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Tactical Wargamer

Good Stalingrad Scenarios?

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Ditto. The only bit of weirdness I found with the battles (all played PBEM) was that the Germans never seemed to win, regardless of which side I was playing.

I don't really have any problem with it, afterall, they lost that battle in a HUGE way...

The Bitter End is still my favourite solo Operation.

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...which all and sundry can read oodles about by searching in the "Scenario Talk" forum using "volga" in the title field.

It's a hoot, no doubt.

Originally posted by Pyewacket:

My favourite scen. from the stalingrad pack is:

'our backs to the volga'

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"afterall, they lost that battle in a HUGE way"

They lost the campaign, certainly - to the flanking counterattacks outside the city. The city consumed their reserves. But they basically won the fight inside the city - just at prohibitive cost in losses, forces needed, and time. When the flank attacks were launched, Russian positions on the west bank of the river were scattered pockets of holdouts, 95% of the city was in German hands. They just could not afford, operationally, having all their best troops chewed up in the city fighting and committed there. That left weak minor allies on the flanks with no serious reserve to support them. But if you have the idea that the Russians won the city fight, they didn't.

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No, the battle for the city was taking place for long before the idea of cutting the Germans there was developed (it couldn't have taken place unless 6th Army was so horribly bogged in street fighting there). And Red Army most definately did their everything to hold the bridgehead.

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Sergei is correct, the Russians tried everything to hold the city proper, but could not do it. Kingfish has the same thought the Germans did, though, which explains in part why they were caught napping.

They figured, if the Russians are trying their utmost to win inside the city, and we are winning there, they must have no reserves left for elsewhere. So the fact that we are spending all of our own, is something we can live with. We may be hurting but they must be hurt even worse, thus no real threat elsewhere. (Understand, there were staff officers who saw the danger and warned of it, advocated a panzer reserve to support the flanks, etc. But their superiors did not listen to them).

The reason for the apparent discrepancy - trying to do all you can to hold the city but still have reserves for the counterattacks - lies in the problem the Russians faced, getting men into the battle. They were trying to fight on the west bank of the Volga. Stalingrad is a long city on the side of the river, much thinner east to west. The Russians had the east bank, and formed a large artillery park there to fire into the city etc.

But all the actual ground forces to fight in the city had to get across the river. There weren't any bridges, it was a matter of carrying them across on ferries. The Germans had air from early on, artillery interdicting the crossing sites. And later in the battle, they controlled large sections - eventually, nearly all - of the bank itself. Machineguns and light flak, infantry guns and PAK, lined the river bank by the end. The Russians crossed whole battalions anyway, at night. But you can't infiltrate entire armies this way.

So you have to understand, by November only a trickle of men were being smuggled into the city. They couldn't get more to the battle area. They had been forcing whatever they could through the pipeline throughout the battle, and the pipe got narrower and narrower. They could not feed in enough to keep the army fighting in the city alive.

Thus, they did all they could to hold the city, but accumulated forces that could not get into the city, and could not aid the battle there from the east bank. So they sent them to the operational flanks, and planned the counterattack. Well.

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The Führer was sure that the Red Army was finished at this point. He was blinded by this idea and this is why he gave little thought to the very weak, very long flanks of the 6th army. Paulus seemed to agree with Hitler, at least until it was too late.

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Originally posted by Sergei:

No, the battle for the city was taking place for long before the idea of cutting the Germans there was developed (it couldn't have taken place unless 6th Army was so horribly bogged in street fighting there). And Red Army most definately did their everything to hold the bridgehead.

Agreed, but at some point the Russian high command did adopt the strategy to encircle 6th army, and began assembling reserves. My question was if those reserves were instead committed into the city itself, would the Germans had been able to capture and hold 95% of the city.

Keep in mind that 6th army was bled white by Russian forces that themselves were bled white. What do you think the outcome would have been had the Russians sent in an additional 20-30,000 men?

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There are operational limits that would have made it unfeasible. It's not that you can just keep packing an unlimited amount of men within a limited space without causing your losses to rocket to skies. Not that Paulus would have minded.

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I never really was a big fan of the Stalingrad pack, too many gigantic scenarios for my taste. Some we're fun though.

I'm having a blast with the "CSDT-Courage is not enough" operation, surprisingly playing against the AI. Sometimes the AI will just sit and defend, other times they attack or counterattack. Although this Operation is recommended for 2 player, which im sure would be even better. It's not too big either. The only complaint i could throw at it would be that the map could be a tad bit bigger.

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Originally posted by JasonC:

Thus, they did all they could to hold the city, but accumulated forces that could not get into the city, and could not aid the battle there from the east bank. So they sent them to the operational flanks, and planned the counterattack. Well.

The planning for the uranus encirclement began in mid-september, before the german assaults on sep 13 and before the brutal october fighting had carved up chuikov so precariously.

I know you're not implying the counter-attack forces were standing about the flanks because they couldn't get on ferries, but...well, you almost are ;)

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The Russians were ordering massive frontal counterattacks still outside the city, and from within it (northern suburbs etc) in September. Which failed with horrible losses. If they could have pushed the Germans back they would have, and they sent all the men they could to fight in the city. They just lost that fight. They won the next set, and it was enough. It wasn't some master plan trap. It was trying three things and one of them working, because the other guy's forces and decisions only beat two of them.

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Originally posted by JasonC:

The Russians were ordering massive frontal counterattacks still outside the city, and from within it (northern suburbs etc) in September. Which failed with horrible losses. If they could have pushed the Germans back they would have, and they sent all the men they could to fight in the city. They just lost that fight. They won the next set, and it was enough. It wasn't some master plan trap. It was trying three things and one of them working, because the other guy's forces and decisions only beat two of them.

OK, I maybe read authors with a soviet bias, but I would interpret the constant attacks on the 6A flanks and the dribbling re-inforcement of the 62A - all the while as reserves were being pooled and earmarked for Mars and Uranus - as definately part of a master plan. To keep the battle in Stalingrad as a stalemate.

Sure, if they'd pushed germany back earlier they would have taken it, but making significant ground was not expected by any soviet operation until Uranus. Chuikov was to hold on, not push back. The counter attacks to the north and south were to relieve pressure on 62A, with attempts at small-scale tactical encirclement only.

Of course, this may be erickson propaganda working on me.

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1st Guards army attacks 14th Panzer corps 3 September. Fails. Larger attack in north suburbs 5 September. Fails with heavy losses.

That is a week before Uranus is proposed. Zhukov in charge of the planning. Stavka is initially skeptical of the proposal because it requires waiting a month and they want success now.

1st Guards army shifts away from the German armor, masses to hit the German 8th infantry corps on 18 September (Germans are breaking into the south end of the city, Russians still trying to counterattack in the north).

On the 19th, the attack is widened to include forces in the central city attacking Marajev Kurgan, the hill overlooking the city (important for arty observation). Both attacks persist for several days, fail with heavy losses.

By 22 September the southern part of the city has fallen. On 28-29 September, the Russians try to Marajev Kurgan again, and fail again. In the aftermath, the Germans break in to the factory distinct for the first time.

That is three weeks before Uranus succeeds.

The Russians were taking the shots they had. They took poor shots, badly prepared shots, shots they thought were targeted at weak points that turned out not to be weak, shots aimed at toughly defended pieces of terrain they thought were key, reactive counterattacks instantly delivered, etc. They thought Mars was the main show and it failed.

But if you take ten shots at somebody, and one of them works, then the other 9 that missed aren't decisive. If he can't avoid or absorb every one of them, he gets hurt. The Germans had enough to stop all of the above and to make them very expensive. And to keep grinding forward in the city proper. And to have a reserve in the north opposite Moscow, where their local mobile forces hadn't all been sucked into frontal attacks on a city.

But they did not have enough to do all of the above, *and* have a panzer army in reserve at the Don. And without that, they couldn't stop Uranus, and lost the campaign. Uranus was a good plan and it was well delivered. But it was a good plan amid a score of lousy ones, that hit home while the others did not.

The overall method was not careful manipulation of a deluded enemy, it was (to mix metaphors horribly) throwing the kitchen sink at a hurricane and hoping something stuck. Something did. Lots of stuff didn't. And no, they didn't know beforehand which would and which would not work, and they weren't doing the ones that didn't work for discipline.

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Those combats are at a smaller scale than I am talking about. The fighting for mamayev kurgan involved regiments and battalions – for example, on 28th Sep, it was the reduced 95 RD and bits of the 284 RD that attacked. Many times the soviets sent divisions in piece-meal in the desperate 'kitchen sink' way you describe.

My point is that significant soviet forces that could have been sent into fighting were instead being held back for the ‘master plan’ of mars and uranus. This is not the behaviour of a stavka throwing everything at the enemy. They were hording whole armies. Not coz ferries couldn't get them into Stalingrad either.

From Sep 7, Stalin was culling troops from elsewhere and sending them into reserve - 4th, 17th and 18th Tank Corps for example. They could have been sent into combat any time in October, but they weren't. The huge 5TA was not milling around waiting for ferries into Stalingrad, or going into attack off the march. They were part of a master plan.

From mid september, the red army was not swinging wildly like a punch-drunk boxer, lucky enough to land one blow out of 10. The red army continued to jab and parry and duck like any boxer will, taking a dreadful hammering, while building up for the huge hooks of Mars and Uranus. One missed by a mile, but one landed flush on the jaw.

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While I agree with most of what has already been said I thought I'd add my 2 cents. ;)

The Germans made a number of critical mistakes regarding the Stalingrad operation all the way from strategic to tactical.

1) Hitler’s decision to interfere with the movements of 4th Panzer Army at a critical point during the initial period may have cost Germany an early victory.

2) Paulus’ decision to bludgeon his way through the city instead of concentrating on ferry crossing sites showed a pathetic lack of imagination.

3) The decision to fight at all in a major urban area threw away tactical strengths of the Wermacht (command and control, flexibility and maneuver, small unit initiative) and played into assets on which Red Army thrived (great camouflage techniques, tenacious defense, good high volume fire power weapons at the squad level.)

In short battle became much more of a man vs. man fight than Germans wanted or could afford. The Soviets showed a much better strategic grasp throughout the war than Germany was able to muster, though it would take much longer to achieve tactical parity.

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Hadn't Paulus always been a gifted Staff Officer but never commanded a combat unit before being handed control of 6th Army?

I think that might have had a lot to do with his uninspired leadership during the battle.

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Paulus got along poorly with the local Luftwaffe commander as well, Von Richtofen, and they spent a good bit of time and energy butting heads and pointing fingers at each other rather than working on the task at hand.

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Although its not a Stalingrad scenario, It can be considered technicaly to be stalingrad related,,I like Alpine Breakout, The italian Alpini divisions were unbreakable, and they taught the russians the true meaning of fear,

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I'm playing a fun little one now. I didnt pick it, my opponent did, JCHare. A fine fellow.

I'll email him and tell him he's obligated to post here now.

If he's a putz about it though (wich he won't be but I just like to kid him) it's calles library somthing or other and could be from the Stalingrad Pack at B&T.

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