1943 – The Turning Point of WW2
Germany’s plans and hopes for the year 1943 after the Stalingrad disaster.
At the beginning of 1943, the German leadership looked to the future with good and bad prospects.
The good prospects consisted of two circumstances: The disasters, which had reached their peak with the surrender of the German Sixth Army in Stalingrad, could be stopped. Secondly, new weapons were finally ready for use, including the much-anticipated Panther and Tiger tanks. In the meantime, the course of the fighting on the Eastern Front could be reversed by the counterattack and the reconquest of Kharkov, which raised new hopes for a renewed summer offensive in the East.
However, the outlook in North Africa in March – the month of the great German victories in the East – was grim for the Axis forces. But at least a quick Allied victory in North Africa was prevented, which might have enabled an Allied invasion of Northwest Europe for the summer or autumn of 1943.
Even if now after a successful allied offensive in Tunisia still further invasions in the Mediterranean area should follow, nevertheless an enormous time-saving was maltreated.
Furthermore, new weapons from the armament factories appeared in ever larger numbers. The construction of submarines had reached a level that made it possible to keep one hundred of them at sea at a time.
The new, heavy Tiger tanks overcame their initial technical problems and the medium Panzer V Panther was also delivered in the meantime. There was also a good chance that the monthly output of these and other important weapons – especially StuG assault guns – would increase steadily in the course of 1943.
Of the greatest importance, however, were the effects of mobilization on the strength of the army. The combination of rationalization in industry and the massive use of prisoners of war and forced laborers made it possible to strengthen the army, so that in the summer of 1943 the German armies in the East were almost as strong as two years earlier.
The attempts of the Finns, Hungarians and Romanians to find a way out of the war were effectively undermined by the German leadership. It could be expected from the submarine war that it would rather restrict the Western Allies during 1943 and there was an expectation that the situation on the southern section of the Eastern Front would recover in the course of this year. The units now free by the evacuations of the front bulge of Demyansk and Rzhev at least allowed the great attack on a section of the Eastern Front.
Fighting in this theater of war would continue to be a priority and would continue with great intensity.
The pressure that Nazi Germany would put on the Western Allies through the submarines and on the Soviet Union on the land front could allow Hitler and his regime to fight through, at least until the alliance of Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States of America is broken.