Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Battle on the Volga: A German Victory at Stalingrad

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Battle on the Volga: A German Victory at Stalingrad


    The Battle for Stalingrad was the bloodiest battle in human history, and over 1.5 million casualties were caused during its length from the 17th of July, 1942 to February 2nd, 1943. It is considered one of, if not the, turning point of the war in Europe.

    So, what would have happened if things had gone differently? What if the Germans were able to secure the city in only a month of hard fighting, or encircled the Soviet defenders instead of fighting within the city proper?


    The Russians were hard pressed during the fighting, and the Germans nearly won historically. So imagine a scenario where the Germans surround the Soviet defenders in the city and secure the far bank early in the fight, a stroke of luck letting them gain bridgeheads before the Soviets could respond. Surrounded on all sides, the Soviet commander in the city soon surrenders despite Stalin's orders not too, and the Germans gain control of a fairly intact Stalingrad with a minimal loss of life.

    Would the existence of the 6th Army, mostly intact and in control of the vital Volga river crossing, have allowed the Germans to secure victory? Or would the Germans have only delayed the inevitable for a while longer?

    The Russians were outnumbered initially by about 83,000 men, and the Germans did have the edge in numbers of aircraft by a large ratio (2:1 at the very begining, and much higher later).

    Linky.

  • #2
    I would say that, after Stalingrad, the Caucasus would have fallen to Germany, along with their oil reserves if the Soviets didn't blow them up first. I don't know about victory in the war though, the Soviets could still field a huge army, and the Americans and British were getting heavily involved on the other fronts.

    And since, as you said, the fight would've ended quickly with low loses on both sides, I don't think the Soviets would've thrown in the towel. Russia would've destroyed their factories or moved them east before Germany could get them, and the Americans and British were (if they didn't already) establishing air superiority over Germany. So no, I don't think Germany would have won.

    Comment


    • #3
      As I understand it, the original objectives for 'Case Blue' were the industrial regions of the Don/Volga region and the oilfields and refinerys of the Caucasius region. With closing the transportation routes from the 'Lend Lease' terminus in Persia as a secondary object. Stalingrad itself was not a specific objective.

      The oil does look critical. Should the USSR lose acess to the oil and refinerys of the south region are there other adaquate sources to draw from? If not what happens to the critical mechanized portions of the Soviet military, including the aviation?

      Comment


      • #4
        this is a possible what if.

        had Stalingrad resistance fallen immediately. German forces would have been able to regroup and prepare the city for wintering - i'd assume an assault across the volga would even have been attempted to secure the eastern sides.

        so with less losses at Stalingrad, Germany would have a small strategic reserve of 3 infantry and 2 panzer corps to either spread out on the front (to support Italian 8th army and romanian 3rd and 4th army) while sending reinforcements for the caucasus drive.

        there would be no psychological advantage at that point since there would be no protracted and long fight for the city. but the propaganda win would have been huge!

        in the long run. not sure, even with the caucasus falling, the USSR had so many reserves that it could have still launched a massive MARS; URANUS and SATURN operation - which could still succeed, or fail.... I still think the USSR would win in the long run, but it would make it so much more difficult.

        as with any scenario that lenghtens ww2 in europe, you end up with a radioactive berlin sometime in late 1945....
        "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

        Comment


        • #5
          If the Germans take Stalingrad early, then they must shift troops to the Caucasus, and that leaves their allied forces guarding or crossing the Volga with fewer German troops nearby. Soviet reserves can still break the line. And the Soviets could still use Astrakhan instead of Stalingrad as a supply nexus--as they did histroically.
          As has been said, oil is the key, and if the russians destroy the oil, the
          Germans are no better off than they were historically.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by grognard View Post
            If the Germans take Stalingrad early, then they must shift troops to the Caucasus, and that leaves their allied forces guarding or crossing the Volga with fewer German troops nearby. Soviet reserves can still break the line. And the Soviets could still use Astrakhan instead of Stalingrad as a supply nexus--as they did histroically.
            As has been said, oil is the key, and if the russians destroy the oil, the
            Germans are no better off than they were historically.
            Of course, Stalin might demand that the forces earmarked for operations near Stalingrad be shifted further south to try and regain the Caucuses more directly, splitting up the Russian troops and leaving less to fight the Italians and Romanians.

            Plus, with Stalingrad in German hands its plausible that the Germans would both have reserves to use to help counter the Russian operations and would have meant more Luftwaffe strength to help attack any crossings, etc.

            Still, if the Germans kept focused on the South and did not reinforce their gains in and around Stalingrad, then what the Russians might do is encircle Stalingrad back and then proceed to cut off all of the German forces headed to the caucuses, which would be an even greater disaster than what happened historically at Stalingrad.

            But if the Russians were thrown into dissaray from such a swift and sudden German victory at Stalingrad, they might not be able to respond before the Germans could seize the oilfields to the south.

            Comment


            • #7
              Fall Blau...?

              A desperate last gasp offensively...don't even try to claim that "Citadel" was a serious offensive effort (when considered within the scale)...

              The scale of the Eastern front is way beyond the comprehension of anyone who's supporting/proposing a "rosy" outcome for the Ostheer by this point...

              IMHO, the dream ended in 1941 when the rump of AGC went on the defensive around Smolensk (due to logistical constraints); subsequent action by AGS/2 Pz.Armee and attendant straightening of the southern part of the front ("Kiev" encirclement) represents the peak/end of decisive German offensive power in the theatre...
              I'm not saying the 1941 move south was a mistake; it was necessary, but it also represented the end of decisive operations by the Ostheer.

              So they capture Stalingrad...BFD. It does nothing good for the big picture as far as the Wehrmacht is concerned. Great propaganda victory but so what...

              Fall Blau has still "shot it's bolt", there's still only a single railhead at Stalino supplying the entire effort, supply lines are still hopelessly overstretched, attrition of German offensive capability is still occuring on a daily basis...

              N.B. My euphemism, "shot it's bolt" refers to the maximum continuous advance than can be sustained within the immediate (in theatre) logistical network; for the German capabilities of 1942 this was about 400-500km-max.

              The German logistical system was simply not up to the task of operating beyond this, on such a vast scale, while on the offense; nobody's logistics were up to this in the summer of 1942. Yet now we're trying to carry out such operations even further from the economic (logistical) heartland? With essentially the same inadequate supply train? With a million less experienced soldiers? Without the 4 million tons of booty POL that Barbarossa had?

              If this scenario had occurred then it's likely that significant re-enforcement would have been given to Armee Group "A" and the Caucasian effort; German allied armies would still hold the vulnerable northern flank, there simply weren't enough German troops available for any other option. Regardless of whether Paulus secured a bridgehead (across the Volga) in the Stalingrad area, the Red Army would still have complete freedom of mobility to the east of the Volga/north of the Don. Historically, supply was already a nightmare; further increasing the number of forces operating at an even greater distance from the single railhead (i.e. Hoth goes south), cannot be a good thing...

              As to the oil? Look at the "effort" at Maikop...

              So now it comes down to...what does STAVKA do?

              Bagging the entirety of the former Armee Group South (now A. Grps. "A" & "B") seems the most likely outcome, if they can pull it off logistically...
              Punching (and holding) a fortified corridor along the axis: Kletskaya-Morozovsk-Rostov (~300km) would seem to do the trick...and the Red Army certainly has the resources to do it by November 1942...OUCH
              From there? Cut off the Kerch/Crimean exit route? Re-enforce Budenny (N. Caucasus Front)?

              My conclusion? An earlier end to the war; more Germans in captivity (for longer)

              Read "Supplying War" by Martin Van Creveld...

              Cheers, Ron
              48 trips 'round the sun on this sh*tball we call home...and still learning...
              __________________________________________________ __________________

              Comment


              • #8
                Nobody seems to grasp the salient feature of Soviet strategy. They wanted the Germans tied to Stalingrad. Their counter-attack was far enough away from the city NOT to immediately alert the Germans to their goal. Their success is illustrated by Hitler forbidding von Paulus to disengage and prevent the encirclement from occuring in the first place.

                Whenever the Germans maintained operational mobility, they were able to savage the Russians. Hitler's insane meddling turned a war of mobility into a war of position.

                PS--Has anyone considered that the German spearheads into the Caucasus were not equipped to do anything with the wells even if they had reached them. Just as the vaunted German General Staff's vaunted planning capacity had not prepared for an invasion of Britain in 1940.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AnchoritSybarit View Post
                  PS--Has anyone considered that the German spearheads into the Caucasus were not equipped to do anything with the wells even if they had reached them. Just as the vaunted German General Staff's vaunted planning capacity had not prepared for an invasion of Britain in 1940.
                  I think that cutting off the oil to the Soviets would have been a great benefit to the Germans, especially if the Red Army were forced to turn their attention to reopening the oil flow.

                  For instance, the US was sending a large amount of petrol to the USSR, but it was (if memory serves) mostly high-octane aviation fuel that the USSR could not produce in large quantities. So while taking Baku and all that area wouldn't have given the Germans fuel for a while, it would have cost the Russians dearly just when their counter-offensives were begining.

                  One of the Russian's advantages was their numerical advantage in trucks (mostly US built) and tanks. Without the fuel to keep them all moving, it is hard to see the Red Army's attacks achieving what they did historically. Does anyone have any information about how much of the Red Army's fuel came from the Caucasus?

                  Plus, if Stalingrad were taken in a short timeframe without large losses of life on the German side, the 6th Army wouldn't have been tied down in the city and would have been able to respond to the Russian attempt at encirclement. Remember that Operation Uranus occured in November, while the Germans (in this scenario) took the city in July (or maybe early August). They wouldn't be tied down by Hitler's suicidal orders, and might succesfully have been able to contest the Russians at the crossings, especially if they were not engaged in Stalingrad itself. A mostly intact Stalingrad would provide a place for supplies, have good infrastructure, etc.

                  Heck, the Germans could have left the inferior Romanian troops in the city to defend it and guarded the more vulnerable flanks themselves.

                  EDIT: We must also consider the political ramifications of taking the city. German morale would go up a tad, Soviet would be harmed a tiny bit, and the loss of one of the USSR's major cities might have influenced Stalin to seek peace with Hitler (he doesn't see British or American troops trying to open up another front, for instance), or for other nations to intervene (perhaps convincing Turkey to be a little less isolationist in exchange for old Ottoman territories, or control/freedom for Turkish minorities in the USSR?).
                  Last edited by Daemon of Decay; 03 Sep 08, 16:19.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The long vulnearale flank would still have remained which was the main problem fot the germans.On the long run,it would not have changed the issue.

                    Comment

                    Latest Topics

                    Collapse

                    Working...
                    X