Crimea [WWII]

A Trip to the Battlefield - May 2004


The Crimea is a tempting destination for anyone interested in military history. The 1854/55 Crimean War battlefields are overlayed with the detrius of WWII. In addition there are the cold war submarine pens at Balaklava and the breathtaking sight of the Black Sea Fleet (Russian & Ukrainian at Sevastopol). This page gives a taste of the WWII sites which centre around the great siege of 1942 (from which Sevastopol was give Soviet Hero City status) and the liberation in 1944.

 

More Vets Veteran

Veterans on parade in May 2004 (50th anniversary of the liberation of Sevastopol)

1942 Siege - 250 days

1944 Siege - 35 Days

Map 42

Map

Once the Germans had cracked the Crimean Front they moved their heavy artillry for an all out attack on the Black sea port of Sevastopol. After a siege culminating in 24 days of vicious street fighting the Russian Army was forced to abandon the city. They left an exhaused German army.

The picture below left shows one of the massive railway guns used to defend the city during the siege. The guns were wheeled in and out of tunnels and were called 'grey ghosts' by the Germans because they appeared and then disappeared.

The picture in the middle shows a huge memorial overlooking the entrance to Sevastopol harbour. Designed by Andropov's daughter it is disliked by the locals mainly because its proportions are all wrong. The white mark in the bottom left is a van - this gives an indication of the vast size of this monument.

The picture on the right shows a Russian Memorial near El Buron mountain. We were unsuccessful in finding Manstein's headquarters though we knew, from locals, that remnants still exist.

Grey Ghost Andropov Mem Mem

The Grey Ghost

Sevastopol

El Buron Mountain

The 1994 siege culminated in the liberation of Sevastopol on May 9th 1944. A particularly significant battle took place on the Sapun Ridge (overlooking the 1854 Balaklava battlefield). The trench system is still very evident and there are a myriad of tunnels and bunkers. Elsewhere around the city one can find bunkers, shell marked buildings and the usual battlefield debris.

Bunker Crimea Crimea

Bunker near Balaklava

Trench

German Equipment on Sapun Ridge

We were lucky enough to see a re-enactment of the assault on the Sapun Ridge. The pictures below were taken at this extremely well attended event. Like everywhere else in the old Soviet Union countries, veterans are venerated and many old soldiers were present for these celebratory events.

Sapun Ridge Sapun Ridge

The 'Deutsche Soldatenfriedhofe' on the Sevastopol - Gontscharnoje Road is relatively new. 11,000 fallen axis soldiers are buried there with 3,870 interred in the last 12 months.

German Cemetery German Mem Ger Cem

Deutsche Soldatenfriedhofe 1941 - 1945

Rus Mem Rus Mem

The Russian Memorial in Sevastopol

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