Kerch-Feodosiia Landing Operation of 1941–42
Kerch’-Feodosiia Landing Operation of 1941–42
a large-scale landing operation by troops of the Fifty-first and Forty-fourth armies of the Transcaucasian Front (commanded by Lieutenant General D. T. Kozlov) and ships of the Black Sea Fleet (commanded by Vice Admiral F. S. Oktiabr’-skii) and the Azov Naval Flotilla (commanded by Rear Admiral S. G. Gorshkov) between Dec. 26, 1941, and Jan. 2, 1942, during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45.
The objectives of the operation were to take the Kerch’ Peninsula, draw enemy forces away from besieged Sevastopol’, and establish conditions for the subsequent liberation of the Crimea. Parties were to be landed at numerous points along the north, east, and south coasts of the Kerch’ Peninsula and also in Feodosiia, along a 250-km front. Between December 26 and 29, operating under heavy gale conditions (the force of the wind reached 7–8 points), ships of the Azov Naval Flotilla and the Kerch’ Naval Base landed about 20,000 men of the Fifty-first Army (commanded by Lieutenant General V. N. L’vov) on the north and east coasts of the peninsula. Despite the heroism of the Soviet troops, the separate landing groups were unable to link up because of fierce enemy resistance (more than two divisions).
On December 29 the forces of the Black Sea Fleet (two cruisers, one leader, seven destroyers, six minesweepers, 15 patrol boats, and 14 transports) carrying landing units of the Forty-fourth Army (commanded by Major General A. N. Pervushin) approached Feodosiia. Assault detachments landed from launches captured the breakwater and lighthouse. The destroyer Shaumian, followed by the destroyers Nezamozhnik and Zhelezniakov and the cruiser Krasnyi Kavkaz, entered the port and, under enemy mortar and artillery fire and beating back powerful attacks by enemy aircraft, landed a party of 4,500 men and their equipment on the breakwater. In all, more than 40,000 men, 236 artillery guns and mortars, and 43 tanks were landed on the Kerch’ Peninsula and in Feodosiia between December 26 and 31.
By the morning of December 30, Soviet troops had taken Feodosiia and were developing the offensive to the north, northeast, and northwest. This forced the fascist German forces to begin a retreat from Kerch’ on the evening of December 30. Having retreated from the Kerch’ Peninsula and receiving the support of two divisions brought from Sevastopol’ (a total of six divisions), the fascist German troops organized a defense on the Kiet-Novaia Pokrovka-Koktebel’ line and on January 2 stopped the offensive of the Soviet forces. This was the end of the Kerch’-Feodosiia landing operation. During the offensive the Soviet forces had moved 100–110 km west from the eastern shore of Kerch’ Peninsula, and they had liberated Kerch’ and Feodosiia.