Re: Von Paulus disobeys an order
- From: Louis C <louisc00@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2009 15:00:17 -0500
Paulus only hope once the encirclement occurred would be in early December.
So you say.
I am not alone General Yeremenko felt on the 12 December that Germans in
Stalingrad could have escaped
You mean he wrote this was their "only hope" and they couldn't have
attempted to escape earlier or later?
On the 23rd of November, the German line is cut. Small scale German counter
attacks have failed. Paulus has to organise his men for a mass breakout.
Paulus could have started organizing his men at least two days before,
when it became clear that the city would be encircled. Paulus knew the
dismal state of his army's logistics.
It's a tradeoff: the distance is greater, but his army is still
relatively fresh and the Soviets thin on the ground and disorganized.
If he waits, his army will grow weaker and he will fight dug-in Soviet
troops, a tougher proposition.
The problem isn't the equipment loss per se, but the fact that leaving
it all behind (for lack of transport) will mean the infantry will be
poorly supplied and unsupported, not to mention the effect on morale.
Not entirely Paulus estimated that his tanks could do about 20 of the 30
The tanks and running vehicles will keep up with the infantry until
they break down or are destroyed, which might well happen before a
breakout. The artillery, ammunition and fuel resupply trains won't.
Still German morale surprisingly remained high throughout the whole siege
despite already being poorly supplied and unsupported.
A good point. I don't think German troops were going to surrender,
they hated the Soviets too much and the war really was too savage, so
despair wasn't really an option.
Still, marching out in the open is bad for morale so people would let
themselves fall back and eventually die.
The area west of Stalingrad was encircled by mobile Soviet forces.
That means a few guns, tanks and armored cars. Infantry walking out
with whatever it could carry (including food etc) would have a serious
problem dealing with them.
Partly this would be compensated by the German air superiority
The Luftwaffe was suffering from the same problem as the rest of the
Wehrmacht, namely inadequate logistics and the need to redeploy its
own logistical tail as airfields were being overrun.
So "partly" has to be understood to mean "to a very small extent".
Furthermore, at Korsun which I think was more difficult almost 2/3 escaped.
Although I will say that many that got away were frost bitten wrecks
useless for any more fighting.
That's the example I had in mind as well. However, Hube's army was in
a better initial shape than 6th Army, in particular it was more mobile
and with enough fuel to remain mobile for a while. Even then, it was
mostly destroyed as an effective fighting force, all Germany gained
from the successful evacuation was those troops who returned to duty
in the following months. 6th Army was holding on to something
important, on top of tying up larger numbers of Soviet troops.
Well, Manstein did tell Paulus to break out. It is only on the 22nd
December that Hitler talks of holding Stalingrad and Hitler is probably
right as by the 22nd those troops in Stalingrad are doomed.
Technically you're right about Manstein: he told Paulus he believed a
breakout was probably the best solution. But he didn't order him to
break out, and Hitler had explicitely ordered Paulus not to break out,
which Manstein knew. In other words, my opinion is that Manstein
refused to shoulder the responsibility of a direct breakout order, and
the underlying message of "no breakout order" wasn't lost on Paulus.
Nor of this absolves the latter of blame - he could have attempted to
break out on his own initiative - but Manstein is far from snow-white
either. And Hitler hadn't waited for 22nd December to order Paulus to
remain in Stalingrad.
- Re: Von Paulus disobeys an order
- From: Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds
- Re: Von Paulus disobeys an order
- Prev by Date: Re: Von Paulus disobeys an order
- Next by Date: Re: Von Paulus disobeys an order
- Previous by thread: Re: Von Paulus disobeys an order
- Next by thread: Re: Von Paulus disobeys an order