Operation Trappenjagt. 8 to 19 May 1942.

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by davebender, May 11, 2014.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    A huge Germany victory that I doubt many people have heard of.

    Setting.
    Soviet Crimean Front located on Kerch Peninsula (eastern portion of Crimea).
    259,622 soldiers.
    347 tanks.
    3,577 guns and mortars.
    400 aircraft.
    .....Crammed into an area 18km across by 75km deep.

    February through April 1942.
    A series of Soviet offensives designed to lift siege of Sevastopol. German Gen Manstein's 11th Army could spare only two army corps (from Sevastopol siege) to block the Soviet offensives. By the end of April 1942 Soviet Crimean Front had little to show for their efforts except 226,370 casualties. Crimea Front received a constant flow of replacements so troop strength was still roughly 200,000 at beginning of May 1942.

    8 to 19 May 1942. Operation Trappenjagt.
    German 11th Army riposte which destroyed Crimean Front.
    7,588 German casualties.
    German sources record approximately 170,000 Soviet POWs.
    Soviet dead unknown but quite a few must have perished attempting to swim across Kerch Strait under German fire.

    More setting.
    Soviet Kharkov offensive 12 to 29 May 1942.
    This offensive prevented German Army Group South and Army Group von Kleist from sending reinforcements to Crimea. Furthermore much of Gen. Manstein's air support was diverted to Kharkov beginning 12 May 1942.
     
  2. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #2 parsifal, May 11, 2014
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
    Your a little out with the casualty rates

    For the operations of clearing Kerch, In 12 days, the VVS Crimean Front had lost 417 aircraft (but this is for the entire front, not just over Kerch) . The Luftwaffe assisted the final defeat of Soviet ground forces on 20 May, when Kerch finally fell. Some 116,045 Soviet soldiers were evacuated by sea. However, 162,282 were left behind, killed or captured. Around half were already dead by the time the battle was over. particulalry successful was the air support provided Richthofens air corps. The Germans claimed to have taken 170,000 prisoners, but this number included a large number of civilians. Large numbers of Soviet soldiers had died from drowning at sea, which gives a valuable clue as to ehere most of the attacking was happening. German casualties amounted to only 3,397 casualties in XXX and XLII Corps, including 600 dead. Total Axis deaths amounted to about 9000, of which about 7700 were german. They expended 6,230 short tons (5,650 t) of ammunition, losing nine artillery pieces, three assault guns and eight tanks. In exchange, von Manstein had destroyed three Soviet armies. Although forced to return some Luftwaffe units and the 22nd Panzer Division for Operation Blue, he could now concentrate his forces for an attack on Sevastopol.

    For the overall Crimean campaign (not including this part), actual losses for the whole campaign of 1941 to 1942 in the crimea were as follows

    German casualties:
    25.119 killed or missing,
    92.503 wounded
    Romanian casualties: 8,454
    1,597 killed
    6,571 wounded
    277 missing
    Total Axis casualties: 126,076

    Soviet casualties

    95,000 captured (two-thirds wounded)
    5,000 wounded
    at least 18,000 killed

    Forces committed (6 June figures)

    203,800 (German), approximately 60000 Rumanians

    118,000 Soviets

    In a word, the overall campaign was more expensive than taking one piece and looking just at that piece.

    Since the beginning of Barbarossa, the offensive against the USSR had not really addressed the Crimea as an objective. German planners assumed the area would be captured in mopping-up operations once the bulk of the Red Army was destroyed west of the Dnieper river. But in June, attacks by Soviet aircraft from the Crimea against Romania's oil refineries destroyed 11,000 tons of oil. Hitler described the area as a "floating aircraft carrier" and ordered the conquest of Ukraine and Crimea as vital targets in the Directive 33, dated 23 July 1941.

    OKH then issued orders that the Crimea was to be taken as soon as possible to prevent attacks on Romanian oil supplies, vital to the German military. Hitler, impatient with obstruction to his commands to advance in the south, repeated on 12 August his desire that the Crimea be taken immediately. Over a month later, during the capture of Kiev, Generaloberst Erich von Manstein was given command of the German 11th Army on 17 September. After only a week in command, he launched an assault upon the Crimea. After severe fighting, von Manstein defeated several Soviet counteroffensives and destroyed two Soviet armies. By 16 November, von Manstein had cleared the region, capturing its capital Simferopol, on 1 November. The fall of Kerch on 16 November left only Sevastopol in Soviet hands (soviets then staged a landing, which ended up in the abovementioned assault).

    Fortunately for the Soviets, by the end of October 1941, Major-General Ivan Yefimovich Petrov's Independent Coastal Army, numbering 32,000 men, had arrived at Sevastopol by sea from Odessa further west, it having been evacuated after heavy fighting. Petrov set about fortifying the inland approaches to Sevastopol. He aimed to halt the Axis drive on the port by creating three defence lines inland, the outermost arc being 16 km (10 mi) from the port itself. Soviet forces, including the Soviet 51st Army and elements of the Black Sea Fleet, were defeated in the Crimea in October and were evacuated in December, leaving Petrov's force as Sevastopol's main defence force. Having cleared the rest of the Crimea between 26 September – 16 November, the Romanian 3rd Army and German 11th Army prepared for an attack on the port. The German 11 Army was the weakest army sized formation on the entire front, initially containing only seven infantry divisions. The Romanians contributed a large force, and undertook the majority of the fighting at this time, rather well actually but were poorly trained and led, and only lightly equipped. The weather turned against the Axis in mid-October and torrential downpours delayed the build up. This gave Vice Admiral Filipp Oktyabrsky, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, time to bring in men and materiel from Novorossiysk. By 17 December, the weather had cleared sufficiently for the Axis to begin a major operation.

    The German 11th Army, besieged Sevastopol. At the time of the final assault in June 1942, 11th Army consisted of nine German infantry divisions in two Corps, and one Romanian Corps. Significant support was given by the Luftwaffe. The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe dispatched Luftflotte 4's (Air Fleet 4) VIII. Fliegerkorps (8th Air Corps) for support. It consisted of nine Geschwader (Wings) containing 600 aircraft, all coming under the command of Generaloberst (General Colonel) Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen. Among this contingent was a powerful concentration of medium bomber, dive bomber, and torpedo bomber Geschwader. Naval support came from the Italian 101st Squadron under Francesco Mimbelli. It consisted of four motor torpedo boats, five explosive motorboats, six CB class midget submarines, and a number of 35-ton coastal submarines and MAS boats. This force was the only Axis naval force deployed during the siege. Although Bulgaria was not technically at war with the Soviet Union, its naval staff worked closely with the Germans, and despite not being committed to combat, they provided bases for the Axis naval command (Admiral Schwarzes Meer, Admiral of the Black Sea) to operate in the Black Sea waters.

    The Axis order of battle (incomplete):

    German 11th Army
    306th Army Artillery Command[13] Elements 672nd Artillery Battalion—one Schwerer Gustav Dora, 833rd Heavy Mortar Battalion—two Karl-Gerät, 688th Railroad Artillery Battery—three 28 cm lg.Br.K, 458th Heavy Artillery Battery—one 42 cm Haubitze(t), 459th Heavy Artillery Battery—one 42 cm Gamma Mörser
    741st, 742nd, and 743rd Artillery Battalions—four 28 cm Hb. each, 744th Artillery Battalion—two 28 cm Küst.Hb., 624th Heavy Artillery Battalion—six 30.5 cm Mrs. and nine 21 cm Mrs., 641st Heavy Artillery Battalion—four 30.5 cm Mrs. and one 35.5 cm Haubitze M1, 815th Heavy Artillery Battalion—six 30.5 cm Mrs.,
    German LIV Corps
    22nd Infantry Division, 24th Infantry Division, 50th Infantry Division, 132nd Infantry Division

    German XXX Corps
    28th Light Division, 72nd Infantry Division, 170th Infantry Division,

    LuftwaffeLuftflotte 4 VIII. Fliegerkorps Lehrgeschwader 1
    Kampfgeschwader 26, Kampfgeschwader 51, Kampfgeschwader 55, Kampfgeschwader 76, Kampfgeschwader 100, Sturzkampfgeschwader 77, Jagdgeschwader 77
    Jagdgeschwader 3, Jagdgeschwader 52, (around 600 aircraft)

    Romanian Army Romanian Mountain Corps
    1st Mountain Division, 4th Mountain Division, 18th Infantry Division

    Italian Regia Marina 101st Naval Squadron

    Soviet defences were built around

    The defence of Sevastopol was provided mainly by the Black Sea Fleet and the Separate Coastal Army under Ivan Yefimovich Petrov (which had been shipped in from the Siege of Odessa). The Black Sea Fleet sent 49,372 personnel to fight as infantry. Most were not trained for ground combat, and the act was an ad hoc emergency measure. The naval brigades formed had four to six battalions of 4,000 men, allowing them to absorb significant losses. These forces were well armed, having a variety of artillery and mortar battalions. Almost 20 percent of the Coastal Army were naval personnel. In the Separate Coastal Army, the strongest divisions were the 95th, 109th, 172nd, and 388th Rifle Divisions. They each had around 7,000 soldiers, the rest of the Red Army units having around 5,000 personnel. Some 5,000 reinforcements made it into Sevastopol in May 1942. However, Petrov's army lacked tanks and anti-aircraft guns. The garrison also lacked food supplies and mortar ammunition, which would severely sap Soviet strength. Poor communications between headquarters and the front lines were also an issue. Petrov found it difficult to respond to Axis attacks quickly.

    Red Army: Coastal Batteries 12 battalions
    3 batteries
    Defence Sector I
    109th Rifle Division, 388th Rifle Division

    Defence Sector II
    386th Rifle Division, 7th Naval Infantry Brigade

    Defence Sector III
    25th Rifle Division, 345th Rifle Division, 8th Naval Infantry Brigade, 79th Naval Infantry Brigade

    Defence Sector IV 95th Rifle Division
    172nd Rifle Division

    Red Air Force and Soviet Naval Aviation:
    3rd Special Aviation Group, 6th Guards Naval Fighter Regiment, 9th Naval Fighter Regiment, 247th Fighter Regiment, 18th Ground Attack Regiment, 23rd Aviation Regiment, 32nd Guards Fighter Regiment, 116th Maritime Reconnaissance Regiment
    (about 250 aircraft)

    Soviet Black Sea Fleet:
    One battleship, Two heavy cruisers, One Light Cruiser, Two Flotilla Leaders, Six Destroyers, Nine Minesweepers, One Guardship, 24 Submarines

    Fighting for the peninsula was drawn out, bloddy and overall, cost the Germans and their allies a considerable proice in lives and treasure to overcome. Soviet performance in this battle was rather good actually
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    My source is David Glantz. Specifically "To The Gates of Stalingrad".

    What's your source for casualty rates?
     
  4. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Bergstrom and Hayward as well as Hardesty

    Relying solely on glantz tells me a lot. He is famous for overstating Soviet casualties, and understating German casualties
     
  5. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    That sounds vaguely familiar... Good info on a not so well known campaign, guys.
     
  6. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    This claim of Glantz is totaly new to me!
    He is the man which has fully access to both sides archives (Russian and German/Axis)
    His books are today the standard work (worldwide)about the East campaign.
     
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