Caucasus campaign file photo

Caucasus Campaign

23 Jul 1942 - 9 Oct 1943

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

On 25 Jul 1942, German troops captured Rostov-on-Don, Russia, opening the Caucasus region of southern Soviet Union, and the oil fields beyond at Maikop, Grozny, and ultimately Baku, to the Germans. Two days prior, Adolf Hitler issued a directive to launch such an operation into the Caucasus region, to be named Operation Edelweiß. Field Marshal Wilhelm List was placed in charge of this operation as the commanding officer of Army Group A. Under him were General Paul von Kleist's German 1st Panzer Army, Colonel-General Hermann Hoth's German 4th Panzer Army, Colonel-General Richard Ruoff's German 17th Army, General Petre Dumitrescu's Romanian 3rd Army, and Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen's German Luftflotte 4. On 28 Jul, as the Germans began to advance into the region, Joseph Stalin formed the new North Caucasus Front and placed it under Marshal Semyon Budyonny. On 9 Aug, after the Germans had continuously pushed back Soviet defenses, the Germans captured Maikop, Russia, the Germans' first major objective. Further advances, however, proved to be more difficult for the Germans, and the momentum slowed. Black Sea port city Novorossiysk was not captured until 6 Sep. Displeased, Hitler took personal command of Army Group A on 10 Sep. Even the personal intervention by Hitler, however, did not resolve the logistical issues caused by the long supply lines, especially as Hitler was obsessed with the conquest of the city of Stalingrad. By 4 Nov, all offensives in the region were suspended, and some of Army Group A's units were transferred out of the region to join the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad. On 29 Nov, the Soviets took on the offensive; although this offensive was to halted, it clearly hinted at the turning of the tide, if it was not already clear. By the end of the 1942, Hitler would recognize that the situation in the region was becoming dangerous. In early Jan 1943, Hitler ordered Army Group A to withdraw toward the Taman Peninsula to the northwest, where he hoped a new offensive could be mounted in the future.

On 4 Apr 1943, the Soviet forces launched the Taman Offensive Operation in an attempt to push the Germans out of the Taman Peninsula, but the Germans generally stopped this effort. Meanwhile, limited attacks were launched out of Novorossiysk by the German 17th Army in mid-Apr 1943, but like the Soviet attacks they achieved little. Although fighting would persist for the subsequent months, the front lines remained generally the same until Sep.

On 7 Sep, the German 17th Army began to evacuate from the region. On 10 Sep 1943, Soviet forces launched Novorossiysk-Taman Strategic Offensive Operation and Novorossiysk Amphibious Operation (sometimes collectively called the Second Taman Offensive Operation). By 9 Oct, the Germans evacuated the Kuban region, thus ending the campaign in the Caucasus region.

Source: Wikipedia

Caucasus Campaign Timeline

19 Jun 1942 After a staff officer from 23.Panzer Division was shot down carrying complete plans for an offensive in the Caucasus, the commander and chief of staff of German XL Korps were imprisoned on Adolf Hitler's order. The offensive would be launched with no changes to the plan.
22 Jun 1942 German forces launched Operation Fridericus II near Kharkov, Ukraine in preparation for Unternehmen Blau.
28 Jun 1942 Unternehmen Blau, the German summer offensive, began; 3 armies and 11 armored divisions began driving towards the Caucasus Mountains.
29 Jun 1942 German 4th Panzer Army threatened to surround the Soviet 40th Army as the Germans advanced toward Voronezh in southern Russia; 1,000 Soviet tanks were released from the reserves to reinforce the defense.
30 Jun 1942 The Soviet 40th Army was trapped by German 4th Panzer Army and German 6th Army in southern Russia.
1 Jul 1942 German 4th Panzer Army advanced toward Voronezh, Russia.
3 Jul 1942 German 4th Panzer Army crossed the Don River near Voronezh, Russia.
4 Jul 1942 While the Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army was moved to Voronezh, Russia to aid the city's defense, Adolf Hilter diverted the German 6th Army toward Stalingrad.
5 Jul 1942 Units of the German 4.Panzerarmee reached the Don River above and below Voronezh, Russia. In Ukraine, Soviet resistance in the Crimea region ended.
6 Jul 1942 German 4th Panzer Army reached the outskirts of Voronezh, Russia and German 6th Army reached Ostrogozhsky 70 miles south of Voronezh, making the Soviets realize that the Germans were heading Caucasus region to the south rather than Moscow to the north. Joseph Stalin ordered Voronezh to be held at all costs in order to main control of the rail network linking the Caucasus region with the areas to the north. Stalin also allowed Semyon Timoshenko to withdraw east of the Don River.
7 Jul 1942 As units of the German 4.Panzerarmee entered Voronezh, Russia, the Soviet Stavka created the Voronezh Front under General Konstantin Rokossovsky to fill the gap between the Southwest Front and the Bryansk Front. Elsewhere, the German Armeegruppe A began its drive to the Donets Basin in eastern Ukraine.
8 Jul 1942 In southern Russia and Ukraine, 4.Panzearmee began to push down the Don River, attempting to meet with 6.Armee coming from Kharkov; meanwhile, 1.Panzerarmee crossed the Donets River.
9 Jul 1942 German 4th Panzer Army captured Voronezh, Russia while German 6th Army reached Rossosh 100 miles to the south. Iin Ukraine, German 1st Panzer Army crossed the Donets River. The German advances made in the past few days forced Joseph Stalin to allow the Soviet Southwest and Southern Fronts to fall back.
10 Jul 1942 German 4th Panzer Army and 6th Army advanced swiftly southward between the Donets River and the Don River in southern Russia while German 1st Panzer Army advanced toward Rostov-on-Don.
17 Jul 1942 German 1st Panzer Army reached Voroshilovgrad (now Luhansk), Russia.
18 Jul 1942 German troops captured Voroshilovgrad (now Luhansk) in eastern Ukraine.
20 Jul 1942 Soviet troops retook the German bridgehead at Voronezh, Russia.
21 Jul 1942 German 1st Panzer Army and 17th Army established positions west, north, and east of Rostov-on-Don, Russia.
22 Jul 1942 German 1st Panzer Army and 17th Army attacked Rostov-on-Don, Russia; among the attacking division was the Czechoslovakian Mobile Slovak Division.
23 Jul 1942 Führer Directive Number 45 was issued, ordering Operation Brunswick, the capture of the Caucasus region; Armeegruppe A would move through Maikop and Grozny to the Black Sea and Armeegruppe B would take Stalingrad on the drive to Astrakhan. Meanwhile, in southern Russia, German 13th Panzer Division, German 22nd Panzer Division, and Czechoslovakian Mobile Slovak Division captured the Kommolomny Bridge over the Don River at Rostov-on-Don.
24 Jul 1942 German SS Wiking Division captured the airfield near Rostov-on-Don, Russia while German 125th Infantry Division entered the city center.
25 Jul 1942 The German 1.Panzerarmee captured Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Meanwhile, Soviet Marshal Semyon Budyonny's North Caucasus Front absorbed the remains of General Rodion Malinovsky's shattered South Front, launching what was called the Tikhoretsk-Stavropol Defensive Operation.
27 Jul 1942 In southern Russia, German troops captured Bataysk, while the 6th Army attempted to destroy the Soviet bridgehead near Kalach.
28 Jul 1942 The Soviet North Caucasus Front was formed under Marshal Semyon Budyonny to counter the German advance into the Caucasus region of southern Russia.
29 Jul 1942 Proletarskaya was captured by German troops as they formed a bridgehead over the Manych River in the Caucasus in southern Russia.
1 Aug 1942 German 1st Panzer Army captured Salsk, Russia.
3 Aug 1942 German 1st Panzer Army captured Stavropol in southern Russia.
6 Aug 1942 German 17th Army captured Tikhoretsk in southern Russia while 1st Panzer Army crossed the Kuban River en route toward Armavir to the southeast. Soviet troops in the region launched the Armavir-Maikop Defensive Operation.
7 Aug 1942 Soviet cruiser Krasny Krym and destroyer Nezamozhnik evacuated troops from Novorossiysk, Russia as German 17th Army neared.
9 Aug 1942 Troops of the German 17.Armee captured Krasnodar on the Kuban River in southern Russia. Nearby, troops of the 1.Panzerarmee reached the Maikop oil fields, though most of the fuel stores were burned before capture. Meanwhile, Soviet cruiser Krasny Krym and destroyer Nezamozhnik evacuated troops from Novorossiysk, Russia.
10 Aug 1942 German troops reached the Krasnodar-Pyatigorsk-Maikop line in southern Russia.
11 Aug 1942 Several Soviet ships were scuttled at Novorossiysk, Russia to prevent capture.
12 Aug 1942 Troops of the German Armeegruppe A captured Elista, the capital of Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, in southern Russia.
14 Aug 1942 In the Caucasus region of southern Russia, German troops crossed the Kuban River near Krasnodar.
15 Aug 1942 German troops attacked Grozny, the capital of Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in southern Russia; it was defended by troops of Soviet 9th Army and 37th Army.
16 Aug 1942 German troops reached the Kadar Gorge in southern Russia.
18 Aug 1942 German troops assaulted Novorossiysk and Tuapse on the Black Sea coast in southern Russia. 100 kilometers to the northeast, German 1st Panzer Army captured Krasnodar.
19 Aug 1942 Soviet troops in the Caucasus region of southern Russia launched the Novorossiysk Defensive Operation.
23 Aug 1942 In what amounted to little more than a publicity stunt, the German 1.Gebirgsjäger Division soldiers hoisted the Reichskriegsfahne flag on Mount Elbrus, which was the highest point in the Caucasus Mountains.
25 Aug 1942 German troops captured Mozdok, Russia, 50 miles west of Grozny.
30 Aug 1942 Most of the Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies broke out of their encirclement by the German 48.Panzer Korps and escaped across the Chervlennaya River in the Caucasus region of southern Soviet Union.
31 Aug 1942 Adolf Hitler ordered Wilhelm List to launch a major offensive to gain the Caucasus region in southern Russia.
1 Sep 1942 German 1.Panzerarmee established a bridgehead across the Terek River near Mozdok in southern Russia. Soviet troops launched the Mozdok-Malgobek Defensive Operation in response.
2 Sep 1942 German 46th Infantry Division crossed Strait of Kerch and landed on the Taman Peninsula in southern Russia via 24 landing barges and other small boats. Meanwhile, German 17th Army moved toward Novorossiysk. As the Soviets evacuated from nearby ports, Italian and German surface vessels intercepted some of the convoys, sinking Soviet gunboats Oktybar and Rostov-Don.
6 Sep 1942 The German 4.Gebirgsjäger Division of 17.Armee captured the naval base at Novorossiysk on the Black Sea in southern Russia.
9 Sep 1942 Field Marshal Wilhelm List was sacked, and Adolf Hitler took over command of Armeegruppe A which had been meeting heavy resistance in the Caucasus in southern Russia.
12 Sep 1942 German troops in the Caucasus region of southern Russia reported the first snow of the winter.
20 Sep 1942 German Army Group A captured Terek, Russia.
24 Sep 1942 The German Armeegruppe A launched an assault against Tuapse on the Black Sea.
26 Sep 1942 Soviet troops launched the Tuapse Defensive Operation in the Caucasus region of southern Russia.
6 Oct 1942 German III.Panzer Korps captured Malgobek on the Terek River in the Caucasus in southern Russia. Far to the west, German troops also captured Novorossiysk.
14 Oct 1942 The German offensive in the Caucasus region of southern Russia was suspended with the exception of 17th Army's attacks near Tuapse on the coast of the Black Sea.
25 Oct 1942 Soviet troops launched the Nalckik-Ordzhonikidze Defensive Operation in the Caucasus region of southern Russia.
29 Oct 1942 German troops were now only 50 miles from the oil fields in Grozny as they captured Nalchik in southern Russia.
1 Nov 1942 German III.Panzer Korps captured Alagir on the Terek River in the Caucasus in southern Russia.
2 Nov 1942 13.Panzer of German III Panzer Korps reached what will be the farthest point to the southeast reached by the German military when it was halted by Soviet forces 5 miles outside Ordshonikidze, Azerbaijan.
4 Nov 1942 All German offensive operations in the Caucasus region of southern Russia was suspended.
29 Nov 1942 The Soviet Transcaucasus Front launched an offensive against the Germans along the Terek River in the Caucasus region in southern Russia; it was to be halted within days.
16 Dec 1942 Soviet troops launched an offensive towards Rostov-on-Don, Russia hoping to cut off German troops in the Caucasus, defeating Italian units on the Don River.
22 Dec 1942 German troops in the Caucasus region in Russia began to fall back northwestward.
1 Jan 1943 German 1st Panzer Division withdrew from Terek area in southern Russia to prevent encirclement by the Soviet Salsk-Rostov and Mozdok-Stavropol Offensive Operations.
3 Jan 1943 Soviet troops captured Mozdok, Russia.
11 Jan 1943 Soviet troops launched the Novorossiysk-Maikop Offensive Operation in the Caucasus region of southern Russia.
12 Jan 1943 German troops withdrew from the Caucasus region in southern Russia to the Kuban bridgehead.
18 Jan 1943 Cherkessk in the Caucasus region of southern Russia was liberated by Soviet troops.
21 Jan 1943 Soviet troops captured Voroshilovsky and Stavropol in the Caucasus region of southern Russia, claiming 500,000 German dead and 200,000 Germans captured in the last two months of fighting.
23 Jan 1943 Soviet troops captured Armavir, Russia.
24 Jan 1943 The Soviet Trans-Caucasian Front's offensive toward the Kuban bridgehead was halted near Krasnodar and Novorossiysk. A new offensive drive, named the Tikhoretsk-Eisk Offensive Operation, was launched on this date.
25 Jan 1943 Germans evacuated Voronezh and Armavir in southern Russia.
29 Jan 1943 Soviet troops captured Maikop, Russia.
4 Feb 1943 Soviet naval infantry thwarted a German attempt to land at Malaya Zemlya. Nearby, later on the same day, Soviet troops landed near Novorossiysk, southern Russia.
12 Feb 1943 German troops fell back from Krasnodar to the Kuban defensive positions in southern Russia.
31 Mar 1943 Soviet troops defeated the German 17th Army in the Kuban Peninsula and captured Anastasyevsk north of Novorossiysk, near the coast of the Black Sea in southern Russia.
4 Apr 1943 Soviet troops launched the Taman Offensive Operation in an attempt to push the Germans out of the Taman Peninsula in the Caucasus region of southern Russia.
18 Apr 1943 German 17.Armee attempted to eliminate the Soviet bridgehead at Novorossiysk in southern Russia.
23 Apr 1943 German 17.Armee abandoned the attempt to dislodge the Soviet bridgehead at Novorossisk in southern Russia.
5 May 1943 Soviet troops captured Krymsk in southern Russia.
26 May 1943 Soviet troops began an offensive against the German units isolated between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea in the Kuban area of southern Russia.
7 Sep 1943 German 17.Armee began evacuating the Kuban bridgehead in southern Russia, while other non-Army organizations began removing their rear echelon units.
10 Sep 1943 Soviet troops launched the Second Taman Offensive Operation in the Caucasus region of southern Russia, penetrating the defensive Blue Line.
27 Sep 1943 The last German-held port on the Black Sea, Temryuk, Russia, was captured by the Red Army.
9 Oct 1943 Kuban, Russia was under complete Soviet control as the last German and Romanian units had evacuated to Crimea.

Photographs

A German soldier with headphones and binoculars at an open hatch of a tank, Southern Russia, mid-1942; note SdKfz. 251 halftrack vehicles and Panzer II tanks in backgroundSoviet troops with PPSh-41 submachine guns in a village in the Caucasus region of southern Russia, summer 1942Civilian in a camel-drawn cart in southern Russia, Aug-Sep 1942German horse-drawn supply convoy taking a break in a field, southern Russia, Aug-Sep 1942
See all 9 photographs of Caucasus Campaign



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More on Caucasus Campaign
Participants:
» Budyonny, Semyon
» Isakov, Ivan
» Jány, Gusztáv
» Kleist, Paul von
» Lanz, Hubert
» Le Suire, Karl von
» List, Wilhelm
» Novikov, Alexander
» Weichs, Maximilian von

Location:
» Russia

Document:
» Führer Directive 41


Caucasus Campaign Photo Gallery
A German soldier with headphones and binoculars at an open hatch of a tank, Southern Russia, mid-1942; note SdKfz. 251 halftrack vehicles and Panzer II tanks in background
See all 9 photographs of Caucasus Campaign



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