Why ? ultimately a trapped force needs to be rescued but isolation may last for months as long as sufficient supplies get through, wounded get evacuated, and replacements can be brough in Demyansk, and Tobruk did.
So stating the air bridge was irrelevant because there could be no immediate relief of breakout is wrong. The true conditions for an isolated force survival are:
( A ) A relief attempt will succeed at some point
( B ) Supplies and replacements allow the force to survive until relieved.
This is not correct :
A:a relief attempt was only possible during the first days (a maximum of 2 weeks): a relief operation in january was out of the question
B: no :the question is not if 6 Army could survive, but if it could be saved :while 6 Army could survive with air supplies (it survived 10 weeks),it could not be saved by air supplies : every day,6 Army would become more and more weaken :air lifts could not replace lost tanks,artillery,trucks,the Ju and He could not transport heavy ammunition .
During the first few weeks,a relief attempt was possible AND air lifts were not necessary.
After these few weeks, a relief attempt was out of the question and an air lift could only extend the agony of 6 Army(which was the reason why the air lift was not stopped after the failure of the rescue attempt : the doomed 6 Army was tying Soviet forces .
The problem is that we don't know what Hitler asked to Jeschonnek and what Jeschonnek said ,but, given the situation,it is more than probable that Hitler asked if 6 Army could be supplied by air (if this was necesssary)til it was relieved by Manstein and that Jeschonnek said :yes (in which he was correct,although Hitler nor Jeschonnek knew how much would be needed).
It is also more than probable from the air lift problem .that the relief decision was taken independently
Later,Jeschonnek blamed Goering,he said (but,this is unproved) that he recognized that he was wrong,but that Goering forbade him to tell it to Hitler .
Later,Goering blamed Hitler: he said (but this is unproved) that Hitler said : if the LW can not supply 6 Army,it is lost,and that he (=Goering),blackmailed emotionally could only answer: the LW will supply 6 Army .
Later,the Army blamed ...(as one can expect ) the LW:
Zeitzler said (but that is unproved) that he told Goering (in the presence of Hitler) :you are a liar.
Manstein said : it is all the fault of Goering (but we know that we shouldn't believe anything from Manstein unless it had been proved not twice,but five times .)