The Battle of the Crimea 1944 denotes combat operations between the German Wehrmacht and the Red Army in the Crimea peninsula during April and May of 1944. The Red Army's 3rd Ukrainian Front engaged German 17. Armee 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.
During late 1943 and early 1944, the Wehrmacht was pressed back along its entire frontline in the east. In October 1943 the 17. Armee 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 17. Armee through the Perekop Isthmus in November 1943.
Soviet landings across the Kerch Strait and in the north-eastern sector of the Crimea near Sivash at the end of 1943, together with an attack at the Perekop Isthmus forced 17. Armee back towards Sevastopol from 10 April 1944. The OKW intended to hold Sevastopol as a fortress, as the Red Army had done during the first battle for the Crimea in 1941/42. The rapid movement of the Red Army together with inadequate preparation of the defences of Sevastopol made this impossible, and on 9 May 1944, not even one month after the start of the battle, Sevastopol fell.
The German and Romanian formations suffered very high irrecoverable losses of ca. 65,000 men, many of them taken prisoner when the evacuation failed. Soviet losses were slightly lower. The table below is based on information from Glantz/House When Titans Clashed:
German losses: Irrecoverable: 31,700 Wounded: 33,400 Total: 65,100
Romanian losses: Irrecoverable: 25,800 Wounded: 5,800 Total: 31,600
Total axis: Irrecoverable: 57,500 Wounded: 39,200 Total: 96,700
Soviet losses (according to Krivosheev): Irrecoverable: 17,754 Wounded: 67,065 Total: 84,808
Tanks: 171 Artillery: 521 Aircraft: 179
Formations and units involved
3rd Ukrainian Front
Black Sea Fleet
Independent Coastal Army
Army Group South
Battle of Crimea, 1944
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