Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Eastern Front & Balka' started by von_noobie, Apr 13, 2012.
The thread is about bypassing Stalingrad.
If would agree if we leave Stalingrad in.
Seriously, Go read the entire thread. Other wise your going to continue to make all of us role our eyes at your ill thought out theories.
It most certainly does. It points out that your proposals are doing nothing to alleviate the difficulties the Germans faced and may even make them worse.
To discuss with fanbois is a waste of time
Agreed, Some times I just dont know when to give up for my own good Oh god I hope I was never this bad when I first joined
Read it all and your opening suggestion.
Your front line is sat outside Stalingrad is it not?
Mine would be on the Don.
If you just wish to make Stalingrad work just do not remove a lot of the armour from Army Group B and Stalingrad may well be surrounded and taken on the bounce.
Then as you say the armour should advance South down the Volga.
If you had read it you would know my full proposal but since you seem to ignore all that is not by you and view every thing as as wrong I'll just state my proposal out in dot points for you.
1. Advance forces upto the Don river, Crushing remaining bridge heads as you go.
2. Advance past the down South/South-East of Stalingrad leaving behind a Panzer Army to act as rear guard against any Russian counter attack from the land bridge.
3. Using small motorized forces with possible limited armour support advance along the Volga till you reach the Caspian (Not required to take Astrakhan, That can be decided depending on the tactical situation)
4. Remaining panzer army with infantry support to advance across the Caucasus region, Supplies being both air dropper as well as the utilization of barges and various river systems (barges gain access going through Rostov)
5. Secure rail lines that advance along the Caucasus just before the mountain range to aid in supply delivery, With forces to avoid a direct assault on the mountain range and go along the Caspian cost towards Baku.
6. Use Italian mountain divisions to clear out the remaining Russian forces utilizing German infantry as needed (armour not required as there usefulness is debatable in the last situation)
7. Transport small naval flotilla into the Caspian to harass Soviet shipping
8. Move panzer army from the Caucasus region back to point along the Don river (No need to put it along the Volga as the other Panzer army is already close and the Volga is exactly a picnic to cross)
9. Build up defences and if need infrastructure to support the forces deployed.
You mention surrounding and taking Stalingrad on the bounce.. The whole point of this thread is that it is by passed as historically it was not as easy as you imply it to be. Cutting off land routes is one matter, But then there is the Volga, Can your tanks swim?... So that is why this thread was made, To avoid Stalingrad and the useless waste of men and material that it caused for zero net gain.
I mentioned two option if you look back. (do you not remember?)
One on the basis of the thread ie in not taking Stalingrad then the other after your protest of taking Stalingrad.
That aside would you defend the Western Bank of the Lower Volga?
By this point in the war Hitler was in charge of the army with His general that he felt were loyal to him. However Hitler looked at the economic side of things in a sense as he knew he had to get at the oil of the caucus region to fuel his war machine. Leaving the Romainans, Italians and Hungarians to guard his flanks around Stalingrad and the don bend was a huge gamble and it was fully exploited by the russains. Hitler was always prone to make gambles and did so effectively in politics as far as Austria and the Czechs in 39'. His turn south towards the Ukraine in 41' likely cost him Moscow but also secured the Ukraine "Bread Basket of Russia". Not seeing the terrible position with the don bend behind the 6th army and the inability to just cut his loses cost him the 6th army and the whole southern flank... IF he would have by passed Stalingrad he could have done one of two things. (1) Conslidate his forces and hold the line east of Stalingrad and the Volga giving the southern army the time to take the caucus region or (2) drive north to Moscow in coordination with army group center. However with the renforcments the soviets called up he still would have had a tough time driving north or even holding the line east of the Volga. In reality he split his forces and wanted to have his cake and eat it too. He had diverted some of his tanks from army group A (Caucus Region) to Drive on Stalingrad so there was obviously no clear objective. I'm pretty sure this is a no-no in offensive military strategy. For the offensive, concentration of force on a single target is likely wise as a wait and see in multiple theaters and dissipation of forces without coherent coordination is doomed. The defensive army can dig in and just wait while you, the attacker makes up their mind, meanwhile planning their own counter attack.
Lining up the Romanian, Italian, and Hungarian armies in the obvious path of the Russian counterstroke was indeed a crucial error. The Germans needed to make use of their allies, and the allies insisted on operating as distinct national armies, but they should have been alternated with German armies and ideally used in less crucial sectors. von noobie makes a point that I've also thought of; the Italian Alpini corps would have best used in the Caucasus mountains.
I also think the Germans erred in pressing the assault on Sevastopol in June 1942. If the Caucasus was taken and held, Sevastopol would be isolated and irrelevant. Planning for Fall Blau should have included minimizing their commitment in the Crimea. They had to finish off the Russian forces around Kerch, which they did in May, but after that Sevastopol could be contained by the Romanian 3d Army and Manstein's 11th redeployed to the main effort. The logistic effort involved in assaulting Sevastopol, including transport of a mass of super-heavy artillery, could have been devoted to building up forces and supplies for the main event (historically after Sevastopol fell, the heavy artillery was transported all the way across Russian to Leningrad, another of Hitler's obsessions, but another massive waste of transportation capacity).
Putting these two ideas together, we could have Manstein's 11th Army defending the Don line north of Stalingrad in place of the 3d Romanian. He might have eliminated some of the Soviet bridgeheads on the west bank, which would significantly curtail their offensive preparations, and he would certainly be better able to deal with the offensive when it did come.
If Hitler by-passed Stalingrad, Operation Uranus would not have been necessary at all. The Soviets could simply skip that unnecessary episode and start straight with Operation Saturn - cutting the entire army Group South off deep in Caucasus. By sacrificing the Army Group B, the Führer managed to pull the Army group A just in time. As the matter of fact the Führer was a lucky guy.
Carronade, the main reason for taking Sevastopol was the threat of naval reinforcement and a strike in the rear. The one mistake was transferring 11th army from Stalingrad, north to Leningrad instead of using it to help push across the Kerch straights. The worse thing was 11th army never was used after Sevastopol, it ended up being broken up to reinforce other armies.
Maybe, Maybe not. It all depends on the battle lines, with Stalingrad bypassed I have already put forth the possibility of using the time/resources to actually clear the Volga/Don river beachheads that the Russians used historically for said operations. Without the numerous beachheads (Stalingrad would be their only one most likely) the chance of them launching such a rapid campaign to cut off troops in the Caucasus is unlikely.
That's entirely true – the past events could have gone in different directions. But, now we know that the Axis operations at the south-east in 1942 were based on flawed intelligence and even worse: what was known was ignored. Data about the Soviet reserves were well kept secret. Allegedly, even Zhukov wasn't aware of available reserves before the meeting with Stalin and Vasilevski in September 1942. With both German army groups at Caucasus, the Soviets could have penetrated Rumanian-Italian-Hungarian defenses anywhere they wanted since all rivers in Russia are frozen during the winter and the ice deep enough to carry tanks. There was no need for beachheads.
True the rivers did freeze over and they could carry tanks though just to clarify was there a any limits on how much could cross at a section at any particular time or how fast? Id hazard a guess that sending hundreds of tanks across in a single area at high speed would chew the ice up pretty bloody fast..
As to the Caucasus I'd gather that not directing all the resources to Stalingrad would allow for a faster possibly smoother run into the Caucasus. IF (I do stress IF) they had managed to neutralize (No guarantee they could own it out right but possibly destroy any ability for the forces there to be a threat) the Russian troops there they would be able to redeploy forces back to the 'weaker' sections, Im sure that having a few panzer divisions along the Romanian-Italian-Hungarian line would make a difference.
Would it have been possible/recommendable to deploy the Romanian-Italian-Hungarian forces to the Caucasus? Less likely to run into mass armor there which they are ill equipped to handle.
Splitting the German forces to attack both Stalingrad and the Caucasus simultaneoulsy doomed both offensives. Desperately needed planes and tanks had to waste time and experienced a lot of wear moving long distances from one front to the other repeatedly, providing decent support only temporarily, only to go to the other front when it stalled.
The Wehrmacht could have rapidly captured Stalingrad first with the full force and incurring fewer casualties, especially if artillery had crossed the Volga, shelled Stalingrad from the other side & prevented reinforcement across the river. Then the armor could have advanced south and captured the northern Caucasus and prepared to capture the South Caucasus the following year.
Oil wells were also sabotaged in British Borneo, DEI, etc, and put back in production in months by Japanese technicians with much less experience and equipment than Romanian oilmen.
From the south Caucasus bombing east Baku can cause considerable damage.
The Soviets desperately needed high octane American aviation fuel, trucks, aluminum, explosives, etc, the loss of even part of that coming through Iran certainly has an impact. As it was the Soviets received much less materiel than the British, even a reduction of 20% would be noticeable.
Why not but Hitler believed there were no Soviet reserves to prepare for a counter-attack while the massive amounts of Soviet reserves were piling up in all Army Group positions. And Hitler wanted the oil to win the war.
There was no possibility of the Germans entering Stalingrad prematurely; they didn't have enough infantry to secure the city when they first arrived. There was no easy solution to the dilemma Stalingrad posed. The German would've loved to cross the Volga, but that wasn't going to happen either. They had not captured any single point of crossing. There was no bridgehead to exploit, as they had done on the Don. Or are we proposing to charge the sixth army up to Saratov, Engels?
The Sixth Army had neither the men nor the materiel to accomplish this task - The Sixth Army was weakened from the three months it took to advance from the Don River to the Volga and did not possess the necessary men and materiel to cross the river when they arrived, three months after they started for it.
When the main body of the Sixth Army arrived, the Volga was frozen and full of ice floes. Coupled with the Soviet forces across the wide river, it's difficult to imagine the Germans being to cross without suffering significant casualties as a result.
Even if the Germans could have crossed the river, they probably couldn't have held any significant territory as the main supply depot was on the River Don, more than 40 miles to the west. Any troops who might have crossed would have been cut off and probably captured or destroyed.
From a strategic point of view it would have made even less sense as the main reason for the advance on Stalingrad was to defend the left flank of the advance into the Caucasus. Not create a bridgehead on the other side of the Volga.
Even with Stalingrad captured, and a successful drive to Baku; the German over stretched front lines would've still been unable to prevent the breakthrough that followed, and with the result of more troops being cut off in the Caucasus region instead.
I am proposing not putting Paulus (who had never commanded troops in combat) in charge of the combined force, but Kleist or Manstein. Who would have easily established a bridgehead at a weak point, as Stülpnagel did for Kleist in Kremenchug.
The Volga in areas near Stalingrad is narrower than and not as swampy on the bridgehead side as the Dnieper between Kiev and Kremenchug, which they crossed with an 800 m pontoon bridge in Kremenchug and Kleist's force in Kremenchug was much smaller and had less air support than the combined armies which attacked the Caucasus and Stalingrad, which in this case are together.
OTL the sixth army wasted invaluable time because Hitler sent its Panzers momentarily to the Caucasus, where the offensive had stalled (causing the Stalingrad offensive to stall). The Soviets used this time to reinforce Stalingrad and the tanks were en route and wearing out (instead of in combat) during a crucial time and they would soon waste time again traveling back north. Hitler made the same mistake of wasting time & wear when he redirected Guderian from Smolensk to Kiev and then back to Smolensk, providing time to reinforce Moscow
Without the massive influx of Soviet troops, materiel and supplies crossing the Volga, the Soviets in the city don't stand a chance. It was much easier to defeat those troops in the open on the other side of the Volga than in a city, especially with sustained air support (instread of losing the planes part time to support the Caucasus offensive).
"The Nazis were also rather deficient at crossing major water obstacles without capturing a bridge. Their combat engineers only managed to build emergency bridges over smaller rivers, and they took forever to do the deed. If the opposite bank was defended, I’ve never seen an instance where that was accomplished in the entire war. They could build pontoon bridges across rivers if both shores were under control and they needed a bridge, but not if one of the shores was still in enemy hands."
-brndrt (Sorely missed, is Clint)