Battle of the Caucasus

Battle of the Caucasus

The Battle of Caucasus is a name given to a series of German and Soviet operations in the Caucasus area during the Soviet-German War.

1941 operations

In his memoirs, the Transcaucasian Front commander Ivan Tiulenev recounts how thousands of civilians who attempted to flee from Ukraine to the comparatively safe Caspian ports, such as Makhachkala and Baku. The Caucasus area became a new area of industry when 226 factories were evacuated there during the 1941 industrial evacuation in Soviet Union. After the Grozny to Kiev line was captured during German advances, a new railway link between Moscow and Transcaucasia was re-established with the construction of the new railway line running from Baku to Orsk (via Astrakhan) and bypassing the frontline Grozny, while a shipping line was maintained over the Caspian Sea through the town of Krasnovodsk in Turkmenistan.

However due to lack of time, it proved impracticable to evacuate industry from Caucasus. Oil wells in Maykop, because they could not be evacuated, were blown up by the Red Army during withdrawal from the city to prevent this resource from falling into German hands.

1942 operations

In 1942, the German Army ("Wehrmacht Heer") launched Operation Edelweiss, which was aimed at penetrating to the oil fields of Azerbaijan. The German offensive was stopped by the Red Army in Chechenya in September during the North Caucasian Strategic Defensive Operation (25 July 1942 - 31 December 1942), partly due to severe drain of German personnel to support the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad.

The Soviet strategic operation included:Tikhoretsk-Stavropol Defensive Operation (25 July 1942 - 5 August 1942):Armavir-Maikop Defensive Operation (6 August 1942 - 17 August 1942):Novorossiysk Defensive Operation (19 August 1942 - 26 September 1942):Mozdok-Malgobek Defensive Operation (1 September 1942 - 28 September 1942):Tuapse Defensive Operation (25 September 1942 - 20 December 1942):Nalckik-Ordzhonikidze Defensive Operation (25 October 1942 - 12 November 1942)

1943 operations

The Soviet North Caucasian Strategic Offensive Operation (1 January 1943 - 4 February 1943) was launched with the objective of removing threat of German bombing of the oil fields. The operation consisted of operations with more limited operational objectives:Salsk-Rostov Offensive Operation (1 January 1943 - 4 February 1943):Mozdok-Stavropol Offensive Operation (1 January 1943 - 24 January 1943):Novorossiysk-Maikop Offensive Operation (11 January 1943 - 4 February 1943):Tikhoretsk-Eisk Offensive Operation (24 January 1943 - 4 February 1943)The key military base of Novorossiysk was liberated by September.

The Taman Peninsula was cleared from the Germans in early October during the 1st Taman Offensive Operation (4 April 1943 - 10 May 1943) but due to a German counterattack the Red Army was forced on the defensive again during 26 May 1943 - 22 August 1944. This was however followed up with a new Novorossiysk-Taman Strategic Offensive Operation (10 September 1943 - 9 October 1943) which, following the Novorossiysk Amphibious Operation (10 September 1943 - 16 September 1943) resulted in the successful 2nd Taman Offensive Operation (10 September 1943 - 9 October 1943).

1944 operations

Only during the Winter Spring Campaign of 1944 (1 January - 31 May) was the Red Army able to complete liberation of Crimea following the execution of the Crimean Strategic Offensive Operation (8 April 1944 - 12 May 1944) that included::Kerch-Eltingen Amphibious Offensive Operation (31 October 1943 - 11 December 1943):Perekop-Sevastopol Offensive Operation (8 April 1944 - 12 May 1944):Kerch-Sevastopol Offensive Operation (11 April 1944 - 12 May 1944)

Forces and commanders

Red Army

*North Caucasian Front (Marshal Semyon Budenny) - until September 1942
*Transcaucasian Front (General of the Army Ivan Tyulenev)
*Black Sea Fleet (Vice-Admiral Filipp Oktyabrsky)
*Azov Sea Flotilla (Counter-Admiral Sergey Gorshkov)


Army Group A - General Field Marshal ("Generalfeldmarschall") Wilhelm List

*1st Tank Army- General Paul von Kleist
*17th Army - Colonel-General ("Generaloberst") Richard Ruoff

German offensives (1942)

*August 3, 1942 - Wehrmacht takes Stavropol
*August 10, 1942 - Wehrmacht takes Maykop
*August 12, 1942 - Wehrmacht takes Krasnodar
*August 25, 1942 - Wehrmacht takes Mozdok
*September 11, 1942 - Wehrmacht takes Novorossiysk
*September 1942 - German offensive effectively stopped near Mozdok

oviet counter-offensives (1943)

*January 3, 1943 - Red Army liberates Mozdok
*January 21, 1943 - Red Army liberates Stavropol
*January 23, 1943 - Red Army liberates Armavir
*January 29, 1943 - Red Army liberates Maykop
*4 February, 1943 - Soviet marines beat off a German attempt to land at Malaya Zemlya
*February 5, 1943 - Soviet forces landing in Novorossiysk
*February 12, 1943 - Red Army liberates Krasnodar
*September 9, 1943 - the "Blue Line" of German Defense broken
*September 16, 1943 - Red Army liberates Novorossiysk
*October 9, 1943 - Red Army liberates Taman Peninsula

Anti-Soviet insurgencies (1941-1944)

* 1940-1944 Chechnya insurgency


*Alexander Werth, The Battle of Stalingrad, Chapter 7, "Caucasus, there and back", P.648-651
*Ivan Tyulenev, "Cherez Tri Voyny" (Through Three Wars), Moscow, 1960, P.176.

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