On October 18, 1941, the 11th German Army began an operation to capture the Crimea. By November 16, the entire peninsula, except the base of the Black Sea fleet - Sevastopol, was captured. In December-January 1941-1942, as a result of the Kerch-Feodosia landing operation, the Red Army returned the Kerch Peninsula and advanced 8-100 km in 110 days. But already on January 18 the Wehrmacht repulsed Theodosius. In February – April 1942, the Crimean Front made three attempts to turn the tide of events on the peninsula in its favor, but as a result could not achieve significant success and suffered heavy losses.
Erich von Manstein.
German Command Plans
As in other sectors of the Soviet-German front, the fighting on the Crimean peninsula by the spring of 1942 went into the phase of positional warfare. The Wehrmacht made its first attempts to launch a decisive counterattack in March 1942. The 11th Army received reinforcements - the 28th Jäger and the 22nd tank divisions. In addition, the Romanian corps received the 4th Mountain Division. The task of defeating Soviet forces in the Crimea for the first time was assigned to the command of the 11th Army on February 12 in the "Order on the conduct of hostilities on the Eastern Front after the end of the winter period" of the High Command of the Third Reich. German troops were supposed to seize Sevastopol and the Kerch Peninsula. The German command wanted to free the large forces of the 11th Army for further operations.
With the end of the period of mudslides, the German armed forces began to move towards the implementation of this plan. The main guiding document for the three German army groups was directive No. 41 of April 5 of 1942. The main objectives of the 1942 campaign of the year were the Caucasus and Leningrad. The 11 of the German army, which had been bogged down in positional battles on an isolated section of the Soviet-German front, set the task of "clearing the Kerch Peninsula from Crimea and seizing Sevastopol."
In April, 1942, at a meeting with Adolf Hitler, Georg von Sonderstern and Manstein presented a plan for the operation of the Soviet forces on the Kerch Peninsula. The forces of the Crimean front were rather densely built on the Parpach isthmus (on the so-called Ak-Monai positions). But the density of building troops was not the same. The flank of the Crimean Front adjoining the Black Sea was weaker, and the breakthrough of its positions allowed the Germans to go to the rear of a stronger group of 47 and 51 armies. The task of breaking through the Soviet positions 44-th Soviet army laid on reinforced XXX Corps (AK), Lieutenant-General Maximilian Fretter-Pico composed 28-th Jaeger, 50-th Infantry, 132-th Infantry, 170-th Infantry, 22 th tank divisions. In addition, the German command was going to use the open-sea flank of the Crimean front and drop troops into the rear of the attacked Soviet troops as part of the reinforced battalion of the 426 regiment. XXXXII AK as part of the 46 Infantry Division, under the command of General Infantry Franz Mattenklott and VII Romanian Corps as part of the 10 Infantry Division, 19 Infantry Division, 8 Cavalry Brigade had to conduct a distraction against strong rights forces. The operation was protected from the air by the VIII Luftwaffe air corps under the command of Baron Wolfram von Richthofen. The operation received the code name "Hunt for bustard" (it. Trappenjagd).
The 11th Army was inferior to the Crimean Front (CF): 1,6: 1 times in personnel (250 thousand Red Army soldiers versus 150 thousand Germans), 1,4: 1 in guns and mortars (3577 in the CF and 2472 for the Germans), 1,9: 1 in tanks and self-propelled gun mounts (347 for the CF and 180 for the Germans). Only in aviation there was parity: 1: 1, 175 fighters and 225 bombers from the CF, the Germans - 400 units. The most powerful tool in Manstein’s hands was the VIII Luftwaffe von Richthofen air corps, it was the strongest connection of the German Air Force. Richtofen had great combat experience - he won eight air victories in the First World War and was awarded the Iron Cross of the 1st degree, fought in Spain (chief of staff, and then commander of the Condor legion), participant in the Polish and French campaigns, Cretan operation, participated in operations "Barbarossa" and "Typhoon" (attack on Moscow). In addition, the German commander had a fresh 22nd Panzer Division under the command of Major General Wilhelm von Apel. The division was formed at the end of 1941 in the occupied part of France, and it was "full-blooded." The tank division was armed with Czech light tanks PzKpfw 38 (t). By the beginning of the offensive, the division was strengthened by 3 tank battalions (52 tanks), in addition, in April, the unit received 15-20 T-3 and T-4. The division had 4 motorized infantry battalions, two of them were equipped with Ganomag armored personnel carriers and an anti-tank battalion (there were also self-propelled guns in it).
Manstein had the tools to break into the defense of the Crimean front and develop success in the form of an air corps and the 22 Panzer Division. After the breakthrough of the front, a tank division could move forward quickly and destroy Soviet reserves, rear services, intercept communications. The breakthrough development troops were reinforced by the Grodek motorized brigade, made up of motorized formations that participated in the offensive operation of the units. Command of the Crimean Front - Commander of the CF, Lieutenant-General Dmitry Timofeevich Kozlov, members of the Military Council (divisional commissar F. A. Shamanin and secretary of the Crimean regional committee of the CPSU (B) BC Bulatov, chief of staff, Major General P. P. Vechny, representative of the General Headquarters VGK L Z. Mehlis), had only tank units of direct infantry support (tank brigades and battalions) and did not create means of countering the Germans' deep breakthrough — army mobile groups consisting of tank, anti-tank, mechanized, cavalier Iyi connections. It is necessary to take into account the fact that the front line was completely open for aerial reconnaissance, it was an open steppe. The Germans easily opened the positions of the Soviet troops.
Plans of the Soviet command, the forces of the Crimean Front
The Soviet command, despite the fact that the tasks of the winter offensive were not met, did not want to miss the initiative, and did not lose hope of changing the situation in their favor. 21 April 1942 was established by the High Command of the North Caucasus Direction headed by Marshal Semyon Budyonny. The Crimean Front, the Sevastopol Defensive Area, the North Caucasus Military District, the Black Sea Fleet and the Azov Flotilla were subordinated to Budyonny.
The Crimean front occupied defensive positions on a fairly narrow Ak-Monai isthmus, 18-20 km wide. The front consisted of three armies: 44-I under the command of Lieutenant-General Stepan Ivanovich Chernyak, 47-I major general Konstantin Stepanovich Kolganov, 51-I army Lieutenant-General Vladimir Nikolaevich. By the beginning of May, 16 rifle divisions and 1 cavalry divisions, 3 rifle divisions, 4 tank divisions, 1 naval brigades, 4 separate tank battalions, 9 artillery regiments of the RGK and other formations were under the command of the KF headquarters. The front in February - April 1942 suffered serious losses, was largely drained of blood, exhausted, had no fresh and powerful impact connections. As a result, the KF, although it had a numerical advantage in people, tanks, guns and mortars, was inferior in terms of quality.
Even more equalized the capabilities of the Soviet and German command, the asymmetrical formation of the KF troops. The positions of the CFs were divided into two non-uniformly filled with troops. The southern section from Koy-Aysan to the Black Sea coast with a length of about 8 km represented Soviet defensive positions prepared as early as January 1942. They were defended by the 276 Infantry, 63 th Mountain Division 44 Army (A). 396, 404, 157 infantry divisions, 13 th motorized rifle regiment, 56 Tank Brigade (8 KV, 7 T-20, 26 T-20 in May) stood in the second echelon and reserve (60 KV, 39 T-2, 1 T-34 in May); 18 Tank Brigade (60 KV, 126 T-51, 26 T-124), 20-th Separate Tank Battalion (26 T-16), 51-th Separate Tank Battalion (47 T-271). The northern sector from Koy-Aysan to Kieta (approximately 320 km) was curving to the west, overhanging Theodosia, which, according to the plans of the Soviet command, was the first target of the offensive. The main forces of the 77 and 47 troops of the KF, reinforced by the troops subordinated to the front headquarters, were assembled in this ledge and its close proximity to it. In the first echelon, there were 400-I, 398-I rifle divisions, 302-I mountain division rifle 51-A, 55-I, 10-I, 20-I division 26 A, 16-I tank squad (60 KV, 40 KV, I T-11, 6 T-34), 25-I tank brigade (60 KV, 224 T-236, 47 T-138). In the second echelon and reserve: 390-I, 51-I infantry divisions 229-A, 11-I, XNUMX-I infantry divisions XNUMX-A, XNUMX-th separate tank battalion (XNUMX KV) and other parts.
As a result of the commander’s front, Dmitry Kozlov gathered the main KF forces on his right flank, but they got bogged down in positional battles and lost mobility. In addition, the Germans were able to take advantage of the pause between the previous and the upcoming new Soviet offensive. The directive of the Supreme Command Headquarters No. XXUMX to the KF command on the transition to defense was late, there was no time to regroup, dismantle the strike force on the right flank in favor of strengthening the positions of the left flank. The German command, collecting a strike force on its right flank opposite the positions of 170357 A, did not hesitate.
According to the original plan of command of Army Group South, Operation Hunt for Bustard was to begin on May 5. But because of the delay in the transfer of aviation, the beginning of the offensive operation was postponed to May 8. It cannot be said that the German strike was a complete surprise for the command of the KF. Shortly before the start of the German attack on the Soviet side, a Croatian pilot flew over and reported on the impending strike. By the end of May 7, an order was issued on the forces of the front, which reported that the German offensive was awaiting the 8-15 of May 1942. But there was no time for the right reaction.
7 May. The Luftwaffe VIII air corps was soon to return to the Kharkiv region to participate in the operation to eliminate the Barvenk bulge. Therefore, air strikes began a day before the onset of the 11 of the German army. All day the German Air Force attacked headquarters and communications centers. It must be said that the actions of German aviation during this operation were very successful, for example, during a raid on the headquarters of the 51 Army 9 in May, Lieutenant-General, Commander Vladimir Lvov was killed. Soviet command posts were previously reconnoitered and suffered heavy losses. Troop control was partially disrupted.
8 May. Aviation and artillery training began at 4.45. In 7.00, they launched an offensive unit of the 28 th Jäger, 132 th Infantry Division 30 AK on the right German flank. The main blow fell on the 63-th mountain rifle and partly 276-th rifle divisions of the 44-th A. In addition, the Germans landed troops with forces to the battalion in the rear of the 63-th Georgian mountain rifle division, causing panic. By the end of the day, the German units broke through the defenses at the front in 5 km and to a depth of 8 km.
In the 20.00 commander, Kozlov ordered flank counterattack inflicted on the enemy units that had broken through. The forces of 51 th in the morning of May 9 were due from the point of Parpach - Syuruk-Both to strike in the direction of the Peschanaya gully. The strike grouping included 4 rifle divisions, 2 tank brigades and 2 separate tank battalions: 302, 138 and 390 rifle divisions from 51-A, 236-rifle division from 47-A, 83, naval rifle brigade, 40-I and 55-I tank brigades, 229-i and 124-i separate tank battalions. They received the task of restoring the position of the front and developing the offensive, cutting off the German units that had broken through into the depths of the Kerch Peninsula. The 44 Army was supposed to restrain the German onslaught at this time. On retreat to the rear defensive lines on the first day of the battle, no one has yet thought. There were no orders for their occupation. Moreover, the 72-I cavalry division and 54-th motorized rifle regiment, which were subordinate to the front headquarters and located at the Turkish shaft, received an order to advance to the 44-A strip to strengthen its defense.
9 May. The German command introduced the 22 Tank Division into the breakthrough, but the rains that began began to slow down its progress. Only by 10-th tank division was able to break into the depths of the defense of the CF and turn to the north, leaving the communications 47 th and 51 th Soviet armies. The 28-Iger Division and the 132-Infantry Division followed the tank division. In a breakthrough, Grodek's motorized rifle brigade was also thrown - it had already reached the Turkish shaft on 10 and crossed it.
10 May. On the night of May 10, in the course of negotiations between the Kozlov and Stalin comfronts, it was decided to withdraw the army to the Turkish (in other Tatar sources) shaft and organize a new line of defense. But 51-I army was no longer able to execute this order. As a result of an air strike against the headquarters, the commander of the Lviv was killed and his deputy K. Baranov was wounded. The army convulsively tried to avoid a catastrophe. Part of the 47 th and 51 th armies of 9 May went to the planned counterattack, there was a fierce oncoming battle. The Soviet tank brigades and individual tank battalions, infantry units fought against the formations of the 22-th tank division and the 28-th jäger division. The fact that if on the 9 of May in the 55-th tank brigade there were 46 tanks, then after the battle of 10-May was left alone, the heat of the battles witnesses. The Soviet armored infantry support units could not hold back the onslaught of the German forces.
11-12 May. In the afternoon of May 11, units of the 22 Tank Division reached the Sea of Azov, cutting off significant forces of the 47 and 51 armies from the withdrawal route to the Turkish shaft. Several Soviet divisions were surrounded in a narrow coastal strip. In the evening of 11, the Soviet high command still hoped to restore the situation on the peninsula by creating a defensive line on the Turkish shaft. Stalin and Vasilevsky ordered Budyonny to personally organize the defense of the KF troops, bring order to the front's Military Council and go to Kerch to do this. The left-flank divisions of the 51-th Soviet army spent another day on unsuccessful attempts to prevent the encirclement of other troops, lost time and lost the race to the rear line of defense.
The Germans did not lose time and did everything to prevent the Soviet troops from withdrawing to a new line of defense. By the end of the 10, the advanced parts of the 30 of the AK went to the Turkish shaft. On May 12, the Germans landed troops in the rear of the 44 Army. This allowed them to begin a successful struggle for the Turkish shaft before approaching the shaft of the reserve 156 th rifle division.
13 May and the following days. 13 May the Germans broke through the defenses in the center of the Turkish shaft. On the night of 14, the Supreme Command Headquarters admitted defeat on the Kerch Peninsula. In 3.40, Budyonny, with the consent of the Headquarters, ordered the withdrawal of KF troops to the Taman Peninsula. Vasilevsky orders the 2 and 3 airborne corps and the airborne brigade to be put at the disposal of Budyonny. Apparently, it was supposed by the landing party to organize the defense on the approaches to Kerch and stop the German offensive in order to withdraw the troops of the defeated KF. Moreover, they did not intend to hand over Kerch - it meant to bury all the results of the Kerch-Feodosiya landing operation. May 15 in 1.10 A. M. Vasilevsky orders: "Do not surrender Kerch, organize defense of the type of Sevastopol."
The advanced German units, apparently, it was Grodek’s motorized brigade, reached the outskirts of Kerch on May 14. The city was defended by parts of the 72 Cavalry Division. This was reported in 18.10 by the representative of the Headquarters on the Crimean Front, Lev Z. Mehlis: “Fights are going on the outskirts of Kerch, from the north the city is being managed by the enemy ... We have dishonored the country and should be cursed. We will fight to the last. Enemy aviation decided the outcome of the battle. ”
But the measures to turn Kerch into a fortress city, the withdrawal of most of the forces from the peninsula were late. At first, the Germans cut off a significant part of the KF troops by turning to the north of the 22 armored divisions. True, they wanted to send it to Kharkiv on May 15, but the stubborn resistance of the Soviet troops on the peninsula delayed its dispatch. Part of the 28 th Jäger and 132 Infantry Divisions turned to the northeast after the breakthrough of the Turkish shaft and also reached the Sea of Azov. Thus, a barrier was built by the Soviet troops, who were retreating from the Turkish Wall. May 16 to Kerch out entered into the breakthrough 170-I German infantry division. But the battle for the city continued until May 20. The Red Army fought in the area of Mount Mithridates, the railway station, the plant them. Voykova. After the defenders had exhausted all the possibilities for resistance in the city, they retreated to Adzhimushkay quarries. About 13 of thousands of people retreated to them - the compound of the 83 th brigade of the marines, the 95 of the frontier detachment, several hundred cadets of the Yaroslavl Aviation School, the Voronezh School of Radio Specialists, and fighters from other parts, townspeople. Colonel P. M. Yagunov led the defense in Central quarries, I. P. Parakhin, senior battalion commissar and G. Burmin, lieutenant colonel GM Burmin, led the defense, and Lieutenant Colonel A. S. Yermakov served in Minor quarries, senior lieutenant M. G. Pazhny, battalion commissioner M. N. Karpehin. The Germans, through continuous attacks, were able to drive the Red Army men deep into the quarries. But they could not take them, all the storms failed. Despite the acute shortage of water, food, medicine, ammunition, weapons The fighters kept the 170 defense for days. There was no water in the quarries. She had to mine outside, according to the memories of the surviving fighters, "they paid for a bucket of water with a bucket of blood." The last defenders of Kerch Brest, completely exhausted, were captured on October 30 1942. A total of 48 people fell into the hands of the Germans. The rest, about 13 thousand people, died.
Evacuation from the peninsula continued from 15 to May 20. By order of Vice-Admiral Oktyabrsky, all possible ships and vessels were driven into the Kerch area. All managed to evacuate to 140 thousand people. Commissioner Lev Mehlis was evacuated one of the last in the evening on May 19. In the last days of the catastrophe, as a man of undoubted personal courage, he rushed along the front lines, it seemed that he was looking for death, trying to organize a defense, to stop the retreating units. On the night of May 20, the last units covering the departure of their comrades plunged into the ships under enemy fire.
- By the Directive of the Headquarters, the Crimean Front and the North Caucasus direction were eliminated. The remnants of the KF troops were sent to form a new North Caucasus Front. His commander was appointed Marshal Budyonny.
- The front lost more than 160 thousand people. Lost most of the aircraft, armored vehicles, guns, vehicles, tractors and other military equipment. The Soviet troops suffered a heavy defeat, the results of previous actions in this direction were lost. The situation on the southern flank of the Soviet-German front was seriously complicated. The Germans were able to threaten invasion of the North Caucasus through the Kerch Strait and the Taman Peninsula. The position of the Soviet troops in Sevastopol sharply deteriorated, the German command was able to concentrate more forces against the fortified city.
- 4 June 1942 of the year issued a directive for the Stake No. 155452 “On the reasons for the defeat of the Crimean front in the Kerch operation”. The main reason was called the error command KF. The front commander, Lieutenant General D.T. Kozlov, was demoted to major general and removed from the commander’s post. The commander of the 44 Army, Lieutenant-General S. I. Chernyak was removed from the post of commander, demoted to a colonel and sent to the troops with the aim of "checking on other, less difficult work." The commander of the 47 Army, Major-General K. S. Kolganov, was removed from the position of commander, demoted to colonel. Mehlis was removed from his post as Deputy People's Commissar of Defense and Chief of the Main Political Department of the Red Army, lowered his rank by two levels - to the corps commissioner. Divisional Commissar F. A. Shamanin, a member of the Military Council of the KF, was demoted to brigadier commissioner. The Chief of Staff of the CF, Major General P. P. Vechny, was removed from the post of the Chief of Staff of the Front. The commander of the CF Air Force of the Major General E. M. Nikolaenko was removed from his post and lowered to a colonel.
- The disaster of the Crimean front is a classic example of the weakness of the defensive strategy, even in conditions of a small, fairly comfortable for defense (the Germans could not conduct wide circumvent maneuvers) of the front and a smaller amount of manpower, tanks and guns from the enemy. The German command found a weak spot and ripped up the Soviet defense, the presence of mobile, strike formations (22-I tank division and Grodek's motorized brigade) allowed to develop the first success, surround the Soviet infantry, destroy the rear, separate formations, cut communications. A major role was played by air superiority. The command of the KF did not have time to rebuild the troops of the front into more correct defensive orders (without bias in favor of the right flank), to create mobile strike groups that could stop the German offensive by striking the flanks of the German group that had broken through and even turn the situation in their favor. I could not prepare in advance a new line of defense, to devote forces and means to it. German generals during this period of war still replayed the Soviet generals.
Adzhimushkay_kamenolomni - the entrance to the museum.