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michapma
01-05-2004, 09:45 AM
I typed this up and posted it at my forum and the Forgotten Skies forum, since in FS we are entering the Stalingrad. Interesting stuff!


Churchill's abridged account of the conflict at Stalingrad, told "all too briefly, the tale of the magnificent and decisive struggle of the Russian armies."

http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/flightsims/images/Stalingrad_Churchill.jpg

The German drive to the Caucasus had culminated and foundered during the summer and autumn of 1942. At first all had gone very much according to plan, though not quite so swiftly as had been hoped. The Southern Army group cleared the Russians from within the bend of the Lower Don. It was then divided into Army Group A, under List,* and Army Group B, under Bock,** and on July 23 Hitler had given them their tasks. Army Group A was to capture the entire eastern shore of the Black Sea and the adjacent oilfields, and Army Group B, having established a defensive flank along the River Don, was to advance on Stalingrad, "smash the enemy forces being assembled there, and occupy the city". The troops in front of Moscow would conduct holding operations, and Leningrad in the north would be captured in early September.

General von Kleist's First Panzer Army of fifteen divisions led the onrush to the Caucasus. Once acrsoss the Don they made much headway against little opposition. They reached the Maikop oilfields on August 9, to find them thoroughly destroyed. They failed to reach the Grozny oilfields. Those of Baku, the greatest of them all, were still three hundred miles away, and Hilter's orders to seize the whole of the Black Sea littoral could not be carried out. Reinforced by fresh troops sent down by railway along the western shore of the Caspian, the Russians everywhere held firm. Kleist, weakened by diversions for the Stalingrad effort, struggled on till November amid the Caucasian foothils. Winter then descended. His bolt was shot.

On the front of Army Group B worse than failure befell. The lure of Stalingrad fascinated Hitler; its very name was a challenge. The city was a considerable centre of industry and a strong point on the defensive flank protecting his main thrust to the Caucasus. It became a magnet drawing to itself the supreme effort of the German Army and Air Force. Resistance grew daily stiffer. It was not till September 15 that, after heavy fighting between the Don and the Volga, the outskirts of Stalingrad were reached. The battering-ram attacks of the next month made some progress at the cost of terrible slaughter. Nothing could overcome the Russians, fighting with passionate devotion amid the ruins of their city.

The German generals, long uneasy, had now good cause for anxiety. After three months of fighting the main objectives of the campaign, the Caucasus, Stalingrad, and Leningrad, were still in Russian hands. Casualties had been very heavy and replacements insufficient. Hitler, instead of sending fresh contingents forward to replace losses, was forming them into new and untrained divisions. In military opinion it was high time to call a halt, but "the Carpet-eater" would not listen. At the end of September Halder, Hitler's Chief of Staff, finally resisted his master, and was dismissed. Hitler scourged his armies on.

By mid-October the German position had markedly worsened. Army Group B was stretched over a front of seven hundred miles. General Paulus's Sixth Army had expended its effort, and now lay exhausted with its flanks thinly protected by allies of dubious quality. Winter was near, when the Russians would surely make their counter-stroke. If the Don front could not be held the safety of the armies on the Caucasus front would be undermined. But Hitler would not countenance any suggestion of withdrwawal. On November 19 the Russians delivered their long and valiantly prepared encircling assault, striking both north and south of Stalingrad upon the weakly defended German flanks. Four days later the Russian pincers met and the Sixth Army was trapped between the Don and the Volga. Paulus proposed to break out. Hitler ordered him to hold his ground. As the days passed the Army was compressed into an ever-lessening space. On December 12, in bitter weather, the Germans made a desperate effort to break through the Rusian cordon and relieve their besieged comrades. They failed. Thereafter, though Paulus and his army held out for seven more terrible weeks, their doom was certain.

Great efforts were made to supply him from the air, but little got through, and at the expense of heavy losses in aircraft. The cold was intense; food and ammunition were scarce, and an outbreak of typhus added to the miseries of his men. On January 8 he rejected an ulimatum to surrender, and next day the last phase began with violent Russian attacks from the west. The Germans fought strongly, so that only five miles were gained in as many days. But at last they began to crack, and by the 17th the Russians were within ten miles of Staligrad itself. Paulus threw into the fight every man who could bear arms, but it was no use. On January 22 the Russians surged forward again, until the Germans were thrown back on the outskirts of the city they had tried in vain to take. Here the remains of a once-great army were pinned in an oblong only four miles deep by eight long. Under intense artillery fire and air bombardment the survivors defended themselves in violent street-fighting, but their plight was hopeless, and as the Russians presed forward exhausted units began to surrender wholesale. Paulus and his staff were captured, and on February 2 Marshal Voronov reported that all resistance had ceased and ninety thousand prisoners had been taken. These were the survivors of twenty-one German and one Roumanian divisions. Thus ended Hitler's prodigious effort to conquer Russia by force and destroy Communism by an equally odious form of totalitarian tyranny.

The spring of 1943 marked the turning-point of the war on the Eastern Front. Even before Stalingrad the mounting Russian tide had swept the enemy back all along the line. The German army of the Caucasus was skilfully withdrawn, but the Russians pressed the enemy from the Don and back beyond the Donetz river, the starting line of Hitler's offensive of the previous summer. Farther north again the Germans lost ground, until they were more than two hundred and fifty miles from Moscow. The investment of Leningrad was broken. The Germans and their satellites suffered immense losses in men and material. The ground gained in the past year was taken from them. They were no longer superior to the Russians on land. In the air they had now to reckon with the growing power of the British and American Air Forces, operating both from Britain and in Africa.

From "The Second World War", by Winston Churchill


These kinds of reads helps me with immersion. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
Mike

http://www.baseclass.modulweb.dk/69giap/fileadmin/Image_Archive/badges/69giap_badge_chap.jpg (http://giap.webhop.info)
"...because eventually we will judge the nations, and I've got my favorites picked out."

The ongoing IL-2 User's Guide (http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/il2guide/)

michapma
01-05-2004, 09:45 AM
I typed this up and posted it at my forum and the Forgotten Skies forum, since in FS we are entering the Stalingrad. Interesting stuff!


Churchill's abridged account of the conflict at Stalingrad, told "all too briefly, the tale of the magnificent and decisive struggle of the Russian armies."

http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/flightsims/images/Stalingrad_Churchill.jpg

The German drive to the Caucasus had culminated and foundered during the summer and autumn of 1942. At first all had gone very much according to plan, though not quite so swiftly as had been hoped. The Southern Army group cleared the Russians from within the bend of the Lower Don. It was then divided into Army Group A, under List,* and Army Group B, under Bock,** and on July 23 Hitler had given them their tasks. Army Group A was to capture the entire eastern shore of the Black Sea and the adjacent oilfields, and Army Group B, having established a defensive flank along the River Don, was to advance on Stalingrad, "smash the enemy forces being assembled there, and occupy the city". The troops in front of Moscow would conduct holding operations, and Leningrad in the north would be captured in early September.

General von Kleist's First Panzer Army of fifteen divisions led the onrush to the Caucasus. Once acrsoss the Don they made much headway against little opposition. They reached the Maikop oilfields on August 9, to find them thoroughly destroyed. They failed to reach the Grozny oilfields. Those of Baku, the greatest of them all, were still three hundred miles away, and Hilter's orders to seize the whole of the Black Sea littoral could not be carried out. Reinforced by fresh troops sent down by railway along the western shore of the Caspian, the Russians everywhere held firm. Kleist, weakened by diversions for the Stalingrad effort, struggled on till November amid the Caucasian foothils. Winter then descended. His bolt was shot.

On the front of Army Group B worse than failure befell. The lure of Stalingrad fascinated Hitler; its very name was a challenge. The city was a considerable centre of industry and a strong point on the defensive flank protecting his main thrust to the Caucasus. It became a magnet drawing to itself the supreme effort of the German Army and Air Force. Resistance grew daily stiffer. It was not till September 15 that, after heavy fighting between the Don and the Volga, the outskirts of Stalingrad were reached. The battering-ram attacks of the next month made some progress at the cost of terrible slaughter. Nothing could overcome the Russians, fighting with passionate devotion amid the ruins of their city.

The German generals, long uneasy, had now good cause for anxiety. After three months of fighting the main objectives of the campaign, the Caucasus, Stalingrad, and Leningrad, were still in Russian hands. Casualties had been very heavy and replacements insufficient. Hitler, instead of sending fresh contingents forward to replace losses, was forming them into new and untrained divisions. In military opinion it was high time to call a halt, but "the Carpet-eater" would not listen. At the end of September Halder, Hitler's Chief of Staff, finally resisted his master, and was dismissed. Hitler scourged his armies on.

By mid-October the German position had markedly worsened. Army Group B was stretched over a front of seven hundred miles. General Paulus's Sixth Army had expended its effort, and now lay exhausted with its flanks thinly protected by allies of dubious quality. Winter was near, when the Russians would surely make their counter-stroke. If the Don front could not be held the safety of the armies on the Caucasus front would be undermined. But Hitler would not countenance any suggestion of withdrwawal. On November 19 the Russians delivered their long and valiantly prepared encircling assault, striking both north and south of Stalingrad upon the weakly defended German flanks. Four days later the Russian pincers met and the Sixth Army was trapped between the Don and the Volga. Paulus proposed to break out. Hitler ordered him to hold his ground. As the days passed the Army was compressed into an ever-lessening space. On December 12, in bitter weather, the Germans made a desperate effort to break through the Rusian cordon and relieve their besieged comrades. They failed. Thereafter, though Paulus and his army held out for seven more terrible weeks, their doom was certain.

Great efforts were made to supply him from the air, but little got through, and at the expense of heavy losses in aircraft. The cold was intense; food and ammunition were scarce, and an outbreak of typhus added to the miseries of his men. On January 8 he rejected an ulimatum to surrender, and next day the last phase began with violent Russian attacks from the west. The Germans fought strongly, so that only five miles were gained in as many days. But at last they began to crack, and by the 17th the Russians were within ten miles of Staligrad itself. Paulus threw into the fight every man who could bear arms, but it was no use. On January 22 the Russians surged forward again, until the Germans were thrown back on the outskirts of the city they had tried in vain to take. Here the remains of a once-great army were pinned in an oblong only four miles deep by eight long. Under intense artillery fire and air bombardment the survivors defended themselves in violent street-fighting, but their plight was hopeless, and as the Russians presed forward exhausted units began to surrender wholesale. Paulus and his staff were captured, and on February 2 Marshal Voronov reported that all resistance had ceased and ninety thousand prisoners had been taken. These were the survivors of twenty-one German and one Roumanian divisions. Thus ended Hitler's prodigious effort to conquer Russia by force and destroy Communism by an equally odious form of totalitarian tyranny.

The spring of 1943 marked the turning-point of the war on the Eastern Front. Even before Stalingrad the mounting Russian tide had swept the enemy back all along the line. The German army of the Caucasus was skilfully withdrawn, but the Russians pressed the enemy from the Don and back beyond the Donetz river, the starting line of Hitler's offensive of the previous summer. Farther north again the Germans lost ground, until they were more than two hundred and fifty miles from Moscow. The investment of Leningrad was broken. The Germans and their satellites suffered immense losses in men and material. The ground gained in the past year was taken from them. They were no longer superior to the Russians on land. In the air they had now to reckon with the growing power of the British and American Air Forces, operating both from Britain and in Africa.

From "The Second World War", by Winston Churchill


These kinds of reads helps me with immersion. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
Mike

http://www.baseclass.modulweb.dk/69giap/fileadmin/Image_Archive/badges/69giap_badge_chap.jpg (http://giap.webhop.info)
"...because eventually we will judge the nations, and I've got my favorites picked out."

The ongoing IL-2 User's Guide (http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/il2guide/)

NegativeGee
01-05-2004, 09:56 AM
Yes, Stalingrad was one of (if not the) pivotal battles of WW2.

If you want a more in depth account, Stalingrad by Antony Beevor
(ISBN 0-14-024985-0) is well worth the read.

"As weaponry, both were good, but in far different ways from each other. In a nutshell, I describe it this way: if the FW 190 was a sabre, the 109 was a florett, or foil, like that used in the precision art of fencing." - Gunther Rall

http://www.invoman.com/images/tali_with_hands.jpg

Look Noobie, we already told you, we don't have the Patch!

Old_Canuck
01-05-2004, 10:24 AM
Thanks for posting this michapma.

Churchill gives the story a certain flavor. It's interesting how a superb word-mechanic like Winston Churchill was able to discipline himself to let the facts speak for themselves without using the dramatic style he was famous for. It was also interesting to see the insight he had into Hitler's motives: "The lure of Stalingrad fascinated Hitler; its very name was a challenge."

OC

"You don't stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing."