Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Sevastopol...

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by CrazyD, Sep 11, 2002.

  1. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,370
    Likes Received:
    30
    The battle for Sevastopol... Most fo the sources I've read give the battle to take sevastopol relatively little attention. But this one interests me. For one, this battle was one of the few occasions where the germans were able to use many of their bigger guns (Gustav, Karl Mortars...). From what I have read, the german attack lasted for only about a month before they were able to take the city- this seems suprising for a port city that was supposedly very heavily fortified.

    Anyone have any more info on this battle, or sources to find more?
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,577
    Likes Received:
    1,480
    Location:
    London, England.
    I'm beginning to sound like a stuck record - but yet again, Carell's 'Hitler's War On Russia' devotes a chapter to the siege with special mention of the mortars.

    And very recently I picked up a little gem at a secondhand book dealer - 'The Last Days Of Sevastopol' by Boris Voyetekhov (1943) complete with 'heroic' dustwrapper. Haven't yet read it - as a contemporary account by a soviet playwright/journalist, I'm certainly not expecting an objective view !
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,577
    Likes Received:
    1,480
    Location:
    London, England.
    Just remembered.... Manstein in 'Lost Victories' also gives several pages to a description of Sevastopol.

    Overall, Crazy, you're right - I think this is one of the Eastern Front's 'overlooked' battles.
     
  4. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Sorry--I cant help on this one yet--but if you want to know a tad on Sevastopol during the Crimean War--that I can help you on a bit.
     
  5. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,386
    Likes Received:
    888
    Location:
    Jefferson, OH
    You could try "In Deadly Combat : A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front By: Gottlob Herbert Bidermann" It is a biography of an infantry Leutnant assigned to the 132nd infantry division fighting in the Crimea
     
  6. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Is this a new book and is it in English? If so please let me know and ill try to order it.
     
  7. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,370
    Likes Received:
    30
    Nice stuff, gents. Martin, any chance you could enlighten us as to Carell's take on the battle? I don't have his 'Hitler's War on Russia'...

    PzJgr, have you read that one you mention? I'm tapped out on book money at the moment, but I'd be inetersted in hearing about that one as well.
    (sorry- I hate to sound like a teacher! ""you boys go do your reading now!"" :rolleyes: )

    The 'overlooked' part Martin mentions is what gets me- this seems like it was a pretty big battle, and it is mentioned often- yet that often seems to be it. A quick mention.
    Hmmmm....
     
  8. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    49
    It was quite a big battle indeed. It took 20.000 German casualties... What helped here was the enormous deployment of artillery. Manstein really conducted it like an artillery Mozart! Not only the enormous guns like "Gustav" and "Dora" and the "Karl", but the all the other thousand Germand guns. It was the hugest use of artillery of the Germans in WWII. Beside, there was a big cooperation between naval, aereal and ground forces. The leadership was far much better than at Stalingrad, because here was an expert, genious, conservative but innotive, impetous commander:

    [​IMG]

    God! I love that picture!!! :D
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,577
    Likes Received:
    1,480
    Location:
    London, England.
    Carell again...... as usual, he writes in vivid, journalistic style with no sources cited :(

    But I found his 'Sevastopol' chapter to be particularly memorable - one gets the feeling that maybe he visited the battlefield in person, or had close personal sources. Overall, his great admiration for Manstein's 'genius for strategy' and personal control of the operation is very clear.

    One or two direct quotes : -

    '..one might question the economic return obtained from such a weapon. Yet a single round from 'Dora' destroyed an ammunition dump in Severnaya Bay at Sevastopol although it was situated 30 metres below ground.' (p.468)

    ' 'The flak is indespensible against this type of fortification' Manstein replied..... the 8.8 guns, these fantastic miracle weapons of WWII, cracked pillboxes and gun emplacements at point-blank range. The 8.8cm guns of 18th Flak Regiment alone fired 181,787 rounds during the battle for Sevastopol'. (p.469)

    ' ''Maxim Gorky 1'' was three storeys deep - a veritable town. The fort had its own water and power supply, field hospital, canteen, ammunition lifts, arsenals and deep battle stations. Every room and every corridor was protected by double steel doors. Each of these had to be blasted open individually....When the doors burst, the sappers flung hand grenades into the smoke and waited for the fumes to disperse...then they went on. The corridors were littered with dead....The Germans came under machine-pistol fire, grenades were flung back..thus it went on hour after hour.. Of the fort's complement of 1000 only 50 were taken prisoner, and they were wounded..' (p.473)

    'On 3rd July it was all over. Sevastopol, the strongest fortress in the world, had fallen. Two Soviet Armies had been smashed and 90,000 prisoners taken... Manstein's Eleventh Army was now available for the grand plan, the offensive against Stalingrad and the Caucasus' (p.476)

    ( Page numbers from 'Hitler's war On Russia' Harrap edition, 1964 ).

    Sure it's biased, but it's great reading... you gotta have it ! :cool:
     
  10. AndyW

    AndyW Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2000
    Messages:
    815
    Likes Received:
    1
    THE FIRST BATTLE OF SEVASTOPOL (DEC. 13, 1941 - DEC. 31, 1941)

    On Nov. 8, 1941, Mansteins "Western Group" of his 11th Army (LIVth Korps and XXXth Korps) advanced to Sevastopol, but the advance was stopped due to the resistance of the withdrawing Soviet Coastal Army. In the following days, Sevastopol (9 Soviet Divisions under Command of Vice Admiral Oktjarbrskij) was encircled and sieged.

    Heavy Artillery was brought forward and on Dec. 13, 1941 the bombardment of Sevastopol began. On Dec. 17, 1941 the attack on Sevastopol started with focus on on the north and north-east sector(LIVth Korps with 22nd, 132nd, 50th,the new 24th Division and 73rd Division as Reserve) and from the south (with 72nd, 170th Divion and Romanian Mountain-Brigade).

    The German advance was slow and heavy losses occured.

    On Dec. 26, 1941, Soviet amphibious landings at Kerc forced Mantein to stop the attack (who, at this time could have been considered as failed anyway) and to re-locate troops away from Sevatopol to Kerc.

    On Dec. 27, 1941 the LIVth Korps tried it again, but failed.

    The first battle of Sevastopol was canceled by the Germans on Dec. 31, 1941

    Cheers,
     
  11. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,370
    Likes Received:
    30
    Good stuff...

    Maxim Gorky I is also mentioned in the history I have of the Karl batteries. I'll check the specifics tonight, but I know some of the Karl weapons engaged Maxim Gorky I. Not sure about their success though...

    Andy has a good point. It seems the battle for sevastopol has two main phases- the initail failed attempt to take the city, and then the later siege that was eventually successful. I wonder when the big guns (Gustav & Karls) actually went into action- for the first or second phase?
     
  12. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,386
    Likes Received:
    888
    Location:
    Jefferson, OH
    It is not too new but you can find it in Amazon.com. that is where I purchased it and it is very good. It starts out with the fighting in the Crimea. After the fall of Sevastopol, the unit gets moved to the Leningrad front. the author then finishes the book with his time spent as a Soviet prisoner. An outlook we rarely get. It is a good purchase.
     
  13. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,577
    Likes Received:
    1,480
    Location:
    London, England.
    Absolutely right - I'd overlooked the 'first phase'. The German forces were clearly caught off balance by the strong Soviet opposition and, yet again, the weather conditions.

    The 'super mortars' were only used for the second, successful operation.
     
  14. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,386
    Likes Received:
    888
    Location:
    Jefferson, OH
    Let's not forget that the Soviet Navy had control of the sea and provided heavy bombardment that took the Germans by surprise during the initial attack.
     
  15. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,370
    Likes Received:
    30
    Good point, PzJgr. The russian naval force is also evident form the troop landings at kerch. Obviously, they had forces and logistics close enough to manage. I wonder, was the naval support still available to the russians later, during summer 42 when the "second pahse" attack happened?

    One thing that crossed my mind with the big guns, at least with Gustav- since it took so long to emplace the gun, I wonder when it arrived. The gustav could have been "present" during the first phase, just not deployed yet. I believe it took at least six weeks to prepare Gustav to fire.
    Also, I'm pretty sure that only one of the two 80cm guns was used at sevastopol- Gustav, but not Dora. I don't think Dora was in action there as well, but I'll check on that tonight.
     
  16. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,386
    Likes Received:
    888
    Location:
    Jefferson, OH
    No definitive answer right now on that one. Will have to research
     
  17. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Thanks PzJgr--ill check it out and see if I can get a copy.
     
  18. AndyW

    AndyW Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2000
    Messages:
    815
    Likes Received:
    1
    AFAIK, Both Guns were in action. It took 9 trains and 5,500 men to get Dora in place at Sevastopol in 1942. It was a huge waste of resources.

    http://www.vlewis.net/dora.html
     
  19. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,370
    Likes Received:
    30
    Well, Andy, I've found quite a bit of info on this, and it certainly seems only one of the guns was at sevastopol. Accounts seem to confuse which one it was, dora or gustav, as in the webpage you cite.

    www.cix.co.uk/~nrobinson/railgun/Railwayguns/ German/German_guns.html
    (this page is great, but it sometimes seems to hang up while loading...)
    http://user.mc.net/~hawk/biggun.htm
    another account, including an interesting bit about one of the guns being discovered in germany late in the war by american GIs.
    http://www.railwaygun.co.uk/
    railway gun museum with good info...
    http://palpatine.chez.tiscali.fr/Page13/page13.htm
    yet another page... this one claims it was dora, not gustav, who fired on sevastopol. Hmmm...

    Although many of these sources disagree on which gun it was, most all of them agree that only one was actually used. And it actually took 25 train cars to get the gun to the front... 5000 total crew included actualy gun crew, about 2000, anti-aircraft troops, guards, etc. his alone would likely make it nearly impossible to use both guns at once- the amount of support and transport probably simply would not have been available. Plus, it took weeks (as many as six weeks, according to some) just to get the gun off the trains and ready to fire. Special tracks had to be laid, etc.
    Most all of the sources agree that the gun fired 48 rounds at various targets in sevastopol.
    I'd say the Dora's (Gustav?) use at sevastopol highlights how impractical these weapons were- all the sources I've seen note that sevastopol was the ONLY action this gun took part in. For all that effort and material...
     
  20. Andreas Seidel

    Andreas Seidel Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2001
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    2
    Were there really two guns? Dora and Gustav? I know that occasionally some sources claim there were two, but more often than not there seems to be only one. Also the name seems to be confused a lot. If there were two guns, the names seem to be switched round by authors all the time, or if not the gun seems to have had two names.

    Is there a picture of BOTH guns?
     

Share This Page