Odessa Operation of 1944
Odessa Operation of 1944
combat actions of the troops of the Third Ukrainian Front (commanded by General of the Army R. Ia. Malinovskii) in coordination with the Black Sea Fleet (commanded by Vice Admiral and, from April 10, Admiral F. S. Oktiabr’skii) between March 26 and April 14. The purpose of the operation was to rout the German Sixth and Rumanian Third armies of the Army Group A (from April 5, Army Group Southern Ukraine; commanded by Field Marshal E. von Kleist; from April 1, by Colonel General F. Schörner) and liberate Odessa.
After the successful execution of the Bereznegovatoe-Snigirevka operation of 1944, the troops of the Third Ukrainian Front made hasty crossings of the Iuzhnyi Bug River in several places and captured bridgeheads on the west bank of the river. The Odessa operation started on the night of March 26, when the armies of the Third Ukrainian Front’s right wing and center (the Fifty-seventh, Thirty-seventh, and Forty-sixth armies and the Eighth Guards Army) began expanding the previously captured bridgeheads. The close, deep envelopment of the enemy’s southern grouping by the troops of the Second Ukrainian Front contributed to the success of the operation; by late March the troops had forced the Prut River and reached the approaches to Ia§i. By the evening of March 28 the Fifty-seventh and Thirty-seventh armies had expanded the bridgehead to 45 km along the front and 25 km in depth. To exploit the initial success, General I. A. Pliev’s mechanized cavalry group and the XXIII Tank Corps were committed to action on the Razdel’naia axis. On the left wing of the front the Fifth Shock Army and the Twenty-eighth Army were striking blows along the Nikolaev axis. Senior Lieutenant K. F. Ol’shanskii’s naval landing party (67 men) disembarked in the port of Nikolaev on March 26, and its self-sacrificing actions contributed to the liberation of the city on March 28.
The breakthrough of the defensive forces on the flanks and the threat of gaining the rear of the enemy’s maritime grouping forced the fascist German command to begin a hasty retreat of the German Sixth and Rumanian Third armies beyond the Dnestr River. The troops of the front pursued the enemy on the Tiraspol’ and Razdel’naia axes. On the left wing of the front the troops of the Twenty-eighth Army, with the help of a previously disembarked naval landing party, captured Ochakov on March 30 and mounted an offensive on Odessa. On April 4 the Thirty-seventh Army and the mechanized cavalry group captured the Razdel’naia railroad junction and intersected the last railroad line connecting the enemy troops that were retreating along the coast with the main forces of the Sixth Army. To cut off their withdrawal routes from the Odessa Region beyond the Dnestr, the command of the front turned the mechanized cavalry group from Razdel’naia toward the southeast. On April 7 it reached the Dnestr estuary and threatened to envelop the enemy’s Odessa grouping. Submarines and torpedo boats of the Black Sea Fleet actively operated against the enemy’s communication lines, disrupting the evacuation of the fascist German troops.
In the evening of April 9, Soviet troops broke into the northern quarters of Odessa and, after a night of storming in coordination with partisans, liberated Odessa by the morning of April 10. The troops of the Third Ukrainian Front liberated Tiraspol’ on April 12, and on April 14 they reached the Dnestr River and captured a bridgehead on its west bank south of Bendery; the bridgehead played an important role in the subsequent offensive of the troops of the front.
REFERENCESGrylev, A. N. Dnepr, Karpaty, Krym. Moscow, 1970.
Pliev, I. A. Razgrom “armii mstitelei.” Ordzhonikidze, 1967.
G. F. SILAEV