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Novorossisk


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Hey Runyan99. I looked around and they only helpful info was that video. Other than that I could not find any really helpful info on the battle besides the fact that it involed some really heavy fighting when the Axis attacked it and when the Soviets re-took it. Was there any other info you could find on it?

Found out about a division that fought in the taking of the battle although it doesn't say all but about 12 words of its capture which was from 8/14/42 - 9/10/42 and that it fought 28 engagements in the process

[ August 15, 2006, 09:59 PM: Message edited by: kawaiku ]

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Um. Err.

The Germans took the place in September of 1942, with the lead unit involved being the 4th mountain division, assisted on the western flank by some Romanian cavalry. This was something of a triumphal march.

The Russians retook it also in September, but of the following year, 1943. Not 1942.

The strategic narrative is simple enough - after the summer offensive in the south succeeded, German and Romanian forces exploiting south from Rostov cleared the eastern shores of the sea of Azov and the Kuban region, pressing south to the Black sea and south southeast to the western end of the Caucusus mountains. The Russians were still resisting in the Crimea but were in no condition, strategically, to offer much resistence.

The front then moved well east through the remainder of the fall of 1942. No more fighting here.

After Operation Uranus and the Little Saturn, the Russians exploit west, aiming at Rostov. The Germans hold the gate open for most of AG south withdrawing through the city. But 17th Army, about half Romanian and containing most of the surviving Romanian army in Russia at this point, instead falls back on Kerch, and forms a broad bridgehead in the Kuban region, on the eastern side of the sea of Azov. They are supplied from the Crimea by sea and across the Kerch strait, after Rostov falls to the Russians. The front line at this point press up to, but not into or through, the city itself. It is the southern end of the line still held by the Axis in the Kuban region.

The Russians probe this front throughout early 1943, in a succession of small offensives. Most of them well north of the city proper, one closer to it etc. Mostly infantry fighting, when there are 100 tanks available for the Russians it is a big deal. The Romanians have about 50 Pz38s and there is one weak German PD in the bridgehead some of the time. Mostly it is a "corset" system of German infantry (and a few mountain) with individual battalions or KGs of Romanians interspersed with them.

In August 1943, with the whole string of major offensives going off up north (Orel, Kharkov, Donbas), the Russians press in the Kuban area as well. At first a matter of 4 divisions and a little armor, nothing major, and it doesn't get far.

Then in early September the Russians put together a major operation of the kind they were staging everywhere in the second half of 1943. It ropes in 3 armies with 21 divisions, plus several independent brigades and some smaller marine formations. The navy also shows up in force. There are 1000 artillery pieces or MRLs etc. The point of main effort is the port itself, which is defended initially by a German mountain division. Reserves both Romanian and German are then sent to the city.

The assault included marine landings of 2 battalions right in the port area, and another contingent a bit farther west. Along with a massive ground assault behind heavy artillery and rocket prep. Naturally the navy also supports with naval gunfire etc.

The first German reserves do their usual local counterattack thing and it works OK at first against the relatively weak marine forces ashore, but attacking tactically in the teeth of the kind of superiority the Russians had amassed was obviously unsustainable. The reserves were used up, went over to defense, retreated etc. In generally good order to successive phase lines failing back on Kerch - but the Kuban bridgehead was abandoned.

There is some coverage of it, high level, in Glantz ("Titans") and also some in Romanian histories because it was part of their army's involvement in the war etc.

As for the nature of the place, it was a large port city on a great natural harbor, in the form of a bay a few miles wide by half a dozen long, tapering to a mile or so at the inner harbor end. A penisula is formed between this harbor and the sea proper, that juts out maybe 6 miles. It isn't thin, fully connecting to the mainland to the northwest and west, while the bay is to the east and the open sea to the south. The eastern portion of that penisula is all built up city. So is the inner portion of the bay, at its tip. The city extends along 2 miles or so inland to the northwest. The eastern shore of the bay is much less developed, rises rapidly in height, but is also broken by draws running down to the sea (crinkled on an axis perpendicular to the shoreline).

The Russian land forces were on the eastern bits and northeast of the city, the Germans had the whole "headland" and city proper initially. The Russian marines landed in the middle of the German positions and soaked up their reserves etc, while the RDs broke in from the northeast.

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I suspect Glantz may have covered the fighting in one volume of his "Forgotten Battles" series, but I cannot find confirmation of that yet.

Perhaps in:

Volume V: The Summer-Fall Campaign (1 July-31 December 1943), Parts 1 and 2. (823 pages, including 422 maps and 30 figures). Covers 31 forgotten operations conducted between the commencement of the Battle of Kursk and the end of the year. Part 1 $50 and Part 2 $50.

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I don't have it, but he focuses on operations the Russians don't want to talk about in those. In that period, that is mostly their offensive operations in Belorussia - 1st Baltic, Belorussian, and Western front are nearly silent in the Russian studies, when it is clear from German side accounts they attacked repeatedly.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi, for the past few weeks i've been intensively researching the Feb 43 amphibious operation at Novorossisk. This is a little known operation which was overshadowed by later events. This operation is not to be confused with the final attack which recaptured Novorossisk 7 months later in Sept 43 - the google-hosted newsreel video is from that (daytime) operation.

I am about 60% done with the 1st scenario which will depict the landings at Yuzhnaya Ozereika in the predawn hours of Feb 4th. That battle is a truly epic story. Troops of the Soviet 255th Naval Infantry Brigade and 563rd Seperate Tank Battalion conduct a desperate night amphibious assault.

The 2nd scenario depicts a simultaneous diversionary attack conducted by another battalion of the 255th at Stanichkya, a suburb south of Novorossisk.

Both scenarios are based on research including autobiographical accounts of russian and german soldiers, scholarly articles, previous wargame research and scenarios, the memoirs of the chief of staff of the black sea fleet, and several books. Both maps will be replicated with as much detail as humanly possible in CMBB using photographs of the area and 100,000:1 and 50,000:1 russian military maps of the battlefields.

I'll post here when done, and on the scenario forum as well.

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Back when I was doing research for some Gebirgsjaeger ops I came across some info. I don't remember all of the books I used as it has been awhile but here is the briefing from that op.

After the defeat of 6th Army at Stalingrad The Army Group South began to pull back across its entire front. The Gebirgsjager were obliged to come down from the high mountain passes they had been holding and moved into new positions along the Kuban bridgehead. Stalin unsatisfied with the destruction of only the 6th Army saw a new opportunity in the South. If Rostov could be taken while forces advanced from the Black Sea the entire German Army Group South could be encircled. Thus was born the idea for operation Gory/ Morsky (Mountain/Sea).

The Sea aspect of the operation called for an amphibious landing of Marines At Novorossisk on the Black Sea. The Soviets did not bother to put too much planning into amphibious operations. They simply would throw together whatever ships were available and do an end run past the defenders (this way of thinking was one of the reasons Stalin did not understand why preparations for Overlord were taking so long). On the night of February 4th, 1943 the Soviet Marines stormed ashore under fire from German and Romanian batteries.

Unfortunately, in some great part due to inter service rivalries, the invasion was a complete flop with all the Marines being killed or captured, and 31 American made tanks supporting the landing were destroyed.

This was not the end of the story however as a small force of 800 Marines had been put ashore in Stanichka, a suburb of Novorossisk. These were intended as a diversionary attack to draw off enemy forces from the main landing site. They held their ground and the rest of the reinforcements intended for the main landing were instead diverted here. The Naval Soldiers were supplied and reinforced by sea on a nightly basis and due to slow reaction from the German defenders the bridgehead rapidly expanded. When the Germans finally got around to attempting minor actions to repulse the landings it was too late as the Marines were entrenched and ready for them.

Hitler then devised Operation Neptun, an assault plan to sweep the Soviet Marines from ther landing sites and from the hills of Myshako where they were fortifying their positions. The 4th Mountain division would attack the Soviets from both sides with armor and air support. The attack was scheduled for April 6th but was called off due to heavy fog, and called off again on the 10th. Finally, on the morning of April 17th operation Neptune got underway. The Russian defenders were determined that they would not be pushed back to the sea. What followed was some of the bloodiest fighting of the entire Kuban campaign.

smile.gif

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Remembered a couple of my sources. "Army Group South" by Werner Haupt has a few pages on the subject and the "Caucusus and the oil" by Wilhelm Tieke. There was another book as well which had some photos of knocked out Lee tanks and wrecked landing craft and equipment as well as some good info but the title escapes my feeble memory. A side note of this campaign is that it was here that the Soviet airforce really began to stand up to the Luftwaffe toe to toe with a viscious air campaign above the hills, forests and vineyards.

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Found a couple of good articles there, thanks andreas. Official writings and histories of the

Soviet period avoid mention of the landings at Ozereika for reasons you may discover when you play my scenario. ;) But for some german, romanian and post-soviet accounts it might have disappeared down the memory hole.

The other celebrated 'diversionary' landing is discussed in one of the VIZH articles with good information on rate of troop landing, boats used, artillery support, etc.

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Emar,

"The Caucusus and the oil" by Wilhelm Tieke is the book that got me started on this. Regarding the tanks, Tieke mentions Lee's, Grants and Stuarts, but Russian and other sources indicates the 563rd only landed with Stuarts. I believe they were entirely equipped with Stuarts, and the entire battalion of 31 was lost. No mention of lee's and grants beyond Tieke. So I've only got Stuarts in there.

If you remember that other book with the pictures let me know!

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My first exposure to Novorossik was Jack Radey's

"Black Sea Black Death" boardgame by Peoples War games. As I think he's currently rewritting it, it might be worth checking out.

As I understand it the Russians made two landings. The first being the well known one of a landing on the western shore combined with a ground offensive on the eastern shore which turned into a shambles. The second was a direct landing into the city itself which succeeded.

Whatever the case, I'm interested and looking forward to it Renaud.

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Renaud, I wish I could remember the book with the photos. It has been awhile but pretty sure it had at least one b&w photo of 2 knocked out Lees with a crescent shaped harbour and some wrecked equipmentin the background labeled as Novorossisk (of course photos are mislabeled from time to time). Since however, there are no Lees in CMBB it is really a moot point and I used Stuarts in my Neptune Op.

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Originally posted by Renaud:

Hi, for the past few weeks i've been intensively researching the Feb 43 amphibious operation at Novorossisk. This is a little known operation which was overshadowed by later events. This operation is not to be confused with the final attack which recaptured Novorossisk 7 months later in Sept 43 - the google-hosted newsreel video is from that (daytime) operation.

I am about 60% done with the 1st scenario which will depict the landings at Yuzhnaya Ozereika in the predawn hours of Feb 4th. That battle is a truly epic story. Troops of the Soviet 255th Naval Infantry Brigade and 563rd Seperate Tank Battalion conduct a desperate night amphibious assault.

The 2nd scenario depicts a simultaneous diversionary attack conducted by another battalion of the 255th at Stanichkya, a suburb south of Novorossisk.

Both scenarios are based on research including autobiographical accounts of russian and german soldiers, scholarly articles, previous wargame research and scenarios, the memoirs of the chief of staff of the black sea fleet, and several books. Both maps will be replicated with as much detail as humanly possible in CMBB using photographs of the area and 100,000:1 and 50,000:1 russian military maps of the battlefields.

I'll post here when done, and on the scenario forum as well.

I strongly recommend (if you haven't already) that you do an extensive websearch for the article that is titled "The fate of the amphibious tanks". It used to be listed within a Russian army site, which for some reason I can't find now. It contained an excellent write up on the entire battle you are working on, from the preliminary planning phase all the way to the when the last Russian units were destroyed.
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* update: the battlefield.ru site is back up, with a full translation of the Tankomaster article!

Thanks Kingfish. I do have a machine translation of that document, which is originally sourced from:

Morozov Miroslav, The Fate of Amphibious Assault Tanks, Tankomaster no. 1/99

It's no longer hosted on the battlefield.ru site, through they do have some unlinked pics of the beaches and south and north bluffs, wrecked M3A1's, barges, etc. It's about 99% certain that there were only M3A1 Stuarts in this battle. If there were Lee's, I would simulate with a few Shermans.

That article is a critical resource! I can understand about 80% of the translation, especially the numbers, vehicle models, units, etc. As is usually the case, I must reconcile conflicting accounts of the battle from around 10 sources, although I consider this one pretty authoritive on the Russian side of things. Interestingly, there is a conflict about whether the 164th reserve AA Battalion had 2 88's stationed there, or whether those were 2 105mm guns of the 3rd Battery/789th Coastal Artillery Battalion.

Anywho, the scenario is coming along nicely, map and forces 95% done. It's a vast map, fully 2km*4km. Forces however are not too unwieldy: reinforced battalion on the Russian side, various but less on the Axis side. Now to hotseat and tweak...

[ December 06, 2006, 09:25 AM: Message edited by: Renaud ]

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright, this beast is ready for testing. I've hotseated it all the way through. There are 3 versions, v1=HtH, v2=Russian vs Axis-AI, v3=Axis vs Russian-AI. v3 probably has negligible playability and is not yet tested.

Novorossisk_Ozereika

I would love to playtest with me as either side, preferably in 1-2 minute TCP for brevity. Let me know if interested.

From the general briefing:

By late 1942 the Axis advance in the South had ground to a halt at Stalingrad on the Volga and Tuapse in the Caucasus. The Soviet high command executed operations designed to surround and destroy the over-extended axis armies, with stupendous success on the Volga. Farther south in the Caucasus, operations were planned with the goal of bagging even larger Axis formations currently withdrawing northwest toward Rostov and the Crimea. These operations called for amphibious landings behind Axis lines west and south of Novorossisk on the Black Sea in conjunction with an overland attack. These landings would constitute the largest Soviet amphibious operation to date, and the 2nd largest of the war.

References:

1. Miroslav Morozov, "The Fate of Amphibious Assault Tanks", Tankomaster no. 1/1999 (www.battlefield.ru)

2. Wilhelm Tieke, The Caucasus and the Oil, J.J.Fedorowicz, 1995

3. Yu.S.Bondarevskiy, "Landing of Amphibious Forces in Offensive Operations of Great Patriotic War", Military Historical Journal, No.4, April 1986 (www.redarmystudies.net)

4. I. Korotchenko, "Wartime Experience in Amphibious Landing Operations", Military Historical Journal, No.3, March 1982 (ibid)

5. Admiral N.Kuznetsov, Memoirs, Progress Publishers 1990. Translated by Vladimir Krivoshchekov: http://admiral.centro.ru/

6. Charles B. Atwater, Jr, "Soviet Amphibious Operations in the Black Sea, 1941-1943", CSC 1995

7. 1:50k & 1:100k Soviet Topo Maps, Genshtab, Pulkovo-1942

8. http://www.navweaps.com/ (Russian Naval Guns)

9. http://www.worldwar2.ro/arme/?article=13 (Romanian Perspective)

10. http://rkkaww2.armchairgeneral.com

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Renaud,

I did a quick search on the Russian-language side and it appears there is a reasonable amount of literature on the subject, based on a cursory look recollections by senior officer participants.

Here's an example: "The Black Sea Fleet in the Battle for the Caucauses". The link is to the chapter referring the Feb landings. The author is one Iosif Kirin, whom the book jacket describes as "a participant in the actions", the "actions" being Soviet navy ops in the Black Sea during 1942-3. I assume Iosif was an admiral of some sort.

To give you an idea of the detail the text mentions a small-scale airborne landing (57 paratroopers) in the vicinity of Vasilevka-Glebovka to hit headquarters, bridges, and communications. They survived too.

The sea landing force at Yuzhnaya Ozereyka is listed at 1,450 men and 10 tanks.

The shore bombardment element of the naval forces included the cruisers Krasniy Kavkaz (Red Caucauses), Krasniy Krym (Red Crimea), Destroyer leader Kharkov, and squadron minelayers Besploshchadniy (Merciless), and Soobrazitel'niy (Clever). The gunboats, transport vessels (name and type), submarines, etc. are listed as well.

I can see why you decided this is a cool operation! Anyway, here's the linkie, just so you can see I'm not making this up:

http://militera.lib.ru/h/kirin/06.html

There are more, this is just an example.

Since you have the scenario ready to go maybe this offer is too late, but if you like let me know what sort of details you are looking for, and I'll take a tour through the stuff on the web and maybe I can get you some hints if not answers. It looks like the operation was fairly well-documented, although like most Soviet war literature the literature will probably be a little light on the nitty-gritty details.

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And just for the record, from what I can tell the Soviets were fairly up front that the Yuzhnaya Ozereyka operation was a shambles. Far from supressing information about the operation, it appears that the standard histories describe it in detail as an example of what can go wrong with an amphibious operation. The information may not have made its way into the Western literature, but this operation appears not to be like Mars, talking about it was ok.

I guess it helped that Zhukov wasn't in charge. ;)

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Here's a useful summary of the context in which the Novorossisk amphibious op took place.

http://www.xomba.com/war_on_the_black_seas

Romanian units

http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/index.php?showtopic=484

Crimean Campaign--1942 (has pics)

http://www.worldwar2.ro/operatii/index.php?language=en&article=10

Paragraph on Ossereyka landing here; specifically mentions Stuarts being destroyed.

http://www.worldwar2.ro/operatii/index.php?article=13

Period U.S. newsreel on recapture of Novorossisk; marvelous combat footage!

http://www.veoh.com/videoDetails.html?v=e4370222H833dQ

Rules for Black Sea Black Death by Jack Radey

(many old friends here, like ARKO and HAKO, plus extremely useful LOS and weather info)

http://www.varesewargame.org/allegati/bsbd-en.pdf

The Fate of Amphibious Assault Tanks is back up, unfortunately SANS the photos which once added so much to it. Wish Valera would fix that!

http://www.battlefield.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=165&Itemid=88

Hope these help.

Regards,

John Kettler

[ December 14, 2006, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: John Kettler ]

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Where were you guys before I finished the scenario?! Just kidding...thanks for the info. More is always appreciated as I WILL go back and correct glaring historical inaccuracies. I have no shortage of sources and am pretty confident about the accuracy thus far, although sources can contradict one another, even the russian sources. And of course I happily make concessions for playability and fun factor.

There were 31 M3L Stuarts involved, but only around 10 made it to shore. The Soobrazitelniy was actually a Storozhevoi Class Destroyer commissioned in 1939 (4x130mm/50 Pattern 1936 guns). The Besposadniy was a Gnevnyi Class destroyer with 4x130mm as well. Gotta love that variable romanization of cyrillic!!!

I think you gents would enjoy the scenario! I hope you will take a look.

Oh and John, almost forgot, that cool newsreel shows a 4x130mm/50 Pattern 1936 guns firing as a coastal battery from the east coast of Zemess bay, 5-8km from targets in the 'little land' near the fish cannery, the subject of scenario #2 in this series! The newsreel is actually from 7 months after the events of these scenarios however, during the final daylight operation to occupy the city after it was more or less abandoned by the Axis.

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Renaud,

If I know you're working on something, it's easier to assist. Just ask rune or Kingfish, both of whom have seen what happens when I go into research mode.

Glad to find out the background on the newsreel, but still loved the combat footage. Besides, how often have we seen period footage of a Russian FO conducting a shoot? Loved the Black Sea Marines scurrying through the ruins with their PPSh41s, especially after the live fire video posted elsewhere on this Forum.

Regards,

John Kettler

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The BSBD game is a treasure trove, and I will be making a few corrections to unit designations based upon it. I think "140th" battalion of 255th Brigade is probably "14th"...could be a typo either way, so probably not too important.

I wish I could include that video in my scenario briefing, especially the Naval Infantry. I found the battlefield.ru article pics in some orphaned links. I included one in the scenario package.

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Just finished playing 'Novorossisk_Ozereika'

Russians vs AI, and really enjoyed it...

A Minor Defeat for me...took me too long

to get off the beach...

Great map with many clever features,

very well done smile.gif

Looking forward to the next installment

Thanks for all your work, Renaud...

Cheers,

Matt

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