Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

More Important Battle

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by USMA03, Jun 22, 2001.

  1. USMA03

    USMA03 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    What do you guys think is the more important battle on the Eastern Front, Stalingrad or Leningrad? Both could be viewed or a severe shot at the forces' moral. One was the fight for Stalin’s city which eventually Stalin won but the other was a 876 days siege which never resulted in victory. Both were massive “black-holes” for men and material. Leningrad could be viewed as an important navel port, but Stalingrad can be viewed as the valve on the life line by which the Soviet Union survived. I personally think Stalingrad was a greater defeat and therefore a more important battle. It allowed the Russians to maintain the I.V. line north to support all future campaigns. The German defeat also ended any hopes of reaching the oil in the Caucasus. Lastly, the overwhelming fact that it was Hitler vs. Stalin and that Stalin won coupled with the fact that the entire German 6th Army was lost makes Stalingrad a more important battle. What do y’all think?
    Steve :rolleyes:
     
  2. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,386
    Likes Received:
    888
    Location:
    Jefferson, OH
    I would have to choose Stalingrad. It was more demoralizing because of the loss of a whole Army and the forced retreat of the Caucaus Army. The battle for Stalingrad was really won when the Germans reached the Volga further south. At that point, the river traffic was stopped. But, since it was the city of Stalin, Hitler had to take the bait and fight for the city. Leningrad may have been important but not as demoralizing.
     
  3. Wittmann

    Wittmann Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2001
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Guys,
    I agree, Stalingrad was a huge disaster not only the collapse of the front and the loss of the 6th army, but also because it prevented german access to oil suplies in the east. And it also stopped the german effort to reach the turkish border and force turkey that way to join the axis (in the caucasus as well in the middle east and africa.
    I do believe Leningrad was a major defeat, but the consequences were not were important as those of the battle of Stalingrad.
     
  4. Killjoy

    Killjoy Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0
    Stalingrad.
    The loss of 6th army was something Germany couldn't afford.
    Also, the "distraction" of trying to achieve a political or propoganda victory by capturing "Stalin's city" bolloxed the '42 offensive.
     
  5. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    I have to agree with everybody, Stalingrad was the most important battle on the Eastern Front-even though capturing the city would not help the German war effort any.
     
  6. Gibson

    Gibson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2000
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think both were terrible battles that cost huge numbers of men and material.

    But think about this--in those 876 days (almost a three year siege), the amount of men tied down in the defensive battles around the city are almost as great as those numbers destroyed in Stalingrad. If Germany had sacked the city, then in all likelihood Finland would be more willing to elicite its support for further drives against the U.S.S.R. Moreover, during the siege of Stalingrad a key factor - the German forces in the Crimea after Sevastopol's fall were instead of brought up to guard the flanks and help push for the drive for the Caucuses were diverted in fighting around Leningrad and Lake Ladoga.

    Stalingrad was a huge defeat, but if Leningrad had fallen with a massive siege during the initial advances in 1941, all those forces tied down in wouldve been available for other would-be offensives and it wouldve strengthened Finland's ties with Germany to an even greater extent.

    To anwser the question--Leningrad, but this is not in terms of demoralization. ;)
     
  7. USMA03

    USMA03 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    If the Germans had captured Leningrad after an initial push in 1941, would they have even gone for Stalingrad in 1942? Given the proximity of Moscow, and that Leningrad was an important port city, this would lend itself to be a position that the Russians would want to defend at all costs. Would the German forces have committed to a battle that was not definite victory? It seems that a massive assault would be a bit risky...

    Of course I am only playing the Devil's Advocate. You raise a very important point about the battle turning into a WWI-style Battle of Attrition. These forces, of course, could have been put to use if victory had been achieved. In terms of demoralizing, Stalingrad takes the take. But In terms of a more important strategic battle…it is close. What do others think?
    :rolleyes:

    [ 23 June 2001: Message edited by: USMA03 ]
     
  8. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Had the Germans captured Leningrad, yep, I do see Hitler as doing other stupid wasteful attacks elsewhere. These could have been the other "Stalingrads".

    Had Hitler been sane enough, he should have protected the Caucuses better, and could probably have captered Moscow, and I do see that this could have been a "Stalingrad" type battle. He simply did not have the forces and logistics, to do all he had planned, and to hold all the territories he had--unless he had been smart enough to enlist the aid of Russian volunteers. Throughout the war, he could have had in excess of 2 million Russian volunteers.

    He could have had possibly much more Russian support, had he played his cars correctly, and had not mistreated them so badly. If that had happened, I believe many more Russians, would have switched sides.
     
  9. Gerard

    Gerard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    27
    Stalingrad by a mile. The premier formation of the Wehrmacht destroyed along with an entire front. whatever chance the Germans had to win the campaign was bled white on the Volga
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    24,809
    Likes Received:
    1,707
    Location:
    Finland
    Actually Gotthard I do believe the best ( veterans of 1939-41 ) of German Army was destroyed during the autumn and winter 1941-1942. For the summer 1942 Hitler was forced to gather troops from the other axis countries ( Italy, Rumanian etc and we know how motivated they were to fight.. ) and could only start an attack in ONE Army group sector which he chose to be the Southern Army Group. I´m sure Hitler would have wanted to attack in all three AG sectors if he could have.

    Also the German Army Group was almost totally wiped out in the south in Kharkow but instead the Red Army was hurt really bad when Manstein let them enter the trap . If the weather had not become so awful and the Germans had plenty of reserves I wonder how far could the Germans had attacked after Kharkow March 1943? All the way back to Stalingrad? ( A huge but an interesting what if in my opinion! ) I mean the Red Army really got beaten badly but could gather the reserves during the muddy period for the summer fighting at Kursk.
     
  11. Gerard

    Gerard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    27
    To be honest Kai, all Manstein did was buy the Germans a few months. At this stage (early 1943) it was apparent that the Germans had the Tiger by the tail but couldnt let it go. I take your well-made point about the German losses in 1941 but in 1942 they were still able to take the offensive albeit in one army group area only. After Stalingrad the entire southern Flank was in disarray and losing 300,000 men has gotta hurt. And we all know what happened in Operation Citadel............... ;)
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    24,809
    Likes Received:
    1,707
    Location:
    Finland
    Yes, Manstein bought a couple of months, but if Hitler had kept his SS troops in Kharkov ( Häusser ordered them to pull out against Hitler´s order ) the whole of AGS would have collapsed as practically all the German troops would have been captured. No wonder Häusser was not hanged in the end...Just think of that, no AGS...

    And if Manstein could have waited a bit longer
    ( at least claimed by the man ) the Red Army losses would have been even bigger but Hitler wanted and ordered a counter attack to begin immediately ( as he always did ). the Red Army losses were terrible anyway.

    Definitely the German Army losses were huge and could never be replaced during the war. No doubt about that. And stupid losses as well.

    The question I wonder as many have is whether the Germans could have had more success if the "Zitadelle" had continued in May when the weather was fine again and not in July when the odds were totally against an attack for Germans.
     
  13. JagdtigerI

    JagdtigerI Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,352
    Likes Received:
    209
    It would have given them control of Volga traffic as well as a moral boost for taking the city which bears the name of the opposing leader.
     
  14. Matthew

    Matthew Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2008
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    1
    I would say that Stalingrad was more important. The soviets couldn't afford to let the city fall into the hands of the Germans. Both sides fought as if the outcome of the battle would change the outcome of the way, and it proved to be correct.
     
  15. bf109 emil

    bf109 emil Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    7
    If scorthed earth is on the list, i will vote this...imagine the logistic nightmare of feeding a horse drawn army, as the Werhmacht was having to transport a bail of hay, 500 miles per horse per day the 40,000 used horse/cattle just in Stalingrad alone...if this isn't a voting option, perhaps Stalingrad was a bigger defeat, but even capturing Stalingrad didn't assure safe passage across the Volga, all it did was allow a landing zone on the banks of the Volga for Russian re-inforcements to continue battling...the weakness was the lack of Wehrmacht and equipment on their north flank....when Gehlen told Hitler the building of Russian forces 100 miles north of Stalingrad, and what was in store...well history is done, and the fate sealed by Hitler accusing Gehlen, and his staff of treasonis or negetive views and lies...

    But logistically, Leningrad was a true target and held key points, the key to the Baltic, and re-supply routes sent to Russia from GB and the USA to archangel

    bf109 Emil
     
  16. clems

    clems Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    3
    Moscow also was decisive. What would have happened if the gemrans had captured the city and Stalin ?
     
  17. clems

    clems Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    3
    But Stalingrad will stay as the decisive one in history.
     
  18. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    371
    Location:
    Portugal
    Otto likes this.
  19. schnellboot

    schnellboot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is not a doubt in my mind that it was stalingrad. I believe the concept of an "ideological victory " was somewhat more appealing to Hitler than it should have been. perhaps a good game plan would have been to simply encircle both cities and make the main goal of the wehrmacht Moscow and the soviet leadership.
     
  20. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    371
    Location:
    Portugal
    And the means for that?
     

Share This Page