What price managed to expel the Germans from the Caucasus in 1943

History 05/01/20 What price managed to expel the Germans from the Caucasus in 1943

the Second phase of the Battle for the Caucasus, which in 1943 was released all the Wehrmacht captured territory in Soviet times was traditionally presented as a number of major successes of the red Army.

However, in General, all operations of the red army in the Caucasus did not reach their goals, while losses were extremely high. Moreover, accurate data on what price was released, these areas are still not available.

the Retreat of the 1st Panzer army of the Wehrmacht

the Attempt of the German 1st Panzer army to break the fall of 1942 to the Grozny and Baku oil were unsuccessful. Force was initially low, and during the fighting they finally settled.

By mid-November the 13th Panzer division had only 28 tanks, a 3-y — 63 23- 50 cars. The SS division “Viking” had 23 tanks. The Soviet offensive at Stalingrad put paid to further plans for military action in the Caucasus. 23rd Panzer division was immediately deployed on the Stalingrad direction.

the Situation at Stalingrad was soon formed such that it threatened the complete encirclement of the entire army group “A”. It was decided to hastily withdraw 1 Panzer army.

In the early days of 1943, the Soviet command began the North Caucasus offensive. It was conducted by the forces of the Stalingrad (renamed the South) and the Northern group of the Transcaucasian (later the North-Caucasian front) fronts. The aim of the operation was the encirclement and defeat of all German forces in the Caucasus.

However, the 1st Panzer army retreated, but also caused significant damage greatly superior to its Soviet troops. While the troops of the North Caucasian front was able to organize a pursuit, and the troops of the southern front to cut off the retreat of the Germans. 17th German army remained on the Taman Peninsula.

According to the Handbook “Russia and Of the USSR in wars of XX century: losses of the armed forces” edited by G. F. Krivosheev, Soviet losses in the operation amounted to 154 539 people, including irrevocable — 69 627.

Accurate data for the Wehrmacht there, but the overall German losses in the Battle for the Caucasus, July 1942 to October 1943 amounted to approximately 281 thousand people.

Krasnodar operation

Krasnodar-Novorossiisk offensive was conducted from 9 February to 24 may 1943. The purpose of the attack was the encirclement and destruction of the entire Krasnodar grouping, i.e. the 17-th army.

Against 9-11 German (including one tank) and 4 Romanian divisions were involved in seven Soviet armies. Total (on March 1) 31 infantry and mountain division, 36 infantry and 4 tank brigades.

as a result of one and a half months of heavy fighting Krasnodar was liberated, but the German troops were able to gain a foothold on the Taman Peninsula.

the red Army this operation cost 66 814 people were killed and 173 902 person was. Just dropped 240 716 people from 390 000 to the beginning of the operation.

Air battle in the Kuban

Air battle in the Kuban is still touted as a significant victory for the Soviet air force, which led to the domination of the red army in the air.

According to the Soviet version, to support 17th army on the Taman Peninsula, the German command concentrated in the Crimea and Taman over 1,000 aircraft of the 4th Air fleet. Additionally it was used to 200 bombers from the territory of Donbass. The Soviet command had no more than 900 aircraft. According to Soviet sources, the losses of German aircraft were at least 1,100 aircraft. And won air supremacy. Their losses in the red army, estimated at 750 vehicles.

However Oleg Kaminsky in his work “the Luftwaffe Fighters in the sky of Kuban”, based on German documents, criticized the official Soviet point of view on almost all points. However, he indicates that German data on losses of Soviet aviation as Wavisena more than twice.

the Study of the German documents show that fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe in the battle over the Kuban was represented by two groups of 3 and three groups of the 52nd fighter squadron. The latter had two separate squadrons, equipped with the Croatian and Slovak pilots. Even for the full-time staff, this gives only slightly more than two hundred fighters.

In the course of fighting the Germans lost over a hundred fighters. Including accident and the aircraft written off on failure.

part of the Soviet 4-th and 5-th air army, the total number of fighters came to thousands of machines. During the fighting received a new machine for the compensation of losses and introduced a new aviation units and in return lost their fighting capacity.

Contrary to the assertions of Soviet sources, dominance in the air was not conquered. The German squadron was not destroyed. They even did not suffer significant losses after the Kuban battles continued to be active on the front.

Blue line

“the Blue line” in the Soviet sources called line of fortifications created by the Germans on the approaches to the Taman Peninsula. The German name “Gatekept” (Gotenkopf), which translates as “Head of Gotha”. During the summer of 1943 the Soviet troops tried to break through the defense of the 17-th army, but without success. Although most sources indicated that in the summer on the Taman direction was the operational pause.

the Historian Alexei Polishchuk in his work “Inferno in the operational pause” and “Blows “the Head Gotha” recounts only some of the hardest fighting on the Blue line in late may and early June. It is unknown whether losses in these battles, in General the outcome of the battle for the Caucasus. Maybe not.

Taman Peninsula and Novorossiysk was liberated in the course of the Novorossiysk-Taman strategic offensive operation at the beginning of October. However, to consider it a success of the red army is possible only with great reserve. In connection with the successful offensive of the Soviet troops on thSouth Ukraine, German command decided to evacuate the 17th army from the Taman Peninsula and to use it for the defense of the Crimea. The order to evacuate was given 3rd September and 9th October, the German troops crossed the Kerch Strait. To prevent this, the troops of the North Caucasus front and black sea fleet failed.

the Total loss in the Novorossiysk-Taman operation was 65 510 people, of which 14 564 irrevocable.


during the second phase of the Battle for the Caucasus, Soviet forces lost 460 of 765 people, of which 151 005 forever. It’s even more than in the course of defensive battles, when the loss amounted to 373 911 people (including 192 791 forever). Total losses of German troops during the whole period of the battle amounted to 281 thousand.

in all three basic operations put before the task forces could not solve it. Initially unable to lock in the Caucasus, 1st Panzer army. Then failed to defeat the Krasnodar group of the Wehrmacht. And, finally, failed to prevent the evacuation of the 17th army from the Taman Peninsula to the Crimea.

And all this in spite of the extremely unfavorable situation of the German troops and the tremendous numerical superiority of the red Army. The losses of the Soviet troops was much more German.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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