Crimean Operation of 1944
Crimean Operation of 1944
an offensive operation by forces of the Fourth Ukranian Front (commander, General of the Army F. I. Tolbukhin) and the Detached Maritime Army (General of the Army A. I. Eremenko) in cooperation with the Black Sea Fleet (Admiral F. S. Oktiabr’skii) and the Azov Naval Flotilla (Rear Admiral S. G. Gorshkov) from April 8 to May 12; its purpose was to liberate the Crimea from fascist German troops during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45.
As a result of the Melitopol’ operation of Sept. 26-Nov. 5, 1943, and the Kerch’-El’tigen landing operation of Oct. 31-Nov. 11, 1943, Soviet troops had broken through the fortifications of the Turkish Wall on the Isthmus of Perekop and captured beach-heads on the southern coast of Sivash and on the Kerch’ Peninsula; but they were unable to liberate the Crimea at this time because of inadequate forces. The Seventeenth German Army found itself blockaded and, relying on deeply echeloned defensive positions, continued to hold the Crimea. In April 1944 it included five German and seven Rumanian divisions (about 200,000 men, about 3,600 artillery guns and mortars, more than 200 tanks and assault guns, and 150 aircraft). The Soviet troops totaled 30 rifle divisions, two marine brigades, and two fortified regions (in all about 400,000 men, about 6,000 artillery guns and mortars, 559 tanks and self-propelled guns, and 1,250 aircraft).
On April, 8, with support from aviation of the Eighth Air Army and the aviation of the Black Sea Fleet, troops of the Fourth Ukrainian Front went over to the offensive, the Second Guards Army captured Armiansk, and the Fifty-first Army reached the flank of the enemy Perekop grouping, which began to retreat. During the night of April 10 the Detached Maritime Army went onto the offensive with support from aviation of the Fourth Air Army and the aviation of the Black Sea Fleet and captured the city of Kerch’ in the morning. The XIX Tank Corps, introduced into the zone of the Fifty-first Army, captured Dzhankoi, thus forcing the enemy Kerch’ grouping to begin a hurried retreat to the west. Developing the offensive, Soviet troops reached Sevastopol’ on April 15–16, began the assault on May 5, and liberated the city on May 9. On May 12 the remnants of enemy forces laid down their weapons on Cape Khersones. Soviet forces received a great deal of assistance from Crimean partisans (large units commanded by P. R. lampol’skii, F. I. Fedorenko, M. A. Makedonskii, V. S. Kuznetsov, and others).
The Crimean operation ended with the complete defeat of the Seventeenth German Army, whose losses were more than 140,000. As a result of the destruction of the enemy’s Crimean grouping, the threat to the southern wing of the Soviet front was removed, significant forces were freed, and more and better bases for the Black Sea Fleet were made available.
REFERENCESIstoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1941–1945, vol. 4. Moscow, 1962.
Biriuzov, S. S. Kogda gremeli pushki. Moscow, 1962.
Korotkov, I. S., and G. A. Koltunov. Osvobozhdenie Kryma. Moscow, 1959.
N. V. POSTNIKOV