Soviet evacuation of Tallinn
Soviet forces had occupied Estonia in June 1940. In expectation of a Soviet breakout, the Kriegsmarine and the Finnish Navy had started on 8 August 1941 to lay minefields off Cape Juminda on the Lahemaa coast, at the same time the German 3. Schnellbootflottille with E-boats S-26, S-27, S-39, S-40 and S-101 was concentrated at Suomenlinna outside Helsinki, German Junkers Ju 88 bombers from Kampfgruppe 806 based on airfields in Estonia were put on alert. On 19 August the final German assault on Tallinn began, during the night of 27/28 August 1941 the Soviet 10th Rifle Corps disengaged from the enemy and boarded transports in Tallinn. This, together with heavy German shelling and aerial bombardment killed at least 1,000 of the evacuees in the harbor. On 28 August KG77 and KGr 806 sank the 2,026 grt steamer Vironia, the 2,317 grt Lucerne, the 1,423 grt Atis Kronvalds, the rest of the Soviet fleet were forced to change course. This took them through a mined area. As a result,21 Soviet warships, including five destroyers, struck mines, on 29 August, the Luftwaffe, now reinforced with KG76, KG4 and KG1, accounted for the transport ships Vtoraya Pyatiletka and Leningradsovet sunk.
In addition, the ships Ivan Papanin, Saule and the Serp i Molot were damaged by I. /KG4, that evening the armada was attacked by Finnish and German torpedo boats, and the chaotic situation made organized mine sweeping impossible. Darkness fell at 22,00 and the Soviet armada stopped and anchored at midnight in the heavily mined water, early on 29 August Ju 88 bombers attacked the remains of the convoys off Suursaari, sinking two transports. Meanwhile, the ships made best speed to reach the safety of the Kronstadt batteries. The heavily damaged merchant ship Kazakhstan disembarked 2300 men of the 5000 on board before steaming on to Kronstadt, in the following days ships operating from Suursaari rescued 12,160 survivors. The Soviet evacuation of Tallinn succeeded in evacuating 165 ships,28,000 passengers and 66,000 tons of equipment, at least 12,400 are thought to have drowned in circumstances little known outside the former Soviet Union. The event was long downplayed by the Communist regime after the war, the evacuation may have been the bloodiest naval disaster since the battle of Lepanto.
On the sixtieth anniversary a memorial was unveiled at Juminda,71 -28 August 1941, off Cape Juminda Minesweeper No. Also, mines heavily damaged destroyer leader Minsk, destroyers Gordy and Slavnyi, minesweeper T-205, list of shipwrecks in August 1941 Bergstrom, Christer. Barbarossa - The Air Battle, July–December 1941
Battle of Stalingrad
Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as one of the single largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to replace their losses, the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the German 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble, the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, the Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out, attempts were made to supply the army by air.
Heavy fighting continued for two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition, the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days, the war had been progressing well, the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been very successful and Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not particularly threatening, neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been particularly hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again, with the initial operations being very successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union. The initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the capacity of the city.
The river was a key route from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to central Russia and its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields when they captured Rostov on 23 July, the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler personally rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign, both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union. The expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germanys failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence, the Soviets realized that they were under tremendous constraints of time and resources and ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war, Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there
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
Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943
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
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Nazi Germanys invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II, which was launched on Sunday 22 June 1941. In the two leading up to the invasion, the two countries signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes. Nevertheless, the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940, over the course of the operation, about four million Axis personnel invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2, 900-kilometer front, the largest invasion force in the history of warfare. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht employed some 600,000 motor vehicles, the offensive marked an escalation of the war, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition. Despite their successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow and was pushed back by the Soviet winter counteroffensive. The Red Army repelled the Wehrmachts strongest blows and forced the unprepared Germans into a war of attrition, the Wehrmacht would never again mount a simultaneous offensive along the entire strategic Soviet–Axis front.
The failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue. The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most importantly, the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Soviet prisoners of war who were not granted protections stipulated in the Geneva Conventions, a majority of them never returned alive. The Nazis deliberately starved 3.1 million of the prisoners to death as part of a Hunger Plan that aimed to reduce the population of Eastern Europe, over a million Soviet Jews were murdered by Einsatzgruppen death squads and gassing as part of the Holocaust. On 10 February 1939, Hitler told his commanders that the next war would be purely a war of Weltanschauungen. Totally a peoples war, a racial war, on 23 November, once World War II had already started, Hitler declared that racial war has broken out and this war shall determine who shall govern Europe, and with it, the world.
The racial policy of Nazi Germany viewed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that Germanys destiny was to turn to the East as it did six hundred years ago. Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations and repopulate the land with Germanic peoples, under the Generalplan Ost. Likening the Soviets to the forces of Genghis Khan, Hitler told Croatian military leader Slavko Kvaternik that the Mongolian race threatened Europe. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as Jewish Bolshevik subhumans, the Mongol hordes, the Asiatic flood, German army commanders cast the Jews as the major cause behind the partisan struggle. The main guideline policy for German troops was Where theres a partisan, theres a Jew, many German troops viewed the war in Nazi terms and regarded their Soviet enemies as sub-human
Kingdom of Romania
The Kingdom of Romania was a constitutional monarchy which existed between 13 March 1881 and 30 December 1947, specified by the first three Constitutions of Romania. As such, it is distinct from the Romanian Old Kingdom. From 1859 to 1877, Romania evolved from a union of two vassal principalities under a single prince to a full-fledged independent kingdom with a Hohenzollern monarchy. During 1918-20, at the end of World War I, Eastern Moldavia, in 1947 King Michael was compelled to abdicate and a socialist republic ruled by the Romanian Communist Party replaced the monarchy. The 1859 ascendancy of Alexandru Ioan Cuza as prince of both Moldavia and Wallachia under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire united an identifiably Romanian nation under a single ruler. On 5 February 1862 the two principalities were united to form the Principality of Romania, with Bucharest as its capital. On 23 February 1866 a so-called Monstrous coalition, composed of Conservatives and radical Liberals, the German prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was appointed as Prince of Romania, in a move to assure German backing to unity and future independence.
He immediately adopted the Romanian spelling of his name, Carol, on 15 March 1881, as an assertion of full sovereignty, the Romanian parliament raised the country to the status of a kingdom, and Carol was crowned as king on 10 May. Abstaining from the Initial Balkan War against the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Romania entered the Second Balkan War in June 1913 against the Tsardom of Bulgaria,330,000 Romanian troops moved across the Danube and into Bulgaria. One army occupied Southern Dobrudja and another moved into northern Bulgaria to threaten Sofia, Romania thus acquired the ethnically-mixed territory of Southern Dobrudja, which it had desired for years. In 1916 Romania entered World War I on the Entente side, the term came into use after World War I, when the Old Kingdom was opposed to Greater Romania, which included Transylvania, Banat and Bukovina. Nowadays, the term mainly has a historical relevance, and is used as a common term for all regions in Romania included in both the Old Kingdom and present-day borders.
Romania delayed in entering World War I, but ultimately declared war on the Central Powers in 1916, War with the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919 resulted in the occupation of Budapest by Romanian troops and the end of Béla Kuns Bolshevik regime. At the Paris Peace Conference, Romania received territories of Transylvania, part of Banat, thus, Romania in 1920 was more than twice the size it had been in 1914. Although the country was satisfied and had no territorial claims, it aroused the enmity of Bulgaria, and especially Hungary. Greater Romania now encompassed a significant minority population, especially of Hungarians, by contrast, the prewar Romanian state had only one real minority, but nonetheless anti-Semitism was widespread. Transylvania had significant Hungarian and German population, and with a contemptuous attitude towards Romanians. Both groups were excluded from politics as the postwar Romanian regime passed an edict stating that all personnel employed by the state had to speak Romanian
Siege of Leningrad
The siege started on 8 September 1941, when the last road to the city was severed. Although the Soviets managed to open a land corridor to the city on 18 January 1943. It was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history, Leningrads capture was one of three strategic goals in the German Operation Barbarossa and the main target of Army Group North. By 1939 the city was responsible for 11% of all Soviet industrial output and it has been reported Adolf Hitler was so confident of capturing Leningrad that he had invitations printed to the victory celebrations to be held in the citys Hotel Astoria. According to a sent to Army Group North on 29 September, After the defeat of Soviet Russia there can be no interest in the continued existence of this large urban center. Following the citys encirclement, requests for surrender negotiations shall be denied, since the problem of relocating and feeding the population cannot, in this war for our very existence, we can have no interest in maintaining even a part of this very large urban population.
Hitlers ultimate plan was to raze Leningrad to the ground and give areas north of the River Neva to the Finns, Army Group North under Feldmarschall Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb advanced to Leningrad, its primary objective. Finnish military forces were north of Leningrad, while German forces occupied territories to the south, thus, it is argued that much of the Finns participation was merely defensive. The Germans planned on lack of food being their weapon against the citizens. On 27 June 1941, the Council of Deputies of the Leningrad administration organised First response groups of civilians, in the next days, Leningrads civilian population was informed of the danger and over a million citizens were mobilised for the construction of fortifications. Several lines of defences were built along the perimeter to repulse hostile forces approaching from north and south by means of civilian resistance. In the south, the line ran from the mouth of the Luga River to Chudovo, Uritsk, Pulkovo. Another line of defence passed through Peterhof to Gatchina, Kolpino, in the north the defensive line against the Finns, the Karelian Fortified Region, had been maintained in Leningrads northern suburbs since the 1930s, and was now returned to service.
Even the guns from the cruiser Aurora were moved inland to the Pulkovo Heights to the south of Leningrad, the 4th Panzer Group from East Prussia took Pskov following a swift advance and managed to reach Novgorod by 16 August. The Soviet defenders fought to the death, despite the German discovery of the Soviet defence plans on an officers corpse, after the capture of Novgorod, General Hoepners 4th Panzer Group continued its progress towards Leningrad. However, the 18th Army — despite some 350,000 men lagging behind — forced its way to Ostrov and Pskov after the Soviet troops of the Northwestern Front retreated towards Leningrad. On 10 July, both Ostrov and Pskov were captured and the 18th Army reached Narva and Kingisepp, from where advance toward Leningrad continued from the Luga River line. This had the effect of creating siege positions from the Gulf of Finland to Lake Ladoga, the Finnish Army was expected to advance along the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga
The Donbass or Donbas is a historical and economic region in eastern Ukraine. The word Donbass is a formed from Donets Basin, which refers to the river Donets that flows through it. Multiple definitions of the regions extent exist, but its boundaries have never been officially demarcated, a Euroregion of the same name is composed of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in Ukraine and Rostov Oblast in Russia. Donbass formed the border between the Zaporizhian Sich and the Don Cossack Host. It has been an important coal mining area since the late 19th century, in March 2014, following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and Russian military intervention, large swaths of the Donbass became gripped by unrest. Until the ongoing war, the Donbass was the most densely populated of all the regions of Ukraine apart from the city of Kiev. Before the war, the city of Donetsk was considered the capital of the Donbass. Large cities included Luhansk, Makiivka, now the city of Kramatorsk is the interim administrative center of the Donetsk Oblast, whereas the interim center of Luhansk Oblast is the city of Severodonetsk.
On the separatist side, Donetsk and Horlivka are now the largest cities in the Donetsk Peoples Republic, the region now known as the Donbass was largely unpopulated until the second half of the 17th century, when Don Cossacks settled in the area. The first town in the region was founded in 1676, called Solanoye and it named the conquered territories New Russia. As the Industrial Revolution took hold across Europe, the vast coal resources of the region, discovered in 1721, began to be exploited in the mid-late 19th century. It was at point that the name Donbass came into use, derived from the term Donets Coal Basin. The rise of the industry led to a population boom in the region. The region was governed as the Bakhmut and Mariupol counties of Yekaterinoslav Governorate, the most important city in the region today, was founded in 1869 by British businessman John Hughes on the site of the old Zaporozhian Cossack town of Oleksandrivka. Hughes built a mill and established several collieries in the region.
The city was named after him as Yuzovka, with development of Yuzovka and similar cities, large amounts of landless peasants from peripheral governorates of the Russian Empire came looking for work. According to the Russian Imperial Census of 1897, ethnic Ukrainians comprised 52. 4% of the population of region, whilst ethnic Russians comprised 28. 7%. Ethnic Greeks, Germans and Tatars had a significant presence in the Donbass, particularly in the district of Mariupol, despite this, Russians constituted the majority of the industrial work-force