Operations & Battles

Defense of Sevastopol and the battle for the Crimea

Panarama crimea

The Defense of Sevastopol and the battle for the Crimea (October 30, 1941 – July 4, 1942)  – the fighting of the Soviet and German – Romanian troops in the Crimea during the Great Patriotic War, which took place from October 30, 1941 to July 4, 1942.

Background

Other Article Crimean defensive operation

Defense of Sevastopol
Soviet Naval infantry

The Sevastopol defensive region  is a temporary operational formation (association) created on November 4, 1941 from the troops and forces of the Separate Primorsky Army of the Red Army, ships and aviation of the Black Sea Fleet of the Navy and formations of the Sevastopol Naval Base (SVMB). The SOR included four sectors of defense, in which the troops and forces of the Armed Forces of the USSR consistently occupied the forward, main and rear lines, and to ensure the evacuation of the Crimean population, troops and forces – a cover line. The operational formation in the active army was in the period from November 4, 1941 to July 4, 1942. Disbanded. SOR commanders: Major General I. E. Petrov (November 4-10, 1941), Vice Admiral F. S. Oktyabrsky (November 1941 – June 1942), Major General P. G. Novikov (July 1942).

During this period, the constructions of the SVMB also belonged to the SOR, which by the beginning of the Great Patriotic War were one of the most fortified places in the world. The structures of the SVMB included dozens of fortified gun positions, minefields, and more. The weakness of this defense was that it was aimed at protecting against attack from the sea and from the air, while the enemy came to Sevastopol by land. Land fortifications had to be built under extreme strain in a limited time, and completed under enemy fire.

The coastal artillery of Sevastopol included three divisions:

Coastal Artillery

Coastal Artillery

  • 1st Separate Artillery Battalion (commander – Major K. V. Radovsky):
    • Two armored turret batteries (BB), or forts, armed with large-caliber artillery. Forts BB-30 (commander – Captain G. A. Alexander and BB-35 (commander – Captain A. Ya. Leshchenko) were armed with 305 mm guns (4 guns on each battery);
    • half-tower battery No. 10 (4 203-mm guns);
    • open battery No. 54 (4 102-mm guns);
  • 2nd Separate Artillery Battalion (commander – Major S. T. Chernomazov):
    • coastal batteries No. 2 (4 100 mm guns), No. 8 (4 45 mm guns), No. 12 (4 152 mm guns), No. 13 (4 120 mm guns), No. 14 (4 152 mm guns), rearmed with 3 130-mm guns);
    • coastal batteries No. 18 (4 152 mm guns) and No. 19 (4 152 mm guns);
  • separate mobile batteries:
    • mobile battery No. 724 (commander – Captain M.V. Spiridonov, 4 152-mm guns);
    • mobile battery No. 725 (commander – Captain G.V. Yasinsky, 4 152-mm guns).

Military production in Sevastopol

T-34 in Crimea

T-34 in Crimea

Soviet AA GunsIn the besieged Sevastopol, industrial and hand production of 82-mm BM-37 battalion mortars and 50-mm company mortars as well as experimental 6-charger 50-mm automatic mortars (with a drum, like a revolver) – it was developed by the design department (30 designers). In the spring of 1942, most of the one and a half thousand mortars in the troops of the Sevastopol Defensive Region (SOR) were 50-mm and 82-mm mortars of Sevastopol production. In total, 930 82-mm mortars, 1326 50-mm mortars were produced, and mines for mortars were also produced at ITK No. 7 and at the Mechstroyzavod – 109,400 pieces. 82 mm min, 140,600 pcs. 50 mm mines, 55 thousand fuses. But convoys brought more ammunition to Sevastopol – in May-June 1942, 81,163 pieces were delivered to Sevastopol. artillery mines  – 35,209 pcs. for 50 mm, 42,082 pcs. for 82 mm, 944 pcs. for 107 mm and 8928 pcs. for 120mm mortars.

Also, the production of various types of ammunition (shells, mines, grenades), the repair of all types of weapons and even five armored trains operating in the SOR (the construction of the last of them – the famous Zheleznyakov armored train  – ended in Sevastopol on November 4, 1941). Defense products were produced at the Sevastopol Marine Plant No. 201 (in cooperation with the 54th repair plant) and at the GARO plant (in cooperation with the Molot artel).

Ship repairmen and divers managed to remove four 130-mm B-13 guns and four 100-mm guns from two destroyers “Perfect” and “Bystroy” sunk in 1941, plus 7 turret guns from the light cruiser “Chervona Ukraine” and installed them on new batteries coastal defense No. 111-116 (Nakhimovsky Cape, Malakhov Kurgan, in the area of ​​​​the English Cemetery, on the Dergachi farm, at the Mekenzievy Gory station, at Maksimova Dacha and on the old battery No. 19, partially taken out of Balaklava to the area of ​​​​the beam of the state farm No. 10, which were manned by sailors from these ships.

With the outbreak of war, work on the creation of battleships of the “Soviet Union” type was stopped and a section of the hull of the new battleship remained in the Northern Bay of Sevastopol (assembled to test the strength of the structure during torpedo explosions). The strength of the section, as well as its dimensions (47 × 25 × 15 m) suggested using it as a floating battery. In 15 days, the section was repaired, equipped with a power plant, cockpits, ammunition cellars, armed and camouflaged in the color of the sea. Initially, two 130-mm naval guns, four 76.2-mm anti-aircraft guns, three 37-mm automatic guns, three 12.7-mm DShK anti-aircraft machine guns were installed on it.and two anti-aircraft searchlights with means of observation and communication. Later, the 130 mm guns were removed and transferred to land, and the anti-aircraft armament was reinforced with a quadruple 7.62 mm machine gun. The battery crew initially consisted of 130 people, commanded by Senior Lieutenant S. Ya. Moshensky. On August 16, 1941, the floating battery was towed out to sea and anchored four miles northwest of the Chersonese lighthouse, in the Cossack Bay, and there opened fire on German aircraft. From that day on, the unique floating battery No. 3 entered the air defense system of the base and the city and, with its effectiveness, earned the nickname “Don’t touch me…”.

In order to continue the production of mortars and ammunition with increased shelling and bombing on the southern coast of the Severnaya Bay in the area of ​​​​Troitskaya Balka at a depth of 60 meters, in the adits of the unfinished underground facility “Krot” (according to the plan, its area was to be 30 thousand m² on two levels separated by 30 meters of rock, they planned to build two turbogenerators with a capacity of 25 MW, with fuel storage bunkers, transformer and pumping stations, staff quarters) by November 1941 created the so-called special plant No. 1, the special plant used the equipment of the Sevastopol Marine Plant named after Sergo OrdzhonikidzeNo. 201, as well as other enterprises of Sevastopol, evacuated factories from Simferopol (Krasny Metallist plant) and Evpatoria. The working conditions in it were terrible (dampness, lack of air), but professional workers and hastily trained residents (schoolchildren, students, housewives – see photo) worked in it for 12-16 hours a day, the special plant worked until the night of June 28 1942, until the last power plant stopped, after which the workers were taken out of it, and the adits were blown up.

First assault

Soviets defending Crimea

Soviets defending Crimea

In Soviet historiography, the first assault on Sevastopol is considered to be the attempts of German troops to capture the city on the move during October 30 – November 21, 1941. Map of hostilities.

From October 30 to November 11, battles were fought on the distant approaches to Sevastopol, from November 2, attacks began on the outer line of defense of the fortress. There were no ground units left in the city, the defense was carried out by the marines of the Black Sea Fleet, coastal batteries, separate (training, artillery, anti-aircraft) units with fire support from ships. True, even the Germans only advanced detachments reached the city. At the same time, units of scattered Soviet troops retreated to the city. The Soviet group initially consisted of about 20 thousand people.

At the end of October, the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command decided to reinforce the garrison of Sevastopol with the forces of the Primorsky Army (commander – Major General I. E. Petrov), which until then defended Odessa. On October 16, the defense of Odessa was terminated and the Seaside Army was transferred by sea to Sevastopol. The reinforcement forces amounted to 36 thousand people (according to German data – more than 80 thousand), about 500 guns, 20 thousand tons of ammunition, 10 T-26 tanks and other types of weapons and materials. After that, without a break, some units advanced towards the enemy near Perekop, where they arrived by October 23, 1941, but they could not reverse the outcome of the assault on the isthmus. During counterattacks and retreat in a roundabout way through Alushta, Yalta and seaside highway, they partially lost their personnel and materiel. Thus, by mid-November, the garrison of Sevastopol consisted, according to Soviet data, of about 50-55 thousand people.

On November 9-10, the Wehrmacht managed to completely surround the city from land, however, during November, rearguard forces made their way to their own, in particular, units of the 184th Infantry Division that covered the retreat of the 51st Army.

On November 11, with the approach of the main grouping of the 11th Wehrmacht Army, battles broke out around the entire perimeter. Within 10 days, the attackers managed to slightly penetrate the forward defense line, after which there was a pause in the battle. On November 21, after shelling from coastal batteries, two cruisers and the battleship “Paris Commune”, the Wehrmacht stopped the assault on the city.

One of the factors both repelling the first assault on Sevastopol and its long-term subsequent defense was the creation of a powerful artillery group with an effective control system that ensures stability in the defense of rifle and cavalry troops with its fire. Of particular importance to this is the fact that by the time the enemy broke through to the distant approaches to Sevastopol, such a grouping was actually absent (there were only a few coastal batteries for defense against attacks from the sea and anti-aircraft artillery) and therefore it was created directly during the battles. The leading merit in this belongs to the chief of artillery of the Primorsky Army, Colonel (from 02/11/1942 – Major General of Artillery) N. K. Ryzhi.

Kerch-Feodosiya landing operation

Landing Operation

Landing Operation

On December 26, 1941, the Soviet command attempted a strategic offensive in the Crimea. The forces of the two armies 44th and 51st, with the support of the Black Sea Fleet and the Azov military flotilla, landed on the Kerch Peninsula and in Feodosia. Parts of the 42nd Army Corps began to retreat, the 46th Division lost heavy weapons, but E. von Manstein, having transferred part of his forces from near Sevastopol, managed to hold the front, and later return Feodosia. Despite the initial success, the offensive of the Soviet army was stopped.

At the end of January 1942, the Crimean Front of the Red Army was formed on the Kerch Peninsula. Repeated frontal attacks in March-April 1942 were unsuccessful. The front stabilized by the beginning of April at the Ak-Monai positions. It was planned, after preparation, to develop an offensive for the deblockade of Sevastopol. By the very fact of their presence, the Kerch grouping fettered significant forces of the 11th Army and gave Sevastopol a respite. Under these conditions, E. von Manstein decided to strike at a stronger enemy, but at the same time located in an open area. During the breakthrough of the front and pursuit, with the massive use of aviation, at the end of May 1942, the enemy defeated the main forces of the Crimean Front during the operation “Hunting for bustards”. After the transfer of the liberated units and rest, the enemy could now launch a decisive assault on Sevastopol.

Tactical landing in Evpatoria

 

On January 5, 1942, the Black Sea Fleet made an amphibious landing in the port of Evpatoria with the forces of a marine battalion (commander – Lieutenant Commander K. G. Buzinov). At the same time, an uprising broke out in the city, in which part of the city’s population participated. At the first stage, the operation was successful, the Romanian garrison, up to a regiment, was driven out of the city. However, the Germans soon brought up reserves. In the ensuing street battles, the enemy managed to gain the upper hand. On January 7, the battle in Evpatoria was over. The landing forces were partially killed in an unequal battle, partially captured.

Aviation actions

USSR Air Force

At the beginning of the war, the airfield “Chersoness Lighthouse” was built right on Cape Chersonesos (the scheme of the airfield has been preserved). In addition to anti-aircraft divisions on land, from the side of the Cossack Bay, the airfield was covered by a unique floating anti-aircraft battery No. 3, nicknamed “Don’t touch me!”, which shot down 22 enemy aircraft in 9 months, but by June 19 she had practically no shells left.

Before the second assault on Sevastopol at Cape Khersones, all aircraft were covered in powerful concrete caponiers. But at the airfield during the last assault, about 13 thousand artillery shells and almost 2500 air bombs exploded, destroying 30 and damaging 36 aircraft.

The lack of shells for anti-aircraft artillery, the lack of a sufficient number of fighter aircraft, and, most importantly, the complete superiority of the enemy in the air had a catastrophic effect on the defense of Sevastopol during the third assault on the city. There were problems with aviation gasoline, especially when, from mid-June 1942, it had to be carried by submarines – by June 15, B-78 brand aviation gasoline remained for five days of battles, B-74 – for six, and B-70 gasoline, consumed as aircraft, and cars, just for two days.

Chronicle of the actions of the Air Force and the Kherson airfield during the last assault

 

  • On June 29, SOR aircraft flew out for the last time to attack the enemy from the Khersones airfield: two IL-2s and three I-16s.
  • From June 22 to June 30, a special Moscow air group began to carry out cargo flights by Li-2 or PS-84 Douglas aircraft to the Khersones airfield (12-15 aircraft or 18-25 tons of cargo per day). So on the night of June 30, this group delivered 25 tons of ammunition and 1.6 tons of food to the SOR, and took out 7 wounded, 179 command personnel and 5 tons of cargo. One PS-85 was detained (hidden in a caponier) for the evacuation of command personnel.
  • On June 30, at night, the aviation of the Black Sea Fleet from the Caucasus carried out only 22 sorties to bomb the enemy near Sevastopol and 4 near Yalta.
  • On June 30, at night, three U-2 planes from the Khersones airfield flew to drop food to partisans in the Crimean mountains.
  • On June 30, two air defense radars of the RUS-2 type were destroyed by order (dropped into the sea off Cape Fiolent). Air defense ceased its operational service.
  • On June 30, in the evening, all serviceable aircraft (6 Yak-1, 7 IL-2, 1 I-15bis, 2 I-153, 1 LaGG-3) flew from the Khersones airfield to the Anapa airfield. The remaining aircraft were dismantled or burned.
  • On July 1, at night, 13 out of 16 PS-84 transport aircraft that took off from Krasnodar arrived at the airfield and brought 23.6 tons of ammunition, 1.2 tons of food. They took out 49 wounded and 183 commanders with 350 kg of secret documents, the commandant of the Chersonesos airfield, Major Popov, retired from command and flew away on the very first plane. The confusion when boarding the planes led to the fact that many of those assigned could not be evacuated. At the same time, by order of the headquarters, Admiral Oktyabrsky flew away on the 14th PS-84 aircraft (which was in a separate caponier the night before).
  • On July 1, seaplanes of the Black Sea Fleet flew to Sevastopol: “The Seagull”, GTS-9 and ten MBR-2. They took about 56 people (mostly wounded) out of Kazachya Bay.
  • On July 1, at night, Air Force aviation from the Caucasus carried out 17 bomb sorties against targets near Sevastopol. On the same night, aviation of the Black Sea Fleet from the Caucasus carried out 32 sorties against targets near Sevastopol.
  • On July 2, at 5 am, pilot Korolev managed to fly away from the Chersonesos airfield on a UT-1 aircraft. Arriving in Novorossiysk, he reported on the state of the front in Sevastopol: “… the line of contact runs on the left flank from Kamyshovaya Bay, and on the right – on the approaches to the 35th battery…. Three Yak aircraft, three U-2 aircraft, and one PS-84 burned down… “.

From the certificates of the 9th department of the UOO NKVD of the USSR

June 13, 1942

 

According to the Special Department of the NKVD of the Primorsky Army, the promotion enemy position, due to the advantage in aviation, at the forefront continues. There is nothing to influence, there are no anti-aircraft ammunition. Frontal aviation could operate from our airfields. Commando hesitantly raises the question before the front, fearing, no matter how interpreted as helplessness. In three days, 752 people were killed, 1,770 were wounded, especially heavy losses were suffered by the 79th brigade and the 172nd rifle division, in which 30-35% of the personnel remained. Our anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft on June 7-8 37 enemy aircraft were shot down, of which 9 were shot down.

 

(Cipher telegram No. 153 dated June 10, 1942 (entry No. 13208), signed Korolev).

Operative officer of the 6th department

9th department of the Directorate of the OO NKVD

battalion commissar Belyaev

 

Archive of the Federal Security Service of Russia for the Saratov region. F. 14. Op. 4. D. 550. L. 9. Original.

June 13, 1942

 

Head of the Special Department of the NKVD of the Black Sea Fleet Comrade Ermolaev by cipher telegram No. 1475 dated June 11, 1942 (input No. 13326) reported that June 10 this year opponent from st. Mekenzievy Mountains moved forward by 450–500 m, occupying Mekenzia cordon number one. The main blow to Sukharnaya Balka, according to intelligence, was finished up to 20 tanks and 5 rifle divisions. Powerful artillery strikes, aviation operations, in the Main Base – 187 raids, dropped 520 bombs, at the front – 359 raids, bombs dropped – 1000. there was anti-aircraft fire, there is a combat reserve for 15-20 minutes of battle. Urgently requires combat stock for 76- and 85-mm guns. OO Primorsky army of traitors to the Motherland and for desertion are- there were 10 people. Shot by decision of OO – 19. Detained 812 servicemen, all sent to their units.

 

Operative officer of the 6th department

9th department of the Directorate of the OO NKVD

battalion commissar Belyaev

June 14, 1942

Head of the Special Department of the NKVD of the Black Sea Fleet Comrade Ermo-laev cipher telegram No. 1470 dated June 10, 1942 (input No. 13181) reported, that today at 7 o’clock. the enemy, having launched an offensive, occupied the heights of 42.7 and 43.5. Height 43.5 is located 2.5–3 km from Severnaya Bay. Our June 9 troops left Art. Mekenzievy Mountains, to the north they are fighting.

At 9 o’clock. 15 minutes. enemy aircraft sunk transport “Abkhazia”, arrived at the main base at night. Only managed to unload from the transport 54 tons of ammunition. At 13 o’clock. bombed and sunk by enemy aircraft the destroyer Svobodny, which arrived at the Main Base along with the Abkhazia.

 

Operative officer of the 6th department

9th department of the Directorate of the OO NKVD

battalion commissar Belyaev

 

Archive of the Federal Security Service of Russia for the Saratov region. F. 14. Op. 4. D. 550. L. 8. Original.

 

June 17, 1942

 

Head of the Special Department of the NKVD of the Black Sea Fleet Comrade Ermolaev

by cipher telegram No. 1585 dated June 14, 1942 (input No. 13616) reported that

June 13 this year in the morning the enemy attacked our positions on Balaklava direction, at the junction of the 3rd and 4th sectors, and from the village

Mekenzievy Gory and the coast of the Northern Bay, detained near Sukharnaya Balka. All attacks were repulsed with a slight withdrawal of our units. During

days, 24 guns of 76 mm of our anti-aircraft artillery did not fire due to complete absence of shells. In the morning at 4 o’clock. enemy aircraft

captured transport “Georgia” arrived at the Main base with a combat reserve. At 11 o’clock. 50 min. in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bCape Fiolent, a high-speed trawl was sunk

box No. 2738 and boat “MO-92”. As a result, the tension with combat stock. On the spot, measures were taken to unload the sunken bo-military stock and increased delivery by warships.

 

Operative officer of the 6th department

9th department of the Directorate of the OO NKVD

battalion commissar Belyaev

 

Archive of the Federal Security Service of Russia for the Saratov region. F. 14. Op. 4. D. 550. L. 15-16. Script.

 

June 19, 1942

 

Head of the Special Department of the NKVD of the Black Sea Fleet Comrade Ermo- Laev, by cipher telegram No. 1492 dated June 16, 1942 (input No. 13786) reported,

that in recent days enemy aircraft, dominating the air, with the lack of ammunition for anti-aircraft fire from the batteries of the Main Base in Sevast-

field, sank one destroyer, one minesweeper, one hunter boat and two of the best transports loaded with ammunition and troops. Despite

to a direct threat to transports, of which there are only a few, the command fleet to deliver food, ammunition to the troops insists

at the arrival in Sevastopol of the transports “Bialystok”, “Berezina”, while warships, especially cruisers, leaders, are used

in Sevastopol, not fully.

I consider the expulsion of transports a great risk, I ask for your vetting intervention. Anti-aircraft fire dropped sharply, there is combat reserve for 15-20 min. fight.

 

Operative officer of the 6th department

9th department of the Directorate of the OO NKVD

battalion commissar Belyaev

 

Archive of the Federal Security Service of Russia for the Saratov region. F. 14. Op. 4. D. 550. L. 18. Original.

 

June 26, 1942

 

Head of the Special Department of the NKVD of the Black Sea Fleet Comrade Ermolaev by cipher telegram No. 1518 dated June 22, 1942 (input No. 14471) to- carried: June 21 this year the enemy in the southern sector led attacks on Kadykovka, all attacks repulsed.

In the southeastern sector, the enemy advances with the force of one infantry noah division and a large group of tanks. By the end of the day he occupied Fedyukhin heights, creating a threat – cut off the 3rd sector of defense. Northern hundred- the ron is mainly occupied by the enemy, Matyushenko Bay, Nordovyi the shore of the Northern Bay in his hands. Having occupied Uchkuevka, the Germans shot 27 women and children hiding in crevices.

The marching replenishment is going poorly, in 2 days up to 700 people arrived century. Delivery of ammunition does not cover the daily expense. Sevastopol has up to 35,000 min with a daily consumption of 5000. There are no basic additional charges and fuses 82 mm and 50 mm. Active actions enemy aircraft throughout the entire time affect the moral condition of the troops. There are cases of apathy.

 

Operative officer of the 6th department

9th department of the Directorate of the OO NKVD

battalion commissar Belyaev

 

Archive of the Federal Security Service of Russia for the Saratov region. F. 14. Op. 4. D. 550. L. 33. Original.

June 30, 1942

 

Head of the Special Department of the NKVD of the Black Sea Fleet comrade Ermolaev, by cipher telegram No. 1537 dated June 29, 1942, reported that On June 28, fierce battles were fought in the eastern sector, all attacks repulsed. Our units are holding their former lines. To the front line and bases, enemy aircraft made 765 sorties, dropped Sheno about four thousand bombs.

 

Art. detective of the 9th department

Directorate of the NGO NKVD

lieutenant of state security Solovyov

5 July 1942

July 3, 1942 [by cipher telegram] No. 349 Head of the Special Department

The NKVD of the Black Sea Fleet Yermolaev reported that as a result of the raid

enemy aircraft in the port of Novorossiysk sunk: the leader of “Tashkent”,

destroyer “Vigilant”, floating base of torpedo boats “Ukraine”,

tug “Chernomor”.

Damaged by a direct hit of one bomb cruiser “Komintern”

and unfinished transport “Proletary”. There are victims.

 

Art. detective of the 9th department

Directorate of the NGO NKVD

lieutenant of state security Solovyov

 

Archive of the Federal Security Service of Russia for the Saratov region. F. 14. Op. 4. D. 550. L. 42. Original.

– From the certificates of the 9th department of the UOO NKVD of the USSR on the reports of the special departments of the North Caucasian Front, the Black Sea Fleet and the Primorsky Army about the defense of Sevastopol

Luftwaffe

The actions of Army Group South were supported by the 4th Luftwaffe Fleet, which at the beginning of the invasion of the USSR consisted of two air corps – IV and V, with a total of about 750 aircraft of all type. In the winter of 1941, the V Air Corps from the fleet was transferred to the Mediterranean theater. At the beginning of May 1942, to support the offensive against the Kerch grouping of Soviet troops, the VIII Luftwaffe Air Corps under the command of V. von Richthoffen, specially designed to support important ground operations, was transferred to the Crimea (See Operation Bustard Hunting)). After the end of the fighting on the Kerch Peninsula, the VIII Corps was transferred to Sevastopol. With the start of an active offensive, Sevastopol was subjected to massive air strikes: on average, Luftwaffe aircraft made 600 sorties per day. About 2.5 thousand tons of high-explosive bombs were dropped, including large calibers – up to 1000 kg.

Thanks to air superiority, German aviation was also able to inflict significant damage on the Black Sea Fleet and shipping by sea:

1941

  • On November 2, the Voroshilov cruiser was damaged and put out of action for a month.
  • On November 7, the transport “Armenia” was sunk, which had on board more than 5 thousand passengers evacuated from Sevastopol and Yalta.
  • On November 12, in the harbor of Sevastopol, Ju-87 dive-bombers sank the cruiser “Chervona Ukraine”, damaged the destroyers “Perfect” and “Merciless”.

1942

  • On January 4, in the port of Feodosia, Ju -87s from StG 77 badly damaged the cruiser Krasny Kavkaz.
  • On March 21, in the South Bay of Sevastopol, aircraft sank the steamer “Georgy Dimitrov”.
  • June 13, 1942 on the approach to Sevastopol transport “Georgia” was sunk.
  • On June 27, during the transition from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk, the leader of the destroyers “Tashkent” was attacked. Over 300 bombs were dropped on the ship. It was possible to reach the harbor of Novorossiysk in tow.
  • July 2: massive raid on the Novorossiysk bay. The leader “Tashkent”, the destroyer “Vigilant”, the ambulance transport “Ukraine” and other ships were sunk. The fire that started destroyed the port facilities.

The loss of airfields by the Soviet Air Force, the loss of aircraft and flight personnel allowed the Wehrmacht to use heavy siege weapons, such as Karl-type mortars, the 807-mm Dora gun.

On the eve of the decisive assault, Luftwaffe bombers, without encountering any resistance from the Soviet Air Force, bombarded the fortifications of the city using heavy bombs SC 1000, SC 1800 and SC 2500.

Second assault

Battle of Crimea PanaramaThe defense of Sevastopol from land was based on a series of large permanent structures (artillery forts). To destroy the forts, the Germans used large-caliber siege artillery. In total, over 200 heavy artillery batteries were located on a perimeter of 22 km. Most of the batteries consisted of conventional large caliber field artillery, including heavy 210mm howitzers, and heavy 300mm and 350mm howitzers from World War I. Super-heavy siege weapons were also used:

 

  • howitzer Gamma Mörser  – 420 mm;
  • 2 Karl self-propelled mortars  – 600 mm.

Near Sevastopol, a super-heavy 800-mm Dora – class gun was also used for the first time. The gun with a total weight of more than 1,000 tons was secretly delivered from Germany and placed in a special shelter carved into a rock mass in the Bakhchisarai region. The gun entered service in early June and fired a total of fifty-three 7-ton projectiles. The Dora’s fire was directed against forts BB-30, BB-35, as well as underground ammunition depots located in rock masses. As it turned out later, one of the shells pierced a rock mass 30 m thick. After this siege, “Dora” was used only once – in the suppression ofWarsaw uprising in October 1944. Against less fortified bunkers and bunkers, 88-mm anti-aircraft guns and 20-mm and 37-mm rapid-fire anti-aircraft guns were widely used, firing direct fire.

Initially, the German and Italian command planned to start the assault on November 27, 1941, however, due to weather conditions and partisan actions, by November 17, 50% of the auto-drawn transport and 4 of the 5 steam locomotives at the disposal of the 11th Army and the 8th Italian Army were out of order, as a result of which the assault began on December 17. After a massive artillery preparation, mixed German and Italian units went on the offensive in the valley of the river. Belbek. The 22nd Lower Saxon and 132nd Infantry Divisions were able to break into the fortification zone south of the valley, the 50th, 24th and 3rd Italian divisions suffered heavy losses and could not advance further.

After the Soviet landing in Feodosia, the German command was forced to transfer the 170th Infantry Division to the Kerch Peninsula, while the rest of the units continued to storm the fortress. German troops were able to approach Fort Stalin. However, by December 30, the offensive capabilities of the 11th Army had dried up. According to Manstein, the withdrawal of German units to the starting lines was his initiative, Soviet historiography claims that the German troops were driven out by a series of counterattacks. Map of hostilities.

Last Assault

For the summer assault, the German command as part of the 11th Army used the forces of seven corps:

  • 54th Army : 22nd, 24th, 50th, 132nd Infantry Divisions;
  • 30th Army : 72nd, 170th Infantry, 28th Light Divisions;
  • 42nd Army : 46th Infantry, Motorized Brigade by K. von Groddeck ;
  • 7th Romanian, General F. Mitranescu : 10th, 19th Infantry, 4th Mountain Division, 8th Cavalry Brigade ;
  • Romanian mountain: 1st mountain, 18th infantry division, 4th mountain brigade;
  • 8th Aviation Corps.
  • 35th Italian Corps: Torino Division, Pasubio Division, 3rd Mobile Division.

Battle of Crimea PanaramaThe 42nd Army and 7th Romanian Corps were located on the Kerch Peninsula, their units were supposed to be used to replace divisions that would suffer the greatest losses. The 46th Infantry and 4th Mountain Divisions replaced the 132nd and 24th Divisions in the second phase of the assault. Anticipating heavy losses, the command of the 11th Army requested an additional three infantry regiments, which were used in the last stage of the battle. For ground battles, several anti-aircraft artillery regiments of the 8th Aviation Corps were used. The army also had at its disposal the 300th separate tank battalion, three divisions of self-propelled guns, 208 batteries of guns (not counting anti-aircraft guns), including 93 batteries of heavy and super-heavy guns. Assessing the power of artillery, Manstein said: “In general, in the Second World War, the Germans never achieved such a massive use of artillery.” Comparing the forces of the parties in terms of manpower, he twice claims that the German-Romanian army and the Soviet garrison were quantitatively equal.

The book “Lost Victories” provides information that was available to the headquarters of the 11th Army about the Soviet forces in Sevastopol: Headquarters of the Primorsky Army, 2nd, 95th, 172nd, 345th, 386th, 388 1st Rifle Divisions, 40th Cavalry Division, 7th, 8th, 79th Marine Brigade. According to Manstein, 7 Soviet divisions and 3 brigades are “at least equal” to 13 divisions, an aviation corps and 3 brigades (not counting individual infantry and artillery regiments, and numerous units that were part of each of the 6 corps directorates).

The assault began on June 7th. The stubborn struggle and counterattacks of the defenders continued for more than a week. In the attacking German companies, an average of 25 people remained. Map of hostilities (until the morning of June 30).

  • On June 2, on the approach to Sevastopol, the tanker Mikhail Gromov was sunk in the protection of two battleships and four SKA.
  • On June 8, ships were sunk – a hydrographic vessel and the destroyer “Perfect” (previously blown up on a minefield).
  • On June 10, ships were sunk – the transport “Abkhazia” and the destroyer “Svobodny” (see photo).
  • On June 13, ships were sunk – transport “Georgia” (when approaching the Mine Pier),

The turning point came on June 17: in the southern sector, the attackers took up a position known as the “Eagle’s Nest” and reached the foot of the Sapun Mountain.

On the northern sector, on June 17, Fort Stalin and the foot of the Mekenziev Heights were captured. On this day, several more forts fell, including the BB-30 battery (as the Germans called it, Fort “Maxim Gorky-1”).

During June 18-23, despite the transfer to the northern sector of fresh replenishment (arrived on June 12-13 on the Molotov cruiser and destroyers) of 2600 people, all Soviet troops above the Northern Bay were either destroyed or surrendered after using up all ammunition, or continued to fight back in isolated fortifications and shelters (such as the Konstantinovsky Fort, which the last defenders left by swimming on the morning of June 24).

  • On June 18, ships with supplies, including the leader Kharkiv, were damaged (both by aircraft and artillery), and the cruiser Komintern refused to enter the bay. At night, the ambulance transport “Bialystok” (using its 14 knots speed) was the last of the transport ships to enter the Northern Bay and moored at the refrigerator. In the morning, due to shelling, he was forced to interrupt unloading and, with two holes below the waterline, went to sea, with about 400 wounded and less than 100 evacuees on board. At 2 am on June 19 south of Cape Fiolent was sunk by enemy TKA..

From that moment on, German artillery could fire at the Northern Bay, and the supply of reinforcements and ammunition in the required volume became impossible. The supply began to be carried out by high-speed leaders (the leader “Tashkent” last arrived in Sevastopol on the night of June 26-27 with replenishment and ammunition, took out of the city more than 2,100 people and fragments of the famous panorama, while being subjected to continuous attacks by 90 aircraft from 5 to 9 in the morning, received serious damage and lost its course near Taman  – towed to Novorossiysk) and small high-speed ships (such as BTShch and SKA), submarines to the bays of Karantinnaya, Streletskaya, Kamyshovaya and Cape Khersones.

However, the inner ring of defense was still preserved, the engineering fortifications of Sevastopol were large] and their frontal assault did not bode well for the Germans.

On June 27, all SOR anti-aircraft artillery (except for the Kherson airfield) was left without ammunition, the onslaught of enemy aircraft intensified many times – even ammunition brought in at night was difficult to deliver to the front line. Guns without shells began to be drawn to areas from Streletskaya Bay to Kazachya Bay (north of Cape Khersones).

Manstein decided to attack the inner ring not in the forehead from the southeast, but in the flank from the north, for which it was necessary to cross the Severnaya Bay. The southern shore of the bay was heavily fortified, and the landing seemed almost impossible, which is why Manstein decided to bet on surprise. On the night of June 28-29, at 2 a.m., without dedicated artillery preparation, the forward units of the 30th Corps in inflatable boats (see photo) secretly crossed the bay under the cover of a smoke screen and suddenly attacked in 4 places (17 boats and one boat were sunk). They managed to gain a foothold only in the Volovya beam area, then go up to the Suzdal mountain and land another landing in the Kilen beam area. By noon, the village of Inkermanwas lost, the ammunition depots in it were blown up during the retreat, blocking the passage along the bay along the railway. The entire front shifted to the west of Kilen-balka, along the line of the Kamchatka Redoubt – the Victoria Redoubt.

As for the explosion of ammunition depots in Inkerman, this episode of the defense of Sevastopol is rather ambiguous. According to the official Soviet version, 2nd rank quartermaster Prokofy Saenko blew up the adits of the Sovetskaya beam, where about 500 wagons of ammunition were stored, as a result of which hundreds of German soldiers, at least two dozen tanks, and several guns were under blocks of rocks. On the other hand, according to Manstein’s memoirs, this explosion allegedly killed thousands of wounded and refugees hiding in adits. In 1946 at the Nuremberg TrialsThe USSR prosecutor’s office presented a document stating that in Inkerman, in the basement of one of the houses, there was a field infirmary of the sanitary battalion No. 17. Some of the wounded, who could not be evacuated, fell into the hands of the Germans. The Germans, having drunk wine (the infirmary was in a wine warehouse), burned the infirmary along with the wounded. In the brochure S.T. Kuzmin’s “No statute of limitations”, published in 1985, it is alleged that the Germans set fire to the adits, as a result of which 3 thousand civilians died in them, as well as wounded military personnel.

On June 29, at about 3 am, the Germans also tried to land troops on Cape Chersonese. 12 motor schooners from Yalta were discovered near Cape Fiolent and 9 of them were sunk by the 18th coastal battery, despite the demonstration of a false landing by enemy torpedo boats to the east, near the Georgievsky Monastery (with the explosion of a boat filled with explosives off the coast).

On June 29, by 16-17 o’clock, due to a lack of ammunition, the SOR artillery ceased fire in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bMount Suzdalskaya, the Dergachi farm, and in the Sapun Gora region (most of the 386 rifle division fled from there due to powerful shelling in the morning) – on a key section of the second line of defense had a breakthrough. By evening, the enemy occupied these areas, dragged artillery into it and was able to shell the entire city. This was a key moment, since the entire area of Sevastopol and Cape Khersones is being shot from Sapun Mountain.

On June 30, only 5 batteries remained in the coastal defenses with a small supply of shells. The army had 1529 medium-caliber shells and some anti-tank shells. All rear units of the army and navy began to destroy supplies and equipment, the transportation of goods was stopped, trucks stood randomly along the coast of the Chersonese Peninsula, where they were then destroyed.

The barbaric war crimes of the victors began even before the end of the battle. Thus, in the underground adits of the Inkerman champagne factory, the premises of the hospital located there were flooded with a combustible mixture and set on fire, while over 3,000 wounded and hiding civilians, including women and children, were burned alive. The Troitsky Tunnel (formerly the shelter of the Zheleznyakov armored train) was thrown with grenades and smoke bombs, where there were about 360 wounded and about 400 civilians who were hiding – they all died, mostly suffocating in the smoke.

Evacuation

Naval InfantryOn June 30, Malakhov Kurgan fell. By this time, the defenders of Sevastopol began to run out of ammunition, and the commander of the defense, Vice Admiral Oktyabrsky, received permission from the headquarters of the Supreme Command for evacuation.

The evacuation of individual formations continued until at least July 4, 1942. At the July 1, 1942, meeting of the command of the SOR, an order was received from the Headquarters of the VK to evacuate the commander of the coastal army. The commander of the Primorsky Army, General Petrov, was evacuated on the Shch-209 submarine on the evening of July 1. The command of the remaining garrison was entrusted to the commander of the 109th Rifle Division, Major General P. G. Novikov, who commanded the defense and cover of the evacuation until July 8, 1942. On July 9, 1942, Novikov tried to evacuate MO-112, but collided with 5 enemy torpedo boats and was captured during the ensuing battle.

The evacuation of the high command began with the help of aviation. 13 PS-84 aircraft took 222 commanders and 49 wounded to the Caucasus. About 700 commanding officers were taken out by submarines. Several thousand more were able to escape on light watercraft of the Black Sea Fleet.

On July 1, the resistance of the defenders of the city itself ceased, on the night of July 2, the armored turret battery No. 35 was blown up, on which there were no shells left, but which fought and at that time was not captured by the enemy. Further resistance was spontaneous, except for Cape Khersones and separate scattered pockets, in which separate groups of Soviet soldiers continued to fight until July 9-12. The 81st separate tank battalion on July 2 in the area of ​​the Cossack Bay lost the last 4 vehicles in battle. And the last T-26 tank (with 15 shells) from the 125th separate tank battalion (Major Listobaev with a political officer and 5 fighters) entered the last battle on July 3 in the Cossack Bay area.

From the certificate of the head of the department of special departments of the NKVD of the USSR V. S. Abakumov dated July 1, 1942:

“In a conversation with me  the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Comrade Oktyabrsky, who is in Novorossiysk, reported on the situation in Sevastopol:  on the night of June 30 to July 1, the enemy broke into the city and occupied the areas: railway station, Historical Boulevard, Khersonessky airfield, etc. The remaining fighters fight heroically, do not surrender, and destroy themselves in a hopeless situation.  Sevastopol, like a city, no, destroyed”

— CA FSB of Russia. F. 14. Op. 4. D. 561. L. 4

The remnants of the Primorsky Army retreated to Cape Khersones, where they resisted until July 8, 1942. Some of the soldiers and commanders surrendered after a powerful shelling, bombing and dismemberment of the defense between the Cossack Bay and the armored turret battery No. 35 at 14-15 hours on July 4. German General Kurt von Tippelskirch, who was at that time on the Don, announced the capture of 100 thousand prisoners, 622 guns, 26 tanks and 141 aircraft at Cape Chersonese. Manstein, who was in direct command of the 11th Army, is more cautious in reporting that 30,000 Red Army fighters and about 10,000 in the Balaklava region were taken prisoner at the extreme tip of the peninsula. According to Soviet archival data, the number of prisoners did not exceed 78,230 people, and there was no capture of aviation equipment at all: the aircraft remaining in service at the time of the 3rd assault were partially redeployed to the Caucasus, partially dropped into the sea and flooded. In the period from July 1 to July 10, 1942, 1726 people were taken out of Sevastopol by all types of vehicles, mainly the command and political staff of the army and navy.

On July 3, 1942, the Soviet Information Bureau gave a summary of the loss of Sevastopol:

Sevastopol was abandoned by the Soviet troops, but the defense of Sevastopol will go down in the history of the Patriotic War of the Soviet Union as one of its brightest pages.

– Report of the Soviet Information Bureau of July 3, 1942

Side losses

The total losses of the Soviet troops for the entire period of the defense of Sevastopol from October 30, 1941 to the beginning of July 1942 amounted to 200,481 people, of which 156,880 people were irretrievable losses, and 43,601 people were sanitary.

Estimates of the losses suffered by the German forces differ radically depending on the source. According to official Soviet data, announced in the report of the Soviet Information Bureau of 07/04/1942, the Germans lost 300 thousand soldiers during the entire battle in the Crimea in 41-42, while 150 thousand of them were losses directly during the storming of Sevastopol. Modern Russian authors, as a rule, adhere to the same data, for example, Igor Starcheus clarifies them: about 60,000 killed (including up to 6,000 people during the first assault, up to 10,000 people during the second assault, and up to 30,000 people during the third assault) and up to 240,000 sanitary losses. Western sources often take as a basis the assessment of the American writer Robert Forczyk (not a historian, having received education in the field of international relations and national security), who estimates the losses during the storming of Sevastopol in June-July 1942 at 35866 people killed and wounded.

In the book of G. I. Vaneev “Sevastopol 1941-1942”, which at the same time refers to the data of the funds of the Main Archive of the Navy, a somewhat more detailed description of the losses of German troops during the storming of Sevastopol in 1942 is given. July 7 – about 3000 people, July 11 – about 4000, the period from July 17 to 20 is about 4500 daily.

Also in the publication “Chronicle of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union at the Black Sea Theater (Issue 2)” is a telegram sent to I.V. Stalin on June 18 by the commander of the Black Sea Fleet F.S. Oktyabrsky and a member of the Military Council N.M. Kulakov, in which it was noted that the Sevastopol garrison suffered heavy losses, which are estimated at 22,000 – 23,000 people, while it is noted that the enemy suffered losses three to four times more, but, having an absolute superiority in strength and dominance in the air and in tanks, continues strong pressure on the garrison. The text of this telegram is also fully given in the book of G.I. Vaneev “Sevastopol 1941-1942”.

The commander of the 11th Army, Erich von Manstein, in his book Lost Victories, describes in detail the course of the assault, but does not give any figures, while noting the extremely fierce course of the battles and heavy losses in the compositions of both fighting sides.

Despite these hard-won successes, the fate of the offensive these days seemed to hang in the balance. There were still no signs of a weakening of the enemy’s will to resist, and the strength of our troops was noticeably reduced.

Erich von Manstein Lost Victories.

Thus, the actual losses among the German troops are still the subject of discussion.

 

For the capture of Sevastopol, the commander of the 11th Army, Manstein, received the rank of field marshal, and the entire personnel of the army received a special sleeve insignia “Crimean Shield”.

 

Results

The loss of Sevastopol led to a deterioration in the position of the Red Army and allowed the German troops to continue their offensive towards the Volga and the Caucasus. More than a hundred thousandth grouping, located on a strategically important sector of the front, was lost. Soviet aviation could no longer threaten the Romanian oil fields in Ploiesti, the Soviet fleet lost the ability to act on enemy communications in the northern and northwestern parts of the Black Sea. In addition to the battle-hardened fighters of the Primorsky Army, qualified personnel from among the inhabitants of the fortified city were lost.

According to Manstein, after the capture of Sevastopol, the forces of the army subordinate to him should have been transferred across the Kerch Strait to the Kuban in order to cut off the retreat routes of the Red Army, retreating in front of Army Group A from the lower Don to the Caucasus, or, at least, kept in reserve behind the southern flank, which may have prevented the defeat of the German troops at Stalingrad. The German command, in the midst of the summer offensive, was forced to give units of the 11th Army and the Romanian Corps a six-week rest, which was used to receive reinforcements. Manstein himself was on vacation in Romania until August 12. However, after his return, it turned out that out of 13 divisions, 3 brigades and 6 corps departments involved in the Crimean peninsula, only 4 divisions and 2 corps departments could be used for further operations:

  1. The 7th Romanian Corps, consisting of the 10th and 19th Infantry Divisions, was sent to the Stalingrad area;
  2. the headquarters of the 42nd corps and the 42nd division were transferred to Taman;
  3. The 72nd division is involved in Army Group Center (on a secondary sector).

The 50th German division, the Romanian mountain corps: the 1st and 4th mountain, 18th infantry divisions, the 4th mountain brigade, the 8th cavalry brigade were left in the Crimea; The 22nd division was sent to Crete, where it remained until the end of the war (it did not take part in hostilities in North Africa); the headquarters of the 54th and 30th corps, the 24th, 132nd, 170th, 28th light (mountain rifle) divisions were sent to Leningrad. As Manstein writes: “it was necessary to find out the possibilities for striking and draw up a plan of attack on Leningrad”.

At the same time, more than eight months of defense of Sevastopol made an invaluable contribution to the development of hostilities in the southern sector of the Soviet-German fleet. Firstly, Sevastopol chained the 11th German-Romanian army for this period, which the Wehrmacht was sorely lacking, especially in the battles of the late autumn – early winter of 1941, including for a breakthrough to the Caucasus. The holding of Sevastopol allowed the Soviet Black Sea Fleet to conduct combat operations throughout almost the entire Black Sea

In order to break the resistance of the defenders of Sevastopol during the third assault, Germany had to use up almost all the ammunition of heavy and super-heavy artillery accumulated over several years (after that, even on blockaded Leningrad, this artillery could only fire occasionally with single shots), and almost 2,200 barrels of field artillery, due to the exhaustion of the survivability margin from near Sevastopol, were immediately sent for scrap. The Luftwaffe also largely exhausted its supply of aerial bombs, which already affected the summer campaign of 1942.

Reasons for the fall of Sevastopol

The main reasons for the fall of Sevastopol, some authors consider:

  1. Lack of stock of artillery shells by the beginning of the third assault (supply “pulled over” the Crimean Front on the Kerch Peninsula)
  2. An almost complete blockade of Sevastopol from the sea, which did not allow the delivery of ammunition. For comparison. In November 1941, transports made 178 trips to Sevastopol, including 147 with field guards. In December 1941, 161 flights were made, of which 147 were guarding ships. And from January to June 1942, they made 174 flights to Sevastopol (with new individual routes), that is, about as many as in November 1941.
  3. Complete enemy air superiority, preventing the transfer of ammunition and troops not only to the SOR, but even to the SOR itself from the coast to the defense lines.
  4. An ill-conceived, hasty decision to immediately evacuate a huge part of the command staff (and the self-elimination of a large part of the command staff from defense tasks for the sake of their own evacuation), which led to an almost complete loss of command and control, retreat from prepared positions, panic, anarchy and unrest in the area of ​​​​the airfield and piers 35 th battery.

Statistics speaks quite fully about the lack of ammunition for artillery (data from 1995 by the scientific group of the fleet commander at the KChF Museum on a historical study of the events of the last days of the defense of Sevastopol):

By April 1942, the delivery of ammunition to the SOR was reduced by 4 times – all resources went to support the Crimean Front on the Kerch Peninsula. In total, in June 1942, transport ships reached Sevastopol only five times, cruisers, leaders, destroyers and other ships of the Black Sea Fleet 28 times, submarines made more than fifty crossings. Together with transport aircraft, they delivered to Sevastopol 23,500 reinforcements and approximately 11.5 thousand tons of cargo, including 4.7 thousand tons of ammunition.

On June 7, by the beginning of the third assault on the SOR, the defenders had artillery shells:

  • for large caliber – less than 2.5 ammunition,
  • for medium caliber – less than 3 rounds,
  • for small caliber – less than 6 ammunition,
  • for mortars – about 1 ammunition

(for comparison, during the second assault on Sevastopol, the SOR artillery used up about 4 rounds of ammunition).

In the first 10-12 days of the third assault on Sevastopol, the defenders spent about 580 tons of shells per day, causing huge damage to the attackers. Then the consumption dropped sharply to 1/3 and then to 1/4 of this norm.

On June 20, the delivery of ammunition by transport ships also stopped at the same time. All ammunition arrived only in small batches on small, high-speed warships (base minesweepers, patrol boats), submarines and aircraft (at night).

Delivered per day (according to the report of Marshal Budyonny Vasilevsky) by: 250 tons of ammunition, 65 tons of gasoline, 545 replenishment fighters.

It was necessary: ​​300 tons of ammunition, 90 tons of gasoline, 1000 replenishment fighter.

On June 28, 330 reinforcements, 180 tons of ammunition, 35 tons of gasoline were delivered (by two minesweepers, three submarines). 288 wounded were taken out.

June 29 (four submarines) – 160 tons of ammunition, 81 tons of gasoline. Then delivery only by air (June 30 – 25 tons. July 1 – 23.6 tons).

The plan of Manstein’s operation “Sturgeon Fishing” (in German UnternehmenStörfang“) consisted precisely in the blockade of the SOR from the sea (submarines, mines, torpedo boats and aircraft), the destruction of engineering defense (ignoring the huge expenditure of ammunition), with the gradual capture of Sevastopol and the destruction of the Black Sea Fleet during the evacuation of the garrison. All the tasks of the operation were completed except for the last one, since the Black Sea Fleet simply did not come to evacuate the inhabitants and defenders of Sevastopol. The main task of the Wehrmacht was to free the 11th Army from near Sevastopol for further use in the directions of the main attacks of the summer campaign of 1942.

 

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