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Stalingrad or North Africa?

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Al Jassas View Drop Down
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Stalingrad or North Africa?
    Posted: 31-Dec-2008 at 19:58

Hello to you all

 
Which was the worst defeat, Stalingrad or North Africa (El-Alamein and after)?
 
 
Most people argue that the defeat at Stalingrad was the beginning of the end for the 3rd reich and that it was the biggest disaster ever to his Nazi Germany and accelerate its defeat. This battle literally turned into a myth of its own and nearly everything that happened after it was blamed on this battle. But was it really that significant? was it really that disastorous? was it really the point of no return as many historians argue?
 
 
So what do you think?
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Dec-2008 at 20:31
The loss in Africa opened up the whole S of Europe to invasion. Not to mention the loss of some of Germanys best formations, a quater of a million troops. Panzer and mech. Irreplaceable.
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  Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Dec-2008 at 21:36
The Germany's best formations always were in Russia.
 
And how do you define "El-Alamein and after"? The scales of the battle at El-Alamein itself are hardly comparable to Stalingrad.
 
El-Alamein is one thing, the final loss of German expedition forces in Tunisia is another thing.
 
Otherwise, you also can say Stalingrad and after...
 
In any case, there is no doubt that the defeat of Stalingrad was the real turning point on the road to the fall of the 3d Reich.
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  Quote Sun Tzu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 05:31
I'll tell you one thing is that both could have been less disasterous had Hitler allowed Rommel to retreat he would have had 250,000 troops with experience at his disposal. If he would have allowed Paulus to break away with the help of the nearby German army the same amount of 250,00 men would live to fight another battle and possible retake Stalingrad with the other German corps.

Overall Stalingrad and North Africa were both big kicks in the neter region for Germany. After Stalingrad Germany was constantly on defense and North Africa they lost their link to the oil fields and a possible Iraqi ally. And yes the Iraqis were willing to boot the Brits out if Germany would help. Also North africa opened up a new front requiring the Germans to keep many soldiers who could have been in the East in the South.

Good thread

Edited by Sun Tzu - 01-Jan-2009 at 05:33
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 06:52
Helo to you all
 
In my opinion the fall of Germany began when the day the US joined the war. Even if Moscow was not captured that winter, without the US the Soviets still had a good chance of losing the war entirely.
 
 
However, back to the subject. The 6th army and the whole of army group B was already a spent skeleton force well before Stalingrad even began. They have been fighting on the front for nearly a year. In the six months before Stalingrad (which began in Sept 42) they were invloved in several massive battles that took a heavy toll on them. Stalingrad was the coup d'grace. Even if the 6th army was saved, it would still been put out of action for at least a yearor even disbanded.
 
On the other hand in North Africa, the Africa Korps had some of the best and most experienced troops of the Germans. All of the units were veterans of the Eastern front. They were excellently equipped, much better than the 6th army or army group B, they had an entire loftwaffe fleet of some 1100 planes and hundreds of tanks (an entire panzer army to be exact) and over 200k men. Hitler continued to send soldiers into North Africa and depleting his now scarce resources in the east even when it was obvious he will lose, after Torch. The loss of such a huge force devastated the germans more than Stalingrad because those troops were supposed to be in the east preparing for Kursk.
 
The loss of so many tanks and expecially so many planes proved decisive when Kursk came. It was mostly the lack of resources that defeated Germans there because they nearly won, but they didn't.
 
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  Quote Majkes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 11:06
Of course Stalingrad was much more important like whole Eastern fron was much more important than North Africa. What would have happened if Hitler won in North Africa? There wouldn't be Allies invasion in Southern Europe. So what, they stucked there anyway and the fights in Italy were of minor importance.
Had Hitler won Stalingrad and defeat SU he might have won the war. Germany were defetead and conquered from Eastern front not from Africa.
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 13:56
Nobody is denying how important was the eastern front to the fighting, what is been suggested here is that North Africa had a much more direct impact on the fighting in the east than Stalingrad.
 
This is true in my opinion because of two things, North Africa was a wasted cause since November of 42, or even before, and the Germans committed and thus lost the best formations they had in that moment (giving that the fighting in the east has already mauled all the good formations available to the Germans). They also lost much equippement that was critical for any campaigned in Russia.
 
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 14:16
Originally posted by Sparten

The loss in Africa opened up the whole S of Europe to invasion. Not to mention the loss of some of Germanys best formations, a quater of a million troops. Panzer and mech. Irreplaceable.

The 250,000 troops total included many ineffective and poorly motivated Italian divisions as well as Italian para military police  troops from Libya.  The actual number of elite German and effective / elite Italian front line divisions lost in Tunisia was pretty small. Furthermore, allied airpower and sea power was so strong that many of these soldiers would have been killed anyways in an evacuation attempt. 
Originally posted by Majkes

Of course Stalingrad was much more important like whole Eastern fron was much more important than North Africa.

I agree competly. The war was going to be won or lost on the Eastern front. Side shows like North Africa were not that important.
Originally posted by Al Jassas

 
In my opinion the fall of Germany began when the day the US joined the war.

True, the Germans could never win after the U.S. entry but they could still tie. Had the Soviet Union collapsed due to German strategic victories in 1942 or 1943,  the war probably would have ended in a negotiated cease fire. This also supports the overwhelming importance of the Eastern Front and the German defeat at Stalingrad. 


Edited by Cryptic - 01-Jan-2009 at 14:29
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 14:33
I think a more important aspect of the Battle for Stalingrad was not the Russian victory, but rather their resistance. Following the initial engagement the battle rapidly dissolved into infantry skirmishes amongst the ruins. Forces were rapidly depleted on both sides, and it was this, rather than the eventual victory, that determined the fate of the Eastern front and the war.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 15:03

200,000 were Germans; only. Italians were 100,000 . The German troops in N Africa were there best troops, (10, 15 and 21 Panzer for example).

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 15:32
In North Africa Germans had some tough defeat, however in Stalingrad Germans lost the war.
 
That's the difference. After Stalingrad, all Germany knew was defeat after defeat, and they started to deffend rather than attack.
 
I vote Stalingrad. It was a lot more heroic war there, anyways.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 15:43
I think it would be hard to argue the merits of heroism for one front over another. Certainly the Germans and Russians engaged in brave and vicious fighting in Stalingrad, but can one say the heroic defence of Tobruk to be any less meritorious? 
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  Quote Majkes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 16:01
So the only importance of Northern African front was that Germans's effort there was too big. They could have sent those troops on the East. Still in my opinion Battle of Stalingrad alone was more important than the whole African campaign.
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 17:06
double post


Edited by Cryptic - 01-Jan-2009 at 17:15
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 17:14
Originally posted by Zaitsev

I think a more important aspect of the Battle for Stalingrad was not the Russian victory, but rather their resistance. 

I think it was the victory. The tough resistance was at the squad to division level. The victory, however, showed that Soviet strategists were capable of of planning successful strategic offensives against the Germans and that Soviet officers and troops were capable of carrying out the plans to victory.  The scale of the Soviet strategic plans grows more when one considers "Big Uranus" (destroying Italian Army on Don, planned encirclement of entire German Army groups)

The Soviets then used then built on their planning and execution successes at Stalingrad to defeat the Germans at Kursk and then launch the Soviet armoured Blitzkrieg from Eastern Ukraine to Kiev and into Romania. 
Originally posted by Sparten

200,000 were Germans; only. Italians were 100,000 . The German troops in N Africa were there best troops, (10, 15 and 21 Panzer for example).

Even with the capture of elite Panzer divisions in North Africa, the strategic focus point of the war remained the Eastern Front. This gave more weight to Soviet victories there.


Edited by Cryptic - 01-Jan-2009 at 17:16
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  Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 18:28
Originally posted by Al Jassas

Helo to you all
 
In my opinion the fall of Germany began when the day the US joined the war. Even if Moscow was not captured that winter, without the US the Soviets still had a good chance of losing the war entirely.
 
Very questionable statement. First of all, even if Germans captured Moscow that winter, which, in fact, was quite possible, Russia wouldn't lose the war. Strategically it was not defeated, while the German army was already very exhausted (one should remember that afterwards Germany was never able to carry out such a huge offensive operation as Barbarossa in 1941).
 
Secondly, if Germany would defeat the USSR in 1941 and reach it's strategic obejective i.e. creation of Akhangelsk-Astrahan line and control on all the Soviet natural resources (particulary Baku Oil Fields), it would be more than capable in defending against the possible US invasion in Europe. Landings in Italy and Normandy were possible only because Germany's attentions and most of the troops were always on the Eastern Front.
 
It's very likely that the result of the war would be in favor of Germany and Japan or at least it would be a draw if the USSR was defeated.
 
 
Originally posted by Al Jassas

  However, back to the subject. The 6th army and the whole of army group B was already a spent skeleton force well before Stalingrad even began. They have been fighting on the front for nearly a year. In the six months before Stalingrad (which began in Sept 42) they were invloved in several massive battles that took a heavy toll on them. Stalingrad was the coup d'grace. Even if the 6th army was saved, it would still been put out of action for at least a yearor even disbanded.
 
On the other hand in North Africa, the Africa Korps had some of the best and most experienced troops of the Germans. All of the units were veterans of the Eastern front. They were excellently equipped, much better than the 6th army or army group B, they had an entire loftwaffe fleet of some 1100 planes and hundreds of tanks (an entire panzer army to be exact) and over 200k men. Hitler continued to send soldiers into North Africa and depleting his now scarce resources in the east even when it was obvious he will lose, after Torch. The loss of such a huge force devastated the germans more than Stalingrad because those troops were supposed to be in the east preparing for Kursk.
 
So do you actually mean that that was Kursk which finally defeated the Germans? And Africa just facilitated the Kursk?
 
 
Originally posted by Al Jassas

The loss of so many tanks and expecially so many planes proved decisive when Kursk came. It was mostly the lack of resources that defeated Germans there because they nearly won, but they didn't.
 
Al-Jassas
 
Lack of the resources? May be Germans lost in Africa first of all because they didn't have enough resources which were in the East? Germans were not able to make a decisve break through the Soviet lines that's why the lost Kursk battle. In any case, your conclusions just support the point that the Eastern Front was decisive, while all the other theaters were second by importance compare to the Eastern Front.


Edited by Sarmat - 01-Jan-2009 at 23:09
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  Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 18:32
Originally posted by Majkes

Of course Stalingrad was much more important like whole Eastern fron was much more important than North Africa. What would have happened if Hitler won in North Africa? There wouldn't be Allies invasion in Southern Europe. So what, they stucked there anyway and the fights in Italy were of minor importance.
Had Hitler won Stalingrad and defeat SU he might have won the war. Germany were defetead and conquered from Eastern front not from Africa.
 
Complitely agree.
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 19:01
Hello Sarmat
 
If the US didn't join the war and Moscow fell, you would see the Japanese in Irkutsk before the summer of 42. With Russia on two fronts no way would they have survived. The US made the Japanese totally forget about Russia and Russia at one time only had a handful of divisions covering the entire far east. Also the US provided the Russians with lots of supplies that helped them during the critical period during the rebuilding of Russian army and industrial resources.
 
Now how my theory here is this. The Germans lost an entire Panzer army, some 1500+ tanks, and an entire air fleet of some 1100 airplanes in addition to an Italian field army that was quite good. These soldiers had they been present where they would have and should have been, in Kursk, the Russians would have definitely lost the battle and another disaster, this time at a magnitude even greater than Kiev 41, would have broke their backs and maybe for good.
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 19:18
The Germans lost a full Panzer Armee and a corps that was almost an army size (a quater of a million men). These were troops who had been sent from the OKH strategic reserve in France and Holland, reserves that might have made a difference either in the Stalingrad offence or the defence. The loss of N Africa meant that the Germans were committed to a two front war, meaning that they never quite had the reserves to committ to a theatre to stem the tide of a Soviet advance.
 
N Africa's importance to the war was huge, it ensured that the supply line from the east would not be cut off, it destroyed Germanys best formations.
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  Quote Majkes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2009 at 22:00
Topic is what was more important Stalingrad or North Africa. As Sparten mentioned Germans lost in 4 years about 250 thousand people when in Stalingrad they lost similar number of soldiers in seven months. Second I think we can agree that Eastern front was more importan than North African. Third, the only reason for North African campaign importance is that Germans lost quater of million people there. So how does this make it more important than Stalingrad? We could also say that Hitler could have thrown his soldiers from Stalingrad and won in Northern Africa. But we enter here in what if discussion. 
I think it was a mistake for Germany to involve so much in Africa. They should have sent those troops to Russia.
US involvment in WWII is another topic, would be quite interesting as well.
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