The Battle of the Eastern Solomons takes place this week- another carrier battle. As for the Germans, they're advancing on Stalingrad, slowing down in the Caucasus, and Erwin Rommel is preparing to launch another assault in North Africa.
The suburbs of Stalingrad have fallen and the fight for the city proper is about to begin, but before it does, three conferences take place that will decide the scope, the tactics, and the strategy of this battle.
The fighting in Stalingrad is intense, the fighting on Guadalcanal is intense, and the US loses a carrier in the Pacific. And the German quest for oil in the Caucasus... how's that going again?
Franz Halder, German Army Chief of Staff since the war began, loses his job this week, but the offensive this summer has failed to gain any of its objectives and someone has to take the blame. In the Caucasus it's slowing to a crawl, and in Stalingrad the fighting is now block by block. Meanwhile, the Japanese are making new plans for a big offensive of their own, to take Guadalcanal once and for all.
The fighting for Stalingrad continues, but the Soviets forces are split and the Volga is on fire. In the Caucasus, the Axis forces for the most part are being held in check- at one point a single Soviet battalion holds off an entire Army Corps- but they're being pushed back on the Kokoda Trail in the South Seas.
The Americans win a naval victory off Guadalcanal and even manage to reinforce the Marines there with the first Army units to arrive, but as the week ends the Japanese launch a major offensive on the island. Meanwhile far across the globe, Adolf Hitler orders that all German offensive operations except those at Stalingrad and in the Caucasus cease. There is plenty to do in Stalingrad, though, because this week all hell breaks loose there
Could this be the beginning of the big break in North Africa? The Allies have the men, the armor, and the fuel... they just have to deal with the Axis minefields to try and get started. And the Axis are throwing ever more men at Stalingrad as the Soviets grimly hold on. Another roller coaster of a week.
The Allies may be on the verge of a breakthrough in North Africa, but they're losing at sea to the Japanese this week, and the Axis are also advancing in the Caucasus, though the street by street struggle at Stalingrad continues as always
After all these months of fighting, the British 8th Army breaks through Erwin Rommel's Axis positions in North Africa, but the Allies have even bigger plans for that theater of war- a huge invasion of Vichy French North Africa to take place next week. The Soviets also have a plan for a huge invasion to take place very soon near Stalingrad, though the fighting in the city itself sees a lull the second half of this week.
After months of stubborn defense the time has finally come for the Soviet Counterstroke, but is it in time to save Stalingrad? And can the Allies reach Tunis and take all of North Africa before the Axis can reinforce?
Operation Uranus is kicking off, the Germans are scrambling in Africa, and yet on paper it seemed that just a few weeks ago that they had conquered more territory than anyone else in Europe. Why such the sudden change? Did a turning point take place? Well, sort of, but again only on paper. The problems the Germans are encountering right now are the result of issues which have been building up, and making themselves evident, over the course of years. The German military has logistical issues, production issues, and command issues. The Red Army, rather than being "degenerate sub humans" is infact one of the most effective fighting forces on earth.
So what is the big picture here for the Germans? Was Stalingrad a turning point in a decisive sense, or was it merely the point at which the Germans turned around and started going home?
Last week’s counterattack was just the beginning, for the Soviets launch another giant offensive this week. And things look bad for the Axis powers in the south of the USSR. Meanwhile in France, the French scuttle their navy rather than allow it to fall into German hands.