|Part of the Eastern Front of World War II|
Soviet prisoners of war in the Crimea, 6 November 1941
|Commanders and leaders|
| 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
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 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.
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, 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, 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.
The 11th Army was a World War II field army.
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. The Siege of Sevastopol lasted 250 days from 30 October 1941 until 4 July 1942, when the Axis finally captured the city.
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 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 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.
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 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, 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. Other attacks on 11 November and 30 November, in the eastern and southern sections of the city, failed. German forces were then reinforced by several artillery regiments, one of which included the railway gun Schwerer Gustav . 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. The Soviet forces remained on the peninsula until a 9 April German counterattack. 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. 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.
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 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 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.
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:
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.
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.
The Isthmus of Perekop is the narrow, 5–7 kilometres (3.1–4.3 mi) wide strip of land that connects the Crimean Peninsula to the mainland of Ukraine. The isthmus is located between the Black Sea to the west and the Sivash to the east. The isthmus takes its name of Perekop from the Tatar fortress of Or Qapi.
The Siege of Sevastopol also known as the Defence of Sevastopol or the Battle of Sevastopol was a military battle that took place on the Eastern Front of the Second World War. The campaign was fought by the Axis powers of Germany, Romania, and Italy against the Soviet Union for control of Sevastopol, a port in the Crimea on the Black Sea. On 22 June 1941 the Axis invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa. Axis land forces reached the Crimea in the autumn of 1941 and overran most of the area. The only objective not in Axis hands was Sevastopol. Several attempts were made to secure the city in October and November 1941. A major attack was planned for late November, but heavy rains delayed it until 17 December 1941. Under the command of Erich von Manstein, Axis forces were unable to capture Sevastopol during this first operation. Soviet forces launched an amphibious landing on the Crimean peninsula at Kerch in December 1941 to relieve the siege and force the Axis to divert forces to defend their gains. The operation saved Sevastopol for the time being, but the bridgehead in the eastern Crimea was eliminated in May 1942.
Below is the timeline of the events of the Eastern Front of World War II, the conflict between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1945.
The Battle of Rostov (1941) was a battle of the Eastern Front of World War II, fought around Rostov-on-Don between the Army Group South of Nazi Germany and the Southern Front of the Soviet Union.
The Battle of the Caucasus is a name given to a series of Axis and Soviet operations in the Caucasus area on the Eastern Front of World War II. On 25 July 1942, German troops captured Rostov-on-Don, Russia, opening the Caucasus region of the southern Soviet Union, and the oil fields beyond at Maikop, Grozny, and ultimately Baku, to the Germans. Two days prior, Adolf Hitler issued a directive to launch such an operation into the Caucasus region, to be named Operation Edelweiß. German forces were compelled to withdraw from the area that winter as Operation Little Saturn threatened to cut them off.
The Battle of the Kerch Peninsula, which commenced with the Soviet Kerch-Feodosia landing operation and ended with the German Operation Bustard Hunt, was a World War II battle between Erich von Manstein's German and Romanian 11th Army and the Soviet Crimean Front forces in the Kerch Peninsula, in the eastern part of the Crimea. It began on 26 December 1941 with an amphibious landing operation by two Soviet armies intended to break the Siege of Sevastopol. Axis forces first contained the Soviet beachhead throughout the winter and interdicted its naval supply lines through aerial bombing. From January through April, the Crimean Front launched repeated offensives against the 11th Army, all of which failed with heavy losses. The Red Army lost 352,000 men in the attacks, while the Axis suffered 24,120 casualties. Superior German artillery firepower was largely responsible for the Soviet debacle.
The German Seventeenth Army was a World War II field army.
The Battle of the Sea of Azov, also known as the Chernigovka pocket was an Axis military campaign fought between 26 September 1941 and 11 October 1941 on the northern shores of the Sea of Azov on the Eastern Front of World War II during Operation Barbarossa. It resulted in a complete Axis victory over the Red Army.
The Kerch–Eltigen Operation was a World War II amphibious offensive made in November 1943 by the Red Army as a precursor to the Crimean Offensive, with the object of defeating and forcing the withdrawal of the German forces from the Crimea. Landing at two locations on the Crimea's eastern coast, the Red Army successfully reinforced the northern beachhead of Yenikale but was unable to prevent an Axis counterattack that collapsed the southern beachhead at Eltigen. Subsequently, the Red Army used the beachhead at Yenikale to launch further offensive operations into the Crimea in May 1944.
The Crimea Shield was a World War II German military decoration awarded to military personnel under the command of Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein who fought against Soviet Red Army forces and captured the Crimea region between 21 September 1941 and 4 July 1942. It was instituted on 25 July 1942. It was the most widely distributed of the various German shields with approximately 250,000 being awarded.
The Black Sea Campaigns were the operations of the Axis and Soviet naval forces in the Black Sea and its coastal regions during World War II between 1941 and 1944, including in support of the land forces.
In Soviet historiography, Stalin's ten blows were the ten successful strategic offensives conducted by the Red Army in 1944 during World War II. The Soviet offensives drove the Axis forces from Soviet territory and precipitated Nazi Germany's collapse.
The Separate Coastal Army was an army-level unit in the Red Army that fought in World War II. It was ordered to be established on July 18, 1941 by the order of the Southern Front from the forces of 9th Army’s Coastal Group and was stood up on July 20, 1941.
Mount Sapun or Sapun Ridge is a 240 m high ridge to the southeast of Sevastopol, situated on the disputed Crimean peninsula.
The Crimean Front was one of the Red Army fronts of World War II. It was commanded throughout its existence by Dmitr Timofeyevich Kozlov, and was made up of the Soviet 44th, 47th, and 51st Armies. It also had operational control over the North Caucasus Military District, the Black Sea Fleet, the Sevastopol Defence Region, the Azov Flotilla, and Kerch Naval Base.
The 87th Guards Rifle Division was created on April 16, 1943, from the veterans of the 300th Rifle Division, in recognition of that division's leading role in the penetration of the German/Romanian defenses south of Stalingrad in the opening stages of Operation Uranus, its subsequent defense against Army Group Don's attempt to relieve the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad, and later for its pursuit of the defeated German forces along the Don River to Rostov-na-Donu as far as the Mius River. The 87th Guards continued a record of distinguished service through the rest of the Great Patriotic War, first in the southern sector of the front, where it participated in the liberation of the Donbass region and the Crimea, and then, after a major redeployment, in the north-central sector, advancing through the Baltic states and into East Germany. After the war it was restructured into a rifle brigade, before being reestablished as 87th Guards Rifle Division in October, 1953. In June, 1957, it was reorganized as a motor rifle division, but appears to have been disbanded in 1959.
The 390th Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Soviet Union's Red Army during World War II. It was formed twice, first in August 1941, and after its destruction in 1942, re-formed in 1944.
The Romanian Navy during World War II was the main Axis naval force in the Black Sea and fought against the Soviet Union's Black Sea Fleet from 1941 to 1944. Operations consisted mainly in mine warfare, but also escort missions and localized naval engagements. The largest naval action fought by the Romanian Navy was the 26 June 1941 Raid on Constanța, and its most extensive operation was the 1944 evacuation of the Crimea.
The Evacuation of the Crimea was an event in the Russian Civil War in November 1920, in which White forces evacuated over sea the Crimean Peninsula, their last stronghold on the Southern Front, bringing an end to the fighting on that Front.