The battle of Stalingrad

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Guest, Feb 23, 2003.

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    44rugerfan
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    (6/26/01 3:37:22 am)
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    The battle of Stalingrad
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    I was watching the history channel, big specail about the russian front in WWII. They said that the russian army lost over one million men in the battle of Stalingrad. One million men. I grew up in Wyoming, where during tourist season we might hit 500,000 in the whole state. Double that. Wow. I think I have to get a mosin nagant now.
    Hunt. Kill. Repeat.

    the real fredneck
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    (6/26/01 8:10:04 am)
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    I remember seeing pictures of the dead stacked up like cordwood having to wait till spring to bury them.

    polishshooter
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    (6/26/01 9:07:12 am)
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    Stalingrad WAS the war, gentleman.

    It was goodnight Irene after that meatgrinder, and the Soviets were never in danger of losing...

    Uncle Joe reacted well, always had enough trained reserves to react to anything, he just thought the main thrust was going to be around Moscow, could not believe his luck the stupid Nazis went after Stalingrad.

    He just fed troops in piecemeal to buy time to activate the reserves, knowing every Russian that died was replaceable 10 times over, every German was not replaceable at all. And kept the word of his plans and reserves from even his Generals and commissars in the city much less the world so everyone thought they were "on the ropes" so the Germans would keep trying, the allies would keep sending massive amounts of aid,...and the troops involved would fight and die desperately for "Mother Russia." He did it so well historians STILL don't tell the true story of the battle, it's only coming to light since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

    All the while massing his armies nobody in Germany much less the world had a clue they had accross the River from his Hungarian, Austrian, and Italian allies on the flanks, and from then on it was "history."

    Germany lost the entire war right there, they just didn't realize it yet.

    44rugerfan
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    (6/26/01 11:25:30 am)
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    Re: The battle of Stalingrad
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    Weren't the Germans planning on stopping for a while after they reached the Volga river? All they had to do was to secure Stalingrad and move north, and they had it won. There was a point where Uncle Joe was down to a few hundred yards of real estate between the Germans and the Volga. He just kept feeding men into the fray, sending ship after ship across the river in the face of withering fire from the Germans. He had penal units, convicts who were to atone for their sins with blood, sent out on suicide missions. Their job was to run twords the germans and get shot up so the russians could gauge strength and firepower of enemy postions. Isn't that just insane? WWII was six years where the world just lost it's mind.
    Hitler should have read Sun Tzu. "Therefore I have heard of military operations that were clumsy but swift, but I have never heard of one that was skillful and lasted a long time. It is never beneficial to a nation to have a military operation last for a long time."
    Hunt. Kill. Repeat.

    kdubaz
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    (6/26/01 6:29:49 pm)
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    As I understand from reading (which is only what the writers fill the pages with), the Germans intended to stop at the Volga, because everything east of it was Asia, in their minds.

    Hitler made a throurgh mess of things - he had taken over as Supreme Leader and general by then. Had the armies switching assignments a few times and had everyone out of position with snarled logistics. With winter approaching, and knowing what had happened in front of Moscow the previous winters, the Germans pulled most of the draught animals to the far rear areas (Don River) to keep from having to forward fodder for them - remember, the German army depended almost exclusively on horses for transport and artillery movement.

    The Rummanian army was not equipped to German standards, had little artillery and practically no armor. Absolutely no air power. The Italians were not much better, plus the Italians were not too happy about being in Russia to start with.

    The Russians in Stalingrad had been issued "stand or die" orders and the NKVD was there in force to assure everyone stood or died. A negative comment about anything earned you a bullet in the back of the head, not matter what rank you held.

    Uncle Joe had a Hell of a time convincing his army commanders of the wisdom of stripping other fronts and sending the reserves to the Stalingrad area - only his fierce personality and the obvious options on disobeying him caused them to concede.

    When the Russians swept thru the Rumainnains and Italians on the flanks like a hot knife going thru butter, no one believed the collapse would be so quick - the Russians barely had the logistics to complete the encirclement before coming to a stalled stop. That was one of the big drawbacks for the Russians the entire war - they could never get adequate supplies forward to exploite breakthru's or sustained assualts. When Mainstein (sp) tried to reach the trapped 6 Army, he too, ran out of logistics and armor, coming up 40 miles short of the pocket. Goering promised Hitler and the German staff the Luftwaffa (sp) could provide the trapped Army a minimum of 550 tons of resupply daily - the absolute most ever supplied for a single day was 350 tons - usually only about 110 to 200 tons daily made it. This wasn't anywhere near what was needed, so the 6th Army starved and fought ineffectively with curtailed ammunitions and fuel for armor.

    Hitler never allowed any thought of "breakout" by Paulus and his command. He also, issued "stand or die" edicts. When the Russians shot down most of the German air transport the writing was on the wall. With the resupply of Red Army units, the 2nd phase began in mid-January and lasted only a few weeks until Paulus himself was "captured" in a Stalingrad bunker in a department store. Having just been promoted to Field Marshal (who was supposed to commit suicide instead of capture), Paulus allowed himself to be captured, rather than surrender. He turned to Soviet propaganda later and joined the ranks of those who helped the Reds in their cause.
    Keep below the ridgeline!

    polishshooter
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    (6/26/01 8:01:30 pm)
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    Kdub, everything you say is true and the classic explanation since the end of the war BUT...the part about "stripping other fronts" is not correct, but is what was taught and thought until recently, and "officially" encouraged by the Soviets. WWII was never at any time even close in the East.

    Stalin had all the reserves he could ever need. He was NEVER at ANY time short of trained manpower. BUT he was so obsessive about secrecy he never even told his top Generals he had them, and since the purges of the 30s, all at the top knew better than to ask. All they knew is whenever Stalin OK'd an attack, whole new armies mysteriously appeared, well equipped and trained.

    They were from the over 150, (That's right, 150!!!) reserve units he had in secret, that he would hold to commit to offensive action.

    The ones at the frontier, the ones the Nazis overran and captured with ease were second-line troops with the obsolete equipment. Stalin WAS NOT caught napping.

    On the DEFENSIVE, you're right...feed in the worst troops, convince them "Mother Russia" depended on them and only them, no more help was coming, all the while mere tens of miles away massing well equipped and trained forces for the counterblow.

    This is all new information, in fact some of the newest is from historians rewriting what they had previously written, all because of new info obtained from secret Russian archives opened since 1989. One of the best is from a guy who spent WWII as a correspondent in Russia, and then went back in 1995 and at an obscure museum saw a declassified map of the Stalingrad Battle at it's height that had all the reserve armies posted, and what their new designation would be for the attack when activated...and he finally understood what to ask, and explained why he started to hear of all these "new" units shortly after Stalingrad when he was there. THEN he got into the old Soviet archives, and we still don't know everything!!!

    History is not "fixed." When you think you know everything about a battle or a period is when new research or information can change everything. Nothing is etched in stone...but that's what makes History exciting!!!

    obelix2
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    (6/28/01 1:58:06 pm)
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    I get to fight with Polish.

    Statement: Nobody, not even somebody as ruthless as OJ, commits 2 million second-line troops to defend the bulk of his industry and resources. Agreed: OJ had cards up his sleeve. But the initial disasters were also his fault, for purging the Red Army of anyone with imagination. Hitler didn't get around to that point till 1944.

    BTW, OJ was able to remove troops from Manchuria as early as the 1941 winter offensive, since he had a reliable spy in the Tokyo German Embassy who told him what the Japanese were up to.

    polishshooter
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    (6/28/01 2:10:29 pm)
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    Never said Joe was SMART, just crafty. He actually thought his crappy troops on the frontier would hold the Germans, plus he never actually thought Hitler would attack no matter what the warnings said.

    He didn't believe they were as crappy as they turned out, BUT nevertheless he DID keep the good stuff back. He was paranoid as hell, and was hedging his bets, like any good dictator does. (Republican Guards, anyone?)

    It's a good thing he sent MOST of those purged generals to Siberia, instead of giving them a Nagant round to the back of the head, quite a few of those "disgraced" were later reinstated as "Heroes of the CCCP" and put back in command during the war.

    Another myth in the process of being broken is the one that has the Soviets moving all that industry east over the Urals and not missing a beat. Very little was moved DURING the war, most were moved before, or new duplicate factories built BEFORE the war. Very little actual machinery was moved "in the face of the Germans." All that really was moved during the war was the populations to work in them, but the natural course of refugees from the battles took care of alot of that also. For example, the Tula Arsenal technicians were moved to a new factory already built, kept up the Tula production, but when Tula was retaken from the Germans in the Stalingrad counteroffensive, they moved right back to Tula, and rebuilt the existing plant.

    The "Great Industrial Movement" was really a Soviet Propaganda invention.

    Uncle Joe was counting on DISTANCE to protect his industry from the beginning.

    Where you been, OB? Missed the discussions!!!

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 6/28/01 3:11:56 pm

    obelix2
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    (6/29/01 12:13:06 am)
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    sorry.

    kdubaz
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    (6/29/01 4:06:52 pm)
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    Not only was he counting on distance to protect his industry, Mike - he also rightly counted on distance to beat the Germans at their own game. The Germans knew they were in trouble going too deep into Russia, and planned on the Volga being the line of departure.

    Wise men have always counseled that Russia and China will be difficult to defeat by direct assualts - they are too vast to contain or box in the home armies. That reason alone kept Truman out of Manchuria and China at the end of WWII and the Korean conflict. George Marshall (Sec of State) and Omar Bradley (Sec Defense) tutored Truman in the arts of war and convinced him not to turn McArthur loose to cross the Yalu River and enter China.

    Joe S. knew if he could suck the Germans deep into Russia, he would have them by the short and curlies. He did, and he did! I'll go along with the concept he might have sacrificed a lot of troops in falling back to lure the Germans onward to the chosen places of battle (Stalingrad and the steppes, not in front of Moscow) for a grand scheme. I still feel it was a matter of opportunity, rather than a long thought out plan, however. He possessed cruel, animal cunning more that intellect. He was highly stressed in the first year of the conflict and seemed to have difficulty in any sort of clearcut strategy, rather had knee-jerk reactions to developing situations. The 2nd year, with aid from allies and blundering by Hitler allowed him and his staff to begin developing strategy. As Ob2 stated, he had a lot of rebuilding to do after the late '30's officer purges. And, yes, the banished senior officers on the Chinese/Manchurian borders did excellently against the Japanese armies, gaining very valued experience that Stalin was wise enough to regonize and utilize.
    Keep below the ridgeline!

    polishshooter
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    (6/29/01 5:24:57 pm)
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    Right on, Kdub, I'm not for a SECOND claiming Stalin KNEW what Hitler would do at any time, he was an opportunist from the get go.

    In fact, Stalingrad was a meatgrinder for so long PRECISELY because Stalin thought that the main thrust was going to be back at Moscow and kept most of his reserves near there, took a while to get them all positioned around Stalingrad. He even fed troops from Siberia into the fight so as not to tip his hand with any of his reserves prematurely committed.

    Hitler obliged by sending more and more troops into the hell, weakening the flanks. Plus German intelligence screwed the pooch, the FEW reports of Russian massive troop movements to northwest and southeast that made it to OKW were summarily dismissed, because "everybody knew" the Russians were smashed the year before and had no reserves...

    Stalin never thought the main fight would be at Stalingrad, but knew there was going to be a fight like that, he grabbed the opportunity.

    THAT was his genius. Always save reserves for the counterattack, at the right place and time, wherever that may be, then ATTACK. He never expected to win by defense.

    The war was over the minute those massed 152mm and 122mm guns, and all the others that the Germans had no idea were there started the barrage signalling the counterattack, north and south of Stalingrad.

    Talk about pants around the ankles...
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