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Click here to view this topic in its original format Forum > Romania in World War II 1941-1945 > 44. On the Peaks of the Caucasus

Posted by: dragos June 03, 2004 07:52 pm
by Petre Otu

The participation of the Romanian big units in the operations in the Caucasus towards the latter half of 1942 was a consequence of carrying into effect of the campaign plans made by the German Command for that period. In summer 1942, Hitler contemplated a wide-scale offensive in Southern Russia with the goal of reaching the Volga and the Caucasus to seize the rich oil fields in that area. On July 23, 1942 Hitler issued the Guideline No.45 establishing the missions of the "A" Army Group (commanded by Feldmarshal von List) which was to wage war in the Caucasus: to advance south of Rostov, to encircle and crush the Soviet troops in the area; to occupy the eastern shore of the Black Sea; to launch a powerful attack along the littoral of the Caspian Sea; to take hold of the Baku oil-producing centre.

The "A" Army Group included the 1st Armoured Force commanded by General Richard Ruoff and the 7th Army commanded by General Ewald von Kleist. The "A" Army Group assumed the offensive on July 25, 1942 and succeeded in making a wide breach through the Russian defence on the Lower Don. The German troops channelled the offensive effort on two directions: Krasnodar-Tuaps and Mosdok-Groznyi-Baku, where the 7th and the 1st Armies were commited to battle. The quick advance of the German big units widened the battlefront of the "A" Army Group from the initial width of 150 km along the Mius river to 700 km which required the covering of the right flank, towards the eastem coast of the Black Sea. This mission was entrusted on the 3rd Romanian Army commanded by Army Corps General Petre Dumitrescu, with the command post in Mariupol, waiting for the other big units that were to engage in battle in the Don River's Bend.

Initially (August 1-6, 1941), the 3rd Army included the I Army Corps .(the 2nd Mountain Division with the 29th German Infantry Division) and the Cavalry Corps (the 5th, 6th and 9th Cavalry Divisions). It was subordinated to the 7th German Army which also comprised the V German Army Corps (the 9th, 73rd, 125th and 198th Infantry Divisions) and for a shorter while the XLIX German Army Corps (the 4th Romanian Mountain Division, the 73rd and 298th German Infantry Divisions). Starting from August 7, 1942, the 3rd Army included the Cavalry Corps alone, commanded by General Mihail Racovită.

Till August 9, the division of the Corps pursued the Soviet forces and crushed on the run their rearguard resistance. On August 9, the 8th Regiment of the 5th Cavalry Division seized the Jeisk bridge, a very important target for gaining control over the Azov Sea. During the next two days, August 10 and 11, the Protoka Canal was crossed and the town of Slavianska was seized. The latter also was very important as it decided the fate of the Taman Peninsula and opened the way to Temrink, Varenikovskaia and Anapa harbours. During that stage, quite remarkable were the huge distances that the large units covered in march, that is 550 kms in 11 days, with a daily average of 50 km. Between August 16-20 the Cavalry Corps crossed the Kurka Canal and then engaged the battles for seizing the town of Temrink. The town was conquered on August 23 by the troops of the 6th Cavalry Division.

Anapa harbour was seized in the morning of August 31 by the units of the 9th Cavalry Division, which was compelled to liquidate the resistance put up by partisans sheltered in houses, gardens etc.

Starting from the night of August 30-31, 1942 the 6th Cavalry Division, headed south of the Kuban river, and deployed along the Staraja Kuban river, near by the Taman Peninsula. The attack for seizing this target began on September 2, and lasted till September 4. The taking of Taman Peninsula was a very important operation as it opened the way for the forces in Crimea through the Kerci (Kertch) straits.

Until the half of September the Romanian divisions penetrated deep into the Caucasus. They occupied a large part of the eastern shore of the Black Sea, seizing Jeisk, Temrink, Anapa harbours, Novorossyisk and a part of the Taman Peninsula. Yet, because of the mountain wooded terrain, the powerful Soviet resistance, the great length of the frontline and the reduced forces at disposal, the Romanian big units were reassigned, reorganized and entrusted with new missions. When the situation in Stalingrad, worsened, the 3rd Army was ordered to retum to Rostov, to take charge of the front on the Don. The 5th Cavalry Division was replaced by the 19th Infantry Division. The Cavalry Corps (the 6th, 9th Cavalry, 19th Infantry Division) together with the 10th Infantry Division and the 3rd Mountain Division were included in the V German Army Corps (commanded by Major General Wetsel), which also had in its subordination the 9th German Infantry Division. During September-December 1942, the mission of of this big unit was the covering of the Krasnodar-Krymskaja road and railway, the only link for the German-Romanian forces fighting in Central Caucasus and on the Pontic litoral from Taman to Novorossyisk. The combat operations in autumn and winter of 1942 took the shape of a war of attrition, with many attacks, counter attacks, inroads etc on both sides.

In order to carry out their missions, the Romanian big units were compelled to deploy over wide defence sectors, disproportionate with their combat power and the available material. On December 1, 1942 they amounted to the following: the 3rd Mountain Division 15 km, the 19th Infantry Divison - 24 km, the 6th Cavalry Divison - 24 km, the 9th Cavalry Division - 30 km. The lack of reserves, the rough, mountainous and wooded terrain, the weather conditions and the attacks of the Soviet forces were elements that hindered the action of the Romanian forces. Beside, a serious drawback was the small number of NCOs: the 19th Infantry Divison had only 70 per cent of the necessary, the 6th Infantry Divison - 40 percent, the 9th Cavalry Divison - 50 percent, the 3rd Mountain Divison - 60 percent. Moreover, the large units in the Caucasus did not benefit by rehabilitation; all the time since August they fought in the first echelon, a fact which was reflected by the losses they sustained. Between August 1 - December 24, the Cavalry Corps lost 301 officers, 121 NCOs and 6,719 men (dead, wounded, missing, ill).

The participation of the Romanian big units in the operations in the Caucasus contained several stages. In early September the combat action had a marked offensive character and in their advance the units reached the northem slopes of the Caucasus and the areas south of the Kuban river. Towards the end of 1942 the front was relatively stabilized and the Romanian and German big units gave up their offensive goals and tried to improve their positions. On January 16, 1943 the Soviet Command started the offensive and the Romanian and German division put up the resistance on succesive positions, up to the entrance to the bridgehead of Kuban. Throughout all these stages the conduct of the Romanian military was brave, a fact repeatedly emphasized by the German commanders who had Romanian units in their subordination and confirmed by the reports, inspections and controls of the Romanian General Headquarters, together with other testimonies. Romanian art of war recorded a significant page, as Romanian elite big units fought in the area of the Caucasus.

Posted by: Petre November 26, 2015 06:12 pm
Sept. 1942. Romanian troops landing in Taman peninsula ( ! )

Posted by: Petre November 28, 2015 07:32 pm
Operation Blücher

In 1942, after Crimea fall, Operation Blücher was intended as a five-division attack from the Crimean Peninsula across the Kerch Straits into the Caucasus, as part of Operation Blau. Hitler asked to pass all 11.Army in Taman Peninsula. That was not possible. Later 11.Army left for Leningrad and other places...
On 31 Aug.1942 Taman was separate from Kuban by the Axis troops.
A new plan was quickly prepared, to transfer by sea the existing forces of Crimea Group (?) on the northen coast of Taman (Azov Sea), the Operation Blücher II.
Involved units : the main forces of 46.I.D.(ge) and 19. I.D.(ro), with 3.Mt.Div.(ro) as reserve. All existing german floating means in the area, MFP landing barges, „Siebel” pontoons, landing boats, also S-boats. (konteradmiral Scheurlen detachement).
German sources stated they landed 46.ID and 3.Mt.D. The actions started with an attac from the east of 5. and 6.Cav.Div.(ro). On sept.2 46.ID landed on the northen coast and 3.Mt.Div. landed on the west coast of Taman Peninsula. Important actions were carried out by special forces of the „Brandenburg” Regiment.
Anyway, 19.ID and other units passed across the Kerch Strait to Caucasus in september 1942.

Posted by: Petre December 09, 2015 05:55 pm
Found with Google.
War diary : German Naval Staff Operations Division
Publisher - Washington D.C. : Office of Naval Intelligence, 1948

1 Sep. 1942
The Permanent Representative of the Commander in Chief Navy at the Fuehrer Headquarters reported on 31 Aug : The Rumanian Mountain Division which is to be ferried across the Kerch Strait is urgently needed for our further advance in the mountains. Since the division will proceed on foot on the eastern bank, it does not need to disembark in a harbor if a landing somewhere on the coast is possible.
2 Sep. 1942
Operation Bluecher II was initiated on the evening of 1 Sep. as scheduled. The landing on the enemy coast has been in progress since 2 Sep. 02.00 according to plan, and thus far without casualties.
In spite of beginning bad weather, landings on the Taman Peninsula were made after 02.00 of 2 Sep. according to the plans outlined for operation Bluecher II. 3 assault detachments were disembarked and took several villages south and southwest of the landing places by surprise; they were supported by fire from the battle ferries. Around 1500 the northern part of the peninsula was in our hands. Also, the landing on the point southwest of Tamanskaya Bay succeeded as planned. The central part of the island was occupied where it is 1.5 km wide.
Rumanian cavalry divisions advanced on the hills southwest of Temryuk. From Anapa the attack was carried south and southeast along the coastal road.
3 Sep. 1942
The 46th Infantry Division completed the occupation of the peninsula north of Taman Bay including the point, and is now advancing to the south. Rumanian forces are advancing north of the lagoon of Kiziltash. The bulk of the Rumanian Corps and units of the V Army Corps are attacking Novorossisk ...
6 Sep. 1942
The port city of Novorossisk was captured at 18.30 by German and Rumanian forces.
7 Sep. 1942
The ferrying of the 3rd Rumanian Mountain Division to the Taman Peninsula is progressing according to plan. German forces are mopping up town and outskirts of Novorossisk ...
9 Sep. 1942
Up to and including 8 Sept. the Kerch Strait had been crossed by 8,400 men, 3,470 horses, and 936 vehicles. The ferrying of the 3rd Rumanian Mountain Division will probably be completed by the afternoon of 10 Sep. Operations Staff Scheurlen was dissolved and has left.

Posted by: Florin December 16, 2015 01:47 am
The conquest of Nalchik by the Romanian 2nd Mountain Division on November 19, 1942 was not only the furthest advance point of any Axis unit on the Eastern Front, but also the last battle successful for Axis in 1942, and the last gasp of all that Axis attempt to end the war in the East in 1942.

I guess that nobody cares, but anyway . . . my grandfather was there !

Posted by: Petre March 10, 2016 05:18 pm
Source - Net :

În aug.1942 trupele germane au ocupat oraşul (Stavropol) (nordul Caucazului). În rândul trupelor se aflau Mari Unităţi ale Armatei 3 române. Românii, adepţi ai învăţăturii lui Christos, au hotărât să fie reluate slujbele în catedrala Andrei Pervozvanîi (Întâiul Chemat). În biserica eliberată de hârţoage (depozit şi arhivă) au adus de la Secţia Ateism a Muzeului regional Stavropol icoane ce au aparţinut catedralelor şi bisericilor din Stavropol, obiecte sfinte de cult, steaguri bisericeşti (prapori) şi veşminte preoţeşti (odăjdii). Slujbele pentru populaţie au început să fie ţinute şi de preoţi ruşi.
După ce biserica a fost redată credincioşilor, n-a mai fost închisă. După câtăva vreme la catedrală a fost refăcut turnul clopotniţei...

Added 20.10
Biserica Sf.Andrei a renăscut în 1942 şi a primit chiar rang de catedrală în Sub-Caucaz. Ofiţerii ortodocşi români împreună cu germanii care ocupau Stavropol au venit în ajutorul fraţilor întru credinţă. La refacerea catedralei ei au donat peste patru mii de ruble - bani mulţi pentu acele vremuri. Reprezentantul conducerii temporare a bisericii, ca răspuns la darul primit, a promis că numele donatorilor va fi trecut pe o placă memorială. A fost prezentat comandamentului român o scrisoare de mulţumire în cinstea Regelui Mihai I şi o icoană a arhanghelui Mihail. Iar la 15 nov.1942 la slujba ân aer liber pentru slujba catedralei Sf. Andrei, reprezentantul comandamentului român de la Stavropol i-a înmânat stareţului bisericii un dar de la Patriarhul român Nikodim - tămâie cu mir, pentru taina botezului creştin. Ca răspuns li s-au dat românilor nişte cruci de argint realizate artistic.

Posted by: Petre May 24, 2016 08:27 am : A Miraculous Icon from the Crimea brought by Cossack rally - religious procession to the Caucasus

O icoană făcătoare de minuni reprezentând pe Ioan Războinicul şi pe Marele Mucenic Hikita, cu o istorie mai neobişnuită, legată de Osetia şi Crimeea, a fost adusă în Caucaz de cazacii crimeeni cu ocazia unui pelerinaj auto.
În anul 2012 cu ajutorul bisericii Sf. Nicolae din Zuia (Crimeea) a fost regăsită o icoană cu Ioan Războinicul şi Marele Mucenic Nikita. În anii Marelui Război Patriotic aceasta a fost adusă în dar bisericii de militarii românii creştini, trimişi de dictatorul Antonescu să moară pe pământ rusesc. Românii au scos icoana dintr-o biserică în flăcări în Osetia de Nord şi s-au retras cu ea în Crimeea. După război icoana dispăruse şi a fost regăsită în zilele noastre. Povestea a fost spusă în 2014 la o întâlnire cu veteranii de război … Atamanul de cazaci V.Sidenko a spus că icoana s-a dovedit făcătoare de minuni şi i se spune în popor "cazacă".

( … ) Stareţul bisericii Sf. Nicolae Făcătorul de minuni (Nicolae de Mira), părintele Serghi a mai spus că în vremea Marelui Război, în anul 1943, pe când satul Zuia era ocupat de trupe române, a fost deschisă din nou biserica Sf. Nicolae şi atunci ofiţerii armatei române au dăruit-o cu icoana lui Anika Oşteanul, salvată de ei dintr-o biserică ortodoxă din Caucazul de Nord, arsă de hitlerişti, reprezentând pe Sf. Ioan Războinicul şi Sf. Mare Mucenic Nikita, pe spatele căreia s-a păstrat până azi o însemnare scrisă cu creionul, cu semnătura unui ofiţer român şi a ieromonahului Inochentie : «Această icoană a fost adusă din Caucaz la Biserica Sf. Nicolae din Zuia de ofiţeri ai armatei române, în Duminica Ortodoxiei. III 1943.»

Ioan Războinicul - sfânt cu origini slave, numit în popor Anika Oşteanul

Posted by: Petre October 23, 2016 12:58 pm
Source, NET :

Biserica grecească „Buna Vestire” (veche) de la Rostov-pe-Don a fost construită 1907-1909 de comunitatea greacă… În anii 30 biserica a fost închisă şi cedată unei şcoli tehnice.
În vremea ocupaţiei germane a Rostovului biserica a fost deschisă din nou. La 6 nov.1942 în apropiere de biserica grecească „Buna Vestire” a avut loc o paradă militară a trupelor române, dedicată zilei de naştere a regelui Mihai I. La eveniment au asistat ofiţerii germani. După paradă s-a ţinut o liturghie solemnă în biserica „Buna Vestire”.
În anul 1959 biserica a fost închisă definitiv.

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