The Liberation of Stalingrad.

I started looking at the British Pathe News site to see footage of Jackie Kyle, my late Dad’s favourite outside half. There’s very little of him to see but the site is wonderful. Here’s a fabulous 8 minute clip on the liberation of Stalingrad.
“German generals never surrender…24 surrendered at Stalingrad”.
At 5.15 you see Paulus with his nervous twitch…
Copyright – British Pathe News.

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  • HeinzGuderian

    A German FIELD MARSHALL had never surrendered !! Adolf made General Paulus a Field Marshall the day before……………..but hey,never EVER let the facts interfere with with your view of events…………;-)

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Dewi,

    great clip.

    re. “my late Dad’s favourite outside half”

    Irish blood influencing that preference or just good judgement?

  • Dewi

    Judgement Sammy. Heinz – tell us all about it – you were deeply involved…

  • Jimmy

    Lets not forget the first Liberation of Stalingrad ‘by’ the Germans. Or as usual we airbrush Stalins USSR and its evil regime out of History?
    I have full respect for the men of 6th Army who fell at Stalingrad.
    Perhaps the person in the video may or may not have been aware that the siege of Stalingrad may have lengthened the war, if not and the mass German retreat happened earlier its assumed that the Russians may have got into mainland Europe a year earlier before the allies. In retrospect the gentleman in Question may owe his freedom and all our freedom to the 6th Armys delaying tactics at Stalingrad.
    In fact its said that if it wasn’t for the Russians we would all be speaking German, in fact if it wasn’t for the Germans we would all be speaking Russian. I know which one I prefer.

  • Rory Carr

    Very good, Jimmy. That’s the best application of the, “If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle” mode of argument that I have yet heard. You clearly missed out on your true vocation as a scriptwriter for Star Wars.

  • Dewi

    Jimmy – interesting – I have never ever read or heard anyone write or say that Stalingrad lengthened the war. Care to elaborate?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Jimmy,

    Hitler’s decision to attack to Russia was probably the most important strategic decsion of the war.

    Perhaps all we can say with safety is – that we are very lucky that the Germans and Russians didnt like each other.

    Rory,

    Nicley put – but the boul Jimmy has a point…

  • Greenflag

    ‘Perhaps all we can say with safety is – that we are very lucky that the Germans and Russians didnt like each other.’

    That was then -in 2011 former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is on the board of GAZPROM , Russia’s biggest fossil fuels energy company and Vladimir Putin (the real Tsar) speaks perfect German and send his daughters to private school in Berlin .

    The Germans were in Stalingrad as part of their strategy to get control of oil supplies further east without which they knew they could not win a long war against the west .

    The USA is today in Iraq , Afghanistan , Saudi Arabia , Bahrain etc etc for much the same reason i.e to ensure the supply of oil to it’s economy without which ‘anarchic ‘ style capitalism cannot survive .

    @

    ‘In fact its said that if it wasn’t for the Russians we would all be speaking German, in fact if it wasn’t for the Germans we would all be speaking Russian. I know which one I prefer.’

    approx 100 million people speak German and 160 million speak Russian as their main language . Both languages have a huge literary and scientific vocabulary and literatures and are worthy of study .

    But it doesn’t really matter as long as you learn another language no matter what even Irish or Welsh or Hebrew or Zulu . It’s been proven to improve mental health , reduce senility and dementia in comparison to monoglots (speakers of just one language ) and is said by some to help stave off all kinds of mental deterioration including Alzheimers .

    While Russian seems initially more difficult because of the Cyrillic alphabet unlike German which uses Roman letters -Russian itself is no more difficult to learn than any other European language bar perhaps Hungarian , Finnish or Basque . Now they are a challenge compared to which Irish is a breeze 😉

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Greenflag,

    “The Germans were in Stalingrad as part of their strategy to get control of oil supplies further east without which they knew they could not win a long war against the west .”

    As I often like to do – speak from a postion of just a little knowledge – but I have a some difficulty with this – you have to factor in Hitler’s attitude to Boshevism and it’s Jewish origins. Also strategically, he obviously completely underestimated the Russians/Soviets and would presumably have looked elsewhere – or even give Russia another lump of Poland in retrun from oil – if he had any idea of what lay ahead.

  • between the bridges

    sam. indeed Adolf like boney before him failed to take into account few major factors, the weather, the vast distance’s (supply lines), the availability of cannon fodder and the determination/brutality of the regimes they faced

  • aquifer

    The Russians took the sting out of the fascists, though at massive cost. Maybe 9 million troops killed, 90m civilians dead, compared to 1m troops of the other allies.

  • Kevin Barry

    Thanks Dewi, very interesting as always.

    Sammy

    ‘While Russian seems initially more difficult because of the Cyrillic alphabet unlike German which uses Roman letters -Russian itself is no more difficult to learn than any other European language bar perhaps Hungarian , Finnish or Basque . Now they are a challenge compared to which Irish is a breeze’

    Couldn’t agree more with you. With only 5 tenses compared to English and Spanish it isn’t nearly as difficult as people would have you believe. Also, it’s amazingly beautiful (personal opinion of course).

  • HeinzGuderian

    Dewi……..your grasp on history is as tenuous as your grasp on,well,history !!

    As for my involvement at Stalingrad ? ( see above ) 😉

  • Dewi

    Heinz:
    “German generals never surrender…24 surrendered at Stalingrad”.
    ..is a quote from the video and, I presume, rhetorical…

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12848272

    Let’s not forget the Western front.
    Von Paulus, twitch or no tritch, famously survived the war, one of only 5,000 of the 6th Army to do so. Of course the Real 6th Army had been ground down long before the tractor factory fell. The soldiers who surrendered at Stalingrad were of a lower cut than those hwo marched into Paris only a few years earlier.
    Someting,. in fact, like comparing those who marched into Leinster House under von Adams and those who did the business.

  • Dewi

    Heinz – Guderian a big noise in Barbarossa, if not in Stalingrad itself. Why not add something to the discussion?

  • DC

    I liked the way the Fuhrer banned brandy and champagne from his table after the defeat “in honour of the heroes of Stalingrad”. It must have been a tough life at the Fuhrer’s table!

    Alan Maskey – re survivors I think that number is high but:

    Chances of survival proved brutally dependent on rank. Over 95 per cent of soldiers and NCOs died, 55 per cent of junior officers and just 5 per cent of senior officers. As the foreign journalists had noted, few of the senior officers had shown signs of starvation just after the surrender, so their defences were not dangerously weakened in the same way as their men’s. The privileged treatment which the generals received, however, was a revealing testimony to the Soviet Union’s sense of hierarchy.

  • Just in passing, look this up on WIKI and apply it locally.

    As Chief of the Army High Command, Hammerstein-Equord oversaw the composition of the German manual on military unit command dated 17 October 1933.

    He is quoted as originating a special classification scheme for his men:

    “I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief. “

  • Dewi

    “The privileged treatment which the generals received, however, was a revealing testimony to the Soviet Union’s sense of hierarchy”

    Also for interrogation and propoganda purposes.
    Paulus, for instance , was used to call for Germany’s surrender.

  • Greenflag

    As this thread seems to wander into what if territory I thought I’d take up Article’a local application motif and give it a more global resonance and relevance for today’s (2011) realities 🙂

    ‘I divide my banksters /investment bankers into five groups. There are clever, diligent, sociopathic , avaricious and mendacious types. Usually two or three characteristics are combined with a tiny minority exhibiting four simultaneously . Some are clever and diligent — their place is routine administration . The next lot are clever and avaricious and diligent they make up 90 percent of every investment bank or mortgage broker’s salesforce and are suited to a commission pay structure which will provide the most successful with a life of instantaneous gratification provided by large amounts dosh earned by selling worthless pieces of paper to the whoever they can .. Anyone who is clever , mendacious , avaricious and sociopathic is however qualified for the highest level positions preferably CEO or CFO of the largest worldwide financial institutions , because he/she possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary to lie to clients and the public and the politicians as well as on television without ever batting an eyelid or expressing any regret for looting pensioners or widows or charitable institutions or homeowners of any of or all they possess .

    One must beware of anyone who is honest and diligent and clever —for he or she must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief by behaving ethically and speaking the truth . Better that such a person go into engineering or science or medecine of the non holistic kind or other profession which makes real products and delivers necessary services for the population .

    On no account should they such persons consider religion or the law or politics as careers in which they will thrive .

    The field is now open for any who would like to ‘type’ for politics (local or national or global ) , the law , or religious services as per the Hammerstein Equord method so thoughtfully brought to our collective conciousness by Articles above 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Dewi ,

    European military tradition going back to the middle ages always favoured the generals and officers and highest ranking knights -not originally out of any sense of ‘chivalry ‘ but from the fact that the ‘lives ‘ of such captives could be exchanged for large amounts of dosh for the winner’s of any war .

    One of the earliest examples was the taking of Richard the Lionheart as a captive and his eventual release only after several tons of gold had been extracted from the English peasantry’s lifeblood following several years of high taxation and unpleasant ‘collection ‘ methods enforced by King John’s ‘sheriffs ‘ etc .

    In today’s world King John’s sheriff’s have been replaced by the IMF and the ECB and the world’s ‘banksters’ and their ballsless puppets our ‘elected’ politicians 🙁

  • Jimmy

    Re: Dewi
    It’s a Theory that Hitler after knowing he had lost the battle of Stalingrad sacrificed the 6th as a massive delaying tactic as he knew that the war was finished after the loss,
    A German withdrawal would have been a morale booster for the Soviets; it might have made it even more difficult for the Soviets to advance against Germany in the face of regrouped German forces. It tied up Massive Soviet Forces for at least year. It’s also likely that by sacrificing the 6th Army the Germans salvaged their southern flank from total annihilation. Therefore by the Soviets in full pursuit of a mass German withdrawal it’s logical to suggest that the Soviets would have arrived on mainland Europe a Lot sooner.

  • Cynic2

    “like comparing those who marched into Leinster House under von Adams and those who did the business.”

    Now don’t be unfair. Its a a general rule of warfare that when its over the spivs and black-marketeers always float to the top

  • Dewi

    Jimmy – I reckon the Soviet victory was about as big a morale booster as you could get. Losing about 800,000 Axis trooops surely not sensible. Even so, Von Manstein stopped the rot at Kharkov….but his Kursk initiative probably more decisve in ensuring a fairly rapid German defeat than any other factor. Interesting aginst the advice of Guderian and (it is thought) Hitler…

  • Operation Barbarossa faíled because the Germans failed to capture Moscow in the winter of 1941-42 because Stalin began to learn that Hitler could only be defeated by continuing to spread out his forces and supply lines while still managing to hold on – what Marshal K. K. Rokossovsky was slowly able to achieve.

    As for the battle of Stalingrad, once the Soviets won it, there was a growing impression that the Germans would lose the war, and their defeat at Kursk sealed it.

  • Dewi

    To be honest Trow I’m not sure Moscow would have made all that much difference, after all Napoleon got there – didn’t do him much good….Most industry was way to the East by then and Soviets had plenty of retreat room…..

  • WWII in the USSR was far different from Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.

    Stalin’s Moscow was the center of a quite developed state, and if he had left it to the Germans, it would simply have fallen apart.

    Stalin’s most effective means of rallying the country was to let out rumors that he was doing so – what was intended to make up for the betrayals, and strategic blunders that he and his stooges in Stavka had engineered.

    His generals, or rather marshals, were all like the aggressive German ones, Rambos who believed that the only defense was offense – what plagued Soviet strategy until Stalin brought back Pole Rokossovsky, and fortunately started following his advice.

    I found Anthony Beevor’s and Geoffrey Roberts’ books most instructive on this score.

  • Dewi

    Read both Trow but don’t follow that the Soviet Union would have fallen apart if Moscow had fallen – a blow sure but my then SU was pretty good at infrastructure and Command and Control moves…

  • I prefer seeing the failure of the Germans capturing Leningrad most important – what was achieved because the Panzer forces to overrun it could not do it by themselves and the infantry ones fóllowing up failed to accomplish, and what the Soviet Tikhvin counteroffensive prevented the encirclement of.

    If it had fallen, it would a released one/third of the German forces for the assault on Moscow. Without them, it failed.

  • DC

    Dewi

    The Germans had the right tactics and operational plans, both tactical and operational manoeuvres were ahead of Russian thinking, it gave the Germans a recipe for limited success; but as you rightly highlight at a geostrategic level the Russians were able to win out in the end, through retreat and then a catching up in command and control tactics and operations to match the Germans.

    The untold advantages of having the Americans supply the Russians with aid and no doubt know how of sorts in terms of logistics beneficial to the Russian war effort is something that remains open to debate. Not forgetting to mention that the Japanese failed to attack Russia’s eastern territories, this ultimately freed up vital Russian troops for the battle of Moscow.

    If the Americans didn’t offer aid and lend-lease equipment and technical know how (probably the stuff of how to run and maintain decent railway networks essential to Russian logistics) – and if the Japanese went to war on Russia at the outset of the Nazi invasion – this may have tipped the balance over to the German forces, providing the breakthrough to beat the Soviets.

    But even this would have been temporary in my view as the Americans were always on course for nuclear weapons ahead of the Nazis and therefore I imagine a lot of Germany would have been nuked into submission. And a lot of Germany never voted for Nazi rule anyway and would have definitely agitated for the overthrow of Hitler.

    Just to add, capturing Moscow would have been very symbolic and would have demoralised the population making other captured Russian zones more pliable to German rule; however, the Nazis committed terrible war crimes in captured terrorities – Ukraine etc and the natives would never ever have settled down under Nazi ideology (which viewed different races other than German worthy of enslavement). So I think this would have kept up resistance and worked against the occupying forces in the end.

  • Dewi

    “….the Japanese failed to attack Russia’s eastern territories, this ultimately freed up vital Russian troops for the battle of Moscow. ”

    Specifically on this point it’s astonishing how many troops Stalin kept East despite excellent intelligence.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Another factor, which I believied to be decisive, was the excellence or rather suitabilty of the Soviet tanks and the their ability to produce massive numbers of them.

  • 1. It was the Siberian regiments wot done it. Stalin, though a well placed mole in Tokyo, knew the Japs were not going to attack and so he marched Moscow’s victors all the way across Siberia.
    2. The T34 played a huge role.
    3. Hilter played a bigger one. This guy was a nut and would not let the 6th army retreat. This thinned out the Romanian reserves and into the net they went.
    4. Kursk was the lunatic Hilter at work again. The Soviets had their plans and prepared well for one trick Hilter. The Germans could not make good their losses.
    5. The Americans gave the least and took the most. The Brits gave the most and got the least. (excepting the Poles, whose case the wr was supposedly fought for).

  • Dewi

    1, He kept a pile of troops in the east despite warnings.
    2. Yep
    3. Yep
    4. That was Von Manstein – Hitler against by all accords.
    5. Soviets gave the most.

  • Dewi:

    Hitler only understood attack, more Blackpool FC than anything more serious. His same insanity was evident in the fighter planes. The Nazis could have introduced defence jets that could have decimated (or at least put up a good show against) Bomber Command. Hitler prevaricated, had too many top secret projects on and fired state of the art weaponry with tiny payloads at the Brits.
    Von Manstein, like Model, was a military genius. Why good solid, professional men like them followed lunatics is an abiding mystery. Model ended up as a field marshall stranded in a wood with a hand full of men and a huge downer.
    One has to perversely “admire” the way Hitler so curtly dismissed the fate of the 6th Army and that of the entire Reich. What a nutter.

  • DC

    ,i>Von Manstein, like Model, was a military genius. Why good solid, professional men like them followed lunatics is an abiding mystery.

    Why is it a mystery? Sure isn’t that what the army is for and what generals aspire to do – win crazy battles for their country. Crazy in the sense of it being a calculated risk, knowing failure could well be a possible/probable outcome?

    Like a person who enjoys an alcoholic beverage or two, would you expect them to refuse free drinks at a bar?

  • Dewi

    Except on a specific – Kursk was Mansteins – he planned and implemented it and failed – this was the only major operation in the War that Hitler didn’t supervise…thank fuck.

  • John Ó Néill

    An interesting insight into the Nazi leadership isThe Hitler Book: The Secret Dossier Prepared for Stalin from the Interrogations of Otto Guensche and Heinze Lingeby Eberle and Uhl (ISBN is 978-1586483661). As it says, it was prepared for Stalin so it mainly indicates what interested Stalin, while the responses reveal the basis of some of Hitler’s decision-making. As you would expect, then, most of the focus is on the Eastern Front and some of the episodes are narrated to fit Stalin’s world view. At the same time, it comes across that Stalin clearly feared Hitler enough to want to get into his head which suggests that, at least some of the time, it was touch-and-go on the Eastern Front.

  • Dewi: My reading was the Hitler insisted on attack and on the one big blow, ie Kursk. And his generals did his bidding.
    I was also given to understand that he was such a clown (as was Goering, whose ineptitude should have seen him sacked), that the Allies figured he was worth more to them alive as German leader than dead.
    Like all politicians, he was happy to take credit for eg Blitzkrieg when the credit lay elsewhere.
    Leaders and led make for interesting reading, especially in extreme cases like Herr Hitler.

  • Dewi

    Alan – Guderian recorded Hitler’s scepticism in his memoirs. Hitler left the planning of Kursk to the professionals……Von Manstein and the High Command planed and delivered.

  • DC

    Manstein designed the attack using poor intelligence.

    What exactly is a black card?

  • Dewi

    Banned I think DC.

  • HeinzGuderian

    dewi………..you lost me with your headline,rhetorical or not,clearly untrue !!
    Leningrad,was indeed a grave mistake. It should have been taken.
    Over 1 Million Russians fought with the Germans against Stalin. Something that doesn’t fit too well with Russia’s view of the war.
    Let’s not kid ourselves here. Stalin made Adolf look like an amateur,when it came to mass murder. So holding the Soviets up as a beacon of light and freedom,is laughable.
    The largest land battle in military history wasn’t lost at Stalingrad,or Kursk. It was lost on Christmas day,1941,when Heinz Guderian Commander of Army Group Centre,was relieved from duty,for daring to question Hitlers orders !!

    ” Kick in the door,and the whole,rotten structure will come crashing down.” Nearly Adolf. Nearly………

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    HeinzGuderian,

    “Let’s not kid ourselves here. Stalin made Adolf look like an amateur,when it came to mass murder”

    Comapring mass murderers is always trickey, but one device I always use in addition to simple number counts is comapring the relative sophistication of the society they emerged from and were sustained by.

    I would therefore expect higher standards of a Western deomcracy than from and African country – although it may not be politically acceptable to say such at thing.

    .. and so to with Germans/Nazis/Hitler – what marks him/them out as worse than the Soviets/Bolshies/Stalin is their far greater societal sophistication and the fact I/us/the West can understand their society at the time* as similar to our own and we can therefore make reasonable assumptions about their expected standard of behaviour – we cant make the same assumptions or comparisons about Soviert society.

    *I appreciate that Hitler rose to power in the post-WW1 economic and social deabcle.