Crimean Offensive


Crimean Offensive
Crimean Offensive
Part of Soviet-German War, World War II
Eastern Front
Red Army Offensives during 1943–1944
Date 8 April – 12 May 1944
Location Crimea Peninsula, Soviet Union
Result Decisive Soviet Victory
Belligerents
 Soviet Union  Germany
 Romania
Commanders and leaders
Soviet Stavka German OKW
Strength
462,400[1] Unknown
Casualties and losses
17,754 killed and missing
67,065 wounded
84,819 overall[1]
97,000 all causes

The Crimean Offensive (8 April - 12 May 1944) — known in German sources as the Battle of the Crimea[citation needed] — was a series of offensives by the Red Army in the effort to liberate Crimea from the German Wehrmacht occupation. The Red Army's 4th Ukrainian Front engaged the German 17th Army of Army Group South, which consisted of German and Romanian formations, in an operation to liberate the Crimean peninsula. The result of the battle was complete victory for the Red Army, and a botched evacuation effort across the Black Sea, leading to significant German and Romanian losses.

Contents

Setting the stage

During late 1943 and early 1944, the Wehrmacht was pressed back along its entire frontline in the east. In October 1943, the 17th Army was forced to retreat from the Kuban Bridgehead across the Kerch Strait to 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.

Progress of the battle

Soviet landings across the Kerch Strait and landings in the north-eastern sector of the Crimea near Sivash at the end of 1943 set the stage for the liberation of the Crimea from the Germans. For nearly 5 months, the Soviets turned their attention away from the Crimea, instead focusing on pushing Army Group South out of Ukraine, which they were able to do with the highly successful Lower Dnieper and Dnieper-Carpathian Offensives.

An assault across the Perekop Isthmus was launched on 8 April[2]. Despite fiercely resisting the Soviet assaults, the 17th Army was forced back towards Sevastopol by 16 April.[2] On 11 April, the Red Army forces at the far eastern end of the Crimea liberated the city of Kerch, and 2 days later, the city of Simferopol, located about 37 mi (60 km) to the northeast of Sevastopol, fell. With the majority of the Crimea liberated, the Red Army quickly proceeded to advance into the outskirts of Sevastopol facing moderate opposition.

The OKW intended to hold Sevastopol as a fortress, as the Red Army had done during the first battle for the Crimea in 1941-1942. Fighting within the city began towards the end of April, with the 17th Army stubbornly holding back their attackers. However, the rapid movement of the Red Army along with inadequate preparation of the defences of Sevastopol made this impossible, and on 9 May 1944, just over one month after the start of the offensive, Sevastopol fell.[2] German forces were evacuated from Sevastopol to Constanța, and were attacked by land-based Russian bombers along the way.[2]The Soviets finalized the Crimea's liberation on 12 May with the destruction of the remaining pockets of German resistance on that day.

Consequences

The German and Romanian formations suffered very high irrecoverable losses of 97,000 men, many of whom drowned during the evacuation. The sinking of the Totila and Teja on 10 May alone caused up to 8,000 deaths. Soviet losses were slightly lower. The table below is based on information from Glantz/House When Titans Clashed.[citation needed]:

German losses:
Killed and missing: 31,700[3]
Wounded: 33,400
Total: 65,100

Romanian losses:
Killed and missing: 25,800[3]
Wounded: 5,800
Total: 31,600

Total Axis:
Killed and missing: 57,500
Wounded: 39,200
Total: 96,700

Soviet losses (according to Krivosheev):
Killed and missing: 17,754
Wounded: 67,065
Total: 84,808

Tanks: 171
Artillery: 521
Aircraft: 179

Formations and units involved

Soviet

Axis

German

Romanian

  • Romanian Mountain Corps
    • 1st Mountain Division
    • 2nd Mountain Division

References

  1. ^ a b Glantz (1995), p. 298
  2. ^ a b c d Jordan, David; Weist, Andrew (2004). Atlas of World War 2. London, England: Amber Books. pp. 124–125. ISBN 0-7607-5557-4. 
  3. ^ a b Müller (2005), p. 290
  • Pickert, W. Vom Kuban-Brueckenkopf bis Sewastopol - Flakartillerie im Verband der 17. Armee'
  • Glantz, David M. & House, Jonathan (1995). When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-0899-0.
  • Ziemke, E.F. 'Stalingrad to Berlin'
  • Müller, Rolf-Dieter. Der letzte deutsche Krieg 1939-1945. Stuttgart 2005. ISBN 3608941339

External sources


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