Words at War Combined Operations They Call It Pacific The Last Days of Sevastopol

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The Siege of Sevastopol took place on the Eastern Front of the Second World War The campaign was fought by the Axis powers of Germany Romania and Italy against the Soviet Union for control of Sevastopol a port in Crimea on the Black Sea On 22 June 1941 the Axis invaded the Soviet Union under Operation Barbarossa The Axis land forces reached Crimea in the autumn 1941 and overran the area The only objective not in Axis hands was Sevastopol Several attempts were made to secure the city in October and November 1941 A major attack was planned for late November but bad weather and heavy rains delayed the Axis attack until 17 December 1941 Under the command of Erich von Manstein the Axis forces were unable to capture Sevastopol in the first stage of operations The Soviets launched an amphibious landing on the Crimean peninsula at Kerch in December 1941 to relieve the siege and force the Axis to divert forces to defend their gains The operation saved Sevastopol for the time being but the landing was checked and repulsed in May 1942 At Sevastopol the Axis opted to conduct a siege until the summer 1942 at which point they attacked the encircled Soviet forces by land sea and air On 2 June 1942 the Axis began their operation codenamed Störfang Sturgeon Catch The Soviet Red Army and Black Sea Fleet held out for weeks under intense Axis bombardment The German Air Force Luftwaffe played a vital part in the siege The Luftwaffe made up for a shortage of Axis artillery providing highly effective aerial bombardment in support of the ground forces Finally on the 4 July 1942 the remaining Soviet forces surrendered and the Axis seized the port Both sides had suffered considerable losses during the siege With the Soviet forces neutralised the Axis refocused their attention on the major summer campaign of that year Operation Blue and the advance to the Caucasus oil