Operation Catching sturgeon. On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Sevastopol

Operation "Catching sturgeon."  On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Sevastopol

June 7, 1942 began the final assault on Sevastopol. By 17 June, after fierce fighting, the German troops were able to turn the tide in their favor. The southern section of the Germans captured so-called. "Eagle's nest" and went to the foot of Mount breather. On the northern part of the fort was captured by the enemy, "Stalin" and Mekenzievyh foot heights. On the same day there fell a few fortifications. As a result, the German artillery could bombard the North Bay, and the supply of reinforcements and supplies became unfeasible. But the inner ring of defense has rested, and the decision to evacuate the command and political Maritime Army was taken by the end of June — by this time the defenders of Sevastopol have run out of ammo. After the evacuation of commanders, isolated pockets of resistance held out until July 9-10.

In the post-war defense of Sevastopol became for many the perfect example of a passive defensive strategy. It was believed that with normal supply and premature preparation Sevastopol (Well, and Odessa) for a siege, the city could hold on to and further restricting significant enemy forces. But it's the wrong opinion, exaggerating the ability of the defense and not fully taking into account the enemy's offensive capabilities. The experience of the first and second world wars argued that no matter what kind of defense and fortified the band at some point give way to the advancing side. The position isolated fortress (the fort, bunker, etc.) with an unbalanced supply is very shaky. Army of the first half of the 20th century, had a mass of tools for cracking the most powerful defense: the assault groups, engineering units, bombers and attack aircraft, heavy guns, etc. The enemy had the opportunity to collect a superior force in a fist and crush defense system defenders. The fall of the fortress was only a matter of time. As a result, the defending side in the short term has lost significant strength of the garrison. Almost always, the garrison had no physical ability to move away, or you can take out only part of the force.

Sevastopol survived so long (250 days), first since the 11 th German army under the command of Erich von Manstein constantly exerted a strong external pressure. In September 1941, the coming of the Southern Front near Melitopol warned of the emergence of the Crimean peninsula choicest German infantry in the face of the 49th Mountain Corps Ludwig Kuebler. In December 1941, the Black Sea Fleet base assault was interrupted by the Kerch-Feodosiya landing operation. In the winter and spring of 1942 the main forces of the 11th Army fought with the coming of the Crimean front. Specifically task forces the command to hold Sevastopol Crimean front Dmitry Kalashnikov Kozlov provide constant pressure on the 11th Army. Only after the 19th May, the Crimean Front was defeated, and the ability of outside influence on the army Manstein had been exhausted, the Germans were able to concentrate their forces to eliminate the garrison of Sevastopol. The fall of the town has become a matter of time. After the Kerch Peninsula was cleared of Russian troops, the 30th Army Corps began to flip to Sevastopol.

The garrison of Sevastopol

While the army Manstein was busy fighting the Crimean front, the garrison of Sevastopol enjoyed a respite to improve their own position. In January — March 1942, forces of Sevastopol Defense Area (GRA) in some parts of the front and threw back the Germans reoccupied the items and items left in November and December 1941. So, on the site of the 4th sector of Russian troops recaptured the northern slopes Mekenzievyh heights and come to the limit of Qamishli — Balbec — height 79.4. In the end, the Germans lost the comfortable observation posts in the north-eastern outskirts of the town.

In addition, a pause in active combat is allowed to accumulate power and money. For the period from January 1 to June 1, 1942 Black Sea Fleet ships and cargo ships delivered 77.5 tons of various cargoes, in the main it was ammunition and food. Working capital was evacuated flights civilian population and the wounded. Once during the winter-spring of 1942 compounds GRA 34 march company received a total of 12 thousand soldiers. Tossed and meaningful connections: the city sent the 386 th Infantry Division and the 79th Brigade of the Marine Corps. Was reorganized and the garrison. Out of these units and individual parts of the Sevastopol garrison was formed 109th Infantry Division.

Sevastopol defending troops by the end of May 1942 were united in the Maritime Army, under the command of Major General Ivan Efimovich Petrov. Chief of Staff was NI Krylov. As part of the army was 7 infantry divisions, 4 infantry brigades, several pieces of marines, two tank battalions (38 tanks T-26) and 1 armored train. The artillery consisted of seven divisional artillery regiments, three artillery regiments, army, army mortar 1 Division 1 and Division Guards Mortar (12 rocket mortars M-8). In total, the Army had about 120 thousand people, 50-100 aircraft, 606 guns army and coast artillery, mortars, 1060-1770 (data sources differ). Availability of guns and mortars, ammunition was for different calibers of ammunition load of 2 to 7. There was a noticeable lack of minutes.

Perimeter defense of the town was divided into four sectors. The first sector from Balaclava to the Black River (area 7.5 km) defended 109th and 388th Infantry Divisions. The second sector of the Black River to Mackenzie (Front — 12 km) defended compound 386th Infantry Division, 7th and 8th marine brigades. Third sector GRA from Mackenzie River to Bel'bek (8.5 km section of the front) holds a part of the 25th Infantry Division, 79th Marine Infantry Brigade, the 2nd and the 3rd Marine Regiment. Protection of the fourth sector (Front — 6 km) was entrusted with the troops of the 95th and 172nd Infantry Divisions. The reserve was the 345 th Infantry Division, one infantry regiment, two tank battalions and an armored train "Zhelezniakov."

Operation "Catching sturgeon."  On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Sevastopol

Anti-aircraft gunners armored train "Zhelezniakov" (armored train number 5 Coast Defense of Sevastopol) in 12.7-mm DShK mnogokalibernyh (machine guns mounted on pedestals sea). In the background can be seen 76.2 mm naval gun tower installations 34-K.

Enemy forces

Destruction and displacement forces of the Crimean Front Manstein gave some leeway. For the protection of the Kerch Peninsula, he left two infantry and one cavalry division, Romanian, German 46th Infantry Division and motorized brigade "Grodekov." After the operation, "Hunting for bustards" (the operation of the 11th Army Wehrmacht against the Crimean front of the Red Army), the main forces of the 22nd Armored Division were deployed to the Donbass, but one battalion was left to support the infantry. Also in the final assault of Sevastopol took the role of two battalion
s of assault weapons. In the operation to capture Sevastopol participated LIV-th Corps (20 th, 24 th, 50 th and 132 th Infantry Divisions), XXX Corps (28th chasseur, 72 th and 170 th Infantry Divisions) Romanian Mountain Corps (1st and 4th mountain infantry division, 18th Infantry division). Just a guide at Manstein had more than 200 thousand people.

If the operation to eliminate the Russian Crimean front strongest argument Manstein was 22th Armored Division, the assault on Sevastopol most important role played by heavy artillery. By Sevastopol pulled most massive guns Third Reich: extra-heavy 420-mm howitzer "Gamma» (Gamma Morser), 600-mm mortars, "One" and "Thor," and used heavy howitzers 300 and 350 mm. At Sevastopol and the first use of a unique extra heavy railway 1350-ton and 807-mm gun "Dora". This tool served and guarded by up to 4 thousand people. Total available Manstein had 80 heavy and extra-heavy batteries, 60 and 24 batteries of light rocket launchers (approximately 670 field and siege guns, 655 anti-tank guns, 720 mortars). Batteries rocket launchers have been combined in the 1st regiment of heavy rocket launchers (21 Pack with 576 launchers caliber 280-320 mm), the 7th Regiment and the 1st and 4th battalions of rocket launchers.

Operation "Catching sturgeon."  On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Sevastopol

Construction of a firing position for the German super-heavy 800-mm gun "Dora" under Bakhchisarai. For a firing position huge 1350-ton guns were required dual railway track with 2 additional branches for the erection cranes. For engineering training positions were allocated 1,000 engineers and 1,500 workers, forced mobilized from local residents.

Operation "Catching sturgeon."  On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Sevastopol

German superheavy gun "Dora" (caliber 800 mm, weight 1350 tons) at position Bakhchisarai.

In addition, for the final assault on the town in Crimea returned the 8th Air Corps under the command of Wolfram von Richthofen. The guidelines have been Manstein to 1,000 aircraft, the city suffered massive bombings: the average German Air Force aircraft made 600 sorties a day. At Sevastopol was dropped about 2.5 tons of high explosive bombs, including large-caliber. Acts artillery, aircraft, coupled with the strategy of the assault teams inevitably led to the slower but surely breaking the defense system of the town. The operation to seize the town received the code title "Fishing sturgeon."

Operation "Catching sturgeon."  On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Sevastopol Start of operation

Already since May 20, for the next day after the operation to defeat the Crimean front, the Germans launched a preliminary artillery bombardment of Russian positions. 2 June 1942 started a real artillery and air preparation. It lasted for 5 days. The Germans could afford for themselves so long-term training. If on the front of a long artillery preparation indicated a possible breakthrough of the front seat and the defending side could throw at this site extra strength, then command the Sevastopol garrison had no such ability. Patrons under the bombs and shells the enemy as they could of their own abilities to restore destructible defense.

The main purpose of the heavy artillery of the Germans in this period was the 30th Coastal Battery with 4 305-mm guns (bronebashennaya battery or fort-30 "Maxim Gorky-1"). I must say that the biggest guns that defenders of Sevastopol could oppose the enemy were four spinning cupola with 2 305-mm guns in each (in the 30th and 35th of shore batteries). Battery-30 was located near the village of Lyubimovka in the estuary. Bel'bek, and the battery-35 (German designation — fort "Maxim sourness 2") — in the vicinity of Cape Chersonese. Dominance over the surrounding area provide cupola radial firing, they cranked up to 360 degrees. The limit range of the guns was up to 42 km. Both batteries were built initially as a coastal, that is, have been created to deal with the ships of the Navy of the enemy, protect the base of the Black Sea Fleet from the sea. But when, in October 1941, the Wehrmacht was rushed to the Crimean peninsula, coastal batteries have become a major caliber defense of Sevastopol from the land. Taking into account the fact that the 35-pack was placed on the area of the main blow Germans, more colorful role in the defense of Sevastopol was destined to play fort "Maxim Gorky-I» under the command of Major ZHoru Alexander Alexandrovich. The German command and engineers believed that the fort "Maxim Gorky-I» is a "true masterpiece of engineering" because the enormous attention paid to its destruction. Positions batteries were subjected to continuous air strikes and shelling of heavy and heavy guns. In late May, the 600-mm "One" and "Thor" were moved to a distance of 3.5 km to the 30th battery. In the first five days of artillery preparation, they have released 18 shells. June 5, 1942 the fort "Maxim Gorky-I» was released seven 7-ton concrete-shells of 800mm "Dora". But neither one of them missed the target. Battery shooting his last rounds on June 18.

Operation "Catching sturgeon."  On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Sevastopol

In the conning tower tower number 30 Battery: Battery Commander Capt. G. Alexander (left) and Senior Political Commissar battery EK Soloviev. 1941.

Operation "Catching sturgeon."  On the 70th anniversary of the fall of Sevastopol

The heroic defense of Sevastopol October 30, 1941 — July 4, 1942

To be continued …

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