen a couple of Zhukov that was okay, but again not what I was looking for. I would try amazon for Ebooks. As far as Mansteins memoir, like Guderians second book, it is very self serving in that both say I was always right and everything was all Hitlers fault.
     
  2. thunder_love

    thunder_love Member

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    I think that at one time is that when Hitler was losing faith in his Generals he accused most of them of being insubordinate, and trying to pin it on him.
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    As yet there is no English-language biography of Paulus ; one of the best sketches of him is in Guido Knopp's 'Hitler's Warriors'. Paulus' own 'memoir' ( really an uncompleted collection of notes and letters ) 'Paulus And Stalingrad' by Walter Goerlitz is fascinating to read ( if you can find a copy ).
     
  4. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Except for his role as a scapegoat, Paulus would have been forgotten. Afterwards, as a 'traitor', he became a valuable ingredient of many memoirs; very convenient character who could have been blamed for anything. Manstein lied extensively, also about Paulus. There is an interesting book about Manstein, and Paulus too, written by a German historian Marcel Stein.

    Here, at Google Books you may try to read several passages.
     
  5. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Helion are a little out of date with the 'no English biography' ; we now have the English translation of Benoit Lemay's 'Erich von Manstein - Hitler's Master Strategist' (Casemate 2010) and Mungo Melvin's 'Manstein - Hitler's Greatest General' ( Weidenfeld & Nicholson 2010 ). IMPO Stein is rather too relentlessly negative, Lemay focusses most of his attention of the French campaign and Melvin's book, while very good, is biased a little too far in the opposite direction from Stein......

    However, an excellent overview of Manstein's stewardship of Army Group Don and the winter fighting 1942-1943 has appeared this year in Robert M Citino's 'The Wehrmacht Retreats -Fighting A Lost War 1943' ( University of Kansas, 2012 ). Especially useful are the extensive notes discussing the entire historiography to date, listing many German and Soviet sources in addition to English-language sources and even websites.
     
  6. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I prefer books which depart from well-established path. Stein might be a bit too negative but Manstein was, modestly speaking, untruthful. Related to the subject of this thread, let’s look at wording of Manstein's “Lost Victories”. This is how Manstein describes his take-over of command in a chapter “The Crimean Campaign”:

    Here, everything was simple “I took over command” but a bit more than a year later, assuming the command of the Army Group Don, according to him, wasn’t so simple, it was a work-in-progress:
    It was a process which lasted a week from the day the OKH order was received until “we were able to take over command of Don Army Group on the morning of 27th November”. Please, note, that he uses here a word “we” in contrast to “I” in the Crimean campaign. That is how Manstein postponed his nomination from the 21th to 27th November 1942. These seven days did matter – that was a critical stage. He knew that and he wanted us to believe he wasn't in charge. I have noticed this just after reading Stein and re-reading “Lost Victories”
     
  7. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Indeed - the week was largely taken up by Manstein's chosen transport method of train from Vitebsk to Novocherkassk. He later claimed that the weather was too bad for flying, but he has certainly been criticised for the delay.
     
  8. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    That was an obstacle, but not decisive - in other battles he was far away from the front line too. He could have issued commands by radio. There is a passage from Beevors' "Stalingrad the Fateful siege" (pp. 271 -272):
    This clearly indicates that H.Q. of Army Group Don was relaying signals to Paulus on early morning of 25 November. According tho "Verlorene Siege", Manstein was not capable issuing orders before 27 November. Obviously, that wasn't a truthful statement.

    In addition to that, implicitly, there is another information in this passage pointing to Mansteins' responsibility: H.Q. of Army Group don has split command over troops in the Cauldron between Paulus and Seydlitz. In fact, Paulus was recalled from his previous position on 24th November 1942!
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Possibly - I was assuming that radio communication from a railway train in Russia in the winter of 1942 could be problemmatical, but I freely admit that I'm not an expert in that field.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Just read that as Manstein and co took over that they were rather cocky i.e. that they would soon take care of matters and this might make a difference until they realized what was happening truly.

    Sorry cannot give the source until tomorrow the book is elsewhere but by German source after 1955.
     
  11. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Indeed! Manstein played chess and bridge in his luxurious headquarters train.

    But as Manstein travelled to his new headquarters he was informed about the gravity of situation first at Smolensk railway station by Field Marshall von Kluge and again on arrival to the H.Q. of the Army Group B by general von Weichs who presented him an updated operations map.

    Manstein became fully aware of the danger for himself later, after Zhukov commenced the Little Saturn. By that time he must have realized that he had to abandon the 6th army in the Cauldron to save himself. Until then he expected a head on clash with the Red Army but Soviets decided to attack at the place where he was indeed vulnerable: the rear and left flank of Army Group Don.

    One thing is certain, however: he kept Paulus uninformed and paralyzed him by making von Seydlitz commander-in-chief of the north-eastern part of the Cauldron, including Stalingrad itself.
     
  12. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    I would like to point out that a major reason that Bagration was such a succes is that the Germans were trying to do a Manstein type backhand. THe Germans were badly fooled and were unable to adjust. Mansteins tactic only works if the SOviets cooperate.
     
  13. scipio

    scipio Member

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    The Pocket was closed on 20th November. On 22th November, Hitler had issued a FuhrerBehfelt refusing Paulus's request to break out and on 23rd Paulus had repeated the request with more urgency

    Tamino does not the following messages show that Manstein was not responsible for any decisions at the this period and that the appointment of Seydich had been made earlier by Hitler himself?

    According to what I read Seydich had that same day in direct contradiction to orders withdrawn 94th ID from The North East of the Pocket and had urged a break-out. In fact his view was that Paulus take matters into his own hands and break out immediately.

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
     
  14. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Thanks Scipio for copies of these important documents and your contribution to this debate.:)

    Right now, I am re-reading Bevors' “… The Fateful Siege 1942” and this time I have noticed his interest for this aspect of the battle for Stalingrad. He has made a very interesting parallel between Manstein and “General Hans Yorck von Wartenburg's revolt at Tauroggen in December 1812, when he refused to fight any longer under Napoleon, an event which triggered a wave of patriotic feeling in Germany.”

    Bevor concludes: “The only actor in this drama capable of playing the part of Yorck was Manstein, as Tresckow and Stauffenberg had recognized, but Manstein, they would discover, had no intention of accepting such a dangerous role.”

    Indeed, Manstein was ambitious.

    The 6[SUP]th[/SUP] Army wasn’t capable escaping from the encirclement, command over the troops in the Cauldron was divided and the only hope was Manstein, as the commander of the Army Group Don. He could have done the same thing like Zhukow did a year before near Moscow: he tore apart a command issued by Stavka and did it his way with excuse that he, as the front line commander had the authority to overturn the Stavka command. Manstein had no guts to cotravene the Führers’ order. It is common practice to charge Paulus for failing to rescue the 6th Army but that was Manstein’s duty which he couldn’t accomplish for his selfish reasons.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    It seems that Hitler was "quiet" for a day and a half after the pocket closed. Paulus could have taken this opportunity and make his troops "run west". In this situation Hitler might be able to only admit what has happened. then again I recall Hitler told Rommel in Alamein that his troops must turn back and fight and die where they stand.


    " On 21 November Paulus´recommendation to the superior Army group was to withdraw the gravely endangered army to an arc on the Don and the Chir.Army Group agreed with the operational intentions of the Army Commander. But on the evening of the same day it passed on without comment an order by OKH which said that Sixth Army was to hold Stalingrad and the line on the Volga at all costs."

    Stalingrad memories and reassessments by Joachim Wieder and Heinrich Graf von Einsiedel

    " the new commander of Army group Field Marshal Manstein,joined von Weichs at Starobelsk at about 0900 hours on 24 November after a 3-day train ride from Vitebsk. From 0930 hours on , he had himself breifed on the situation. As colonel i.G. Winter, who was on von Weichs´staff reported decades later, von Manstein and his staff went into this meeting with an attitude of, "OK, you old codgers, just leave things to us." Von Manstein´s arrogance and the injurious manner in which he rejected von Weichs´arguments in favour of withdrawing Sixth Army created a very frosty and reserved atmosphere.
     
  16. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    The encirclement of German forces in Stalingrad was completed on 22 November 1942.
     
  17. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Hitler was "silent" because on the evening of 22 November he was traveling with Keitel and Jodl in his special train from Berchtesgaden to Leipzig and then by an aeroplane to Rastenburg.
     
  18. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    This statement is a bit of a canard is it not?

    According to our friend Wiki, the Fuhrer Train had a Befehlswagen (Conference and Communications car) directly behind Hitler's Fuhrerwagen. Traveling by train in itself was little handicap to radio communications.
     
  19. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I wouldn't say so. He halted the train every few hours to speak, but to someone else: to Kurt Zeitzler! On one occasion he said: 'We've found another way out.' He spoke to General Hans Jeschonnek too, about the air-lift, before contacting Göring. Of course he spoke, but he hasn't been speaking to Paulus.

    This information cannot be found in Wiki. ;)
     
  20. scipio

    scipio Member

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    This is a rather good parallel with Stalingrad.

    Rommel was ordered by the Fuhrer not to withdraw. Rommels' boss Kesselring (ie the same relative position as Manstein to Paulus) did nothing and said nothing, to my knowledge, but Rommel took it on himself to save his forces, retreat and face the wroth of Hitler.

    Here Paulus has several days (and the best ones) before 26th November where he is indisputably in charge but chickens out of taking responsibility. Seydlitz was pushing Paulus to withdraw and it took Paulus to show him the direct orders from Hitler to shrug his shoulders and say "well I suppose we have to obey".

    Manstein is all the negative things you say and wanted to avoid the odium of directly ordering Paulus to quit Stalingrad in direct contravention of Hitler's orders. However, Paulus could easily have converted Manstein's rescue attempt from a link-up to break out. Aren't we being a bit naive and pedantic to condemn Manstein when so much of the decision could have been taken by Paulus (admittedly at a detriment to his career prospects).
     
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