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Stalingrad Survivors

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by Yaldy, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I saw your profile post on this topic as well:
    "The battle of StalinGrad lost Germany the second world war..... change my mind!"

    I'm not sure I've seen this Stephen Crowder/anti-SJW approach to discussing the fate of the War on the Ostfront before. I do understand that the Stalingrad-decides-all was a widely held belief after the war, but more and more evidence does seem to run against that thought.

    This is a huge and expansive topic to address in a brief post, but I do think that the failure of the initial Barbarossa offensive entered Germany into an unwinnable war of attrition. While catastrophic, Stalingrad was just one of the grinding steps along the way to ultimate defeat. The German army wasn't designed for nor capable of the huge scale, multi-year, long distance, total war problem that Russia presented. There is even some evidence that points to Stalingrad actually preventing an even more devastating defeat, as it tied up Russian armies that would otherwise have been used to envelope and digest the dangerously overstretched German forces east of the Crimean Peninsula.

    I'm fairly certainly no one here is even mildly concerned with "changing your mind", but more that a few of the members here would be happy to enter relevant information into the discussion.
     
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  2. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    Waht do you mean by your last part. “Furthermore even if...........need street lights”?
     
  3. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    I am use to speaking with people who have no Idea what I am talking about.... I did the Stephen Crowder thing in order to get a reaaction from people so I could learn more about the topic. However I do still stand by what I said because If the German army captured the oil fields (Russians did not cap or light them) they could have been able to rivle Russian tank and aircraft perduction (Gen 2 German tanks of course)
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Otto makes several good points about Stalingrad. I don't know what your sources are, but I have read numerous books including some first hand accounts such as Blood Red Snow by Gunter Koschorrek and Eastern Inferno by Christine Alexander. Look at William Craig's Enemy at the Gates and Michael Jones' Stalingrad which help to undermine your theory. Roads were unimproved so tanks and trucks were unusable in the fall rains and even less so in the ice and snow of winter. Even if the Germans were successful in getting that oil (and lwd makes some cogent points on that score) I don't think it would have done them much good. In addition, the German army was still very dependent on horse-drawn weapons. Horses were not meant to pull them in that heavy mud. In addition, they had a disturbing tendency to die in extreme weather.
     
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  5. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    You make some Very good points indeed, and I am here to learn. My information is mostly statisical and more or less feild reports (very scarce) One thing you also forgot to mentune was the almost non existent rail system where the German army faced. However I do beleve that being relitivly close to the black sea they could have shiped it to Romania. However Germany at that point really didn’t have controll of the Med. I do though think they would have found a way to export the oil.
     
  6. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    lwd is referencing that if the war in Europe was still ongoing through August of 1945, the A Bomb that went to Hiroshima would have likely been delivered to Berlin.
     
  7. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    That is Very true! I always forget about the A bomb and as dose everyone else.... however it would have been impossible to drop it on Berlin if the Germans had Air superiority. let alone another year or two of defense in France's AA and Radar.
     
  8. green slime

    green slime Member

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    No, the war was lost to Germany well before Stalingrad.

    German victory was predicated on the political collapse of the Soviet Union, as had occurred in WW1.

    Failure to achieve that in the first 8-9 months meant Germany was doomed. Hitler and his General Staff actually acknowledged this in their war gaming prior to Operation Barbarossa. The best Germany could hope for in the East outside a political solution was a stalemate; that the Soviets would be unwilling to make the sacrifices needed to achieve victory. This is a strategy of desperation.

    The Red Army replaced the losses in manpower it had incurred during the first fateful year against Germany already by December 1941. During the first month of war with Germany, Russia brought in 1,000,000 people into military service and 500,000 each month after that, for the duration of the war. This was vastly in excess of any German expectation of how quickly the Russians could mobilize. Germany could not match this, in any shape or fashion.

    Germany could never achieve Air Superiority; the US produced more aircraft than the USSR and Germany combined. This ignores even UK's production. Why else did Germany spend so many resources on Anti-Aircraft Artillery, to no avail? The Air war was lost in the skies over Germany, not over Russia. As desperately as the Wehrmacht needed air superiority, aircraft were consistently pulled from frontline units to defence of the homeland. Lack of access to oil did not prevent German production, as energy was coal-based. They produced as many aircraft as they could, yet always had a shortfall. Of pilots. Of oil. Of aircraft.

    Germany was short on nearly every resource except coal. Not just short on one, but on every single important resource; Oil, Rubber, Iron, Aluminium, Chromium, Titanium, Men, Food, Factories, Nitrates, Production facilities. Their desperation caused them to make fateful decisions that further crippled their ability to fight a long war; stripping units in training of qualified instructors to fill combat losses, forcing qualified engineers and physicists into combat units. Everything was sacrificed to plug the gaps and allow "one last ditch effort," to sway the balance in the East. Except it never did. The Soviet Union never collapsed. The Russian people endured. In fact, the closest Germany came to winning was in October, 1941, when there was panic in the streets of Moscow. Once that moment passed, once the Russians began to believe that the Fascist beast could be defeated, there was no reason for Russia to seek peace on German terms.

    Read "The Wages of Destruction." by Tooze.
     
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  9. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    How do you think the war would have been different if the Russians did not pull there troops from Siberia to defend Moscow? Do you think that Moscow would have fallen or would they have held? Also do you think with the fall of Moscow that the Stalin would have left the city or would he have stayed to the last? Would Russian have been able to still win the war or would Germany have won at that point? If so what do you think the outcome would have been, a second Russian civil war or a united resisting people?

    I know for the most part that Russia burnt down anything that the germans could have used (more or less) how effective was that? Were the Germans able to retool any of the Russian factories or did they just stay destroyed? If they didn’t retool did they produce Russian equipment to supplement there depleating stockpiles?
     
  10. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Thanks for your questions.

    The troops directed from Siberia, were firstly, not so many as is commonly implied, to have actually swayed the battle (there were many other Russian units involved; numerically, the "Siberians" constituted a small minority of the forces involved). Secondly, these units were not defending around Moscow as the Germans advanced, but were used in the counter-attack to beat the Germans back from Moscow, once the German advance had stalled; the Germans had no reserves at all, not of men, not of oil, not of machines. It was not, as many like to pretend, General Mud, or General Winter that prevented German forces from taking Moscow, but increasing Russian tenacity. The German war machine was utterly exhausted at this stage. Russia was mobilizing 500,000 men a month. Consider that. The Russians had already lost fantastical amounts of men and material; basically; almost the entire Red Army Airforce was destroyed in the first month. In the first 6 months of Barbarossa, Germans captured or killed numbers close to the entire Red Army as it stood prior to June 1941 (ca 5 million). Yet, because of the incredible Soviet ability to mobilise, the WM still faced in December 1941 approx. 4-4,5 million men (IIRC). The Germans were incredulous that there was anyone left to fight; yet they faced a foe almost as numerical as when they had started, and German supply lines were now (over)stretched.

    The time of doubt for the Russian leadership, it's darkest days were those in October. If Stalin had fled then, as it appears may have been planned, then that may have triggered a leadership crisis. We will never know. But something convinced Stalin to stay, and the panic and looting was halted. I believe (but there are many others on this forum that disagree), that Stalin understood that if he left the Capital, he would be finished as a leader, and to him that may have been a was worse fate than dying. We know Zhukov believed the Red Army could hold the city. And they did.

    The scorched earth policy was very effective; it removed grains and foodstuffs, able bodied people, and important production facilities to the interior. Of course, not everything was destroyed, and Germans did get some use from areas they gained control of, but not really in time; it takes time to implement control and enforce new regimes. Germans did not have enough manufacturing toolsets to build new ones; the German handcraft manufacturing philosophy was very different from the Soviet's Ford-inspired mass production facilities, but these were shifted or destroyed.

    Germans had such fantastical shortages of everything, they leeched everything they could from all their battlefields. This was one reason why they had amazing logistical problems. But I haven't heard of Germans capturing any factories and producing Russian military hardware that I am aware of. Unless we are counting Horse-drawn carts. Germans used plenty of those.
     
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  11. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    Why do you think the Germans had such a lagistical problem? Was it the way they produced war materials, lack of heavy indestry, allies relying to much on German equipment or was it just inabilety for equipment to reach the front? Do you have any websites or books or documents I can look at to get statistical data from?

    Was man power that big of a problem for Germany or was it the inabuility to equipt people to deploy? Would they use captured Russian trucks and make them in captured truck factoires or were there fuel shortages so drastic that even if they could produce more vehicals they couldn’t fuel them? I am sorry for asking so many questions, there is just so much to learn I really only know the basics when it comes to indeth things (besides tanks and infantry wepons).

    Also what ever happend to German shipping in the Atlantic or were they self sufficient.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My understanding is that the Soviets were ready to sabotage the oil fields should the Germans get close enough to them. PLS also note that the fields were quite extensive and the Germans would have needed to get quite a bit further to capture most of them. Germany was also short on steel and aluminum capturing oil fields aren't going to help all that much in that regard. It's also been suggested in previous discussions on this topic that it would have taken the Germans at least a couple of years and perhaps longer to develop the infrastructure to get the oil back to Germany. Doing so would also have consumed a fair amount of resources.
    QUOTE="Etanker, post: 839275, member: 44161"]That is Very true! I always forget about the A bomb and as dose everyone else.... however it would have been impossible to drop it on Berlin if the Germans had Air superiority. let alone another year or two of defense in France's AA and Radar.[/QUOTE]
    But what's going to buy them that additional year or two? Even with air superiority stopping a B-29 that going to drop at or near dawn or even at night based on radar targeting isn't going to be easy. Others have pointed out that with US production Germany is unlikely to have been able to challenge allied air supremacy in any case.
    It's already been suggested but Wages of Destruction has a lot of data in this regard. Part of the issue I think was that the Germans realized that they would have issues if the war lasted for any great length of time so they planned for a short war. When that plan failed they were left in a bit of a bind as they had given priority to firepower and rather neglected logistics. The economic issues Germany was facing in the 30s playing a large part in this.
     
  13. green slime

    green slime Member

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    The Rise and Fall of Great Powers (Paul Kennedy)
    The Wages of Destruction (Adam Tooze)

    The German economy was shattered in WW1. They were further hindered for 15 years by first the Treaty of Versailles, and then the collapse of the global economy during the Wall Street crash. German workmanship was so shoddy in the aftermath of WW1, it was a joke in Europe. Which lead to overcompensating, and placing enormous value on individual craftsmanship. Which meant Fordism such as it was adopted by the US and Russia, could never be accepted in Germany until it was far, far too late. The four year plans implemented in Germany with regards to factory construction etc, took time to reap the harvest; these were implemented "too late;" although they were already designed and projected before the war. It takes time to build, discover issues, revisit plans, retool, retrain workers.

    Germany had a smaller population than the Commonwealth, or the US, or Russia, until they conquered enormous swathes of territory; but those territories, apart from France and Czechoslovakia, where for the most not so technologically advanced. Poland was large, but poor, still recovering from being a non-entitiy for nearly 200 years (occupied by Russia, Germany, and Austro-Hungarian empires), then fought over for 4 years. So yes, manpower was a huge problem. It was so huge, as a percentage of the population, they had more women employed in the workforce than any of the allies at any time, and, by the end of the war millions of foreigners engaged in work in Germany (either as slaves or employed).

    Europe has not been self-sufficient in foodstuffs since before the 1st World War. It is only with enormous effort, EU subsidies, and advanced agricultural systems, that Europe is regaining some form of self-sufficiency in this field.

    You can't manufacture trucks in destroyed factories with workforces that aren't there. It takes months to train a worker to complete the tasks to adequately function in a factory. If almost all of the factory workers were evacuated, where are you going to find new ones? Breed them?

    They used and fielded equipment from every army they defeated. They produced Czech equipment, and used factories in France.

    Everything Germany did was on a shoestring budget. it was desperate. In other words, they needed the plan of a short war to work, or they were doomed. But they saw themselves as doomed if they didn't go to war; The interregnum USSR was gaining strength; the figures of industrial strength meant that to wait was suicide. The political developments in the West, meant that the time for war was not going to ever be so opportune. And Hitler was opportunisitic.
     
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  14. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    How was the distrabution of war materials to the front? Do you think tha if the Germans focused less on a navy in 41-45 it would have benifited helped there ground effort?
     
  15. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    Are there any data bases you can recommend?
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    As has been mentioned Tooze is a very good start. Some of his data is on line but the book is an eye opener. Paper back or electronic copies are relatively cheap.
     
  17. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    I am talking about digitized german documents talking about railways, war production and or troop movment.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There might be some links to that sort of information in the railway thread(s) over on the Axis History forum. They go into some considerable detail on the railways and I believe the movement on troops and supplies. For production Tooze's work is well footnoted I believe.
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Just remember the Strategic Bombing Survey. It may have some of the data you are interested in. It's available in a number of places on the web in several different formats.
    This links to a pdf version:
    https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a421958.pdf
    Several versions are available here:
    The United States Strategic Bombing Surveys : European war, Pacific war : United States Strategic Bombing Survey : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
     
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  20. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    Thank you very much! Is there any data on the lagistical aspect of the second world war?
     

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