The Battle of Caucuses
The Battle of the Caucasus had begun on July 25, 1942. The Nazis aimed to seize control over grain rich territories of Kuban and Stavropol and the oilfields of Grozny and Baku. During the offensive of the summer of 1942 Germans captured Stavropol, Armavir, Maykop, Krasnodar, Elista, and Mozdok. However, their advance was stalled near Malgobek in early September. Considerable part of the German forces was destroyed in the foothills of the Caucasian mountains and near Terek River.
The soviet command launched a large-scale counteroffensive in the beginning of 1943. Seizing initiative the Red Army forced Germans to completely withdraw their forces from North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Stavropol and Rostov regions.
In the summer of 1943 the Red Army mounted a new major offensive. General Ivan Petrov the commander of the North Caucasian Front received an order to destroy German forces on Taman peninsula. It was ultimately accomplished on October 9, 1943.
The German plan to smash southern flank of the Red Army, to seize rich agricultural areas and oilfields, and to establish bridgehead for the invasion of the Middle East was completely ruined. The German Army Group A suffered heavy losses. About 275,000 of its soldiers and officers were killed and over 6,000 were taken prisoner. The enemy also lost a large quantity of heavy weapons and military equipment. However, the German command managed to save from total destruction a significant part of its troops during the forced retreat. They were lately deployed at the southern flank of the German-Soviet front.
The heroic actions of the Red Army, the increased military production of the Soviet economy, the counteroffensive under Stalingrad, and the expulsion of the enemy from the North Caucasus, areas of Stavropol and Kuban marked a turning point in the fight against Nazi aggression.