While the army commander was probably a better-trained tactician and a clearer thinker, it looked as if his Chief-of-Staff was the stronger personality of the two! And so the upshot of the talks was that General Paulus himself ended by pronouncing the break-out a sheer impossibility and pointing out that the surrender of Stalingrad was forbidden ‘by order of the Fuhrer’!
The atmosphere was tense. We were already many hours late, for at every sizable station a prolonged stop was made in order to connect the telephone cable with the railroad telegraph system, so we could get the latest reports. From early moming on a mighty armada of transports, accompanied by large naval units, had been passing through the Strait of Gibralter into the Mediterranean.