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Stalingrad 08 - The Sixth Army Encircled

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Published on Sep 20, 2010

Stalingrad 08 - The Sixth Army Encircled

Adolf Hitler had declared in a public speech (in the Berlin Sportpalast) on September 30 that the German army would never leave the city. At a meeting shortly after the Soviet encirclement, German army chiefs pushed for an immediate breakout to a new line on the west of the Don. But Hitler was at his Bavarian retreat of Obersalzberg in Berchtesgaden with the head of the Luftwaffe, Göring. When asked by Hitler, Göring replied, after being convinced by Hans Jeschonnek, that the Luftwaffe could supply the Sixth Army with an "air bridge".
This would allow the Germans in the city to fight on while a relief force was assembled.

The head of the Fourth Air Fleet (Luftflotte 4), Wolfram von Richthofen, tried to have this decision overturned without success.
The Sixth Army would be supplied by air. The Sixth Army was the largest unit of this type in the world, almost twice as large as a regular German army. Also trapped in the pocket was a corps of the Fourth Panzer Army.
It should have been clear that supplying the pocket by air was impossible -- the maximum 117.5 tons they could deliver a day was less than the 800 tons/day needed by the pocket.
To supplement the limited number of Junkers Ju 52 transports, the Germans equipped aircraft wholly inadequate for the role, such as the bomber He-177 (some bombers performed adequately -- the Heinkel He-111 proved to be quite capable and was a lot faster than the Ju 52).
But Hitler backed Göring's plan and reiterated his order of "no surrender" to his trapped armies.

The air supply mission failed. Appalling weather conditions, technical failures, heavy Soviet anti-aircraft fire and fighter interceptions led to the loss of 488 German aircraft.
The Luftwaffe failed to achieve even the maximum supply capacity of 117 tons that it was capable of. An average of 94 tons of supplies per day was delivered to the trapped German Army. Even then, it was often inadequate or unnecessary; one aircraft arrived with 20 tonnes of Vodka and summer uniforms, completely useless in their current situation.
The transport aircraft that did land safely were used to evacuate technical specialists and sick or wounded men from the besieged enclave (some 42,000 were evacuated in all).
The Sixth Army slowly starved.

The expense to the Transportgruppen was heavy. Some 266 Junkers Ju 52s were destroyed, one-third of the fleets strength on the Soviet-German front.
The He 111 gruppen lost 165 aircraft in transport operations. Other losses included 42 Junkers Ju 86s, nine Fw 200 "Condors", five He 177 bombers and a single Ju 290.
The Luftwaffe also lost close to 1,000 highly experienced bomber crew personnel.

So heavy were the Luftwaffe's losses that four of Luftflotte 4s transport units (KGrzbV 700, KGrzbV 900, I./KGrzbV 1 and II./KGzbV 1) were "formally dissolved".


Erich von Manstein:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_vo...

Friedrich Paulus:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedric...

Vasily Chuikov:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasily_C...

Aleksandr Vasilevsky:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksand...

Georgy Zhukov:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgiy_...

Semyon Timoshenko:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semyon_T...

Konstantin Rokossovsky:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konstant...

Rodion Malinovsky:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodion_M...

Andrei Yeremenko:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Y...

Battle of Stalingrad:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_o...

Eastern Front (World War II):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_...)

http://english.pobediteli.ru/
http://english.pobediteli.ru/flash.ht...

Battlefield I: "The Battle of Stalingrad" (1-12)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlfKbt...

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    • "Svyaschennaya voyna" by A. V. Alexandrov Twice Red-bannered and Red-starred Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance of the Soviet Army Listen ad-free with YouTube Red

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