>>548041 They were too exhausted to do so. They had borne the brunt of the fighting in Stalingrad for months, and performing a counterattack would require turning all those exhausted men around to fight a relatively fresh force that greatly outnumbered them and was ready for exactly that.
The unfortunate thing with Stalingrad was that they were pretty much fucked as soon as Operation Uranus began. There was no way in hell the 6th Army was going to be able to pull out of Stalingrad in time to escape the encirclement short of a full-scale rout, and once they were encircled there was no feasible way to break out.
For all the shit Hitler gets over the Stalingrad airlift, it really was their best option there, especially with Demyansk and Kholm seemingly proving that it would work.
>>548105 I think the point was that trying to break out would have surely failed. Once breaking the line they would simply be run down and captured or killed. Either way they were casualties. Their only way of being of any use to the war effort was by fighting to the last man in Stalingrad.
>>548105 I'm not saying the airlift was working at all, but merely that, given all the information Hitler had at his disposal at the time, it was the right choice.
Strategic airlifts at Demyansk (100,000 men) and Kholm (5,000 men IIRC, with all supplies airdropped like we saw in the last days of the 6th Army) seemed to show that the Luftwaffe could maintain air supremacy over a pocket of surrounded forces and keep them resupplied by air until conditions had sufficiently improved for ground forces to launch a counteroffensive to link up.
Problem was, Hitler either didn't take into account or wasn't told by all his yes-men that >Luftwaffe lacked the airlift capacity to keep the 6th Army supplied >the VVS had spent the better part of the year learning from their mistakes at Demyansk and preparing specifically for such a situation
Of course it would take a counteroffensive at some point to link up with the surrounded forces, but the Germans weren't all that keen to launching winter offensives (the only notable exception being on the Western Front in 1944) and likely lacked the resources to launch one on such short notice. Their only real chance of success was keeping the 6th Army alive until the late spring/early summer when an offensive could be launched.
>>548177 Well yeah Hitler had his share of fuckups. But a lot of what he gets blamed for - particularly the catastrophe at Stalingrad - seems to be the fault of bad advisors telling him it would work and then trying to cover their asses postwar by blaming a man who isn't around to defend his decisions. Goering in particular may have been a pathological liar, but he hadn't made too many major fuckups at that point (at least not on the scale of Stalingrad).
The materiel shortages were more the result of a short-sighted belief that the VVS had not improved in the year since Demyansk. I don't have the book with me right now to confirm (Red Phoenix Rising by Von Hardesty), but IIRC Hardesty found that the Luftwaffe had an airlift capacity fairly close to what the 6th Army needed (something like 700 tons a day) at first, but that wasn't taking into account the air blockade or reduced reliability from winter conditions.
>Goering in particular may have been a pathological liar, but he hadn't made too many major fuckups at that point (at least not on the scale of Stalingrad).
To be honest, these sorts of grandiose claims extend to far beyond Goerring.
He didn't have anything on Chennault, who claimed that if he had 500 heavy bombers and fighters to let them roam freely, he could drive the Japanese out of China with no need for Chinese offensives on the ground.
Planes were still kind of this new scary superweapon in the minds of a lot of policymakers, and they were often ready to believe all sorts of ridiculous things they could do.
I hold the opinion that had Paulus tried to break out at once he could have succeeded in doing so. At least his chances of victory were higher then than later. Von Mansteins relief force was sent to late. Paulus should have just gone for it straight away.
Anyway, Hitler had his reasons - but in hindsight it just didn't turn out so good. Had Luftwaffe been in a capacity to actually supply the army, that would have been an indicator that the Wehrmacht as a whole would have been better off than it actually was.
>>548595 It's probably the best book I've ever read on air warfare in WW2. I really wish there were more books out there like it. Everyone seems so obsessed with personal testimonies, but I want to see the raw numbers for everything.
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