The Nazi German military besieged the Nothern Russian Port of Sevastopol from October 30th, 1941 – July 4th, 1942. This area was defended by the Soviet Marines of the Black Sea Fleet and the Soviet Red Army soldiers of the Independent Coastal Army. Although the Soviet Forces fought hard and desperately to retain a hold on this vital sea-approach – events elsewhere led to these Soviet troops receiving lessoning supplies and reinforcement as time went by – whilst the strength of the Nazi German troops was considerably increased, stiffened and becoming ever more adventurous. Meanwhile, in December, 1941 – the main Nazi German thrust toward Moscow stuttered, convulsed and was finally brought to a halt on the outskirts to that city.
Whilst the Nazi Germans ‘straightened their lines’ as the terrible Russian winter set-in – the Red Army was unable to decisively push the invaders any great distance – back to their start lines. Battles resulting in massive Soviet casualties brought a mile here and a mile there – much of which was then lost through Nazi German counter-attack. As a consequence, Hitler possessed the resources to treat Sevastopol as an interesting side-show.
For the Soviets, however, it was vitally important that all the separate but fortified areas should hold-out as long as possible so that the sea-approach could be theoretically used by the USSR (or its Allies) to land an outflanking field army! As this was the order of the day – entire stretches of the Soviet line were defended by the wounded and the disabled – placed by their Comrades in the best positions possible with stocks of ammunition and food nearby.
However, due to supply problems and the successes of the Nazy Germans throughout June, 1942 – the Soviet High Command gave permission for the garrison to be evacuated. For this to happen, thousands of Soviet soldiers had to ‘volunteer’ to remain behind as a ‘rear guard’ covering the retreat. As a consequence, this ‘rear guard’ involved many of those already incapacitated and not able to be moved into the sea. Red Army soldiers and Black Sea Marines with arms and legs missing bravely manned their posts and fought to the very end!
One of the last forts to fall to the Nazi Germans at Sevastopol was code-named ‘Maxim Gorky II’ by the Hitlerites. It was the most modern and well-equipped of the many fortifications and was manned by a special ‘hand-picked’ garrison selected from the Independent Coast Army. On June 30th, 1942, its final redoubts were penetrated by Nazi German Infantry and vicious hand-to-hand and bayonet-fighting ensued! The German soldiers were initially ‘pushed’ out by what they were surprised to find were Soviet Red Army ‘women’ soldiers who were well-disciplined and battle-hardened.
The Nazi German High Command were so disgusted that their best ‘male’ troops had been ‘halted’ by mere Soviet women – that it was ordered that the Soviet survivors be ‘buried alive’ – through the use of bulldozers – which were used to push tones of earth over the ruined fortifications and their final defenders! Hitler issued various Iron Crosses, Knight Crosses and German Crosses of Gold to his successful Commanders and troops. Meanwhile, On May 8th, 1965, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet awarded to the city of Sevastopol the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal.
Earl F Ziemke & Magna F Bauer: From Moscow to Stalingrad – Decision in the East, Military Heritage Press, (1988), Pages 320-321