Sunday, February 24, 2019
The Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was fought from August 23, 1942 to February 2, 1943. Hitlers attempt to capture the urban center cease when the Soviets trapped the 300 000-German sixth army under General Friedrich Paulus. The goal of the mighty sixth army gave the Soviets a psychological lift and force initiative.For the Germans, the battle signaled the end of the Russian advantage that is, from a struggle of conquest to a war of survival. Background On August 1938, Hitler shocked the army man by signing a non-aggression pact with his most hated enemy, the Soviet Union.Both powers agreed not to tone-beginning each other for a accomplishment of 10 years. A secret protocol called for a division of easterly Europe between the dickens powers. Confident that the Soviets would not intervene with his military plans, Hitler proceeded to attack Poland. On September 1, 1939, German armour formation, supported by the Luftwaffe, smashed into the Polish borders, trapping thousands of Polish soldiers before they could organize a general retreat into vitamin Eern Poland. Two solar days later, Britain and France declared war on Germ any. Two weeks later, Soviet forces occupied Eastern Poland, as bring step to the fore of the Nazi-Soviet Pact.Poland was obliterated from the map of Europe. Hitler now turned his attention to the West. After octonary months of interregnum, German forces aided by the reigning Luftwaffe, struck at France, Belgium, Nor flair, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The British were trapped at Dunkerque. French forces were killed in a result of four weeks. With France defeated, Hitler now turned his attention to his hated ally, the Soviet Union. On June 22, 1941, three German army groups, numbering nearly 3. 1 zillion men struck at the Soviet Union. The Soviets were caught by surprise.On the first day alone, 1 million Soviets were both(prenominal) killed, capture, or injured 1four hundred aircraft were abateed, 500 gaseous states were either destroyed or captured. After three days, the Soviets lost roughly 80% of their armored formations in the East. Four Panzer armies pack towards Moscow. The arrival of the so-called Siberian units (numbering nearly 1 million men) and the harshness of the 1941 winter lastly bevy the Germans from the stunnedskirts of Moscow. Both sides rest. Hitler, however, planned another campaign in the grey orbit of the antecedent. Operation blueishOn May 1942, German forces smashed across the Southern sector of the Eastern Front. Again, Soviet forces were caught by surprise. The Germans drove into the river Don, and prepared a enormous invade on the river Volga (where Stalingrad was located). Two German panzer armies took the Caucasus on the following month. The second and fourth Romanian armies as well as the 8th Italian army aided the German Sixth army in the mark of the river Volga. By the 1st of August, additional armor was transferred to the 6th armament for the final capture o f the city of Stalingrad.Marshal Georgy Zhukov anticipated this and ordered Soviet forces to encircle the 6th multitude. Setting the Stage for the Battle In the Southern sector of the front, Hitler possess superior forces. German forces numbered about 1. 7 million men, or about 76 divisions. Operation Blue called for the use of 3 panzer armies two of which would drove into the Caucasus. One panzer army would bring forth straight into Stalingrad (refer to map1). On the eve of Blue, Germany even retained the element of surprise. For the Soviets, the defense of Stalingrad and other key cities around the Volga rested on the newly create Soviet army militia. oft of the Don steppes (refer to map2) were perfect for armored maneuvers. Field Marshal Fedor von Bock once argued to Hitler that the best way to destroy the Soviet army is to launch a massive attack around the river Volga. Hitler, however, insisted that the main thrust of the attack should be around the Caucasus Mountains. Mu ch of the strength of the Soviet army laid on its newly formed armored formations and the reserve armies, and of course, the channels of defenses around key cities in the Volga field (refer to map 3). Stalin allocated only about 20% of the whole Soviet forces to the Southern sector, expecting an attack around Moscow.At the start of Blue, 10 Soviet armies were hastily move to the South to counter the 3 panzer armies and the 7 German infantry and broadcast armies. It can be argued that whilst the Soviet held the upper hand in the northerly and central sector of the front, in the south, the German initially outnumbered the Soviets by almost 31. At the start of the battle of Stalingrad, all Soviet reserves were thrown into Stalingrad in a bid to encircle the German 6th army. When the German 6th Army entered the city on August 23, about 5 Soviet tank armies were massing around the river Volga.Only the 4th Panzer Army was in proximity to support the 6th Army in case of a major Soviet o ffensive. Most of the armor were allocated to the army group in the Caucasus region. The Battle The first phase of the battle of Stalingrad involved the direct misdemeanor of the German 6th Army and the German 4th Panzer Army to 8 Soviet armies of the Stalingrad front (refer to map4). Fighting in the Don steppes reached its height on the end of July when 2 Soviet tank armies tried to outmaneuver both the 6th Army and the 4th Panzer army. It would take 4 weeks before the German army could liquidate the 2 tank armies.The Soviet army withdraw into the interior of the Volga region in preparation of a massive German attack on the Stalingrad. Stalin now reorganized the Stalingrad front. Two infantry armies were reassigned as tank armies. The second phase of the German drive into Stalingrad involved the intersection of the river Volga. The Romanian and Hungarians armies provided the flanks of the 6th Army. The 4th Panzer Army provided the spearhead of the attack. Some armored formations were reallocated to the 6th Army from von Kleists 1st Panzer Army. The Soviets retreated to the outskirts of Stalingrad.Consequently, Stalin ordered the Soviet armies to hold the 6th Army in Stalingrad. He allowed no foster withdrawal of the Soviet forces. Between the Don and the Volga, a huge owing(p) was formed occupied by the 62nd and 64th Soviet armies. On August 29, 4th Panzer Army smashed into the southern junction of the 64th Army and headed towards Stalingrad. The 6th Army drove into the northern junction of the 62nd Army (refer to map5). The pressure made by the Soviet 4th Tank Army in the north slowed the make headway of the 6th Army, enabling the two Soviet armies to escape encirclement (refer to map6).The threesome phase of the battle involved a major German assault on the southern sector of the city. The Luftwaffe dropped thousands of bombs in the city. Paulus ordered the 6th Army to make a frontal assault of the city (which was now ring on three sides). German art illery pounded on the Soviet defenses on the Volga. Meanwhile, Soviet reserves continued to pour on the Stalingrad front allowing Zhukov to arise local attacks against the 6th Army. As the fight for the city intensified, Stalin reorganized the Soviet fronts, creating the Southwest and Don fronts.Zhukovs plan for a major counterattack was simple yet ambitious. Three Soviet armies from the Southwest and Don fronts would drive towards the left flank of the German 6th Army. Two Soviet armies from the Stalingrad front would drive towards the junction of the 6th Army and the 4th Panzer Army (refer to map7). This strategy was designed to trap the 6th Army in Stalingrad. On October 1942, storm was unleashed on the Romanian and Hungarian armies (which served as flanks of the 6th Army). They were easily destroyed. The Soviets pounded the city into rubble.Although Hitler promised to airlift supplies to the 6th Army, only 100 tons reached daily, far from the 400 tons daily supplies promised by Hitler. From December 1942 to January 1943, the Soviets reduced the Stalingrad pocket by 50%. Hitlers insistence for the 6th Army to hold out added to its own destruction. Paulus never ordered a major break out of the 6th Army. On February 1943, the headquarters of Paulus was captured by the Soviets. Paulus surrendered to the Soviets on the day of his promotional material as field marshal. Weapons/Advantages/AlliancesMost of the German armor used in Blue and the battle of Stalingrad were Mark III and Mark IV, equipped with 50 and 80 mm. guns. Armor ranged from 80 to 100 mm. The famous 88 mm gun was used both as anti-tank and anti-aircraft gun (it was the only anti-tank gun that could destroy the mighty T-34). German airpower relied on two famous aircrafts the bomber Junker and the Messerschmitt Bf109 (a powerful fighter). German soldiers were highly trained, far from their Soviet counterparts (also in comparison with Germanys allies Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Italy).The So viet tank armies relied on two powerful tanks the T-34 (with its 75 mm gun) and the KV100 (a heavy tank). The T-34 tank was suited on all types of live and could reach a speed of about 70 miles an hour. The Soviets also use the IL28, a powerful fighter that could in some cases outfought the mighty Bf 109. The advantages of the Germans were as follows 1) the efficiency and effectiveness of the German General Staff in in operation(p) and strategic planning, 2) the level of training of individual German soldiers, 3) the close coordination of German mechanized units and the air force, and 4) flexibility in command structure.The advantages of the Soviets were as follows 1) the king-sized size of the Soviet reserve armies, 2) its powerful tank designs (T-34), 3) determination, almost fanatical, of the Soviet armies in defending key cities, and 4) high production of armaments. Situation tarradiddle The defeat of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad signaled the end of Hitlers war of conq uest in the East. It initially destroyed the capability of the German to launch another massive operation (except at Kursk). In essence, the defeat gave the Soviets a psychological lift that is, it was possible for the German army to be defeated.The strategic victory of the Soviets at Stalingrad allowed Stalin to press for a major assort counterstrike at North Africa. German pressure in the East was partially relieved. Hitler was now faced a war on two fronts, which he initially prevented by signing the non-aggression pact with Stalin. On the realm of operations, much of the German activities after the battle of Stalingrad focused on peanut offensive posture, in contrast to the Soviets which could mount major operations (Bagration for example).In any case, the battle of Stalingrad shifted the favor of war to the Allies, as did in the battle of El Alamein in North Africa. Bibliography Battle of Stalingrad. BBC. PolyGram Video International, 1994. Beevor, Antony. Stalingrad The Fat eful Siege 1942-1943. newborn York Viking, 1998. Irving, David. Hitlers War and the War Path. London Parforce, 2002. Seaton, Albert. The Russo-German War, 1941-1945. New York Praeger, 1971. Toynbee, Arnold. A report of the World. London London Publishing House, 1964. Wells, Herbert. The Outline of History. London Garden city Books, 1956.