Battle of the Caucasus
The Battle of the Caucasus is a name given to a series of Axis and Soviet operations in the Caucasus area on the Eastern Front of World War II. The operation was authorised by Hitler on 23 July 1942, the main forces included Army Group A commanded by Wilhelm List, 1st Panzer Army, 4th Panzer Army, 17th Army, part of the Luftflotte 4 and the 3rd Romanian Army. Army Group A was supported to the east by Army Group B commanded by Fedor von Bock, the land forces, accompanied by 15,000 oil industry workers, included 167,000 troopers,4,540 guns and 1,130 tanks. Several oil firms such as German Oil on Caucasus, Ost-Öl and Karpaten-Öl had been established in Germany and they were awarded an exclusive 99-year lease to exploit the Caucasian oil fields. For this purpose, a number of pipes—which proved useful to Soviet oil industry workers—were delivered. A special economic inspection A, headed by Lieutenant-General Nidenfuhr was created, bombing of the oil fields was forbidden. To defend them from destruction by Soviet units under the command of Nikolai Baibakov and Semyon Budyonny, an SS guard regiment, the head of the Abwehr developed Operation Schamil, which called for landing in the Grozny and Maikop regions.
They would be supported by the fifth column. After neutralizing the Soviet counter-attack in the Izyum-Barvenkovsk direction the German Army Group A rapidly attacked towards the Caucasus, when Rostov-on-Don, nicknamed The Gates of Caucasus, fell on 23 July 1942 the tank units of Ewald von Kleist moved across the Caucasian Mountain Range. The units of the 4th German Mountain Division, manned with Tyroleans, were active in this thrust and they succeeded in advancing 30 km toward Sukhumi. To attack from the Kuban region, capture the passes that led to Elbrus, and cover the Edelweiss flank, from the Old Karachay through the Khurzuk aul and the Ullu-kam Gorge the detachment reached the Khotyu-tau Pass, which had not been defended by the Soviet troops. Khotyu-tau gained a new name — The Pass of General Konrad, the starting point of the operation on the Krasnodar-Pyatigorsk-Maikop line was reached on 10 August 1942. On 16 August the battalion commanded by von Hirschfeld made a feint, on 21 August troops from the 1st Mountain Division planted the flag of Nazi Germany on the summit of Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in the Caucasus and Europe.
But the region was affected by warfare elsewhere in the Soviet Union, the Caucasus area became a new area of industry when 226 factories were evacuated there during the industrial evacuations undertaken by the Soviet Union in 1941. In 1942, the German Army launched Operation Edelweiss which was aimed at advancing to the oil field of Azerbaijan, the German offensive slowed as it entered the mountains in the southern Caucasus and did not reach all of its 1942 objectives. After the Soviet breakthroughs in the region around Stalingrad, the German forces in the Caucasus were put on the defensive and they established a defensive line in the Taman Peninsula from which they hoped to eventually launch new operations in the Caucasus. The fighting remained reasonably static until September 1943 when the Germans ordered fresh withdrawals which effectively ended the period of fighting in the Caucasus, Soviet Operations in 1943 consisted of the following. 648-651 Ivan Tyulenev, Cherez Tri Voyny, Moscow,1960, P.176.
Battle of Caucasus, Case for Georgian Alpinists, Translated by Michael P. Willis,2017, World War 2 Battles, The Battle of The Caucasus Ясен Дьяченко
Battle of the Kerch Peninsula
It was launched on 8 May 1942 and concluded around 18 May 1942 with the near complete destruction of the Soviet defending forces. The Red Army lost over 170,000 men killed or taken prisoner, the operation was one of the battles immediately preceding the German summer offensive, and its successful conclusion enabled the Axis to end the siege of Sevastopol in the following months. Some groups of Soviet survivors refused to surrender and fought on for many months, many of these soldiers were occupying the caves along with many civilians, who had fled the city of Kerch. On 26 December 1941, the Soviets landed on Kerch, and on 30 December executed another landing near Feodosiya with the 44th, the operation was to drive to Sevastopol and relieve the garrison, now encircled by the German 11th Army. The 46th Infantry Division, under Generalleutnant Kurt Himer, was the division in a position to be able to block the Soviet advance. Manstein believed it could contain the landing, but the Soviets consolidated their bridgeheads, Manstein diverted the XXX Corps to support XLII Corps, forming a new front at Feodosiya.
They succeeded in sealing off the Soviet armies in the Kerch peninsula, the Soviet landings had saved Sevastopol and seized the initiative. The Germans lost 8,595 between 17 and 31 December, the Soviets lost 7,000 killed and another 20,000 as prisoners of war. To slow the Soviet build-up, Alexander Löhrs Luftflotte 4 was sent to the region to interdict shipping, the 7,500 long tons transport Emba was severely damaged on 29 January. Still, the Luftwaffe failed to prevent the transport of 100,000 men, at Sevastopol,764 short tons of fuel,1,700 short tons of supplies were sent to the port. On 13 February, the cruiser Komintern and destroyer Shaumyan brought in 1,034 soldiers and 200 tons of supplies, the cruiser Krasny Krym and destroyer Dzerzhinskiy brought in a further 1,075 men on 14 February. The next day, the minesweeper T410 brought in 650 and evacuated 152, on 17 February, the transport Belostok brought in 871 men. The Black Sea Fleet regularly shelled German positions on the coast, the Luftwaffe increased its pressure, dispatching KG27, KG55, and KG100 to bomb the ports at Anapa and Novorossiysk on the Caucasian Black Sea coast.
On 20 February, the 1,900 long tons transport Kommunist was sunk by KG100, Manstein was unwilling to surrender the initiative, and ordered counterattacks which recaptured Feodosiya in January 1942. The German 11th Army lacked the strength to destroy the 44th and 51st Army in the Kerch Peninsula, the Stavka created the Crimean Front under Lieutenant General Dimitri Kozlov on 28 January to coordinate operations. Kozlov began a series of offensives in February and April, petrovs Coastal Army supported the operations on 26 February, inflicting 1,200 casualties while losing 2,500 in return. The spring thaw arrived in early May, and both sides prepared for the battle that would decide the campaign, the Luftwaffe had flown in the specialist torpedo bomber unit KG26. On 1/2 March 1942, it damaged the 2,434 long tons steamer Fabritsius which was damaged, the 4,629 long tons oil tanker Kuybyshev was damaged on 3 March south of Kerch, which deprived the defenders of much fuel
Arctic naval operations of World War II
The Arctic Circle defining the midnight sun encompasses the Atlantic Ocean from the northern edge of Iceland to the Bering Strait. The area is considered part of the Battle of the Atlantic or the European Theatre of World War II. Pre-war navigation focused on fishing and the ore trade from Narvik. Soviet settlements along the coast and rivers of the Barents Sea, the Soviet Union extended the Northern Sea Route past the Taymyr Peninsula to the Bering Strait in 1935. The Winter War opened the northern flank of the front of World War II. Arctic naval presence was initially dominated by the Soviet Northern Fleet of a few destroyers with larger numbers of submarines, the success of the German invasion of Norway provided the Kriegsmarine with naval bases from which capital ships might challenge units of the Royal Navy Home Fleet. Soviet convoys hugged the coast to avoid ice while German convoys used fjords to evade Royal Navy patrols, both sides devoted continuing efforts to minelaying and minesweeping of these shallow, confined routes vulnerable to mine warfare and submarine ambushes.
German convoys were typically screened by minesweepers and submarine chasers while Soviet convoys were protected by minesweeping trawlers. A branch of the Pacific Route began carrying Lend-Lease goods through the Bering Strait to the Soviet Arctic coast in June,1942. The number of cargo ship voyages along this route was 23 in 1942,32 in 1943,34 in 1944. Total westbound tonnage through the Bering Strait was 452,393 in comparison to 3,964,231 tons of North American wartime goods sent across the Atlantic to Soviet Arctic ports. A large portion of the Arctic route tonnage was fuel for Siberian airfields on the Alaska-Siberia air route,6 September 1939, Bremen was the first of 18 German merchant ships to take refuge in Murmansk after avoiding British naval patrols in the Atlantic. 30 November 1939, The Winter War offensive against Petsamo was supported by Soviet Northern Fleet destroyers Kuibishev, Karl Liebknecht, April 1940, Operation Weserübung included an invasion of Narvik by troops embarked aboard ten Kriegsmarine destroyers.
4 May 1940, The Polish destroyer Grom was sunk off Narvik by a KG100 bomber,21 May 1940, HMS Effingham was scuttled after grounding on a shallow pinnacle off Narvik. 9 July 1940, Raider Komet sailed north from Bergen and waited near Novaya Zemlya until 13 August 1940 for ice conditions to allow passage through the Matochkin Strait into the Kara Sea. Komet proceeded east with the assistance of three Soviet icebreakers to enter the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait on 5 September 1940, Soviet submarine Shch-423 made a similar trip from Murmansk to Vladivostok from 5 August to 17 October. 25 July 1940, Admiral Hipper sailed for a two-week Arctic patrol,25 August 1940, HMS Norfolk and HMAS Australia sailed for a five-day patrol to Bear Island. 16 October 1940, HMS Furious launched an airstrike against the Tromsø seaplane base,4 March 1941, HMS Edinburgh and Nigeria covered the Operation Claymore raid on Lofoten
Second Battle of Kharkov
Its objective was to eliminate the Izium bridgehead over Seversky Donets or the Barvenkovo bulge which was one of the Soviet offensives staging areas. On 12 May 1942, Soviet forces under the command of Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launched an offensive against the German 6th Army from a salient established during the winter counter-offensive, after initial promising signs, the offensive was stopped by German counterattacks. The operation caused almost 300,000 Soviet casualties compared to just 20,000 for the Germans, by late February 1942, the Soviet winter counter-offensive, had pushed German forces from Moscow on a broad front and ended in mutual exhaustion. Stalin was convinced that the Germans were finished and would collapse by the spring or summer 1942, Stalin decided to exploit this perceived weakness on the Eastern Front by launching a new offensive in the spring. Vasilevsky wrote Yes, we were hoping for, but the reality was more harsh than that, despite the caution urged by his generals, Stalin decided to try to keep the German forces off-balance through local offensives.
Although Stavka believed that the Germans had been defeated before Moscow, most generals and front commanders believed that the principal effort would be a German offensive towards Moscow. Stalin had agreed to prepare the Red Army for a strategic defence but gave orders for the planning of seven local offensives. One area was Kharkov, where action was ordered for March. The forces of Marshal Semyon Timoshenko and Lieutenant General Kirill Moskalenko penetrated German positions along the northern Donets River, fighting continued into April, with Moskalenko crossing the river and establishing a tenuous bridgehead at Izium. In the south, the Soviet 6th Army had limited success defending against German forces, catching the attention of Stalin, it set the pace for the prelude to the eventual offensive intended to reach Pavlohrad and Sinelnikovo and eventually Kharkov and Poltava. By 15 March, Soviet commanders introduced preliminary plans for an offensive towards Kharkov, the build-up of Soviet forces in the region of Barvenkovo and Vovchansk continued well into the beginning of May.
By 11 May 1942, the Red Army was able to allocate six armies under two fronts, amongst other units, the Soviet Southwestern Front had the 21st Army, 28th Army, 38th Army and the 6th Army. By 11 May, the 21st Tank Corps had been moved into the region with the 23rd Tank Corps, there were three independent rifle divisions and a rifle regiment from the 270th Rifle Division, concentrated in the area, supported by the 2nd Cavalry Corps in Bogdanovka. The Soviet Southern Front had the 57th and 9th armies, along with thirty rifle divisions, a brigade and the 24th Tank Corps. At its height, the Southern Front could operate eleven guns or mortars per kilometer of front, forces regrouping in the sector ran into the rasputitsa, which turned much of the soil into mud. This caused severe delays in the preparations and made reinforcing the Southern and Southwestern Front take longer than expected, senior Soviet representatives criticized the front commanders for poor management of forces, an inability to stage offensives and for their armchair generalship.
Because the regrouping was done so haphazardly, the Germans received some warning of Soviet preparations, the commander of the 38th Army, placed the blame on the fact that the fronts did not plan in advance to regroup and showed a poor display of front management. The primary Soviet leader was Marshal Semyon Timoshenko, a veteran of World War I, Timoshenko had achieved some success at the Battle of Smolensk in 1941 but was eventually defeated
Siege of Odessa (1941)
Odessa was a port on the Black Sea in the Ukrainian SSR. On 22 June 1941, the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union, in August, Odessa became a target of the Romanian 4th Army and elements of the German 11th Army. Romanian forces suffered 93,000 casualties, against Red Army casualties estimated to be between 41,000 and 60,000. On 27 July 1941, Hitler sent a letter to General Ion Antonescu in which he recognised the Romanian administration of the territory between the Dniester and the Bug rivers, the Romanian Third Army had already crossed the Dniester on 17 July. On 8 August, the Romanian General Staff issued the Operative Directive No.31 instructing the 4th Army to occupy Odessa off the march and it was thought that the city garrison, which was heavily outnumbered, would surrender quickly. Odessa was heavily fortified by three lines and, thanks to the presence of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, could not be completely surrounded. The first line was 80 km long and situated 25–30 km from the city, the second and main line of defense was situated 6–8 km from the city and was about 30 km long.
The third and last line of defense was organized inside the city itself, the Red Army had 34,500 men and 240 artillery pieces in the area. Air support was provided by the 69 IAP, two squadrons and one bomber squadron. Later, other fighters joined the defenders, as did an Il-2 squadron, the defense of Odessa lasted 73 days from 5 August to 16 October 1941. On 10 August, in the sector of the 3rd Corps, in the sector of the 5th Corps, the 1st Armored Division broke through Odessas first line of defense. That evening, the Romanian division reached the line of defense. The 1st Cavalry Brigade took Severinovka and joined the 1st Armored Division, at the same time, the 10th Dorobanţi Regiment overran the Soviet forces at Lozovaya. The 4th Army gradually closed the circle around Odessa, but the offensive was stopped by Antonescu on 13 August to strengthen the line west of the Hadjibey bank. The offensive resumed on 16 August, as Romanian troops attacked along the entire line, the Soviet forces put up a stubborn resistance, launching repeated counter-attacks and taking heavy casualties.
The Royal Romanian Air Force actively supported the troops, disrupting Soviet naval traffic to and from Odessa. In support of the offensive, the Romanian Navy dispatched motor torpedo boats to the recently occupied port of Ochakiv. During the night of 18 August, the torpedo boats NMS Viscolul and NMS Vijelia attacked a Soviet supply convoy South of Odessa
Romania is a sovereign state located in Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea, Ukraine, Serbia and it has an area of 238,391 square kilometres and a temperate-continental climate. With over 19 million inhabitants, the country is the member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city, Bucharest, is the sixth-largest city in the EU, the River Danube, Europes second-longest river, rises in Germany and flows in a general southeast direction for 2,857 km, coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romanias Danube Delta. The Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest are marked by one of their tallest peaks, modern Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877, at the end of World War I, Transylvania and Bessarabia united with the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. Romania lost several territories, of which Northern Transylvania was regained after the war, following the war, Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact.
After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition back towards democracy and it has been a member of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007. A strong majority of the population identify themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are speakers of Romanian. The cultural history of Romania is often referred to when dealing with artists, inventors. For similar reasons, Romania has been the subject of notable tourist attractions, Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning citizen of Rome. The first known use of the appellation was attested in the 16th century by Italian humanists travelling in Transylvania, after the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the word rumân gradually fell out of use and the spelling stabilised to the form român. Tudor Vladimirescu, a leader of the early 19th century. The use of the name Romania to refer to the homeland of all Romanians—its modern-day meaning—was first documented in the early 19th century. The name has been officially in use since 11 December 1861, in English, the name of the country was formerly spelt Rumania or Roumania.
Romania became the predominant spelling around 1975, Romania is the official English-language spelling used by the Romanian government. The Neolithic-Age Cucuteni area in northeastern Romania was the region of the earliest European civilization. Evidence from this and other sites indicates that the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture extracted salt from salt-laden spring water through the process of briquetage
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a union of national republics, but its government. The Soviet Union had its roots in the October Revolution of 1917 and this established the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic and started the Russian Civil War between the revolutionary Reds and the counter-revolutionary Whites. In 1922, the communists were victorious, forming the Soviet Union with the unification of the Russian, Ukrainian, following Lenins death in 1924, a collective leadership and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s. Stalin suppressed all opposition to his rule, committed the state ideology to Marxism–Leninism. As a result, the country underwent a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization which laid the foundation for its victory in World War II and postwar dominance of Eastern Europe. Shortly before World War II, Stalin signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, in June 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theater of war in history.
Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at battles such as Stalingrad. Soviet forces eventually captured Berlin in 1945, the territory overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Eastern Bloc. The Cold War emerged by 1947 as the Soviet bloc confronted the Western states that united in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. Following Stalins death in 1953, a period of political and economic liberalization, known as de-Stalinization and Khrushchevs Thaw, the country developed rapidly, as millions of peasants were moved into industrialized cities. The USSR took a lead in the Space Race with Sputnik 1, the first ever satellite, and Vostok 1. In the 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, the war drained economic resources and was matched by an escalation of American military aid to Mujahideen fighters. In the mid-1980s, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost.
The goal was to preserve the Communist Party while reversing the economic stagnation, the Cold War ended during his tenure, and in 1989 Soviet satellite countries in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist regimes. This led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements inside the USSR as well, in August 1991, a coup détat was attempted by Communist Party hardliners. It failed, with Russian President Boris Yeltsin playing a role in facing down the coup. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the twelve constituent republics emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union as independent post-Soviet states