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Seventy-eight years ago, on July 4, 1942, the heroic 250-day defense of Sevastopol from the Nazi invaders ended.
The fighting of the Black Sea Fleet, the Primorsky Army and the population of the city in the defense of the main naval base of Sevastopol from October 30, 1941 to July 2, 1942 is an important stage in the struggle of Soviet troops for the Crimea during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
Sevastopol was among the first cities of the USSR on the first day of the Great Patriotic War on June 22, 1941 at 03:15 was attacked by fascist aircraft.
By the beginning of the war, the city was prepared for defense only from the sea and air. On July 4, 1941, the construction of three land lines (forward, main, rear) began, and by the time the enemy reached the near approaches to the city on October 30, it had not been completed.
On October 29, 1941, a state of siege was introduced in Sevastopol.
The garrison of Sevastopol numbered about 21 thousand people and had about 150 guns and mortars. The troops of the 11th German Army under the command of Colonel General Erich Manstein, which consisted of over 200 thousand people, 450 tanks, over 2 thousand guns and mortars, 600 aircraft, broke through Perekop on October 20, hoping to capture the city on the move, but received a rebuff.
October 30 - November 9, the garrison of Sevastopol had to repel enemy attacks on its own. The main forces of the fleet were in Sevastopol, consisting of one battleship, five cruisers, 11 destroyers, 16 submarines, most of which went to the bases of the Caucasus on October 31.
On November 4, 1941, the ground and naval forces that defended the city were united into the Sevastopol Defensive Region (SOR), which on November 9 included the Primorsky Army, which numbered up to 50 thousand people, 170 guns and 90-100 aircraft. Major General Ivan Petrov was appointed army commander, and from November 19 - Vice Admiral Philip Oktyabrsky.
On November 5, fierce battles unfolded in the central sector of the advanced defensive line. For 4 days, the Soviet army repelled continuous attacks by numerically superior Nazi troops supported by aviation. On November 9, the Nazis were forced to stop the offensive and pause to bring up new forces and regroup troops.
After the failure to take the city on the move, the fascist German command carried out three attacks on the city - on November 11, December 17, 1941 and June 7, 1942.
November 11 began the first assault on the city. Despite the superiority in manpower, artillery and tanks, the German army managed to wedge into the advanced defensive zone in only two areas: in the direction of Duvankoy for three to four kilometers and Mekenzia for one or two kilometers. Due to the significant losses of the 11th Army on November 21, the Germans suspended the attack on Sevastopol until mid-December.
The Soviet command used this time to strengthen the defense. The SOR troops were replenished with marching units. The composition of the Primorsky Army was brought up to five divisions, two brigades of marines and two separate rifle regiments. Due to the guns taken from the ships of the Black Sea Fleet, eight additional stationary batteries were built.
The German command also strengthened its troops. For the second offensive, it had seven infantry divisions and two mountain rifle brigades, about 1.3 thousand guns and mortars, over 150 tanks and up to 300 aircraft. To destroy the fortifications and fight against coastal batteries, several batteries of heavy artillery, including 360-mm caliber guns, were brought up. The fascist German troops had a significant superiority in men and equipment. The idea to capture Sevastopol was to simultaneously deliver a series of strikes in several directions.
The second offensive of the Nazi troops began at dawn on December 17th. The main blow was delivered by four infantry divisions from the Duvankoy area along the Belbek River to the northeastern tip of the Severnaya Bay, a distracting blow was delivered by two infantry divisions and a mountain rifle brigade from the area southeast of Chorgun along the Chernaya River to Inkerman. In the area of the Mekenziev Mountains, the enemy wedged into the location of the Soviet troops and created the threat of a breakthrough to the Northern Bay. The Headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief reinforced the SOR troops with an infantry division, a marine brigade and several marching battalions. With the support of the fleet and aviation, the troops of the SOR launched a counterattack on December 22 and restored the situation in the main direction. By the end of December, the fascist troops captured the Mekenzievy Gory platform, but they failed to reach the Northern Bay.
The Kerch-Feodosiya landing operation (1941-1942), which began on December 26 and forced the Nazi command to withdraw part of its forces from Sevastopol and on December 31 to stop the offensive, played an important role in repelling the enemy offensive. On January 1-4, the Soviet troops with counterattacks forced the enemy to retreat to their original positions almost everywhere.
In May 1942, as a result of the abandonment of the Kerch Peninsula by the Soviet troops and the failure of the Kharkov offensive operation, the situation in Sevastopol deteriorated sharply. On May 21, the Nazis began an air and artillery bombardment of the city, artillery positions and rear areas, and on June 2 they switched to powerful artillery and aviation preparations for the offensive, which lasted five days. At the same time, the Nazi troops strengthened the blockade of Sevastopol from the sea. They concentrated 10 infantry divisions (of which three are Romanian), one motorized brigade and three regiments, totaling over 200 thousand people, including 175 thousand combat personnel, 450 tanks, 1325 guns, 720 mortars, 1060 aircraft. The SOR had seven rifle divisions (50% equipped, except for one), four brigades and three regiments of marines, which amounted to 106 thousand people, including 82 thousand combat personnel, 38 tanks, 606 guns, 918 mortars, 116 aircraft .
On June 7, the fascist German troops went on the offensive, inflicting the main blow from the north and northeast on the Mekenziev mountains with the aim of reaching the Severnaya Bay and auxiliary ones on Sapun Mountain and Balaklava. German aviation made 800-1000 sorties daily, dropping 4-4.5 thousand bombs. The defenders of Sevastopol heroically defended their positions to the last opportunity. Only when there were no combat-ready defenders and ammunition left in the defensive positions, the enemy managed to occupy them. Some assistance was provided by the 138th Rifle Brigade, deployed on June 13 on destroyers.
On June 18, at the cost of heavy losses, the Nazis managed to break through to the coast of the Northern Bay. The small garrisons of the 30th coastal defense battery, the Northern fortifications, engineering piers, Mikhailovsky and Konstantinovsky ravelins that remained on the North side heroically defended themselves until June 22-24. The forces of the defenders were melting, ammunition was running out.
In connection with the reduction of the dark time of the day and the dominance of enemy aircraft, the supply of Sevastopol on surface ships became extremely difficult, and after the capture of the North Side by the enemy, it became impossible. On June 17, the last Bialystok transport arrived in Sevastopol. On June 26, the last of the large surface ships, the leader of the Tashkent, broke through the blockade. The supply of supplies by submarines and aircraft did not satisfy the needs of the defense. By the end of June, 300-400 people remained in divisions, and 200 combat personnel in brigades.
On the night of June 29, the Nazis crossed the Northern Bay and on the same day captured Sapungora. On June 30, fascist German troops broke into the Ship Side, where stubborn battles for Malakhov Kurgan went on all day. The rest of the units retreated in separate groups to the Chersonese peninsula.
On the night of July 1, permission was received from the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command for the evacuation.
Organized resistance and evacuation of the city's defenders continued until July 2, 1942. The defenders of Sevastopol continued to fight heroically on the Khersones Peninsula in the area of the 35th coastal defense battery until July 4th. Of the troops remaining in Sevastopol, only a few groups managed to fight their way into the mountains to the partisans.
An important role in the defense of Sevastopol was played by the inhabitants, who participated in the construction of fortifications, made weapons and ammunition for the front, and provided assistance to the wounded. Over 15,000 Sevastopol residents joined the people's militia.
In the struggle for Sevastopol, the enemy lost up to 300 thousand people, the irretrievable losses of the Soviet troops amounted to about 157 thousand people.
The soldiers of the Primorsky Army and the sailors of the Black Sea Fleet showed mass heroism and stamina. 37 people were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
On December 22, 1942, the medal "For the Defense of Sevastopol" was established to commemorate the feat of Sevastopol, which was awarded to over 50 thousand people.
In 2014, the Memorial to the Defenders of the Fatherland, who fell and went missing during the liberation of Sevastopol during the Great Patriotic War, was opened in the Victory Park in Sevastopol.
On May 8, 2015, a memorial stele dedicated to the heroes of the defense and liberation of Sevastopol was unveiled in the city Victory Park.