Rostov-on-Don Offensive Operation of 1941

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rostov-on-Don Offensive Operation of 1941


a counteroffensive by forces of the Southern Front from Nov. 17 to Dec. 2, 1941, with the objective of liberating Rostov-on-Don, during the Great Patriotic War.

After an unsuccessful attempt to bypass Rostov-on-Don on the northeast and regroup forces, the German First Panzer Army renewed its offensive on November 17 against the Fifty-sixth Detached Army, which was defending Rostov-on-Don on the northwest. On the same day the Thirty-seventh and Ninth armies and part of the Eighteenth Army of the Southern Front (commanded by Colonel General Ia. T. Cherevichenko) passed simultaneously to the counteroffensive with the objective of crushing the First Panzer Army. On November 20 the enemy, with a superiority in tanks, broke the resistance of the Fifty-sixth Army on the Tuzlov River line and on November 21 took Rostov-on-Don. At the same time, the main attack grouping of the Southern Front, having broken through the enemy defense, reached the Tuzlov River on the same day and threatened the flank and rear of the enemy Rostov-on-Don grouping.

On November 27 forces of the Southern Front delivered a powerful synchronized strike against the enemy from the north, east, and south. On November 29 forces of the Ninth and Fifty-sixth armies liberated Rostov-on-Don, but because of a lack of forces they were unable to complete the encirclement of the First Panzer Army. The enemy held a small corridor near the Gulf of Taganrog, and the shattered units of the First Panzer Army withdrew along it beyond the Mius River. The fascist German command was forced to bring in about four divisions from other sectors of the front to the defensive line on the Mius River, and after this the advance of the Soviet forces, who had reached the Mius on December 2, was halted.

The Rostov-on-Don Offensive Operation of 1941 thwarted enemy plans to invade the Northern Caucasus in that year. By tying down the main forces of Army Group South, favorable conditions were created for the counteroffensive by Soviet forces near Moscow.


Istoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1941–1945, vol. 2. Moscow, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.