The tragedy of the Crimean front. On the 70th anniversary of the Kerch defensive operation

The defeat of the Crimean front and his next elimination 8-19 May 1942 became one of the links in the chain of military disasters in 1942. The script acts during the operation of the 11th Army under the command of the Wehrmacht Colonel-General Erich von Manstein against the Crimean Front was similar to other German operations of the period. German troops received reinforcements and build up strength and resources shifted to the offensive against the position reached deadlock and suffered significant loss of Russian forces.

October 18, 1941 The 11th German army started an operation to capture the Crimea. By November 16 the entire peninsula, except for the Black Sea Fleet base — Sevastopol, was captured. In December-January 1941-1942 at the end of the Kerch-Feodosiya landing operations Reddish Army returned the Kerch peninsula and continued for 8 days at 100-110 km. But on Jan. 18 hit the Wehrmacht Theodosius. In February and April 1942, the Crimean Front three times the sample decided to change the course of events on the peninsula in its favor, but ultimately failed to achieve significant success, suffered huge losses.

Erich von Manstein.

Plans of the German command

As in other parts of the Soviet-German front, combat actions in the Crimean peninsula in the spring 1942 run to the phase of trench warfare. First trial to start decisive counteroffensive Wehrmacht made in March 1942. The 11th Army was reinforced — 28th Chasseurs and 22 Panzer Division. In addition, the Romanian case has the 4th Mountain Division. Puzzle to defeat the Russian forces in the Crimea for the first time the command of the 11th Army has set Feb. 12 in the "Order on the conduct of hostilities on the Eastern Front at the end of the winter season," head Command of the Army Third Reich. German troops had to take over Sevastopol and Kerch peninsula. The German command was willing to free up a large force of the 11th Army for subsequent operations.

With the end of the period of thaw, the German armed forces began to run across to the implementation of the plan. The main guideline for the three German army groups were directive number 41 on April 5, 1942. The main objectives of the campaign in 1942 were Caucasian and Leningrad. 11th German Army, which is mired in a positional battle on an isolated portion of the band of the Soviet-German front, put the puzzle "clear the enemy from the Kerch Peninsula in the Crimea and Sevastopol to take over."

In April 1942, at a meeting with Adolf Hitler Zondershtern Georg von Manstein and submitted a plan to the operation of Russian forces on the Kerch Peninsula. Crimean Front forces were sufficiently tightly constructed on Parpachskom Isthmus (on Vol. Ak-Monayskih positions). But the density of construction troops were not similar. Adjacent to the Black Sea Crimean front wing was weaker and break his position allowed the Germans to leave the rear of a stronger group of 47th and 51th armies. Performing tasks to break through Russian positions of the 44th Russian Army put on heightened XXX Corps (AK), Lieutenant-General Maximilian Fretter-Pico in the 28th hunter, 50th Infantry, 132nd Infantry, 170th Infantry, 22 Panzer divisions. In addition, the German command was going to use the open sea on the flank of the Crimean front to the rear and put the attacked Russian troops landing of a reinforced battalion 426 th Regiment. XXXXII AK as part of the 46th Infantry Division under the command of General Franz Mattenklotta Corps and VII Corps in the Romanian part of the 10th Infantry, 19th Infantry Division, 8th Cavalry Brigade had to spend a distraction coming against a strong right wing of the Crimean front. Operation from the air covered the VIII Air Corps under the command of the Luftwaffe Baron Wolfram von Richthofen. The operation was codenamed "hunting bustards" (German Trappenjagd).

11th Army ceded the Crimean front (CF) in personnel at 1.6:1 times (250 thousand soldier of the Red Army against the Germans, 150 thousand) in guns and mortars to 1.4:1 (3577 in CF and 2472 the Germans), 1.9:1 in tanks and self-propelled artillery system (at 347 and 180 EC from the Germans). Exclusively in aviation was parity 1:1, 175 fighters and 225 bombers in CF among the Germans — 400 units. More massive inventory in the hands of the VIII Air Corps Manstein was the Luftwaffe von Richthofen, this was the strongest connection the German Air Force. Richthofen was a great battle experience — in the First World War won eight aerial victories and was awarded the Steel Cross 1 st degree, waged war in Spain (Chief of Staff, and later the commander of the Legion "Condor"), a member of Polish and French campaigns, Crete operations , participated in "Operation Barbarossa" and "Typhoon" (Coming to Moscow). In addition, from the German commander was the freshest 22th Armored Division under the command of Major-General Wilhelm von Apel. Division formed in late 1941, on the ground occupied part of France, and it was a "full-blooded". Panzer Division was armed with Czech light tanks PzKpfw 38 (t). By the beginning of the coming of the division increased 3 tank battalion (52 tanks), in addition to the April part was 15-20 T-3 and T-4. The division had four infantry battalions, two of them were equipped BTR "Ganomag" and antitank battalion (there were ACS).

Manstein had the tools to break the defense and development of the Crimean Front of success in the form of the Air Corps and the 22th Armored Division. Panzer Division came in the front could rapidly move forward and destroy the Russian reserves, rear, to intercept communications. The troops stepped up the development of breakthrough motorized brigade "Grodekov" composed of motorized formations that took part in the offensive parts. The command of the Crimean front — Commander Lieutenant General EC T. Dmitry Kozlov, members of the Military Council (divisional commissioner FA Shamanin and secretary of the Crimean Regional Committee of the CPSU (b) BC Bulatov, Chief of Staff, Major General PP endless, A representative of the Supreme Command . Mekhlis), possessed only armored infantry divisions concrete support (tank brigades and battalions) and did countermeasures profound breakthrough Germans — the army of mobile groups of tanks, anti-tank, mechanized cavalry units. It is necessary to take into account the fact that the front line was absolutely open to aerial reconnaissance, it was the open steppe. The Germans simply were opened position of the Russian troops.

The plans of the Russian command, the forces of the Crimean Front

Russian commanders, despite the fact that the coming of winter tasks were performed, did not want to lose the initiative, and do not lose hope for a change in the situation in their favor. April 21, 1942 was established the High Command of the North Caucasus direction, headed by Marshal Semyon Budennyi. Budyonny conquered the Crimean Front, Sevastopol Defense Region, North-Caucasian Military District, the Black Sea Fleet and Azov flotilla.

Crimean Front occupied defensive positions on the narrow enough Ak-Monayskom isthmus width of 18-20 km. The structure of the front were three armies: 44th under the command of Lieutenant-General Stepan Ivanovich Chernyak, 47th, Major-General Konstantin Stepanovich Kolganova, 51th Army Lieutenant-General Vladimir Nikolayevich Lvov. Total staff in the leadership of CF by early May there were 16 infantry divisions and one cavalry, infantry 3, 4 tank, 1 Marine brigade, four independent tank battalions, 9 artillery regiments RGC and other compounds. Front in February — April 1942 suffered serious loss, to a large extent been bled white, exhausted, had new and massive shock connections. As a result, although the EC and had a numerical advantage in me
n, tanks, guns and mortars, but inferior in high regard.

More power equates Russian and German command Asymmetric troops CF. KF positions were divided into two uneven troops occupied segment. The southern section of the Koi-Aysana to the Black Sea which is about 8 km imagined prepared in January 1942 Russian defensive positions. They defended the 276 th Infantry, 63th Mountain Division of the 44th Army (A). In the 2nd tier and reserve stood 396th, 404 th, 157 th Infantry Division, 13th Motorized Rifle Regiment, 56th Tank Brigade (May 8 — 7 KV, 20 T-26, T-20, 60 ), 39th Tank Brigade (2 kV, 1 T-34, T-18, 60), the 126th tank battalion (51 T-26), the 124th Independent Tank Battalion (20, T-26). The northern section of the Koi-Aysana to Kieta (about 16 km) to the west arching, hanging over Theodosius, which according to the plans of the Russian command was the first goal coming. In this particular ledge and proximity to the main forces were collected 51th and 47th armies CF reinforced troops stationed in the leadership staff at the front. In the first wave were 271 th, 320 th Infantry Division, 77th Mountain Division 47th A, 400 th, 398 th, 302 th Infantry Division, 51 A, 55th Tank Brigade (10 kV, 20 T-26, T-16, 60), 40th Tank Brigade (11 kV, 6 T-34, T-25, 60). In the 2nd tier and reserve 224 th, 236 th Infantry Division, 47th A, 138 th, 390 th Infantry Division, 51th A, 229th Independent Tank Battalion (11 kV) and the other parts.

As a result, Front Commander Dmitry Kozlov gathered the main force CF on their own right, but they are stuck in positional battles and lost mobility. Besides, the Germans were able to use the pause between the preceding and preparing the coming of the new Russian. Stavka directive number 170357 CF Command to move to defense late, time to regroup, dismantling strike group on the right wing in favor of strengthening the position of the left wing was gone. The German command, gathering an assault force on his right flank against the entries of the 44th A Gimp is gone.

According to the initial plan, Army Group "South" operation "hunting bustards" was to begin on May 5. But because of the delay to the transfer of aircraft launching attacks suffered on May 8. You can not say that the German attack was to command the CF as a complete surprise. Shortly before the beginning of the German coming to the Soviet side flew Croatian pilot and said a further blow. By the end of May 7th order was issued to the troops of the front, in which it was reported that the German advent expected May 8-15, 1942. However, the correct response time are not.


May 7. VIII Air Corps Luftwaffe had to return soon to the area of Kharkov for a role in the operation to eliminate Barvenkovsky ledge. Because air strikes began on a day earlier transition to the coming of the 11th German Army. All day the German Air Force attacked a staff on Fri and communication centers. It must be said that the works of German aviation during this operation was very successful, for example, during a raid on the headquarters of the 51th Army died on May 9, Lieutenant General, Commander Vladimir Lvov. Russian command centers have been previously explored and suffered huge losses. Control of the troops was partly broken.

May 8. At 4.45 began air and artillery training. At 7.00 went to the advent of the 28th hunter, 132nd Infantry Divisions AK 30 on the German right flank. The main blow fell on the orders of the 63rd Mountain and partly 276th Infantry Divisions 44th A. In addition, the Germans landed troops to battalion strength in the rear of the 63rd Georgia Mountain Division, triggering panic. By the end of the day or have broken through the German defenses on the front of 5 km and a depth of 8 km.

At 20.00 Front Commander Kozlov gave the order to counterattack on the flank had broken through the enemy units. The forces of the 51st And in the morning on May 9 were due to foreign Parpach n — g-Syuruk Both strike in the direction of the beam Sand. In the shock group included four infantry divisions, two armored brigades and two separate tank battalion 302 th, 138 th and 390 th Infantry Division of the 51th A, 236th Infantry Division of the 47th A, 83rd Marine infantry brigade, 40th and 55th Tank Brigade, 229th and 124th tank battalion. They got a puzzle to return the position of the front and develop coming, cutting deep into the Kerch Peninsula have broken through the German part. The 44th Army was at this time should restrain the pressure Germans. To retreat to rear lines of defense in the first day bout nobody has thought about it. The orders of their occupation was not. Moreover, who were in the leadership of staff and located at the front of the shaft 72 Turkish Cavalry Division and the 54th Motorized Rifle Regiment were ordered to strip to run for 44 minutes And to enhance its defense.

May 9. The German command has introduced a breakthrough in the 22 Panzer Division, but the rains started very slow its progress. Only by the 10th Panzer Division was able to break into the depth of the defense and the EC to turn to the north, leaving the communication of the 47th and 51th Russian Army. For Armored Division was 28th chasseur Division and 132nd Infantry Division. In a breakthrough also thrown motorized rifle brigade Grodekov — it is already May 10 headed for the Turkish shaft and crossed it.

May 10. On the night of May 10 in the course of negotiations between the Front Commander Kozlov and Stalin decided to take on the Turkish army (in other sources Mongolian) shaft and organize the latest line of defense. But the 51-th army has not been able to fulfill the order. As a result, an air strike on the headquarters of the commander was killed Lviv and injured his deputy K. Baranov. Army convulsively tried to avoid a catastrophe. Part of the 47 th and 51 th Army on May 9 went to a planned counter-attack was fierce encounter battle. Russian armored brigades and separate tank battalions, infantry units fought against the compounds of the 22nd Armored Division and the 28th hunter division. On the heat of battle is evidenced by the fact that if by 9 May, the 55th Tank Brigade had 46 tanks, after a fight on May 10th alone. Hold back German forces of the Russian armored infantry support could not.

May 11-12. Days of May 11 units of the 22nd Armored Division went to the Sea of Azov, cutting off the retreat of the Turkish wall on significant forces of the 47th and 51th armies. Several Russian divisions were surrounded by a narrow coastal strip. In the evening of the 11th Russian high command has placed its hopes to return the situation on the peninsula by the creation of a defensive line on the Turkish shaft. Stalin ordered Wasilewski Budyonny personally organize the defense of CF troops, to bring order to the Military Council of the front and for this to go to Kerch. Left-flank Division 51th Russian Army izderzhali another day on the unsuccessful test environment to prevent other troops, lost time and lost the race to the rear lines of defense.

The Germans did not lose time and have been doing everything to prevent Russian troops to withdraw to a new limit of Defense. By the end of the 10th advanced parts of the AK-30 went to the Turkish shaft. May 12 Germans landed troops in the rear of the 44th Army. This allowed them to start a successful struggle for the Turkish wall before reaching the shaft spare 156th Infantry Division.

May 13 and the following days are. May 13 the Germans broke through the defense in the center of the Turkish shaft. On the night of the 14th Supreme Command admitted defeat on the Kerch Peninsula. In Budennyi 3.40, with the consent of the Betting, gave the order to begin the withdrawal of troops EC to Taman. Vasilevsky orders to advance in order Budennogo 2nd and 3rd airborne corps and airbor
ne brigade. Apparently, it was supposed to organize the defense of landing troops on the outskirts of Kerch and stop the coming of the Germans to bring the troops broken CF. Moreover, Kerch not going to take — it's meant to bury all the results of the Kerch-Feodosiya landing operations. May 15 at 1.10 AM Vasilevsky orders, "Kerch not donate, to organize the defense of Sevastopol on the type."

Advanced German troops, apparently, it was a motorized brigade Grodekov, came to the outskirts of Kerch on May 14. The city was defended part of the 72th Cavalry Division. This was said to 18.10 GHQ representative on the Crimean front Leo Z. Mehlis: "Fights are on the outskirts of Kerch, north city manages the enemy … We defiled the country and should be damned. We will fight to the last. Aviation enemy decided the final battle. "

But steps to develop Kerch in the walled city, the withdrawal of forces from most of the peninsula late. At first, the Germans cut off a large part of the troops CF turn to the north of compounds 22 Panzer Division. However, it wanted to send a Kharkiv on May 15, but the stubborn resistance of the Russian troops on the peninsula has delayed its shipment. Part of the 28th hunter and the 132nd Infantry Division turned to the north-east after a Turkish shaft and also went to the Sea of Azov. So Makarov, was built barrier Russian troops, who were retreating from the Turkish shaft. May 16 to Kerch got introduced to break the German 170th Infantry Division. But the battle for the city lasted until May 20. The Red Army fought in the Mount Mithridates, railway stations, plant them. Voykova. Once the defenders have exhausted all the ability to resist in the town, they went to Adzhimushkay quarry. They retreated about 13 thousand people — compounds 83rd Marine Brigade, 95th frontier, a few hundred students Aviation School Yaroslavl, Voronezh college radio officers and soldiers from other units, the townspeople. In central defense quarries operated Colonel P. Yagunov, Senior Battalion Commissar IP Parahin and Lieutenant Colonel GM Burmin in the Small quarries — Lieutenant Colonel A. Ermakov, Lieutenant MG Povazhny, Battalion Commissar M . N. Karpehin. The Germans continued attacks by the Red Army were able to drive deep into the quarry. But they could not take all the assaults failed. Despite the acute shortage of water, food, medical supplies, ammunition, gun fighters defense held 170 days. Water in the quarries were not. She had to get out, according to the memoirs of survivors fighters "were paying for a bucket of water a bucket of blood." Last Protector "Kerch Brest", quite exhausted, captured Oct. 30, 1942. Only in the hands of the Germans got 48 people. Others, about 13 thousand people were killed.

The evacuation from the peninsula lasted from 15 to 20 May. On the orders of Vice-Admiral in the October district Kerch drove all possible ships and vessels. Total managed to evacuate up to 140 thousand people. Commissioner Leo Mehlis evacuated one of the last in the evening on May 19. In the last days of the disaster, as the undisputed man of personal courage, he was running for best band seemed to find that the destruction, trying to organize the defense, to stop retreating. On the night of May 20 ships sunk by enemy fire, the latter compounds, to cover the retreat of comrades.

The results

— Bids Directive Crimean Front and the North Caucasus sector have been eliminated. Remnants of the EC directed the formation of the new North Caucasus Front. His commander was appointed marshal Budennogo.

— The front has lost more than 160 thousand people. Lost most of the aircraft, armored vehicles, weapons, vehicles, tractors and other military equipment. Russian troops suffered a heavy defeat, had lost the results of past actions in this direction. The position on the southern flank of the Soviet-German front seriously complicated. The Germans were able to face the invasion of the North Caucasus through the Kerch Strait and the Taman Peninsula. Dramatically worsened the situation of the Russian troops in Sevastopol, the German command was able to concentrate against the walled city more power.

— June 4, 1942 a directive Bets number 155452 "On the causes of defeat in the Crimean front Kerch operation." The basic premise dubbed error Command CF. Front commander, Lieutenant-General DT Kozlov was demoted to major general and removed from his post Front Commander. The commander of the 44th Army, Lieutenant General S. Chernyak was removed from his post commander demoted to colonel and sent to the troops in order to "check on the other hand, the least complicated work." The commander of the 47th Army, Major General KS Kolganov dismissed the commander demoted to colonel. Mehlis was removed from the post of Deputy People's Commissar of Defense and the Chief of Political Department of the Head of the Red Army, reduced in rank by two levels — to the Commissioner of the body. Member of the Military Council of the EC divisional commissioner FA Shamanin was demoted to the rank of brigadier Commissioner. Chief of Staff Major General CP PP PERPETUAL removed from the post of chief of staff of the front. Air Force Commander, Major-General EC EM Nikolaenko was dismissed and reduced to colonel.

— The tragedy of the Crimean front is a traditional example of helplessness defensive strategy, even in the criteria of a small, comfortable enough for the defense (the Germans were unable to carry out extensive flanking maneuvers) section of the front and the least amount of manpower, tanks and guns of the enemy. The German command to find a rather weak spot and ripped the Soviet defenses, the availability of mobile, drums compounds (22 Panzer and motorized brigade Grodekov) made it possible to develop a first success, to surround the Soviet infantry kill rears separate connections, cut the communication. Played a huge role an advantage in the air. Command of the EC did not have time to rebuild the army in front of a proper defensive orders (no bias in favor of the right hand side) to do the moving battle groups that attack on the flank had broken through the German group could stop the coming of the Germans, and even turn the tide in their favor. Failed to prepare in advance the latest line of defense, to withdraw her forces and resources. The German generals during this period of the war as before outplayed Russian generals.

Аджимушкайские_каменоломни — the entrance to the museum.

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