Crimean Campaign

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Crimean Campaign
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
01941 Sowjetische Kriegsgefangene auf der Krim am 6. 11..jpg
Soviet prisoners of war in the Crimea, 6 November 1941
Date18 October–16 November 1941
Location Crimea, Soviet Union
Result Axis victory
Flag of German Reich (1935-1945).svg  Germany
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
Flag of German Reich (1935-1945).svg Erich von Manstein
Flag of German Reich (1935-1945).svg Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen
Flag of Romania.svg Gheorghe Avramescu
Naval ensign of Romania (1922-1947).svg Constantin Costăchescu
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Gordey Levchenko
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Fyodor Kuznetsov
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Ivan Yefimovich Petrov
Units involved
11th Army
Romanian 3rd Army
51st Army
Separate Coastal Army
Casualties and losses
30,000 dead, wounded or missing 65,000 captured
212 Vehicles destroyed
672 guns
1 cargo ship sunk

The Crimea Campaign was an eight-month-long campaign by Axis forces to conquer the Crimea peninsula, and was the scene of some of the bloodiest battles on the Eastern Front during World War II. The German, Romanian, and defending Soviet troops suffered heavy casualties as the Axis forces tried to advance through the Isthmus of Perekop linking the Crimean peninsula to the mainland at Perekop, from summer of 1941 through to the first half of 1942.

Crimea peninsula in the Black Sea

Crimea is a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that is almost completely surrounded by both the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. It is located south of the Ukrainian region of Kherson, to which it is connected by the Isthmus of Perekop, and west of the Russian region of Kuban, from which it is separated by the Strait of Kerch though linked by the Crimean Bridge. The Arabat Spit is located to the northeast, a narrow strip of land that separates a system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov. Across the Black Sea to its west is Romania and to its south Turkey.

Eastern Front (World War II) theatre of conflict during World War II, encompassing Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans)

The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

From 26 September 1941 the German 11th Army and troops from the Romanian Third Army and Fourth Army were involved in the fighting, [1] opposed by the Red Army's 51st Army and elements of the Black Sea Fleet. After the campaign, the peninsula was occupied by Army Group A with the 17th Army as its major subordinate formation. [2]

The 11th Army was a World War II field army.

Romania Sovereign state in Europe

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.

The 3rd Army was a field army of the Romanian Land Forces active from the 19th century to the 1990s. It fought as part of the German Army Group B during World War II, in Ukraine, the Crimea, and the Caucasus. General Petre Dumitrescu commanded 3rd Army for a period.

Once the Axis (German and Romanian troops) broke through, they occupied most of Crimea, with the exception of the city of Sevastopol, which was given the title of Hero City for its resistance, and Kerch, which was recaptured by the Soviets during an amphibious operation near the end of 1941 and then taken once again by the Germans during Operation Bustard Hunt on 8 May. [1] [3] The Siege of Sevastopol lasted 250 days from 30 October 1941 until 4 July 1942, when the Axis finally captured the city.

Sevastopol Place in City with special status, Disputed:

Sevastopol is the largest city on the Crimean Peninsula and a major Black Sea port. The city is administered as a federal city of the Russian Federation following Crimea's annexation by Russia in 2014, though Ukraine and most of the UN member countries continue to regard Sevastopol as a city with special status within Ukraine.

Hero City

Hero City is a Soviet honorary title awarded for outstanding heroism during World War II. It was awarded to twelve cities of the Soviet Union. In addition, the Brest Fortress was awarded an equivalent title of Hero Fortress. This symbolic distinction for a city corresponds to the individual distinction Hero of the Soviet Union.

Kerch City in Crimea

Kerch is a city of regional significance on the Kerch Peninsula in the east of the Crimea. Population: 147,033 .

In the early hours of 6 November, the Romanian submarine Delfinul torpedoed and sank the Soviet 1,975-ton cargo ship Uralets four miles South of Yalta. The submarine was subsequently attacked by Soviet forces but she followed a route along the Turkish coast and managed to evade up to 80 depth charges, before safely arriving in the port of Constanța on 7 November. [4] [5] [6]

NMS <i>Delfinul</i>

NMS Delfinul was a Romanian submarine that served in the Black Sea during the Second World War. It was the first submarine of the Romanian Navy, built in Italy under Romanian supervision.

Yalta City in Crimea, Disputed:

Yalta is a resort city on the south coast of the Crimean Peninsula surrounded by the Black Sea. It serves as the administrative center of Yalta Municipality, one of the regions within Crimea. Population: 76,746 .

Constanța Place in Romania

Constanța, historically known as Tomis, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Romania. It was founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Northern Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region of Dobruja.

Sevastapol, the main object of the campaign, was surrounded by German forces and assaulted on 30 October 1941. German troops were repulsed by a Soviet counterattack. Later, many troops who had been evacuated from Odessa contributed to the defence of Sevastopol. The Germans then began an encirclement of the city. [1] Other attacks on 11 November and 30 November, in the eastern and southern sections of the city, failed. [1] German forces were then reinforced by several artillery regiments, one of which included the railway gun Schwerer Gustav . [1] Another attack on 17 December was repulsed at the last moment with the help of reinforcements and Soviet troops landed on the Kerch peninsula the day after Christmas, to relieve Sevastopol. [1] The Soviet forces remained on the peninsula until a 9 April German counterattack. [1] They held on for another month before being eliminated on 18 May. With the distraction removed, German forces renewed their assault on Sevastopol, penetrating the inner defensive lines on 29 June. [1] Soviet commanders had been flown out or evacuated by submarine towards the end of the siege and the city surrendered on 4 July 1942, although some Soviet troops held out in caves outside of the city until 9 July. [1]

Odessa Place in Odessa Oblast, Ukraine

Odessa is the third most populous city of Ukraine and a major tourism center, seaport and transportation hub located on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. It is also the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast and a multiethnic cultural center. Odessa is sometimes called the "pearl of the Black Sea", the "South Capital", and "Southern Palmyra". Before the Tsarist establishment of Odessa, an ancient Greek settlement existed at its location as elsewhere along the northwestern Black Sea coast. A more recent Tatar settlement was also founded at the location by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea in 1440 that was named after him as "Hacıbey". After a period of Lithuanian Grand Duchy control, Hacibey and surroundings became part of the domain of the Ottomans in 1529 and remained there until the empire's defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792.

Schwerer Gustav German 80 cm ultra-heavy railway guns

Schwerer Gustav was a German 80-centimetre (31.5 in) railway gun. It was developed in the late 1930s by Krupp in Darłowo as siege artillery for the explicit purpose of destroying the main forts of the French Maginot Line, the strongest fortifications in existence at the time. The fully assembled gun weighed nearly 1,350 tonnes, and could fire shells weighing 7 t to a range of 47 km (29 mi). The gun was designed in preparation for the Battle of France, but was not ready for action when the battle began, and in any case the Wehrmacht's Blitzkrieg offensive through Belgium rapidly outflanked and isolated the Maginot Line's static defenses, eventually forcing the French to surrender and making their destruction unnecessary. Gustav was later deployed in the Soviet Union during the Battle of Sevastopol, part of Operation Barbarossa, where, among other things, it destroyed a munitions depot located roughly 30 m (98 ft) below ground level. The gun was moved to Leningrad, and may have been intended to be used in the Warsaw Uprising like other German heavy siege pieces, but the rebellion was crushed before it could be prepared to fire. Gustav was destroyed by the Germans near the end of the war in 1945 to avoid capture by the Soviet Red Army.

Christmas holiday originating in Christianity, usually celebrated on December 25 (in the Gregorian or Julian calendars)

Christmas is an annual festival, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.

German Panzer IV tank and soldiers in the Crimea, 1942. Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F016223-0024, Russland, Krim, Panzer IV im Einsatz.jpg
German Panzer IV tank and soldiers in the Crimea, 1942.

In 1944, the Crimea was recaptured by troops of the 4th Ukrainian Front during the Crimean Offensive (8 April 1944 – 12 May 1944) and its three sub-operations:

4th Ukrainian Front

The 4th Ukrainian Front was the name of two distinct Red Army strategic army groups that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II.

Crimean Offensive military offensive

The Crimean Offensive, known in German sources as the Battle of the Crimea, was a series of offensives by the Red Army directed at the German-held Crimea. The Red Army's 4th Ukrainian Front engaged the German 17th Army of Army Group A, which consisted of Wehrmacht and Romanian formations. The battles ended with the evacuation of the Crimea by the Germans. German and Romanian forces suffered considerable losses during the evacuation.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 p. 62, Keegan
  2. p. 71, p. 79, Bishop
  3. see Kerch in Osvobozhdeniye gorodov on
  4. Antony Preston, Warship 2001-2002, Conway Maritime Press, 2001. p. 76
  5. Richard Compton-Hall, Submarines at War 1939-1945, Periscope Publishing, 2004, p. 127
  6. Florian Bichir, Corsarii uitați ai adâncurilor, p. 101 (in Romanian)


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