"Stalingrad: An Examination of Hitler's Decision to Airlift"
Airpower Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1997), pp. 21-37.
Joel S. A. Hayward
After February 1943, the shadow of
The battle has attracted considerable scholarly and journalistic attention. Literally scores of books and articles on
The main focus of
Of course, most writers on the Battle of Stalingrad do briefly touch on the decision to airlift before launching into their descriptions of Sixth Army's suffering or the Luftwaffe's poor performance. Their treatment of the decision--making process, however, is invariably weak and unpersuasive. Almost all blame Hermann Göring, the Luftwaffe's ineffectual commander in chief. When Hitler asked him what the air force could do, they claim, Göring made rash promises of an airlift, hoping its success would restore his flagging prestige. Lacking dissenting voices and trusting Göring, Hitler went ahead and ordered the airlift. Typifying this line of argument, Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein wrote: I am unsure whether Göring's frivolous assurances to Hitler were due to a false appreciation of existing capabilities, or of a desperate need for admiration. Whatever the cause, Göring was responsible.3
Many early writers on
The only way the Reichsmarschall could redeem himself in the Führer's eyes was to score a spectacular military victory.
Göring was certainly among those responsible for one of the war's most ill--considered decisions, but he does not deserve sole blame, as this study tries to demonstrate. It attempts to recreate the decision--making process from surviving sourcesincluding the diaries of Luftwaffe commanders in the Stalingrad sector, who found their opposition to the airlift ignored by their army counterparts and by the High Commandand tries to determine culpability in a more evenhanded, dispassionate manner than previously attempted.
When the Soviet Fifth Tank and Twenty--first Armies launched their massive counteroffensive northwest of
When the Soviet Southwestern Front breached the Axis flank south of
Generaloberst Hans Jeschonnek, chief of the Luftwaffe General Staff, arrived at the Berghof that same day (20 November). Hitler had summoned him from his headquarters in East Prussia to discuss the air force's role in any attempted breakout or relief operations.9 Göring was too busy to attend; he was presiding over an oil conference at Karinhall, his country estate in Berlin. No verbatim records of Hitler's conversation with Jeschonnek have surfaced, but the basic facts are known: Hitler explained that Sixth Army would probably be totally cut off within days, that he had organized a new army group under von Manstein, and that it would launch a relief effort as soon as possible. He hoped not only to free Sixth Army within a short time, but also to regain lost territory and rebuild a strong defensive line. Apparently understanding Sixth Army's encirclement to be temporary, Jeschonnek assured Hitler that if both transport planes and bombers were used, and if adequate airfields inside and outside the pocket could be maintained, the Luftwaffe could airlift sufficient supplies to the army. After all, he pointed out, the air force had successfully sustained one hundred thousand men in the Demyansk pocket for several months during the previous winter.
The comparison with Demyansk was specious, as Jeschonnek himself probably realized as soon as he had time to think through the issues (seldom possible when dealing with Hitler, who always wanted immediate answers to his questions). The one hundred thousand men of II Army Corps trapped at Demyansk had required no less than three hundred tons of supplies per day.10 Because of low operational rates caused by winter conditions, the Luftwaffe had been forced to commit almost five hundred Junkers Ju--52s to the airlift in order to ensure that sufficient planesaround 150could carry that tonnage each day.11 Further, the presence of the VVS (Voyenno--vozdushnyye sily, the Soviet Air Force) at Demyansk had been negligible, allowing almost uninterrupted German air operations with low losses.12 The situation at Stalingrad was very different. First, almost three times as many men were encircled there than had been at Demyansk. If one hundred thousand men had needed three hundred tons of supplies per day, then, logically, 250,000 men would need around 750 tons, an almost impossible tonnage to deliver (as calculations made at Hitler's headquarters a few days later confirmed).13 Second, the Luftwaffe did not possess anywhere near enough transport aircraft and available bombers to deliver such tonnages. Third, VVS forces at
Jeschonnek's spontaneous and ill--considered assurance that the air force could sustain Sixth Army at
Neither Hitler nor Jeschonnek envisaged an airlift of the Demyansk scale or duration. They still thought that von Manstein would soon break the encirclement and restore the southern front. Sixth Army would only need to be supplied by air in the meantime. Yet that is clearly not the way army commanders in the field, faced with the grim realities of their predicament, interpreted Hitler's references to an airlift. Sixth Army's senior officers felt that unless they broke out immediately (which they unsuccessfully advocated), their army would have to be supplied by air for weeks, if not months. They stated that it would need 750 tons of supplies per day (reducing this figure to five hundred tons within a few days). Their statements to this effect horrified local Luftwaffe commanders, whose depleted units would have to carry out the airlift.
Later that day (21 November), Generalleutnant Martin Fiebig, commander of Fliegerkorps VIII, the Luftwaffe corps responsible for all air operations in the
In response to my questions about Sixth Army's intentions, General Schmidt replied that the army commander proposed to deploy his army in a hedgehog [that is, all--around] defense of
Another prominent air leader shared Fiebig's view: the highly decorated Generaloberst Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, commander of Luftflotte 4, the air fleet in charge of all Luftwaffe operations in southern Russia (including the Ukraine, the Crimea, the Black Sea, the Caucasus and, of course, the Stalingrad sector). Von Richthofen's views carried far more weight than those of Fiebig, his subordinate. Not only was he considered to be
Von Richthofen considered it sheer madness for Paulus and his staff to plan an all--around defense at
The following day, Generalmajor Wolfgang Pickert, commander of the 9th Flak Division and the senior Luftwaffe officer trapped in the pocket, echoed these sentiments to Paulus and Schmidt during a conference in Nizhne--Chirskaya, attended by these generals and Generaloberst Hermann Hoth, Fourth Panzer Army's commander. According to Pickert's subsequent version of what transpired (the only surviving account), Schmidt asked him at one point what he thought should be done. I would gather together all the forces I could and break out to the southwest, the flak general bluntly replied. Schmidt explained that Hitler had expressly ordered Sixth Army to stand fast at
Pickert rejected this as nonsense, insisting that a breakout was the only solution. His flak forces could help considerably, he added. He had numerous heavy batteries for covering fire, and his men could carry his 20 mm flak guns (160 of them) and their ammunition across the steppes. No, Schmidt concluded, the army has been ordered to stand fast at
Thus, Luftwaffe commanders in the field were unanimous both in their belief that the air force could not supply the entire Sixth Army and in their condemnation of the idea to local army commanders and to the High Command itself. They eventually made several converts, most notably Zeitzler (as will soon be shown) and Generaloberst von Weichs, commander of Army Group B. The latter had listened carefully to von Richthofen's arguments. Persuaded, he sent a teletyped message to the High Command on 22 November.22 The prompt withdrawal of Sixth Army was essential, he said, especially because the supply by air of the twenty divisions that constitute this army is not possible. With the air transport available, and in favorable weather conditions, it is possible to carry in only one--tenth of their essential daily requirements. Von Weichs added that although a breakout would entail heavy losses, especially in materiel, it was the only viable option and would, if successful, result in favorable developments in the situation as a whole.
Several of the army corps commanders bottled up in
However, Pauluslike his chief of staffwas apparently not persuaded by the airmen's warnings. He vacillated throughout the 22d and 23d, afraid to contradict Hitler's order to stand fast even though he knew his opportunities for a successful breakout were disappearing with every passing hour. On the 22d, he did request freedom of decision in the event of failure to construct southern defensive positions. Yet, totally ignoring von Richthofen's, Fiebig's, and Pickert's logical arguments against an airlift, he stated that as long as he could close his exposed southern front and receive ample airborne supplies, he intended to hold the area still in his possession.24 Next evening, in response to Hitler's fresh order to construct all--around defensive positions and await relief from outside, the general replied with another teletype message. This time he did allude to mounting opposition to the proposed airlift, but said only that timely and adequate supply has been ruled out.25 His army must break through the encirclement to the southwest, he stated, because it was now suffering acute fuel and ammunition shortages and increasing enemy attacks against certain sectors. As the army could not hold out for long, he again requested freedom of decision. His five corps commanders, he added, shared his views on the situation.
Hitler's ears were now deaf to such pleas. His mind was firmly made up. After arriving back at his East Prussian headquarters on the 23d, he replied to Paulus by radio in the early hours of the 24th. Sixth Army (which he now designated Fortress Stalingrad) would stay and defend itself vigorously. Air supply by a hundred more Junkers is getting under way, he said, trying to reassure the frantic army commander.26 By now, Hitler's notion of an airlift operation had changed considerably since Jeschonnek had first assured him that Sixth Army could be supplied by air. He had then described the army's encirclement as temporary, and Jeschonnek had made his rash assurance with that in mind. Now he clearly envisaged a Demyansk--style airlift, only even larger and longer lasting. Sixth Army will stay where it is, he yelled at Zeitzler in the evening of the 23d, according to the latter's postwar account. It is the garrison of a fortress, and the duty of fortress troops is to withstand sieges. If necessary they will hold out all winter, and I shall relieve them by a spring offensive.27
The firmness of Hitler's conviction that the fortress should stand fast and that the Luftwaffe could keep it adequately supplied had grown considerably in the two days since Jeschonnek had first mentioned it. One of the main reasons for his increased conviction was the almost unanimous support for the decision expressed by those around him. At
The military advisers accompanying Hitlerhis faithful paladins, Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl, and their skeleton staffswere in no position to make detailed assessments or offer informed advice. The sycophantic Keitel, who seldom expressed views contrary to Hitler's, acted true to form throughout this crucial period. The
Aside from Zeitzler's, the only dissenting voice Hitler heard during his last two days in Berchtesgaden and his long journey north to East Prussia belonged to Jeschonnek, who had abandoned his earlier position and now meekly suggested that Sixth Army should break out.28 He regretted his earlier assurances to Hitler. Almost as soon as the words were out of his mouth, he wished he could swallow them again. After having his staff check his figures and after talking with von Richthofen several times by telephone, he quickly realized that nothing close to adequate logistical support of Sixth Army by air would be possible, even with consistently favorable weather and taking no account of VVS action. He and von Richthofen were close friends, but the latter clearly dominated their relationship and, when they disagreed on matters, usually managed to win Jeschonnek over. This was clearly one such case. However, although Jeschonnek notified Hitler that he might have been too hasty when he made his earlier assessment, his retraction carried no weight. Not only did Keitel and Jodl believe Sixth Army should stay, Hitler retorted, but Jeschonnek's own superior, Reichsmarschall Göring, had now given his personal assurance that the air force could fully meet the army's supply needs.
Determining when Göring first specifically assured Hitler that the Luftwaffe could supply the army is difficult because of the paucity of reliable and detailed sources. However, David Irving, who has reconstructed Göring's movements in this period, believes that Hitler had first phoned him on 21 November, a full day after Jeschonnek had made his rash promise and shortly after Hitler had first mentioned the airlift to Paulus.29 This view gains support from von Richthofen's diary description of a discussion he had with Hitler at the Wolf's Lair on 11 February 1943, almost two weeks after Paulus surrendered and his surviving troops staggered into Soviet captivity. Hitler admitted to von Richthofen that Göring was not entirely to blame for the failed airlift; he had himself promised Sixth Army that it would be supplied by air, without the Reichsmarschall's knowledge.30
When Göring first discussed an airlift with Hitler on 21 November, he lacked up--to--the--minute information on Sixth Army's encirclement and statistical data with which to make air supply calculations. He therefore gave no specific assurances about his force's airlift tonnage capabilities, insisting instead that Sixth Army should stand fast and that, as Jeschonnek had said the previous day, the Luftwaffe would do all in its power to meet the army's needs. As soon as he got off the phone, he summoned his quartermaster staff and ordered every available transport planeincluding his own courier flightto be mobilized for the operation. Göring's actions are remarkable, considering that he had not yet studied detailed data or consulted air supply experts. He later told von Richthofen that at the very beginning of the
Göring's assurances became much stronger on the following day (22 November), when he arrived in
Hitler said to me: Listen here, Göring. If the Luftwaffe cannot carry this through, then Sixth Army is lost! He had me firmly by the sword--knot. I could do nothing but agree, otherwise the air force and I would be left with the blame for the loss of the army. So I had to reply: Mein Führer, we'll do the job!32
He could hardly have rejected the airlift proposal anyway, he lamely explained afterwards to Paul Körner (undersecretary of state for the Four Year Plan), because his own chief of staff had already convinced Hitler that the air force could supply the encircled forces. Hitler already had Jeschonnek's papers before I set eyes on them, he told Körner, doubtless trying to shift some blame to his chief of staff. I could only say, `Mein Führer, you have all the figures. If they are correct, then I place myself at your disposal.'33
Jeschonnek's original figures were not accurate, however, as Göring learned just hours later. Oberst Eschenauer, Jeschonnek's supply officer, informed his boss that the standard 250 kg and 1,000 kg air--supply containers on which he based his calculations actually carried only around two--thirds of those loads.34 Their names derived solely from the size of the bombs they replaced on bomb racks. Jeschonnek, an honest man who admitted his mistakes, immediately told Göring, and asked him to warn Hitler that their calculations were based on incorrect data. Göring winced when his young chief of staff confessed to this error, but, believing it was too late now, expressly forbade him to tell Hitler. Instead, he phoned Hitler, repeated his unconditional assurances that the Luftwaffe could do the job and invited him to phone Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch, his deputy and Air Inspector--General, if he still felt unsure. When Milch finally learned of this in 1946, he angrily scrawled in his diary: Deceit plus incompetence equals one Reichsmarschall! I guessed it already, but now I get proof of it, it makes me want to throw up all over again.35
According to Zeitzler's postwar claims, after Hitler arrived back in
Allowing for all the stocks at present with Sixth Army, allowing for absolute minimum needs and the taking of all possible emergency measures, the Sixth Army will require delivery of three hundred tons per day. But since not every day is suitable for flying, as I myself learned at the front last winter, this means that about five hundred tons will have to be carried to Sixth Army on each and every flying day if the irreducible minimum average is to be maintained.
I can do that, Göring shot back. Losing his temper, Zeitzler shouted: Mein Führer! That is a lie! Hitler thought for a minute before replying: The Reichsmarschall has made his report to me, which I have no choice but to believe. I therefore abide by my original decision [to supply the army by air].
Zeitzler's frequently cited description of this argument with Göring should not be treated as a verbatim record because it is based on his subjective recollection of the exchange and was apparently not written down until the following day. However, the account is almost certainly an honest attempt at reconstructing the event. Zeitzler's open opposition to the airlift is mentioned in several reliable sources, including von Richthofen's diary, as is his courage to express opinions contrary to Hitler's. But placing this account chronologically within this crucial decision--making period poses problems. Zeitzler himself could not remember the date, noting only that it took place between 22 and 26 November.37
Most writers place the argument in the early hours of 24 Novemberthat is, shortly after Hitler arrived from Berchtesgaden and shortly before he issued his fateful order to Paulus that his army must stand fast, that a relief operation was being launched, and that the Luftwaffe, bolstered by a hundred more Junkers, would keep the army supplied.38 If the argument did occur at that point, then it represents the last major appeal to Hitler to change his mind and the most weighty challenge to Göring's unconditional assurances that his air force would meet the trapped army's supply needs. It shows not only that Hitler had already firmly made up his mind before he arrived back in East Prussia, but that his deputy's embarrassing unfamiliarity with the tonnages he had promised to supply should have raised grave doubts in his mind about the reliability of those promises. Before it was too late, Hitler should have reexamined the tables and graphs drawn up by Jeschonnek, Zeitzler, and the army quartermaster--general; and he should have spoken to von Richthofen, whose air fleet was to carry out the air supply operation.
However, the argument with Zeitzler did not take place on the 24th, before the airlift began. It could not have. After Göring visited Hitler at the Berghof on the 22d, he departed for
Hitler's decision to keep Sixth Army at
The Führer heard everything we had to say, but decides against it because he believes the army can hold on and he does not think we could reach
Von Richthofen was stunned that the High Command expected him to fly in at least three hundred tons per day. We supply [the pocket today] with all our Ju--52s, but we only have 30 available for that. He added in his diary on the 25th:
Of yesterday's 47 Ju 52s, 22 made sorties [into the pocket]; of today's 30, 9 made sorties. We flew in 75 tons today, instead of the 300 tons ordered by the High Command, which is not possible with the few Ju 52s available. I report[ed] this to the Reichsmarschall.
Von Seydlitz, commander of LI Army Corps, also complained that Hitler's order was impossible to fulfill. He sent Paulus a lengthy report, which warned that there could be no question of standing firm: The army has a clear choice: it must break through to the southwest in the general direction of Kotelnikovo or face destruction within days.43 The army's supply situation, he insisted, would decide the matter. To believe the Luftwaffe could keep the army supplied was grasping at straws, especially since only 30 Ju--52s were at hand and, even if the other hundred aircraft Hitler promised actually materialized, they could still not meet the army's needs in full. Unfortunately, von Seydlitz's report contained several careless inaccuracies which robbed it of its persuasiveness. He stated, for example, that even one thousand tons of supplies per day would not be sufficient, whereas Sixth Army's own quartermaster had just reported that the army could survive if the Luftwaffe carried in five hundred tons each day (three hundred cubic meters of fuel and two hundred tons of ammunition).44 Schmidt and Paulus still sent the report to von Manstein, adding that, although they disagreed with many of von Seydlitz's reasons, they shared his view that the army should break out immediately.
Unfortunately for all those opposed to Hitler's stand fast and airlift decisions, von Manstein made his own thorough assessment of the situation and sent the High Command a far more optimistic appraisal.45 His position was similar to Jodl's: while he agreed that a breakout was the safest course, and that the army remained in danger if it stayed in its present positions, he was not convinced by Army Group B's insistence on an immediate breakout. If a relief operation could start in early December, he argued, and if the promised reinforcements arrived in time, it was still possible to save the army. Of course, he cautioned, if it proved impossible to launch the relief operation or meet the army's supply needs by air, then it should break out. Hitler felt vindicated. He highly valued von Manstein's opinions (as did most of his senior officers), and proudly informed Zeitzler and his other advisers that the field marshal's assessment was far more in keeping with his own views than those of his defeatist generals. The debate was over; he had wonfor now.
Thus, responsibility for the decision to supply Sixth Armyone of the most fateful decisions of the warrests with three individuals: Jeschonnek, Hitler, and Göring. Jeschonnek rashly made the first assurances that the Luftwaffe was capable of meeting the army's logistical needs before he had consulted air transport experts, made detailed calculations of his own, or sought the views of von Richthofen and the other air force and army commanders at the front. Their evaluations of the situation and the capabilities of their respective forces would have been far more detailed and reliable than the situation assessments made by Hitler and his entourage (thousands of kilometers away in Hitler's alpine retreat in southern
When Jeschonnek gave his initial assurances to Hitler, however, he believed that the army's encirclement would be temporary and, therefore, that its long--term survival did not depend on the air force's ability to keep it supplied. Had he known then that Sixth Army would need supplying for several weeks, if not several months, he certainly would not have promised Hitler anything without extensive research. To his credit, when he did learn that Sixth Army's encirclement would last longer than originally claimed, that von Richthofen and Fiebig forcefully opposed the airlift, and that his own hasty calculations were inaccurate, he immediately admitted his mistakes and tried to dissuade Hitler and Göring. He lacked both a forceful personality and the respect of his bosses, so, as a result, they simply ignored his warnings. Jeschonnek's culpability, then, stems from rashness, a faulty original assessment of the situation, and an inability to stand up to stronger personalities. It does not stem from dishonesty or incompetence.
When considering Hitler's responsibility for the decision to supply Sixth Army by air, one should note that he was unable to focus solely on that matter. He had to divide his attention between events at
Deciding to supply Sixth Army by air was not Hitler's only mistake. His decision to pour men and equipment into
Hitler's responsibility for the airlift outweighs Jeschonnek's. First, his own initial perceptions about the developing encirclement and the fate of Sixth Army were not based on rationality, but egotism. His iron will alone had saved his eastern armies during the previous winter, he believed. It would do so again. This explains his comment to Zeitzler on the first night after he returned to
Göring's responsibility for the airlift decision equals Hitler's. When the Nazi leader first asked him whether the Luftwaffe could, as Jeschonnek had promised, fully meet Sixth Army's logistical needs, he should not have given an immediate answer. He should first have consulted his air transport experts, studied all available information on the situation at Stalingrad (enemy strengths and activities, the size and state of trapped forces, the condition and capabilities of Luftflotte 4, weather patterns and projections, and so on) and sought the opinions of von Richthofen and the Fliegerkorps commanders involved. Remarkably, Göring failed to do this, not only before making his first assurances, but also before making his final promises prior to leaving for
Göring aggressively dominated his own staff, driving two of his senior officers to suicide (Ernst Udet in November 1941 and Jeschonnek in August 1943). Yet, he proved incapable of standing up to Hitler. He rarely even expressed views contrary to Hitler's (at least in the latter's presence), especially after his obvious failure to defeat
Hermann Plocher argued that Göring may also have sincerely believed that he could accomplish the airlift operation to satisfaction, just as he had done in some instances in the past, by combining the influences of his several offices and adding his own brutal energy.50 Plocher was wrong. Göring did not sincerely believe that he could do the job, otherwise no sense can be made of his comments to Lörzer that Hitler had him by the sword--knot and that he could do nothing but agree because he did not want to be left with the blame. Also, his refusal to inform Hitler that Jeschonnek's original calculations were based on false premises and information removes any suggestion of sincerity. He deliberately withheld embarrassing but important information from Hitler. Additionally, at no point during the course of the airlift did he throw his brutal energy into making sure it succeeded. On the contrary, rather than stay and organize and oversee the crucial operation himself, he disappeared to
To sum up, then, this article shows that Hitler's decision to leave Sixth Army trapped in
1. For the effect of the defeat on Hitler's allies, see Jürgen Förster's
2. An excellent treatment of Stalingrad historiography and the lasting effects of that battle on the collective memory of Germans and Russians is W. Wette and G. R. Ueberschär, eds., Stalingrad: Mythos und Wirklichkeit einer Schlacht (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1992); also see Jürgen Förster, ed., Stalingrad: Ereignis--Wirkung--Symbol (Munich: Piper, 1992).
3. Erich von Manstein, Verlorene Siege (Bonn: Athenäum, 1955), 347.
4. J. Fischer's Über den Entschluss zur Luftversorgung Stalingrads: Ein Beitrag zur militärischen Führung im Dritten Reich, Militärgeschichtliche Mitteilungen 2 (1969): 767, is the best published study of the decision to supply
5. Franz Kurowski,
6. Samuel W. Mitcham, Men of the Luftwaffe (Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1988), 184.
7. Fischer, 10.
8. Manstein, 326.
9. For Jeschonnek's meeting with Hitler, see postwar statements by the airman's staffespecially Frau Lotte Kersten, damals Sekretärin bei Generaloberst Jeschonnek and Oberstleutnant Leuchtenberg, damals Adjutant des Generaloberst Jeschonnekin Aussagen zum Problem der Luftversorgung von Stalingrad, United States Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama (hereafter cited as USAFHRA), file no. K113.106153.
10. Fritz Morzik, German Air Force Airlift Operations, USAF Historical Study 167 (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: USAF Historical Division, Air University, 1961), 145.
11. Ibid., 150.
12. Ibid., 15760.
13. P. E. Schramm, ed., Kriegstagebuch des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht (Wehrmachtfuhrungsstab), 19401945 (Frankfurt am Main: Bernard & Graefe, 1961), vol. 2, 25 November 1942, 1019; Cajus Bekker, Angriffshöhe 4000: Ein Kriegstagebuch der deutschen Luftwaffe, 19391945 (Gräfelfing vor München: Urbes Verlag Hans Jürgen Hansen, 1964), 363.
14. M. Domarus, Hitler: Reden und Proklamationen, 19321945 (1965; reprint, Leonberg: Pamminger, 1988). The speech of
15. Ibid., 193344, esp. 1937 (speech of
16. Manfred Kehrig,
17. Feldgericht des VIII. Fliegerkorps, Br. B. Nr. 7143, gKdos, Im Felde, den 26.1.1943, gez. Fiebig, appended to Tagebuch--Generalleutnant Fiebig (
18. Dr. Wolfram Frhr. von Richthofen, Persönliches Kriegstagebuch, Band 9, 184.108.40.206.1942,
20. My description of the conference is drawn from Pickert's notes (Aufzeichnungen aus meinem Tagebuch und von Besprechungen über operative ünd taktische Gedanken und Massnahmen der 6. Armee), appended to his diary, USAFHRA file no. 168.7158--338: Aufzeichnungen des Generalmajor Pickert, Kommandeurs der 9. Flak--Division und Generals der Luftwaffe bei der 6. Armee, aus der Zeit vom 25.6.4223.1.43) as well as from later correspondence between Pickert and Hans Doerr, USAFHRA file no. K113.309--3, vol. 9; and from an essay written by Pickert to Hermann Plocher in 1956 (same source).
22. OB HGr B an OKH/Chef GenStdH vom 23.11.1942, betr. Zurücknahme der 6. Armee, gez. von Weichs, published as Doc. 9 in Kehrig, 561.
23. H. Schröter,
24. AOK 6/Ia an HGr B vom 22.11.1942, 1900 Uhr, betr. Lage und Absicht der Armee, published as Doc. 6 in Kehrig, 55960.
25. Paulus an Hitler vom 23.11.1942, betr. Notwendigkeit des Ausbruches der 6. Armee, FuSpr (Entwurf)
26. Führerentscheid vom 24.11.1942, betr. Halten der Stellungen der 6. Armee und Ensatzstoss. FS OKH GenStdH/Op. Abt. (I/SB) Nr. 420 960/42 gKdos Chefs. vom 24.11.1942, 0140 Uhr, aufgenommen bei AOK 6 um 0830 Uhr, published as Doc. 11, ibid., 562.
27. K. Zeitzler,
28. David Irving, Hitler's War (London: Papermac, 1977), 456; and Göring: A Biography (London: Macmillan, 1989), 369.
29. Ibid., 367.
30. Von Richthofen, Persönliches Kriegstagebuch, Band 10, 1.1.--31.12.1943,
32. Bericht über eine Auskunft über Görings Stalingrader Zusage durch Generaloberst Lörzer (Befragung Hamburg--Othmarschen, 16 April 1956, durch Prof. Dr. Richard Suchenwirth, Karlsruhe). USAFHRA file no. K113.309--3.
33. Staatssekretär a.D. Paul Körner über Jeschonnek (Befragung am 19.9.1955 in München), USAFHRA file no. K113.309--3, vol. 9.
34. Milch Taschenkalender,
36. Generaloberst Zeitzler über das Zustandekommen des Entschlusses, Stalingrad aus der Luft zu versorgen (Briefliche Beantwortung vom 11.3.1955 folgender von Prof. Suchenwirth mit Brief vom 3.3.1955 gestellter Fragen); Zeitzler, Stalingrad, USAFHRA file no. K113.309--3, vol. 9, 14445.
38. For Hitler's instruction to Paulus, see note 26. For the placing of the Zeitzler--Göring confrontation on 24 November, see Matthew Cooper, The German Air Force, 19331945: An Anatomy of Failure (London: Jane's, 1981), 251; Bekker, 363; Paul Carell, Stalingrad: The Defeat of the German 6th Army (Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer, 1993), 170.
40. Von Richthofen, Personliches Kriegstagebuch, Band 9: 1.I.--31.12.1942,
43. Gen d. Art. v. Seydlitz--Kurzbach, HG des
44. AOK 6/OQu vom 24.11. an OKH/GenQu, HGr B/OQu, und vom 25.11.1942 an HGr Don, betr. Bedarfsanforderung für Luftversorgungsgüter, published as Doc. 16, ibid., 567.
45. Manstein an OKH/Op Abt vom 24.11.1942, betr. Beurteilung der Lage der 6. Armee. FS (Abschrift) ObKdo der HGr Don/Ia Nr. 4580/42 gKdos Chefs. vom 24. 11.1942, ca. 1300 Uhr, published as Doc. 14, ibid., 564.
46. Vincent Orange, Coningham: A Biography of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham (1990; reprint,
47. George F. Howe,
50. Hermann Plocher, The German Air Force versus
Dr. Joel S. A. Hayward (MA, PhD,