- Crimean Offensive
Crimean Offensive Part of Soviet-German War, World War II
Red Army Offensives during 1943–1944
Date 8 April – 12 May 1944 Location Crimea Peninsula, Soviet Union Result Decisive Soviet Victory Belligerents Soviet Union Germany
Commanders and leaders Soviet Stavka German OKW Strength 462,400 Unknown Casualties and losses 17,754 killed and missing
97,000 all causes
- Battles of Rzhev
- 2nd Kharkov
- Case Blue
- Dnieper and Carpathian
- Leningrad and Novgorod
- Hube's Pocket
- Lvov and Sandomierz
- 2nd Jassy-Kishinev
- Petsamo and Kirkenes
The Crimean Offensive (8 April - 12 May 1944) — known in German sources as the Battle of the Crimea — was a series of offensives by the Red Army in the effort to liberate Crimea from the German Wehrmacht occupation. The Red Army's 4th Ukrainian Front engaged the German 17th Army of Army Group South, which consisted of German and Romanian formations, in an operation to liberate the Crimean peninsula. The result of the battle was complete victory for the Red Army, and a botched evacuation effort across the Black Sea, leading to significant German and Romanian losses.
Setting the stage
During late 1943 and early 1944, the Wehrmacht was pressed back along its entire frontline in the east. In October 1943, the 17th Army was forced to retreat from the Kuban Bridgehead across the Kerch Strait to Crimea. During the following months, the Red Army pushed back the Wehrmacht in southern Ukraine, eventually cutting off the land-based connection of 17th Army through the Perekop Isthmus in November 1943.
Progress of the battle
Soviet landings across the Kerch Strait and landings in the north-eastern sector of the Crimea near Sivash at the end of 1943 set the stage for the liberation of the Crimea from the Germans. For nearly 5 months, the Soviets turned their attention away from the Crimea, instead focusing on pushing Army Group South out of Ukraine, which they were able to do with the highly successful Lower Dnieper and Dnieper-Carpathian Offensives.
An assault across the Perekop Isthmus was launched on 8 April. Despite fiercely resisting the Soviet assaults, the 17th Army was forced back towards Sevastopol by 16 April. On 11 April, the Red Army forces at the far eastern end of the Crimea liberated the city of Kerch, and 2 days later, the city of Simferopol, located about 37 mi (60 km) to the northeast of Sevastopol, fell. With the majority of the Crimea liberated, the Red Army quickly proceeded to advance into the outskirts of Sevastopol facing moderate opposition.
The OKW intended to hold Sevastopol as a fortress, as the Red Army had done during the first battle for the Crimea in 1941-1942. Fighting within the city began towards the end of April, with the 17th Army stubbornly holding back their attackers. However, the rapid movement of the Red Army along with inadequate preparation of the defences of Sevastopol made this impossible, and on 9 May 1944, just over one month after the start of the offensive, Sevastopol fell. German forces were evacuated from Sevastopol to Constanța, and were attacked by land-based Russian bombers along the way.The Soviets finalized the Crimea's liberation on 12 May with the destruction of the remaining pockets of German resistance on that day.
The German and Romanian formations suffered very high irrecoverable losses of 97,000 men, many of whom drowned during the evacuation. The sinking of the Totila and Teja on 10 May alone caused up to 8,000 deaths. Soviet losses were slightly lower. The table below is based on information from Glantz/House When Titans Clashed.:
Killed and missing: 31,700
Killed and missing: 25,800
Killed and missing: 57,500
Soviet losses (according to Krivosheev):
Killed and missing: 17,754
Formations and units involved
- 4th Ukrainian Front
- 2nd Guards Army
- 51st Army
- 4th Air Army
- Black Sea Fleet
- Separate Coastal Army
- Soviet partisans
- Romanian Mountain Corps
- 1st Mountain Division
- 2nd Mountain Division
- Pickert, W. Vom Kuban-Brueckenkopf bis Sewastopol - Flakartillerie im Verband der 17. Armee'
- Glantz, David M. & House, Jonathan (1995). When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-0899-0.
- Ziemke, E.F. 'Stalingrad to Berlin'
- Müller, Rolf-Dieter. Der letzte deutsche Krieg 1939-1945. Stuttgart 2005. ISBN 3608941339
- Fortress Crimea - A Romanian View
- Last Stand in Crimea - A Romanian View
- "Operation 60,000" Evacuation from Crimea - a Romanian View
- Soldiers of the Great War
- Link to external map of Eastern Front
- Retaking the Crimea
World War II Participants Timeline AspectsGeneralWar crimes
- Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs
- Italian prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
- Japanese prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
- Japanese prisoners of war in World War II
- German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
- Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
- Polish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
- Romanian prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
- German prisoners of war in the United States
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