This article needs additional citations for verification . (July 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The Crimean Offensive (8 April – 12 May 1944), 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 Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991.
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 German Seventeenth Army was a World War II field army.
During late 1943 and early 1944, the Wehrmacht was pressed back along its entire front line in the east. In October 1943, the 17th Army withdrew from the Kuban bridgehead across the Kerch Strait into the Crimea. During the following months, the Red Army pushed back the Wehrmacht in southern Ukraine, eventually cutting off the land-based connection of 17th Army through the Perekop Isthmus in November 1943.
The Kuban Bridgehead, also known as the "Goth's head position" , was a German position on the Taman Peninsula, Russia, between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. Existing from January to October 1943, the bridgehead formed after the Germans were pushed out of the Caucasus. The heavily fortified position was intended as a staging area for the Wehrmacht which was to be used to renew attacks towards the oil wells of the Caucasus. The bridgehead was abandoned when the Red Army breached the Panther–Wotan line, forcing an evacuation of the German forces across the Kerch Strait to Crimea.
The Kerch Strait is a strait connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, separating the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea in the west from the Taman Peninsula of Russia's Krasnodar Krai in the east. The strait is 3.1 kilometres (1.9 mi) to 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) wide and up to 18 metres (59 ft) deep.
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.
The Wehrmacht was able to successfully hold on to the Crimea even after it had been cut off by land due to their ability to supply it via the Black Sea. Holding the Crimea was considered important as its loss would negatively affect the attitude of Turkey and put Romanian oilfields under risk of Soviet air attacks. Aside from Soviet landings across the Kerch Strait and in the north-eastern sector near Sivash at the end of 1943, the Soviet Army largely ignored the Crimea for the next five months.
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.
Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist was removed from the command of Army Group A on March 30, 1944. He was succeeded by Ferdinand Schörner.
Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist was a German field marshal during World War II. Kleist successfully led the 1st Panzer Group during the Battle of France, the Battle of Belgium, the Balkans Campaign and the initial stages of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. He was the commander of Army Group A during the latter part of Case Blue, the 1942 summer offensive in southern Russia. Following the war, Kleist was extradited to the Soviet Union where he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for war crimes; he died in prison.
Ferdinand Schörner was a general and later Field Marshal in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He commanded several army groups and was the last Commander-in-chief of the German Army.
An assault across the Perekop Isthmus was launched on 8 April by elements of the 4th Ukrainian Front's 2nd Guards and 51st Armies. 37 mi (60 km) northeast of Sevastopol, followed two days later. The 17th Army was retreating toward Sevastopol by 16 April, with remaining Axis forces in the Crimea concentrating around the city by the end of the third week of April.The 17th Army defended but was unable to stop the advance. Kerch was reached by the Separate Coastal Army on 11 April; Simferopol, about
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 2nd Guards Army was a field army of the Soviet Union's Red Army that fought in World War II, most notably at Stalingrad.
The 51st Army was a field army of the Red Army that saw action against the Germans in World War II on both the southern and northern sectors of the front. The army participated in the Battle of the Kerch Peninsula between December 1941 and January 1942; it was destroyed in May 1942 with other Soviet forces when the Wehrmacht launched an operation to dislodge them from the peninsula. The army fought in the Battle of Stalingrad during the winter of 1942–43, helping to defeat German relief attempts. From late 1944 to the end of the war, the army fought in the final cutting-off of German forces in the Courland area next to the Baltic. Inactivated in 1945, the army was activated again in 1977 to secure Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the army continued in existence as a component of the Russian Ground Forces. The army was active during two periods from 1941 until 1997.
The OKH intended to hold Sevastopol as a fortress, as the Red Army had done during the first Crimean campaign in 1941–42. However, the fortifications of the city had never been restored and Sevastopol was not the strong defensive position that it had been in 1941. Fighting broke out in the city outskirts towards the end of April and the city fell on 9 May, less than a month after the start of the offensive. The Axis sea evacuation to Constanța was attacked by Soviet land-based bombers.
The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) was the High Command of the German Army during the Era of Nazi Germany. It was founded in 1935 as a part of Adolf Hitler's re-militarisation of Germany. From 1938 OKH was, together with OKL and OKM, formally subordinated to the OKW, with the exception of the Waffen-SS. During the war, OKH had the responsibility of strategic planning of Armies and Army Groups, while the General Staff of the OKH managed operational matters. Each German Army also had an Armeeoberkommando, Army Command, or AOK. Until the German defeat at Moscow in December 1941, OKH and its staff was de facto the most important unit within the German war planning. OKW then took over this function for theatres other than the German-Soviet front. OKH commander held the title Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres. Following the Battle of Moscow, after OKH commander Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch was excused, Hitler appointed himself as Commander-in-Chief of the Army.
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.
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.
The evacuation of the Crimea in April–May 1944 was the most complex and extensive operation of the Romanian Navy during the Second World War. From 15 April to 14 May, numerous German and Romanian warships escorted many convoys between Constanța and Sevastopol. The scale and importance of the operation can be attested by the usage in combat of all four Romanian destroyers, the largest Axis warships in the Black Sea. The last phase of the evacuation (10-14 May) saw the fiercest combat, as Axis ships transported, under constant attacks from Soviet aircraft and shore artillery, over 30,000 troops. Of these, 18,000 were transported by Romanian ships. On 11 May, the German tanker Friederike was torpedoed and heavily damaged by Soviet submarine L-4, preventing her participation.In total, Romanian and German convoys evacuated over 113,000 Axis troops from the Crimea, most of them (over 63,000) during the first phase of the evacuation (15–25 April). No Romanian Navy warships were lost during the evacuation, however the destroyer Regele Ferdinand came close to being sunk. She was struck by a large aerial bomb, which fell in her fuel tanks, but failed to detonate. The bomb was extracted several days after the end of the operation. Two naval actions involving the Romanian Navy took place during the second phase of the evacuation (25 April–10 May), near Sevastopol. On 18 April, the Soviet Leninets-class submarine L-6 was twice attacked with depth charges and damaged by the Romanian gunboat Ghiculescu , numerous bubbles emerged from the depths after each attack, before being finished off by the German submarine hunter UJ-104. During the night of 27 April, a convoy escorted by the Romanian gunboat Ghiculescu, the German submarine hunter UJ-115, one R-boat, two KFK naval trawlers and 19 MFPs (including the Romanian PTA-404 and PTA-406) engaged the Soviet G-5-class motor torpedo boats TKA-332, TKA-343 and TKA-344, after the three attacked and damaged the German submarine hunter UJ-104. Ghiculescu opened fire with tracer rounds, enabling the entire escort group to locate the two Soviet MTBs and open fire. TKA-332 was hit and sunk. Over 12 Soviet aircraft were also shot down during the evacuation, including two by the minelaying destroyer escort Amiral Murgescu. The last Axis pockets in the Crimea were destroyed on 12 May. The last Axis warship to leave the peninsula was Amiral Murgescu, carrying on board 1,000 Axis troops, including the German General Walter Hartmann.
In a meeting with Adolf Hitler in Berchtesgaden, Jaenecke had insisted that Sevastopol should be evacuated and his cut off Army of 235,000 men withdrawn. After the loss of the Crimea, he was held responsible, arrested in Romania and court-martialed. Only the intervention of Heinz Guderian saved his life. He was dismissed from the army on 31 January 1945.
The German and Romanian formations suffered the loss of 57,000 men, many of whom drowned during the evacuation. The sinking of the Totila and Teja on 10 May alone caused up to 10,000 deaths. In total, the German losses at sea amounted to five cargo ships, one tanker, three tugs, three lighters, three motorboats and four submarine hunters, while the Romanians lost three cargo ships. [ citation needed ]:The partially successful evacuation of Axis troops from the Crimea earned the commander of the Romanian Navy, Rear Admiral Horia Macellariu, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The table below is based on information from Glantz/House When Titans Clashed.
Killed and missing: 17,754
The Romanian Navy is the navy branch of the Romanian Armed Forces; it operates in the Black Sea and on the Danube. It traces its history back to 1860.
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.
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 Siege of Odessa, known to the Soviets as the Defence of Odessa, lasted from 8 August until 16 October 1941, during the early phase of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II.
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.
Horia Macellariu was a Romanian Rear Admiral, commander of the Royal Romanian Navy's Black Sea Fleet during the Second World War.
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.
The Regele Ferdinand class was a pair of destroyers built in Italy for the Romanian Navy during the late 1920s. The sister ships were the most modern and powerful warships of the Axis powers in the Black Sea during World War II. During the war they participated in the 1941 Raid on Constanța and the 1944 evacuation of the Crimea, although they spent the vast majority of the war escorting convoys in the Black Sea. The Romanians claimed that they sank two submarines during the war, but Soviet records do not confirm their claims. Following King Michael's Coup, where Romania switched sides and joined the Allies in late 1944, the two ships were seized and incorporated into the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. They were returned to Romania in 1951 and served until 1961 when they were scrapped.
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.
Voroshilov was a Project 26 Kirov-class cruiser of the Soviet Navy that served during World War II and into the Cold War. She bombarded German troops during the Siege of Odessa before being badly damaged in November 1941 by German bombers. Upon her return from repairs in March 1942 she supported Soviet troops during the Siege of Sevastopol, the Kerch-Feodosiya Operation and the amphibious landings at Novorossiysk at the end of January 1943. Her active participation in the war ended in October 1943 when three destroyers were lost to air attack and Joseph Stalin forbid missions using large ships without his permission. Postwar she was converted to a missile test ship before being sold for scrap in 1973.
NMS Amiral Murgescu was a minelayer and convoy escort of the Romanian Navy, the first sea-going warship built in Romania and the largest Romanian-built warship of World War II. She laid numerous minefields, from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to the Crimean port of Sevastopol, which inflicted significant losses to the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. She also carried out numerous convoy escort missions and took part in the Axis evacuation of the Crimea in May 1944. Due to her success in combat, she was decorated twice by May 1944. She was captured by the Soviet Union in September 1944 and served until 1988, when she was scrapped.
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.
NMS Sublocotenent Ghiculescu was a specialized ASW gunboat of the Romanian Navy. Initially built as a French warship in late World War I, she was purchased by Romania in 1920 and fought during World War II, sinking two submarines and one motor torpedo boat. After 1 year of Soviet service, she was returned to Romania and served as a survey vessel until 2002.
NMS Rechinul was a submarine of the Romanian Navy, one of the few warships built in Romania during the Second World War used during World War II. She was created at the Galați shipyard in 1938, launched in 1941 and completed in 1942. Rechinul took part in the evacuation of the Crimea and later performed the longest mission in Romanian submarine history, starting on 15 June 1944 and lasting 45 days.
Submarine warfare in the Black Sea in World War II during 1942 involved engagements between primarily submarines of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet attacking Axis merchantmen defended by Romanian and German naval warships. These engagements were a part of the Black Sea campaigns between Axis and Soviet naval forces.
Submarine warfare in the Black Sea in World War II during 1944 involved engagements between submarines of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet attacking Axis merchantmen, defended by Romanian and German naval warships, as well as German U-boats and Romanian submarines attacking Soviet merchants on the eastern Black Sea. Before the conclusion of the campaign, Romania joined the Allies after King Michael's Coup. These engagements were a part of the naval Black Sea campaigns.
Between 1941 and 1944, Romania held control over much of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast East of the Crimea. This was acquired during Operation Barbarossa. The Romanian conquest of the Soviet Western Black Sea coast started in July 1941 during Operation München and ended in October that year, after the Siege of Odessa. In the aftermath of these actions, Romania acquired two new sectors of coastline: the Bessarabian coast and the Transnistrian Coast. The latter was lost in April 1944, but the former was successfully defended until August 1944.