The destroyed harbor of Sevastopol by Horst Grund, ca. Juli 1942 (Das Bundesarchiv)
During WWII German forces reached Crimea in the autumn of 1941 and overran most of the area. The only objective not in Axis hands was Sevastopol. They started a siege and several attempts were made to secure the city. Soviet forces launched an amphibious landing on the Crimean peninsula at Kerch in December 1941 to relieve the siege but were defeated in May 1942 (see previous post).
Present day Sevastopol, a city with 380.000 inhabitants
On 2 June 1942 the Axis launched operation Störfang (Sturgeon Catch) to attacked Sevastopol by land, sea and air. The Soviet Red Army and Black Sea Fleet held out for weeks under intense bombardment. Finally, on 4 July 1942, the remaining Soviet forces surrendered and the Axis seized the port.
During the Crimean War (1853-1856) the city of Sevastopol was also under siege. The city was the home of the Tsar's Black Sea Fleet. The allies (French, Ottoman, and British) landed at Yevpatoria (see penultimate post) in September 1854 with 50,000 men. The 56-kilometre traverse took a year of heavy fighting against the Russians, after which the city was occupied in September 1855.
The Battle of the Kerch Peninsula (German: Unternehmen Trappenjagd) was a World War II offensive by German and Romanian armies against the Soviet Crimean Front forces defending the Kerch Peninsula, in the eastern part of the Crimea.
It was launched on May 8, 1942 and concluded around May 18, 1942 with the near complete destruction of the Soviet defending forces. The Red Army lost over 170,000 men killed or taken prisoner, and three armies with twenty-one divisions.
The operation's successful conclusion made it possible for the Axis to launch a successful assault on Sevastopol in the following months.
Russian soldiers escorting German prisoners of war near Kerch, Crimea (presumably April 1944).
Yevpatoria (or Eupatoria) is a city on the East coast of Crimea. It was founded by the Greeks around 500 BC. With a population of 123.000 Yevpatoriya is a major Ukrainian Black Sea port, a rail hub, and a resort town. The population swells greatly during the summer months, with many residents of northern cities visiting for beach recreation.
The Juma-Jami is the largest and most magnificent mosque of Crimea. Built between 1552 and 1564, and designed by the famous Turkish architect Mimar Sinan.
During the Crimean War (1855) and World War II (1942) some heavy fighting took place in and around Yevpatoria.
Crimea May 1942, Romanian soldiers accompany a German on the beach in Yevpatoria on the Black Sea coast.
The Crimean Khanate was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. It was among the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the beginning of the 18th century. It was a Turkic speaking state founded by clans of the Golden Horde, and the khans were descendants of the greatGenghis Khan. The clans blended with the local population of Greeks, Armenians, Scythians, and Ostrogoths to form the Crimean Tatar ethnic group.
The Crimeans frequently mountedslave raidsinto Ukraine, Poland and Russia. For a long time the khanate maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East, exporting about 2 million slaves over the period 1500–1700.
The palace in the capital Bakhchisaray(Carlo Bossoli, 1840-1842)
The khanate fought many battles against the Russians over dominance in the region. A successful campaign even culminated in the burning of Moscowin 1571. But at the end of the 18th century the khanate was conquered and annexed by the Russian Empire. Since then many Crimean Tatars have been forcefully exiled, about 300.000 Crimean Tatars live in Crimea today.