Defense and Liberation of the Crimea
The defense of Sevastopol lasted 250 days and became a symbol of mass bravery and heroism of Soviet soldiers and sailors. It had been forcing the enemy to keep a large part of its troops at the southern flank. The Sevastopol Defense District was created on November 4, 1941. It included the Primorskaya (Maritime) Army and a part of the Black Sea Fleet. Vice Admiral Filipp Oktyabrsky was appointed a commander of the district. His deputy Major General Ivan Petrov was put in charge of land operations. The Red Army courageously repelled two enemy offensives on November 11-21 and December 17-31, 1941
The German Army started a third offensive on June 7, 1942. By late June defenders of Sevastopol had become exhausted and run out of ammunition. The enemy dominated the air and tightened the blockade from the sea. The Germans finally managed to break into Sevastopol on June 29. During the next day a fierce fighting was raging on Malakhov Kurgan inside the city. The enemy sustained heavy losses during the siege and assault of Sevastopol. About 300,000 German soldiers were killed or wounded.
Some Crimean Front troops such as 83rd Marine Brigade, 95th Border Guard Detachment, cadets of the Yaroslavl Air Force School and other units had been cut off as they were covering the retreat of the main forces. They heroically resisted German attacks in the Adzhimushkay rock quarry for 170 days, from May to October 1942. Some townspeople took a refuge in the catacombs as well.
The Crimean Strategic Offensive of the Red Army started on April 8, 1944. The troops of the 4th Ukrainian Front, the Separate Primorskaya (Maritime) Army with the support of the Black Sea Fleet and the Azov Military Flotilla forced their way through the strong German defense lines on the Isthmus of Perekop, Kerch Peninsula and around Sevastopol. The 17th Field Army of Wehrmacht was destroyed and by May 12 the Crimea was completely liberated. The Black Sea Fleet returned to its home base in Sevastopol on May 9, 1944.