Table of contents:
- Attempts by the Red Army and flour in the Adzhimushkay quarries
- Hitler's order to hold Crimea at any cost
- Liberation of cities and the flight of the Nazis
- Ruins after the Germans and the aftermath of brutality
In April 1944, a victorious offensive operation was launched in the Crimea, clearing the peninsula of the Wehrmacht. And if the Nazis took 250 days to occupy only one heroically defended Sevastopol, then 35 days were enough for the Soviet troops to destroy the enemy. When the German 17th Army was defeated, even the Hitlerite generals themselves called Crimea “the second Stalingrad”. Defeated, they left this land hastily and ingloriously.
Attempts by the Red Army and flour in the Adzhimushkay quarries
Until the victorious 1944, the Red Army made unsuccessful attempts to liberate the peninsula from the Germans. The landing operation started in December 1941 in the Kerch-Feodosia direction ended tragically for the Red Army soldiers. 13 thousand of them did not have time to retreat and hid in the Adzhimushkay quarries near Kerch. For months on end, they found the strength to defend themselves, while the Germans blew them up in the tunnels, gassed them, cut them off from the water. Some data are known from previously classified documentary sources.
Thus, political instructor Sarikov, who fell into the Adzhimushkai hell, wrote in his diary that the Red Army men were determined not to surrender even in the face of a mortal threat. An entry dated May 25, 1942, stated that on that day the Fritzes became especially bitter, alternating poison gas with chlorine, throwing grenades at the passages. There were especially many victims, the Soviet soldiers groaned, writhed in pain, but did not give up. The Germans managed to capture the quarries only by the end of October. Out of 13 thousand glorious warriors, only 48 people were captured alive.
Hitler's order to hold Crimea at any cost
In 1943, a fatal turning point took place in the Great Patriotic War. The Red Army men had a series of brilliant victories, seizing the initiative from the Germans. In October, the 4th Ukrainian Front headed by General Tolbukhin, pursuing the retreating enemy, approached Sivash and pressed German-Romanian troops in the Crimea from the north. Until December 11, Soviet troops managed to carry out the Kerch-Eltigen operation, aimed at capturing the vast Kerch bridgehead for the subsequent liberation of the entire peninsula. At the same time, the Red Army smashed the Germans in other directions, effectively blocking the Nazis in the Crimea. In the spring of 1944, the defense of the peninsula fell on the shoulders of the 17th Army under the command of Colonel General Jenecke.
At that time, the number of Germans and Romanians responsible for holding Crimea was about 200 thousand people. They were armed with over 3,500 guns and mortars, at least 200 tanks with the support of one and a half hundred aircraft. The Germans were especially carefully entrenched in the Crimean north in the Sevastopol region, erecting powerful multi-line fortifications. The German leadership and the Fuhrer personally demanded to be held in the Crimea at any cost. The Nazis were read out an appeal from the commander-in-chief, where they were ordered to defend every centimeter of the Sevastopol bridgehead. On pain of death, it was forbidden to leave and surrender. In the event of a breakthrough by Soviet tanks, the infantry had to remain in positions, destroying the equipment with anti-tank weapons. The Fuhrer understood that Crimea would be the last chance to defend the honor of the army and his own.
Liberation of cities and the flight of the Nazis
The decisive battle for the Crimea began in the spring of 1944. On April 8, the Red Army launched an offensive. A well-planned operation developed successfully from the very start.5 days before the start, the German fortifications were effectively smashed by heavy artillery. And then the Germans had to flee quickly. On April 11, the Red Army liberated Kerch, on the 12th - Feodosia, the next day - Evpatoria with Simferopol, and by April 15, Sudak, Bakhchisarai, Alushta and Yalta became free. On 19-23, the glorious soldiers of the Red Army broke through the defenses near Sevastopol, but they did not succeed right away.
The general assault was scheduled for May 7 after careful preparation. Sapun Gora was taken in a fearless battle, and on May 9, Soviet soldiers entered the city. The surviving Germans took refuge in Chersonesos, clearly feeling the doom of their position. There were almost no hopes for evacuation by sea, because the Nazis were pushed to the rocky shore with no chance of moving to barges. An eyewitness journalist described in his report how in Streletskaya Bay the Germans tried to escape on a self-propelled ship loaded with loot. And the Soviet scouts managed to kill them faster than the barge set sail from the coast.
As a result of the Crimean operation, the Wehrmacht lost 100 thousand army men (over 60 thousand were taken prisoner). Irrecoverable Soviet losses amounted to about 18 thousand soldiers, there were another 67,000 wounded. The high rank of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to 238 Soviet soldiers. In general, in the Crimea, the fighters showed unprecedented fortitude. The award sheets looked impressive. For example, Captain Toropkin is presented with a high award for being the first to break into enemy positions, destroying 14 Wehrmacht men in hand-to-hand combat.
Ruins after the Germans and the aftermath of brutality
Prolonged occupation and intense hostilities caused enormous damage to the peninsula. For 3 years before the liberation, starting from 1941, the Germans destroyed 127 Crimean settlements. Kerch with Sevastopol almost to the ground. Machines, machine tools, equipment were exported to Germany. The amount of damage reached 20 billion rubles (pre-war calculation). The population of the Crimea decreased threefold, but even in the conditions of the persecution and cruelty of the Nazis towards civilians, the Crimeans acted in the interests of victory over Germany. 64 of them were awarded the title of Hero, thousands of others received government awards. Sevastopol and Kerch were later elevated to the rank of a hero city.
All destruction began to be restored immediately. Soon, wineries, fish factories, ship repair and iron ore enterprises resumed their work. Only human losses remained irreversible. The Nazis killed over 135 thousand Crimeans, and about 90 thousand were sent into German slavery. They killed civilians and retreating. German-Romanian criminals committed horrific murders for entertainment, as confirmed by a special Commission.
Many secrets are associated with objects in the Soviet Crimea. Especially about Mount Tavros, in which Stalin was hiding something very secret.
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