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Manstein-Kursk-Hitler

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by denny, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. denny

    denny Member

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    Did Manstein want to continue the battle.?
    I have often heard he asked Hitler for more Troops/Tanks...is that true.?
    Did Manstein see a good chance for victory at Kursk.?
    Thank You
     
  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Manstein claimed that he could win and that the decision to halt Citadel was wrong . Initially (in the fifties,sexties ) a lot of people were believing this claim,but now it has been established that it was only the usual attempt of a defeated general to blame some one else for his failure : Citadel never had any chance for victory .
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    It is quite possible he (then and after) believed they were on the cusp of a victory that was snatched from his grasp. In retrospect, and based upon what we know now, this was mistaken. A utter victory at Kursk (pinching off the salient) would have given Germany a respite of perhaps 6 months in the East at the very best, and probably much less.

    The operation should not have been undertaken in the first place and the accumulated resources saved for the inevitable Soviet and Anglo-American offensive moves that were expected to occur during the summer of 1943
     
    green slime likes this.
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr Patron  

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    His most recent biographers ( eg Melvin ) now believe that Manstein realised that Citadel would ultimately fail. He did claim that he argued for his own Army Group to continue the assault but only to degrade the opposing forces further, rather thanto secure any sort of decisive victory.

    It's notable that Manstein is quite coy over Citadel in his memoirs ( both the abridged English and original German versions )
     
  5. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The problem was that there were enough reserves only for the east OR for the west (and even this is very optimistic) ,thus the Germans decided to take the offensive in the east to forestall a Soviet offensive before an allied landing in the mediterranean .
     
  6. denny

    denny Member

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    Thanks for all the info...that is kind of what I thought.
    It's funny.....just watched a "World At War" episode that addressed Kursk/Russia.
    The National Secrecies Act was still in place at the time of that series, so the producers (and viewers) had no idea about Ultra and how prepared the Kursk battlefield was for the German Attack.
    Thanks Again
     
  7. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Manstein ignores the fact that his flanks were being held with difficulty and that there was an whole front from reserves being activated and another coming down from the north. There was far too much of a risk of encirclement in staying. The idea that he could have won the battle is absurd, he was only halfway to Kursk it self
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Hadn't the Northern flank of the offensive been pretty solidly defeated prior to the attack being called off as well?
     
  9. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The German had, but the Soviet attack was quite successful
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I was referring to the German one. I can't see how one can expect to win a battle that is designed to be a pincer movement when one half is obviously broken and the other is bogging down.
     
  11. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    Operation Citadel was Hitler's idea.
    The Kursk-Orel "bubble" was the result of Manstein's defensive victories in spring 1943 after Stalingrad, when the Red Army had very little experience with offensive warfare against an organized and well equipped enemy in ideal conditions (spring, summer).

    Manstein's intention was to attack as soon as possible with limited objectives, mainly to shorten the front-line. But Hitler dreamed of a decisive victory with his new tank types and that the soviets would be overwhelmed by the Tigers and Panthers and finally would give up.

    So I guess, Manstein just claimed enough material to reach the basic objective (Kursk) whatever the cost. And he still wanted to command the entire eastern front without the influence of Hitler. So he needed a proof, that he had the more realistic view of the situation.
     
  12. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Manstein plan was not practical because the Soviets were taking corrective steps against just such an event within a week of the ending of the offence
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think Manstein was not considering victory, he wanted to continue and cause as much destruction to the Soviet tank forces as possible. He knew they were otherwise using that force to break through the German lines. Hitler declined, but then again I recall reading Hitler believed that the amount of battle would force both sides to wait until next year before another attack could be started but he was totally wrong as the Red Army was ready to start pincer attacks both north and south with massive forces.

    In North I read that Model had already received information of a Red Army attack to his flank, and he had practically pulled troops away from the offensive to protect his flank. He saw the Zitadelle was failing and was not going to let the enemy surprise him and destroy his troops. It took some 6 weeks until the northern German area had been lost.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I read that manstein considered to have a go and get more time to åreåare defenses By his last operations of Zitadelle to surround two Soviet panzer divisions and destroy them. Unfortunately donåt recall the units names. Hitler however did not want to advance, he believed the Red Army did not have reserves to attack but he was truly wrong as the reserves started campaigns that lasted some2-3 months after beginning leading to Kharkov.
     
  15. Jesica

    Jesica New Member

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    Zitadelle is very tricky to analyze. One reason is that 9. Armee was pulled from Rzhev to bolster Orel salient. With that the german line shortened but the soviet reserves augmented in strength. When the decision got so delayed the germans lost the surprise factor thus enabling a long, large exhaustion battle. The soviets had the upper hand. I agree that Manstein wanted to go on because he believed hurting the soviet armor was better than to stop and stand fast. He knew however that victory wasn't possible.

    Everything about german defensive actions post Barbarossa is obscure. The salients they held were aberrations to prussian tradition but they somehow ended being useful as the soviets tied huge reserves in front of them and were incapable of conducting precise offensive operations. Their doctrine of deep battle depended on the collapse of entire armies (like in Bagration) but they never managed to exploit breakthroughs at regimental level the way the germans did.

    It is hard to tell and I might be completely wrong, but I have the impression that if the germans kept Zitadelle going and attempted to stand fast in winter they may have held the line much better than by withdrawing past the Dniepr as they did.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
  16. harolds

    harolds Member

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    According to Guderian, he was against the delayed offensive. He realized that the Panthers, which Hitler and some of his generals thought would give victory, were in no way ready for operations. This, of course, was what happened. The fighting wore down the panzers not only with casualties, but also by wearing down the tanks that survived, so that they were breaking down when the Soviet counter-attacked. After Stalingrad you would thing that Hitler wouldn't put three panzer armees in a small area where they could be surrounded-but he did!
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Hitler believed the worst result would be 50-50. He only would win or have time to summer 1944 to create new guns and units. He did not think he would absolutely have to win. Otherwise he would have continued may 1943 as the mud had gone.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
  18. Jesica

    Jesica New Member

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    The problem is doctrinal: Panzers (even Panzer V) were not conceived to fight armor. Guderian wanted to create a strategic reserve of panzers for a speculative offensive role in a future. This is why Zitadelle is so tricky: there's no way to assure that creating a strategic reserve was enough and even could be done.
     
  19. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    One of the problems was also the number of infantry. There simply was not enough men to give protection to the tanks. And men losses were big during the first days of Zitadelle. No cover for tanks, and Panthers and Ferdinands either facing engine trouble or not having military cover. Just the beginning...
     
  20. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Not sure of what you meant by your first sentence. Panzers were not meant to fight armor? Or, were not originally conceived to fight armor but as the design was developed, that changed. If they weren't meant to fight armor, what is that long flipping barrel on the Panther for, a phallic symbol?

    RE. the strategic reserve. From what I got out of Guderian's writings, he was thinking of an offensive defense. At the time of before Zitadelle the one advantage the Germans still had was their mastery of maneuver warfare. The strategic reserve was necessary in order to keep the initiative.
     

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