Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

6th Army commander.

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by FramerT, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    90
    Certainly. But they needed powerful, professional grade offensive units with large motorized elements like the 6th Army for further assaults deep into Russia.

    When the going started getting tough in Stalingrad, it would have make more sense to start withdrawing German units (after the breakthrough) and replace them with their Allied forces (and force them to fight to the death).

    In any event, the Germans were never afraid to treat their allied civilian populations like crap..why stop now at such a critical moment?
     
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    372
    Location:
    Portugal
    What TOS said: "And anyway the Germans believed they could take Stalingrad so why leave the glory of capturing "Stalin's City" to an ally? "
     
  3. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    764
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    It really doesn't matter who is commanding 6th Army at Stalingrad. This unit was hosed right from the start. Most of its (and AGS) motorized vehicles were seconded to move supplies forward from Stalino, the furthest forward rail head available. At Stalingrad 6th Army was operating nearly 300 miles forward of the nearest rail line. The Luftwaffe was flying in critical supplies before the Soviet counteroffensive began.
    The Panzer divisions assigned to AGS were initially in the best shape of any on the Eastern Front. They had two battalions of tanks versus one and a bit in those in AGC and AGN. There was a general shortage of motor transport and the army group was also short on horses.
    In addition, only the lead assault units were up to about 90%+ strength. The rest of the group was at about 75% or worse. And, that is at the start of the offensive!
    There was a general artillery shortage and most infantry divisions were operating 3 or 4 gun batteries versus the 6 gun batteries authorized on paper.
    There were nowhere near enough railway engineers, or construction engineers (and as we have seen elsewhere on this board, they were poorly equipped) to ensure even a minimal level of road and railroad maintenance occured.
    Half of AGS was also made up of Romanian, Hungarian, or Italian divisions generally of dubious quality.
    So, I really doubt it matters who is running things. The Germans are doomed.
     
    Wolfy and Triple C like this.
  4. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    267

    What? thats absurb, they still have there magical fairies.:D
     
  5. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    The Germans could not extricate the Sixth Army if they tried after the encirclement. The Sixth was too tired, out of ammo and men. Had they tried, they would find the equavalent of two Panzer Corps and numerous infantry formations waiting for them. The Russians had more reserve at hand to contain a breakout.

    Was Fredrick Paulus incompetent? One US Army officer's study of Stalingrad relates: Given Soviet defensive tactics at Stalingrad, could the Germans have won? Perhaps they could not have done any better than they did at the tactical level. If the Soviets intented to use tactical losses to gain time at the operational level of war, perhaps the German solution to this gambit lay at the operational level.

    In any case, when the Stalingrad Operation began the Germans were doomed.
     
  6. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    10,480
    Likes Received:
    426
    I have to agree with T.A. . I always wonder why some think that having a different commander would have a serious effect to change all the factors of a battle. It wasn't just leadership that affects a battle. I have mentioned this before in another thread.
     
  7. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    267
    I disagree, one man can change the face of a battle. Had paulus retreated against Hitlers orders, he may have benn shot, but around 300,000 experienced troops would be saved and could have an effect somewhere else, but it general terms such as stalingrad, I would agree it didn't matter.
     
  8. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    10,480
    Likes Received:
    426
    That may be true. But there is no guarantee that the retreat could or would have been successful. If Palaus had acted differently then so would the Soviets.There are way too many factors to be considered then just the order to retreat. For example the time it would take to make a fighting withdrawl. When the withdrawal was ordered.The time taken to prepare for a withdrawal.How much men and equipment could be lost or taken along the way.The troops themselves.Ammunition,food and POL. The weather.The Soviet reaction and subsequent attacks during that withdrawal.Things that no leader really has control over.
     
  9. bf109 emil

    bf109 emil Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    7
    A different light or view towards the Stalingrad battle can be found in his book The Gehlen Memoirs by General Richard Gehlen..pg 70
    ---oct.29 i took my latest report to general Zeitler, my report said there was nowhere sign of preparation for a major attack
    ---2 days later i repeated this view, but added there might be localised on the Romanian position at Serafimovich
    ---On 2 November I reported the first indications of the sixth-fifth and twenty-First armies building up positions from which the soviet attack would begin, air reconnaissance observed tanks and field artillery disappearing just north of the city and reappearing a few days later at Serafimovich.
    ---on 3 November we cannot be certain whether the object of the attack designed to lure forces away from Stalingrad, or an operation with a much broader objective, at this moment i was inclined to favour the former possibility.
    ----On the 4th, I mentioned for the first time that their where indications that the Russians where planning further major relief operations from Beketovka just south of Stalingrad.
    ----our air reconnaissance detected between two and two and a half thousand vehicles moving north of Kletskaya, and we where able to identify these new divisions concerned.
    ----10 November, I warned, " the appearance of the Soviet Headquarters for the south-western front somewhere to the norht-west of Serafimovich indicates that a major enemy attack operation is in sight.'
    ---by 11 november it was clear to us that the flow Kletskaya was slackening off, and on the 12th I stated in my written report to General Zeitzler:
    in front of Army group [DON] the enemy's intention to attack, which we have long suspected, is gradually becoming more clearly defined: in addition to establishing two main groups of forces which we have detected opposite the two wings of the Rumanian Third Army-where the enemy can now said to be ready to attack-their are growing indications that concentrations still farther weat,primarily in the Kalach area
    .....there is also numerous warnings to much so to type, but all heralded and warning sent by Gehlen, much to have fallen of deaf ears...source The Gehlen Memoirs...
    ISBN 0 00 211293 0
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    764
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona

    The problem here was that 6th Army couldn't retreat, unless you are talking about a "Dunkirk"-like scenario where they leave virtually everything behind. There were not enough motor vehicles or fuel to move the artillery and other towed weapons. Even horses for this purpose were in short supply. There would be no trains, trucks or, even wagons to move the wounded or troops. They would have had to walk.
    This meant that 6th Army could not move fast enough West to prevent the encirclement. The relief forces, themselves already depleted from fighting, were in little better shape. The Germans were defeated in this particular battle almost from the moment that the Soviets began their offensive.
     
  11. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    Paulus's 300,000 veterans might be good troops, but they were also tired, cold, and psychologically exhausted. They must break out of the circumvalation against at least three (roughly from memory) fresh, well-armed Rifle Armies and then some more in reserve to make good their escape. The Russians had two Tank Armies operation in the area to maintain the contravallation and those were armored mobile troops.
     
  12. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    267
    Would you have attempted a 'dunkirk' type withdrawal or stayed and fought?
     
  13. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    764
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    It made more sense to stay and fight. The airlift should have made improving the available airfields a priority over just supplying the army. That way the airlift could have been better sustained in the long run.
     
  14. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    267
    Although this is using hindsight a bit.




    If you knew the amount of forces that were apon you and the extent of their attacks and the high possibility of you encirclment, you would still stay and fight?

    Do you really think with the better airfields the battle could be won and the 6th Army saved?
     
  15. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    856
    Well said, and AGC always seemed to the bore the brunt of the fighting.
     
  16. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    372
    Location:
    Portugal
    'xcuse me, but what does AGC have to do with this?
     
  17. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    764
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    If the Germans had flown in Lorentz, Knickebein, or other navigational aids, both to the outside airfields and those within the encirclement the weather would not have played so great a role in disrupting the air lift. Improving the airfields by keeping them plowed of snow, patched and, even improving their taxi and hardstand areas would have gone a long way to help things.
    The US in the Berlin airlift paid very strict attention to turn around times while the Germans made little effort to do so in their airlifts. Having a more organized unloading area and better control of landings and take offs would have helped immensely.
    The nav aids make a huge difference. This is what made the US drops on Bastogne so successful. The 101st had Rebecca transmitters on the ground and the C47's making drops carried Eureka homing equipment. This allowed them to put their cargo exactly on target even in fog or cloud cover.
    The Germans could also have orgainzed their supply effort better. Much of what they delivered might have been droppable from low altitude rather than requiring a landing. I doesn't appear they made much effort to sort this out and use this method. Many of the drop containers might have been reusable too. Collection and placement on planes that did land would make sense.
    Given the initial size of the pocket dropping paratroops was also a possibility to reinforce it.
    Poor planning also resulted in many He 111 being used for transports. These should have been concentrated on bombing air defenses along the flight corridor to keep them suppressed. Using them against artillery positions would also have been useful.
    With fewer losses, fewer ground crashes the Germans could manage to better utilize the remaining aircraft. They did none of this.
     
  18. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    267
    OK good post.:)

    But had they been able to achieve this, could they actually stop the red army in all their numbers?
     
  19. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    90
    Red Army "storm groups" proved to be quite successful in Stalingrad. (the best Russian fighters armed with lavish scales of engineering equipment, fully armed with PPSH-41/LMG, and lots of grenades)

    General Raus (6th Panzer Division) also claims that his armored battlegroup could have saved the 6th Army at Stalingrad after achieving some local tactical successes against the encirclement.

    Not sure if it's post-war BS or not...
     
  20. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    856

    Im not forgetting the obvious as mentioned but, Paulus really leaves much to be desired as Commanding General of these fantastic units. They had (the Germans) so much great talent-that it's hard to believe that Paulus was put in command of such a fine force--instead of Manstein or someone like him.

    William Craig alos leaves much to be desired-as an Auther. I thought his book was OK, but also sucked Prune Pits.
     

Share This Page