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  1. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    23 Aug '12 13:22 / 1 edit
    Today is the 70th anniversary of the day the German 6th Army under von Paulus reached the Volga River north of Stalingrad and commenced the bombardment of that city.

    So, in honor of the anniversary of the start of arguably the most significant battle of all time, I pose the following question:

    If Stalingrad had fallen in the first days (as it very well could have) and the Wehrmacht secured the west bank of Volga before the Red Army could counterattack, would history as we know it not exist, or would the Red Army have inevitably prevailed anyway, the difference between a win and loss at Stalingrad meaning only an extra few months of war in the long run?
  2. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    23 Aug '12 14:03
    Originally posted by sh76
    Today is the 70th anniversary of the day the German 6th Army under von Paulus reached the Volga River north of Stalingrad and commenced the bombardment of that city.

    So, in honor of the anniversary of the start of arguably the most significant battle of all time, I pose the following question:

    If Stalingrad had fallen in the first days (as it very well c ...[text shortened]... ce between a win and loss at Stalingrad meaning only an extra few months of war in the long run?
    Personally, I find it difficult to believe that the Germans would have been able to triumph, even with a quick victory at Stalingrad. Since the Soviets refused to be cowed into submission, their great advantage in numbers would still have won out in the end.
  3. 23 Aug '12 19:14
    Originally posted by sh76
    Today is the 70th anniversary of the day the German 6th Army under von Paulus reached the Volga River north of Stalingrad and commenced the bombardment of that city.

    So, in honor of the anniversary of the start of arguably the most significant battle of all time, I pose the following question:

    If Stalingrad had fallen in the first days (as it very well c ...[text shortened]... ce between a win and loss at Stalingrad meaning only an extra few months of war in the long run?
    "Planned Chaos" by Ludwig Von Mises, asserts that the whole Eastern front war has been overstated. He writes from a much closer time line, and saw the Atlantic war as by far more important.

    Speculating on how much difference it might have made, is futile. In the end, Hitler had bit off more than he could chew.
  4. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    23 Aug '12 19:16
    Originally posted by normbenign
    "Planned Chaos" by Ludwig Von Mises, asserts that the whole Eastern front war has been overstated. He writes from a much closer time line, and saw the Atlantic war as by far more important.
    While I don't like to judge books without having read them, that sounds bizarre.
  5. 23 Aug '12 19:20
    Originally posted by sh76
    Today is the 70th anniversary of the day the German 6th Army under von Paulus reached the Volga River north of Stalingrad and commenced the bombardment of that city.
    hey
    So, in honor of the anniversary of the start of arguably the most significant battle of all time, I pose the following question:

    If Stalingrad had fallen in the first days (as it very wel ...[text shortened]... ce between a win and loss at Stalingrad meaning only an extra few months of war in the long run?
    They had made preparations for losing Moscow and moving the bulk of their military east but inevitably the counter attack against an even more over extended Wehrmacht would have been successful.

    It is one thing advancing into the vastness of Russia, but staying, or getting back out alive is quite another, ask Napoleon.
  6. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    23 Aug '12 19:26
    Originally posted by kevcvs57
    They had made preparations for losing Moscow and moving the bulk of their military east but inevitably the counter attack against an even more over extended Wehrmacht would have been successful.

    It is one thing advancing into the vastness of Russia, but staying, or getting back out alive is quite another, ask Napoleon.
    You can't compare the broad front controlled by the Germans from Lake Lagoda to the Black Sea to the little horse drawn penetration of Napoleon.

    While it's legitimate to argue that the Wehrmacht was not big enough to win a protracted war against the Russians, it is inaccurate to say that the supply lines were an insoluble problem for the Germans. Once they had administrative control of any area, the supply lines were quite good within that area.

    The European powers managed to control islands and areas around the globe for many decades in spite of far greater supply problems than the Germans in Russia.
  7. 23 Aug '12 19:54
    What would have been interesting is if the Germany had taken all of Europe and the US developed the A-bomb.
  8. 23 Aug '12 20:12
    Originally posted by sh76 to kevcvs57
    ...
    While it's legitimate to argue that the Wehrmacht was not big enough to win a protracted war against the Russians, it is inaccurate to say that the supply lines were an insoluble problem for the Germans. Once they had administrative control of any area, the supply lines were quite good within that area.

    The European powers managed to contro ...[text shortened]... the globe for many decades in spite of far greater supply problems than the Germans in Russia.
    You should read (among other books):
    Supplying War: Logistics From Wallenstein to Patton by Martin Van Creveld
    Kiev 1941: Hitler's Battle for Supremacy in the East by David Stahel

    The Axis (Germany had allied forces: Romanians, Hungarians, Italians, Finns
    (who technically were co-belligerants) Slovaks, Spaniards etc., not to mention
    'volunteers', such as Ukrainian nationalists, from the occupied USSR itself) had
    severe logistical problems during Operation Barbarossa (1941), which made
    impracticable its success, as originally planned. It's true, however, that the
    importance of Soviet partisans in disrupting Axis communication and supply
    lines once the fronts had stabilized was exaggerated by Soviet propaganda.
    How bad were the Axis logistical problems? It depended upon the circumstances.

    When European imperial powers were able to control distant colonial territories,
    they, unlike Germany (1941-45), were not challenged by any organized opposition
    as powerful as the USSR, led by Stalin and backed by Lend-Lease from the West.
  9. 23 Aug '12 20:30
    Originally posted by sh76
    You can't compare the broad front controlled by the Germans from Lake Lagoda to the Black Sea to the little horse drawn penetration of Napoleon.

    While it's legitimate to argue that the Wehrmacht was not big enough to win a protracted war against the Russians, it is inaccurate to say that the supply lines were an insoluble problem for the Germans. Once they h ...[text shortened]... the globe for many decades in spite of far greater supply problems than the Germans in Russia.
    What, so you are saying it is harder to supply an island force by sea and air than it is to supply a military machine the size of the Wehrmacht all the way across the Russian Steppes with considerable partisan activity and the problems of terrain, and extreme weather conditions.?

    That is without the counter attack factor

    Btw The Grande Armee consisted of 500,000 troops but less than 100,000 returned, Napoleons main problem was an inability to resupply in terms of men, food, and equipment, and He actually managed to take Moscow, but it did not make one iota of difference

    One of the main reasons Hitler committed and lost between 500,000-850,000 troops was that it was named after his Russian counterpart i.e vanity. Strategically it was almost a side show, and couild have effectively been bypassed and dealt with after the Russian Army had been destroyed.

    It is worth celebrating as a testament to the bravery and determination of the Russian people, but as a world changing historical event; no I dont think so.
  10. 23 Aug '12 20:31
    Originally posted by sh76
    Today is the 70th anniversary of the day the German 6th Army under von Paulus reached the Volga River north of Stalingrad and commenced the bombardment of that city.

    So, in honor of the anniversary of the start of arguably the most significant battle of all time, I pose the following question:

    If Stalingrad had fallen in the first days (as it very well c ...[text shortened]... ce between a win and loss at Stalingrad meaning only an extra few months of war in the long run?
    If Stalingrad had fallen in early September 1942 and the Axis had 'secured
    the west bank of the Volga', then presumably the German Sixth Army would
    not have been eventually surrounded and forced to capitulate. So how much
    difference would preserving the Sixth Army have made on the rest of the war?
    I think that having the Sixth Army around would have helped the Axis put up
    more resistance to Soviet offensives from 1943 onward, but not nearly enough
    for the Axis to win the war against the USSR, assuming that Hitler would have
    made the same other military and political decisions that he made historically.

    But Case Blue's primary strategic objective was not capturing Stalingrad (the
    possession of a ruined city held little practical value) but capturing the Soviet
    oil fields in the Caucasus. If the Axis had been able to capture the oil fields
    relatively intact (which seemed extremely unlikely) and to find a way quickly
    to transport the oil back to Germany (which also seemed extremely unlikely),
    then Germany's fuel shortage could have been abated. The loss of the oil fields
    in the Caucasus also could have resulted in a fuel shortage for the USSR (which
    had yet to discover oil in Siberia), impelling the USA (then the world's greatest
    source of oil) to attempt to make up the difference.

    I doubt that the hypothetical early defeat of the Soviet Army at Stalingrad would
    have significantly changed the outcome of the war, assuming that Hitler still would
    have made about the same other same military and political decisions that he did.
  11. 23 Aug '12 22:10
    Originally posted by sh76
    While I don't like to judge books without having read them, that sounds bizarre.
    Russia's army was as backward as the country. The Germans were defeated by the Russian winter and long supply lines. The Atlantic war was how the Russians, Brits and others were supplied. As long as American ships got through Germany was doomed.

    Another way to look at it is, how long would it have taken the Russians to drive the Germans out, if Hitler didn't have a Western front to worry about, or a Southern front?
  12. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    23 Aug '12 23:22 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    If Stalingrad had fallen in early September 1942 and the Axis had 'secured
    the west bank of the Volga', then presumably the German Sixth Army would
    not have been eventually surrounded and forced to capitulate. So how much
    difference would preserving the Sixth Army have made on the rest of the war?
    I think that having the Sixth Army around would have h ll would
    have made about the same other same military and political decisions that he did.
    If Germany had secured the land bridge between the Don and Volga and could control shipping on both rivers, the Caucuses would have been close to cut off. It is entirely possible that List's armies would have succeeded and capturing at least some of the Caucuses oil.

    As it is they made it as far as Maikop before having to retreat due to the collapse of their northern flank; i.e., at Stalingrad.
  13. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    23 Aug '12 23:24
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Russia's army was as backward as the country. The Germans were defeated by the Russian winter and long supply lines. The Atlantic war was how the Russians, Brits and others were supplied. As long as American ships got through Germany was doomed.

    Another way to look at it is, how long would it have taken the Russians to drive the Germans out, if Hitler didn't have a Western front to worry about, or a Southern front?
    American ships were not going to defeat Germany. Without Soviet victory, sooner or later, 2+ million allied troops were going to have to land in France and go toe to toe with the Wehrmacht. That would not have been an easy task.
  14. 24 Aug '12 00:04 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    If Germany had secured the land bridge between the Don and Volga and could control shipping on both rivers, the Caucuses would have been close to cut off. It is entirely possible that List's armies would have succeeded and capturing at least some of the Caucuses oil.

    As it is they made it as far as Maikop before having to retreat due to the collapse of their northern flank; i.e., at Stalingrad.
    A German reconnaissance unit once reached the outskirts of Moscow, but that
    did not mean that Moscow then stood on the brink of falling to the Wehrmacht.
    Even if the Wehrmacht had reached the oil fields of the Caucasus, that did not
    mean that then all the oil would be ready to be transported back to Germany.
    The Soviets would have had ample opportunity to destroy as much of their
    oil-producing infrastructure as possible. I suppose that many months would
    have been needed for the Germans, even if unopposed further by the Soviets,
    to repair the damage and to get a significant amount of oil flowing again.
    And how easily could oil from the Caucasus be transported back to Germany?

    Early in 1942, the Japanese captured oil fields in both the Dutch East Indies
    (now Indonesia) and Burma (now Myanmar). As far as I know, the Japanese
    never were able to restore oil production in those places to their prewar levels.
    And, on account of American submarines striking at Japanese tankers, it was
    very difficult and hazardous to transport that oil back to Japan.

    Finding the sunken treasure is one thing; bringing it back for use is something else.
  15. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    24 Aug '12 01:12
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    A German reconnaissance unit once reached the outskirts of Moscow, but that
    did not mean that Moscow then stood on the brink of falling to the Wehrmacht.
    Even if the Wehrmacht had reached the oil fields of the Caucasus, that did not
    mean that then all the oil would be ready to be transported back to Germany.
    The Soviets would have had ample opportunity ...[text shortened]... Japan.

    Finding the sunken treasure is one thing; bringing it back for use is something else.
    If they controlled the Black Sea coast, transport would have been easy.

    The Germans were stopped militarily at Moscow. In the Caucuses, it's less likely they would have been stopped militarily if they had secured the northern flank.