22

So did it matter that the Red Army clung on to that small part of the city and, if not, why is such a big deal made of it? Yes, it did. By the time the battle for Stalingrad proper had begun and ran its course for the first few weeks, the Soviet high command was already thinking of what to do next. The plan that materialized would become Operation Uranus (...


20

Stalingrad was less of a "radical turn point" as it was an inevitable consequence of a long war between the Germans and the Soviets. Similar to Japan, Germany was not prepared for a long war, while the Soviets were not prepared for a short one. There had been plenty of other times when the Germans were encircled on the Eastern Front, but they always managed ...


17

First, Barbarossa was not a unmitigated success; while the territorial gains and Soviet losses were impressive, keep in mind the following: The German plan counted on the Soviet Army collapsing in the first month of war, because they did not have logistics to keep fighting so far from their bases. In fact, in December 1941 the Russians managed to push the ...


16

Another battle between the Russians and Germans that seems similar is Battle of Tannenberg during WWI. Out of 206,000 men of the trapped Russian Second Army 78,000 were killed or wounded and 92,000 taken prisoner [1]. However it seems Stalingrad still has the edge on this because both sides had their backs against the wall in 1942, whereas Tannenberg was a ...


15

In a thread on his site's now-deleted forum, Dan cited: Donovan Webster, Aftermath: The Remnants of War: From Landmines to Chemical Warfare — The Devastating Effects of Modern Combat The other main source, whom I think Dan mentions in that show, is Walter Seledec, an Austrian TV editor/official (and apparently brigadier) who brought footage of the ...


14

According to General Vasili Chuikov in "The Battle For Stalingrad," Khruschev was the political commisar overseeing the generals for the critical Volga region. When Chuikov was appointed to the command at Stalingrad, Khruschev asked him, "How do you see your task?" Chuikov replied, "We cannot retreat across the Volga. We will defend the city or die in the ...


13

Early reinforcements to Tunisia were a German armored division (10 Panzer) and an Italian (Superga) and infantry. Hitler promised more, and the retirement of Afrika Corps to Tunisia in February would add those forces to the mix, but these aren't relevant to Stalingrad Relief. So it seems that in theory the Axis might have sent 1 German and 1 Italian ...


12

The first stage of the Stalingrad campaign (pre-encirclement), lasted from mid-September to late middle November, or just over three months. The implications would have been very different if the Russians had lost the west bank on say, September 15th, October 15th, or November 15th. If the Germans had captured the west bank of the city by about November ...


12

Yes, the bone fields are still there. Especially around the Pitomnik Airfield, where balkas - eroded river banks - aren't plowed like the fields around them, and are littered with bones. I can show photos. I was there. There are still bones everywhere. You just have to slow down and look. Still, as of 1996, the Germans were allowed in to begin the business ...


10

No. With more aircraft Germany would have had the chance to reduce Stalingrad to debris. But debris are actually a good place to defend, even more than a city no being bombarded. In the city itself, Russian tactic in Stalingrad consisted in reduce as much as possible the distance with germans, to prevent german bombing since both sides were too close. More ...


9

I'm from Germany and can add an anecdotal answer. Stalingrad is, I think, seen as a gruesome battle with much loss of life - with an emphasis on the German soldiers. At least up to the early 90ties serious magazines would discuss the mistakes of the Wehrmacht and so on. My feeling is that the dominant narrative is one of German soldiers dying in a pointless,...


8

Yes it was. While neutralizing or bypassing Stalingrad may been a good idea, capturing it was a colossal waste of resources. The original, achievable German plan did not feature crossing the Volga. The main German attack was in the opposite direction, to the south. The original goal of Case Blue was the capture of the Caucus oilfields which Germany ...


7

No. The deficiencies of the Luftwaffe at Stalingrad, most famously the failure by the Luftwaffe to supply their encircled forces at Stalingrad, was not due to a lack of aircraft in Germany as a whole. It was due to a lack of dedicated transport aircraft and runways to fly them to and from, severe logistical problems, and because the Luftwaffe was primarily ...


5

You pose an interesting question. Short of investigating the German military archives, & assuming that they have complete records for Wilhelm Hoffman (the German government did have a notable problem of keeping its records intact in 1945), we'll have to deal with probabilities. According to the Wikipedia article on the Battle of Stalingrad, as many as ...


5

Major General Hans Doerr has written extensively about Stalingrad from the German point of view. He has described in considerable detail why attacking there (and trying to cut off Russia's oil) seemed like a good idea at the time, and why the plan apparently failed narrowly due to bad luck and some miscues on the part of the Germans.


4

You usually don't get casualties that goes so high; one side or the other will have the sense to realise that the battle is lost and retreat. When they can't, their losses will ramp up while the winner's will stay relatively modest. One battle with very high losses on both sides is the Dano-Swedish Battle of Lund. However, that was not due to the generals ...


4

To Oldcat replying to your comment of 3/26: Please bear with me for another day as my intent is to get set up to correspond directly here within the next couple of days. I'm having a computer issue now that I must get repaired but I did want to forward you some info to read and consider regarding your comment. The following information from the Army ...


4

Yes, the Soviets needed both prongs to succeed at the Battle of Stalingrad. Their goal was to encircle the German Sixth Army which occupied approximately 90% of the city. The Battle for Stalingrad had raged since 17 July, 1942 and both sides were completely committed to winning control of the city that bore Stalin's name. The Germans in and around the ...


3

You seem to overestimate the pure fact of the loss of the Goumrak airfield (on 21st of January), as even after that the 6th army still got the supplies by air (by another small airfield near Goumrak and by using parachutes) until the very end (which is not the end of January 1943, but exactly the 2nd February 1943, when the Strekker's group (ca. 40000 men) ...


3

The most detailed map, I was able to find, is here. As you can see both "pockets" at the time of a surrender had area of only a few square kilometers. However, by the 25th January (the last day the 6th German army had a continuous front line) the area under German control was still upto 100 square kilometers. In the morning of the 26th January the Red army ...


3

JFW I'm not sure what you're asking for here, 'the German perspective' in what sense? The German army made some serious strategic errors in their attempt to 'take' Stalingrad most of which I might add were fueled by Hitlers arrogance in his own military ability, a mistrust in his own Generals' ability and his petulance in wanting to take Stalingrad as ...


2

Yes. Even though I agree with both @Tom and @Kunikov's answers, I feel that there's also another element. Let's pretend Uranus, the encirclement phase, never happened at all. Even then the sacrifice of the 62nd Army is worthwhile. The Germans have so far achieved a lot by using Blitzkrieg and encirclement tactics. They've used their armor and superior ...


2

Official position of Khrushchev was called the Member of the Military Council of the Stalingrad front (commander A. Eremenko (Yeremenko, Jeremenko)). The Stalingrad front was defending Stalingrad, and later took part in the offensive. This positon is somewhat similar to "comissar" but has nothing to do with NKVD/KGB. He was attached to the front as the ...


2

No, it was not a distraction. Bypassing Stalingrad was not an option. The essential problem was that the Don River has a geography that would makes it difficult to establish supply lines across except in the vicinity of Stalingrad or much farther north, in the Kursk area. By controlling the Stalingrad area, the Sixth Army would theoretically have a base ...


2

The influence of Torch on the Cyrenaic battle is questionnable, as the Allied Torch forces were getting in contact with Axis force in East Algeria and Tunisia in a low fashion. I mean, because of logistic issues (mainly difficult roads and difficulty to get airstrips usable under the rain), the Allied sent piece by piece their forces from the landing beaches ...


1

Two main questions here: Why weren't remains buried? They weren't buried because there simply was no opportunity. The Soviets could possibly evacuate part of their corpses during the battle, the Germans had nowhere to go. And during the winter months, the only thing to do was pile them up in heaps and cover them with rubble as best you can (if you had the ...


1

I was there in November of 1998 in Pitomnik and Peschanka. Pitomnik still has remains in large areas where it is hard to walk without stepping on human bones. I tried not to wherever possible but I tried to show as much respect for the bones of all these young men. It was shocking. Not only that; German boots in pretty amazing condition, bullets, shells, ...


1

I went on a Stalingrad tour in 2000 and one day we were taken out to see old dugouts and foxholes. At one point near the northwest boundary of the pocket we were allowed to look around and some of us wandered to a field where farmers were working. In the drainage ditch next to the farm we saw remnants of bones. I wasn't sure they were human until someone ...


1

There's clips on YouTube of the Pitomnik taken by tourists over the past few years. In them you'll see small remnants of mines, but no human remains. This isn't to say that there aren't any remains, but I was envisioning vast fields of bones from the way Dan described them in the podcast.


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