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Thread: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

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    Garbarsardar's Avatar Et Slot i et slot
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    Default Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.



    Stalingrad

    On the evening of January 31st 1942, the German ambassador in Rome, while on holiday in the resort of St.Moritz, received the following call from the German ambassador in Berne:

    “Stop dancing! Stalingrad has fallen”

    Three days later the news was announced to the German people by a special broadcast:

    “The supreme command of the Wermacht announces that the battle for Stalingrad has come to an end…The sacrifice of the 6th army was not in vain. They died so Germany may live.”

    1. The importance of “…a name, no more than a dot in the map”.

    The battle of Stalingrad was the biggest military defeat of Germany in WW2, probably the most calamitous defeat in German history. The number of dead is still disputed; however no less than 60.000 died in the Kessel (castle-the surrounded area) and no less than 130.000 were taken prisoners. By adding the losses during the relief attempts, the battles around Stalingrad and the death of prisoners the total number of German losses can be no less than 290.000. Few of the prisoners ever returned. Other estimates bring up the Axis casualties of all types among all branches of the German armed forces and its allies to 850,000. The Red Army suffered over 750,000 casualties but still there is no final estimate on the exact number. The total number of civilians killed in the regions inside and outside the city is unknown but estimates put it as high as 150,000. In all, a total of no less than 1.7 million Axis and Soviet casualties resulted from the battle.

    But the most important aspect was the political impact. The Soviet efforts in Stalingrad greatly aided by an efficient propaganda gave Stalin a free hand in his negotiations with the Western Allies. The Soviet death toll combined with a well publicized victory, allowed Stalin to sway US and UK public opinion, to put pressure on Roosevelt and Churchill and to gain a moral high ground to support his territorial demands. In that sense Stalingrad did much, towards deciding the fate of Eastern Europe in the post-war era.

    2. A brief timeline

    June 22, 1941. Operation BARBAROSSA begins. Over 3 million German soldiers and 3300 tanks cross the Russian border. The Wehrmarcht is organized into three Army Groups . Facing them is the world's largest army comprised of 230 divisions of 14,000 men each, with 20,000 tanks.

    November 25, 1941. Operation TYPHOON. The Wehrmarcht's final drive on Moscow begins. The attack reaches to within 20 miles of Moscow before it is halted by stiff resistance and bitter cold.
    Operation Typhoon


    December 5, 1941. Hitler abandons the attack on Moscow. Two weeks later Guderian is dismissed for “giving ground”.

    June 28, 1942. Operation BLUE. Leaving the Northern and Central armies to hold their ground, Group army South split into two Groups would advance into the Caucasus, seizing Russia's oil supply and cut the Volga river at Stalingrad. The second force consists of the 6th army commanded by Paulus, Hungarian, Romanian and Italian troops.

    August 23, 1942. A massive bombardment by Ricthofen’s 4th air fleet, signals the beginning of the battle for Stalingrad.

    November 19, 1942. Operation URANUS, a two pronged Soviet attack is launched against the 6th Army. 5 days later, the Soviet forces meet at Kalach trapping the bulk of the 6th Army. Hitler reiterates his “no retreat” order; air bridge effort begins.
    Operation Uranus


    December 12, 1942. Operation WINTER STORM, fails to break the Soviet encirclement, and is called off after four days by Manstein.

    February 2, 1943. Surrender of the 6th Army.




    3. The causes of Defeat.

    Stalingrad was lost in 1933.

    Hitler refused to gear up the German society, industry and economy for war. In fact until 1942 and the ascension of Albert Speer in the armaments ministry, German industry was still producing vacuum cleaners in large quantities. The losses in army material and the indirect losses in personnel could be perceived as a deciding factor of Wermacht’s inability to sustain a prolonged war effort.

    Stalingrad was lost in May 1940

    The speed of the French collapse, created a cloud of false assumptions about the abilities of the German army and the efficacy of a war of movement. Hitler with his complete ignorance of logistics assumed that, what was true in the western theater of war should apply in any case. The wear and tear in vehicles, the supply nightmare, the communications quagmire and the resulting casualties that plagued the German army were instrumental in the defeat. Furthermore, Hitler’s support on Manstein’s Plan (see http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=48150) enabled him to push aside the advice of OKW (Geman Military Command); when his luck with military insights run out the situation was already irreversible.

    Stalingrad was lost in June 1941

    The scope of Barbarossa was too ambitious for the actual potential of the German army. The denial by Hitler to prepare the army for winter war, the consequent lack of lubricant for the machines and winter uniforms for the men reduced even more the chances of the operation. The ability for resistance and recovery of the Soviet army was grossly underestimated, as well as the profligacy with which the Soviet command would be throwing lives on the tracks of the Panzers. The concept of a nation hating Stalin as much as the invaders was soon dispelled in view of the clever Soviet propaganda that took Stalin and communism from the front pages and replaced them with “the great patriotic war”. Stalin would return as the “great strategist” only after Stalingrad.



    Stalingrad was lost in July 1941

    The delays in operation Typhoon resulting from the absence of clear strategic planning and Hitler’s constant redeployment of Panzer forces from Leningrad to Moscow and from Moscow to Kiev condemned the whole operation. If all German forces were concentrated either towards Moscow or towards the Caspian oilfields chances of success would be considerably higher.

    Stalingrad was lost on January 1942

    100.000 Germans managed to hold while encircled in the Demyansk Kessel, supplied by airdrops until relieved at the end of April. This event led to two dangerous pre-conceptions: that surrounded troops should automatically hold their ground and that an air bridge can always re-supply cut off forces. These assumptions were catastrophic for the conduct of operations in Stalingrad

    Stalingrad was lost on January 6th, 1942

    On this day Friedrich Wilhelm Paulus, a man who had never commanded a division or a corps before was appointed Commander of the 6th army. Lots have been written for his personality, he has been characterized indecisive and unimaginative with lack of initiative and failure to inspire the tr0ops. One can only wonder if the other commander from 13th Regiment, Rommel would fare better in his shoes during the initial offense. Or if an officer with a record of insubordination, like Guderian, would take the risk to ignore the orders that led to the encirclement of the 6th army as he did with his own troops after the battle of Moscow and was dismissed. This is one of the big “what ifs” for historians focused on personality perspectives of history. I am afraid that the correlation of forces, the strategic ambivalence, and finally the sorry state of the 6th army in the Kessel render this a rhetoric question.

    Stalingrad was lost in July 1942

    Entirely against all advice, Hitler restructured Operation Blue, depriving the 6th army of strong mobile forces like the XL Panzer corps and Hoth’s 4th Panzer army that could capture Stalingrad with minimal casualties in July, and also secure the flanks, thus preventing the later fateful Russian counterattacks. Over reliance on axis allies that were neither trained nor equipped for such task further undermined Operation Blue.
    Operation Blue


    Stalingrad was lost in December 1942

    This is the date of the failed relief effort by Manstein and Hoth. The issue is a thorny one because everyone involved acted under the assumption that this was a real (albeit final chance). It has been argued that Paulus did not attempt to break through and join with Manstein’s forces that had reached 30 kilometers from the Kessel. There were only three persons able to give this order: Paulus himself, Manstein as his immediate superior and Hitler. Paulus as we saw earlier could not take this step, Hitler would not so that leaves manstein as a potential villain. In my opinion this is not true. The 6th Army had no fuel, the soldiers were undernourished, frostbitten and suffering from dysentery making a desperate rush through the frozen steppe as suicidal as their encirclement. Manstein knew that from the beginning, having at his disposition all the reports from the 6th army. The relief attempt was a half hearted effort to show the world that at least he tried.

    Operation Winter Storm


    4.Epilogue

    During the Teheran conference Churchill presented Stalin with a sword, a gift from King George "...too the steelhearted citizens of Stalingrad". One can only wonder at the irony. The symbolic sword that Stalin used to rule the Eastern Europe was already his.





    Printed Sources:
    Stalingrad (1998) Anthony Beevor
    Barbarossa:The russian German conflict 1941-1945 (1996) Alan Clarck
    Lost Victories (1959)Erich von Manstein
    Panzer Leader (1952) Heiz Guderian
    Internet:
    http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com...grad/blue.aspx
    http://www.world-war-2.info/battles/bt_3.php
    http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com...ihilation.aspx
    and (thanks Hans for the heads up) an excellent website
    Last edited by Garbarsardar; April 13, 2006 at 01:49 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    I like it, nice work. Just out of curiosity, how long did it take you to put this together? This would have to be at least a 2 hour project for me. I might just be a slow worker, but damn, do you just know this off the top of your head or did you have to research all this? Personally, I like the maps the best. And the picture of Stalin sniffing the sword. :laughing:

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    Garbarsardar's Avatar Et Slot i et slot
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Thanks a lot.
    I did research on the timeline and the maps, also to find the exact quotes and the number of casualties. The rest is off the top of my head, since I've read a lot about WW2. And true, it took me 2 hours because English is not even my second language and I am awful in spelling...

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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    These are great! Would be awesome if you did these reports on different battles of history!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    This needs to be stickyed or at least placed in the Musaem.

    To much great work and information to go to waste and get lost in the depths of the mudpit.

    Great Information! I give it at least a 95%
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Greta Post Garb. Very interesting.
    I like the facts about how Germany had already lost the battle 10 years before due to the overproduction of Vacuum Cleaners!
    I find the battle of Stalingrad very interesting, I would watch the film 'Enemy at the Gates' if you are like me. I also find interesting the fact that the whole of Russia was obcessed in holding one town. It did bear the name of their leader and was in a very important strategic position and therefore came to symbolise the Russian resistance to the Wehrmarcht's giant war machine.

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    Hans Kloss's Avatar J-23
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    how Germany had already lost the battle 10 years before due to the overproduction of Vacuum Cleaners!
    LOL..Interesting thought.I do wonder if in 1933 or even in 1940 Hitler would have been able to show Stalingrad on the map.It looks like no matter what Germans would have done they would have lost at Stalingrad anyway.Let the legend live on


    in addition two links:

    http://www.stalingrad.net/

    http://216.198.255.120/diary/diary_main2.html
    Last edited by Hans Kloss; April 13, 2006 at 08:00 AM.

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    Shadow_Imperator's Avatar Italo/Aussie hayseed
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Nice, very impressive mate. Funny I share rather simular views, that Stalingrad (Let alone the entire war effort) was lost many years before Germans and Russians even began tearing eachother's guts out. I must get the name of this book, but from what I recall, in 1940, there was a 20% reduction in the production of supplies, weapons and war material... Hmmm, your about to invade Russia and you REDUCE PRODUCTION!!???!?! Hitler most certainly had a few screws loose upstairs...
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    Yorkshireman's Avatar Praefectus
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Good post. I have not long finished reading "Stalingrad" by Antony Beever, an excellent read.

    This is an qoute from that book showing the problems the Germans had on relying on their Italian and Rumanian allies to protect the 6th Armies flanks at Stalingrad.

    An Italian saregeant, when asked by a Soviet interpreter why his whole battalion surrendered without firing a shot, replied with sound civilian logic "We did not fire back because we thought it would be a mistake".

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    Hans Kloss's Avatar J-23
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    I must get the name of this book, but from what I recall, in 1940, there was a 20% reduction in the production of supplies, weapons and war material... Hmmm, your about to invade Russia and you REDUCE PRODUCTION!!???!?! Hitler most certainly had a few screws loose upstairs...
    Not only that. After fall of France Hitler authorised discharge from military service few thousand soldiers who he thought were more useful doing their civilian jobs then staying in the Army.Perhaps he was still hoping for some sort of arrangement with Stalin, we will never know.

    In my opinion Stalingrad was a psychological more then military turning point of the war

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    therussian's Avatar Use your imagination
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Perikles
    Greta Post Garb. Very interesting.
    I like the facts about how Germany had already lost the battle 10 years before due to the overproduction of Vacuum Cleaners!
    I find the battle of Stalingrad very interesting, I would watch the film 'Enemy at the Gates' if you are like me. I also find interesting the fact that the whole of Russia was obcessed in holding one town. It did bear the name of their leader and was in a very important strategic position and therefore came to symbolise the Russian resistance to the Wehrmarcht's giant war machine.
    I would hardl call Enemy at the Gates a historical movie. The only things they got right about it was that it was WII, the Russians were fighting the Germans, and that they were in Stalingrad.

    OTher than that, it was full of ******** propaganda, and false facts. The fact was that Stalingrad (though, like you said, was named after Stalin) was an industrial city. Industry was the backbone of the Soviet Union. Add to the fact that this was the last main area of defense before Hitler's drive to the Caucusas, he probably wanted to take it to reinforce his flanks.


    Anyway, great post Garb. I have a certain site which has an interactive map of the Eastern Front. Here is the link
    http://english.pobediteli.ru/
    Last edited by Perikles; April 21, 2007 at 03:43 AM.

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    MaximiIian's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    So...wait, why did the ambassador say that they had won the battle when they so clearly lost?

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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Morale.

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    Garbarsardar's Avatar Et Slot i et slot
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Perikles
    I like the facts about how Germany had already lost the battle 10 years before due to the overproduction of Vacuum Cleaners!
    It was an extreme example, I have to concede that...
    However, it is indicating the way German industrial production did not adjust to the needs of a protracted war. Partially because of a naive creed in the blitzkrieg myth, but more I believe due to the fear of Hitler that admitting the prospect of a long war, would somehow jinx his possibility of winning. It is no secret that Hitler was deeply superstisious, (he lived with Borodino's nightmare) and that is also the reason he was unwilling to order an attack on Moscow;just in order to avoid Buonaparte's steps. He stated his belief that the war will be won if "...we manage to break the curse of Russian Winter".

    Quote Originally Posted by Perikles
    I find the battle of Stalingrad very interesting, I would watch the film 'Enemy at the Gates' if you are like me. I also find interesting the fact that the whole of Russia was obcessed in holding one town. It did bear the name of their leader and was in a very important strategic position and therefore came to symbolise the Russian resistance to the Wehrmarcht's giant war machine.
    Beevor describes Stalingrad as "...duel by proxy". I think that after the ruin of Kiev (not one step behind, encirclement and anihilation) Stalin was forced to see the strategic possibilities of pinning down the 6th army. In fact Stalingrad was drip-fed with reinforcments just to keep the Germans busy while the troops for operation Uranus were drilling behind the lines.

    I watched "Enemy at the gates". The doctrine of "sniperism" -which later became so popula that the Soviet authotities had actually to discourage soldiers from joining the sniper movement- is for me another proof of the main advantage of Stalin over Hitler. Stalin could do away woth the ideology and the party line at any time as long it helped his purpose. Sniperism was an extemely individualistic way of fighting, totally against all Communist collectivistic principle. Staln quickly realised that communist ideals do mot appeal so much in war time as Heroes and the Motherland. Hitler on the other hand was a prisoner of his racial ideology. If he had given self-governing priviledges to the Ukranians and Bielorussians, Germany would have a significant support and no partisan problems to plague supply lines. To push it even further, if Hitler had kept the Jewish scientists from leaving, Germany would probably had the "bomb" before the US...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Imperator
    Nice, very impressive mate. Funny I share rather simular views, that Stalingrad (Let alone the entire war effort) was lost many years before Germans and Russians even began tearing eachother's guts out. I must get the name of this book, but from what I recall, in 1940, there was a 20% reduction in the production of supplies, weapons and war material...
    While I could not find stats, I'm sure you are right. Frieser mentions that in October 1939 (just after Poland) Germany had shortages of:
    30% to 86% in infantry weapons with anti-tank guns at a 76% shortage and main battle rifle at 42%
    Just imagine what would happen if there was no "phoney war".

    Quote Originally Posted by Hapsburg
    So...wait, why did the ambassador say that they had won the battle when they so clearly lost?
    He meant that they lost. That the "fortress Stalingrad"-as Hitler proclaimed it- had fallen to the Soviets. I understand you confusion. At the time, in Germany the propaganda was that Stalingrad was in German hands, but for a tiny part (which was true only temporarily) and the admission that the 6th army was surrounded came much later...
    Last edited by Perikles; April 21, 2007 at 03:43 AM.

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    Hans Kloss's Avatar J-23
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    He stated his belief that the war will be won if "...we manage to break the curse of Russian Winter"
    More then weather factor, real curse was Soviet ability to replenish any losses of people and equipment in virtually no time

    Hitler on the other hand was a prisoner of his racial ideology. If he had given self-governing priviledges to the Ukranians and Bielorussians, Germany would have a significant support and no partisan problems to plague supply lines. To push it even further, if Hitler had kept the Jewish scientists from leaving, Germany would probably had the "bomb" before the US...
    Under the circumstances he could not listen to suggestions of people like Rosenberg. All he needed were people who knew how to properly administer occupied territories -people like Kube not idiots like Koch. But even without all draconian policies, problem of terrorists/partisans would have still existed

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    Ahlerich's Avatar Praeses
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Quote Originally Posted by therussian
    I would hardl call Enemy at the Gates a historical movie. The only things they got right about it was that it was WII, the Russians were fighting the Germans, and that they were in Stalingrad.

    OTher than that, it was full of ******** propaganda, and false facts. The fact was that Stalingrad (though, like you said, was named after Stalin) was an industrial city. Industry was the backbone of the Soviet Union. Add to the fact that this was the last main area of defense before Hitler's drive to the Caucusas, he probably wanted to take it to reinforce his flanks.


    Anyway, great post Garb. I have a certain site which has an interactive map of the Eastern Front. Here is the link
    http://english.pobediteli.ru/
    many railway tracks meet at stalingrad and i believe ships or riverboats or however you call it. those where reasons too why hitler wanted stalingrad. well at least he said that..if that is true cant be said.
    there are 2 WW2 movies i recommend:

    Stalingrad -it is a german movie and gives a bit of a clue how stalingrad must have been like (not comparable with hollywoodmovies like enemy at the gates) i do not know if the movie has been dubbed to english or if it exists in other countries with subtitles though

    Downfall -another german movie about the last 2 weeks of the war in hitlers bunker. it has been made as accurate as possible based on stories of those who where there, mainly based on a book by hitlers secretary. as far as i know it is not dubbed in other languages then german but it for sure exists with english and french subtitles, i guess also with other lnguage subtitles.

    both good movies. of course an 90min movie does not unveal the full complex history of 6 or 12 years but it gives you a little idea how it was..at least those 2 movies are not raping history

  17. #17
    therussian's Avatar Use your imagination
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Ys, Stalingrad is available in the US, it's with subtitles.

    Also, for a good WWII Eastern Front movie, I suggest "Osvobazhdenia", or "Liberation". Unfortunately, it's a Soviet film and I doubt it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find it with English subtitles or dubbed.

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    Hans Kloss's Avatar J-23
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Quote Originally Posted by therussian
    Ys, Stalingrad is available in the US, it's with subtitles.

    Also, for a good WWII Eastern Front movie, I suggest "Osvobazhdenia", or "Liberation". Unfortunately, it's a Soviet film and I doubt it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find it with English subtitles or dubbed.
    I saw this film (split into 3 parts) few years ago -nice movie to watch but unfortunately riddled with Soviet WWII propaganda. I much prefer The Fate of a Man (Sud'ba cheloveka). Many years ago I saw very good b/w war movie about female Soviet AA unit but I can't remember the tile. Recent Russian production "Morning Star" is pretty good too.

  19. #19
    Garbarsardar's Avatar Et Slot i et slot
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahlerich
    many railway tracks meet at stalingrad and i believe ships or riverboats or however you call it. those where reasons too why hitler wanted stalingrad. well at least he said that..if that is true cant be said.
    I think that the German army could capture easily Stalingrad in July 1942, or even bypass it, (see first post).
    BTW Downfall was an excellent movie, I strongly recommend it too.

  20. #20
    No, that isn't a banana
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    Default Re: Stop Dancing! Stalingrad Has Fallen.

    Yes, Stalingrad was definitely not strategically important in late 1942. It's connection to the Volga was much more importatnt than the city beng a rail hum or industrial center. The city should have been sieged (like Leningrad) and by passed altogether...

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