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A Stalingrad 'what if'

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  • A Stalingrad 'what if'

    Probably discussed before but I have been reading alot about pre-Stalingrad battle and post Stalingrad actions... and was wondering :

    What if the Germans only decimated/ruined Stalingrad from the air, and pulled back to solid defensive positions around Rostov and maybe the Don river before winter?

    Does that change early 1943 actions very much?

    Does saving 6th Army from destruction give huge benefits later on?

    Does Hitler go toward the SE or try at Kursk the next year.

    Let those sharp minds around here rip .
    SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

  • #2
    You mean :if they gave up ALL territorial gains of Fall Blau,including the Caucasus ?

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    • #3
      Yes sir.
      SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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      • #4
        Who cares - those *rs*h*l*s deserved to lose.

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        • #5
          Right... but I was interested in other ways to accomplish that task .
          SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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          • #6
            Nothing would do the Germans any good in the long run.

            If they avoided the Stalingrad encirlement at the end of 1942, why would that make the summer of 1943 (Kursk, or something like Kursk) look any different? An alternate history might give the 1943 Germans more infantry, but not any meaningful increase in tanks or aircraft. Supplies, fuel, and ammunition stocks would be the same. I just don't think more foot soldiers saved from the Stalingrad debacle would make 1943 any different for the Germans on the Eastern Front.

            The real course of events:
            Aug 1940 - Germans can't invade England.
            Aug 1942 - Germans in North Africa can't break through to Cairo
            Oct 1942 - Germans in North Africa can't stop British from breaking through and chasing them to Tunisia.
            Nov 1942 - Germans in North Africa can't stop Anglo-American seizure of NW Africa
            1942 - Germans can't capture Leningrad
            1942 - Germans can't capture Moscow, but do defeat Soviet offensive.
            July 1943 - Germans can't prevent fall of Sicily
            July 1943 - Germans can't punch through Soviet defenses at Kursk
            Sept 1943 - Germans can't prevent invasion of Italy
            1944 - Germans can't defeat Anzio beachhead.
            1944 - Germans can't prevent Allies landing in Normandy
            1944 - Germans can't prevent massive defeat of Army Group Center
            1944-45 Germans can't breakthrough in the Ardennes

            My point is that maybe in an alternate history you can avoid making the name Stalingrad an icon for defeat, but you can't avoid Germany losing the war anyways.

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            • #7
              Thanks for your input.
              SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dgfred View Post
                What if the Germans only decimated/ruined Stalingrad from the air, and pulled back to solid defensive positions around Rostov and maybe the Don river before winter?
                The Luftwaffe pretty much did destroy Stalingrad from the air, so all that remains is for the Germans to establish a winter line anchored by Rostov and running along the Don to Voronezh. There would have to be a point to this move by OKH, perhaps to allow the Soviets the strategic initiative in hopes of destroying their offensive power through defensive depth?

                Does that change early 1943 actions very much?
                Yes, considerably. This shortens the frontage, eliminates attrition of 4th Pz Army and 6th Army (men, machine, equipment, fuel, munitions, etc.) as well as Army Group 'B'. What is left is a shorter, more dense front, better supported and unlikely to yield an encirclement and far more likely to have reserves for a counter punch.

                Does saving 6th Army from destruction give huge benefits later on?
                Yes, the 6th Army in its decrepit state in the kessel extracted a huge toll on the Red Army. If 6th Army is not attrited in Stalingrad, is not encircled but instead is well supplied and supported, I see it as an extremely powerful defensive force in the way of any Soviet attack.

                Does Hitler go toward the SE or try at Kursk the next year.
                That would depend on the winter battles, but my guess in this ATL is that Operation Uranus would suffer the same results as at Operation Mars did in the OTL. That would leave the Germans in better condition in the spring with a different set of options (limited offensive to destroy Red Army mobile reserves? -best option IMHO).
                "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                -Omar Bradley
                "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                -Anonymous US Army logistician

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                • #9
                  The problem, Greg, in What-Ifs is that there is an assumption all other things remain static. That is a major leap of faith/logic. A key question would be: What would the Soviets being doing during this pull back? I doubt they'd give the Germans time and space to create a kill zone. The Soviets were not as dumb as postwar German documents maintained. I believe they still would have struck the weak-sisters of the Heer in the line. Also trying to sell a withdrawal to One Nut is next to impossible . . .
                  Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                  "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                  What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RichardS View Post
                    The problem, Greg, in What-Ifs is that there is an assumption all other things remain static. That is a major leap of faith/logic. A key question would be: What would the Soviets being doing during this pull back? I doubt they'd give the Germans time and space to create a kill zone. The Soviets were not as dumb as postwar German documents maintained. I believe they still would have struck the weak-sisters of the Heer in the line. Also trying to sell a withdrawal to One Nut is next to impossible . . .
                    Heresy! Heresy! Begone, infidel!

                    Don't ye knowe the holiest truthe that the Sacred Order of Wehrmacht Alternate History fans has established? The Red Army is only allowed to be a crash test dummy! It may not react to the brilliant moves of hindsight strategists, and even if its reaction is somehow permitted by them, it must be brushed out of hand as ineffectual, only to underscore the genius of Aryan mind.
                    www.histours.ru

                    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                    • #11
                      I'm not trying to start 'that kind' of argument ... just curious.

                      I never quite understood why Hitler wanted that bombed-out rubble of a place anyway and should have been content reducing it to that.
                      SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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                      • #12
                        The Germans were still attacking in mid-November, despite weak flanks and ruined Mechanized Divs being their only reserve.
                        This kind of bone-headed arrogance has a name- Victory Disease.

                        IMHO- the irony is that the thing that might have saved the 6th Army from annihilation at Stalingrad would have been defeat at Kharkov the spring before.

                        But, back to the OP- Rostov?
                        No, the idea was to win the war, not engage in a years-long battle of attrition that only the Russians could (and did) win.
                        By mid-October, Stalingrad was ruins. From then on it was just a battle of prestige. Stop attacking then and pull the Panzers back for a refit. The logical place for that would be Kalach, which also happens to be where the Red Army pincers met.

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                        • #13
                          I think Kalach would be way more vunerable during the winter. Still like it tho .
                          SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ShAA View Post
                            Heresy! Heresy! Begone, infidel!

                            Don't ye knowe the holiest truthe that the Sacred Order of Wehrmacht Alternate History fans has established? The Red Army is only allowed to be a crash test dummy! It may not react to the brilliant moves of hindsight strategists, and even if its reaction is somehow permitted by them, it must be brushed out of hand as ineffectual, only to underscore the genius of Aryan mind.

                            The bulldozer for the heretics

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dgfred View Post
                              I think Kalach would be way more vunerable during the winter. Still like it tho .
                              It was a railhead with a valuable span over a good-sized river. It was also the center for the 6th Army training command (German boot-camp was so rushed that every German Army had their own training centers to get the newbies up to speed).
                              The first Soviet tanks to cross that bridge were waved through by the guards because they assumed that these were the captured machines being used for training.
                              Valuable real estate, the Russians didn't pick it for a meeting point by accident.

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