Siege of Odessa (1941)

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The Siege of Odessa was a siege battle during World War II. It was part of the Eastern Front area of operations in 1941. It was done by Romanian forces and the German Army's (Wehrmacht Heer) 11th Army (11. Armee). They attacked the city of Odessa in the Soviet Union.

Siege of Odessa
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II

A Soviet gun crew during the siege.
Date8 August – 16 October 1941 (2 months, and 8 days)
Result Pyrrhic Axis victory
Romania Romania
Nazi Germany Germany
 Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
Romania Alexandru Ioaniţiu
Romania Nicolae Ciupercă
Romania Iosif Iacobici
Nazi Germany Erich von Manstein
Soviet Union Georgiy Sofronov
Soviet Union Ivan Petrov (later stages)
Soviet Union Gavriil Zhukov
initially 160,000 men[1] initially 34,500 men[2]
240 artillery pieces
Casualties and losses
92,545 overall
17,729 dead
63,345 wounded
11,471 missing
19 tanks
90 artillery pieces
20 aircraft[3]
Low estimate: 41,268 overall[2]
16,578 dead/missing
24,690 wounded
151 aircraft
High estimate: 60,000 overall[4]

Due to the strong fighting of the 9th Independent Army (initially) and the Separate Coastal Army,[5] and the Black Sea Fleet forces in Odessa, it took the Romanian army 73 days of siege and four attacks to capture the city. They had 93,000 casualties. The Red Army had 41,000 casualties. Some historians say the Red Army had 60,000 casualties.[4]

Before the battle change

About 38,000 Soviet personnel were awarded the Medal "For the Defence of Odessa" from 22 December 1942.

On 27 July 1941, Hitler sent a letter to General Antonescu asking for Romanian troops.

On 8 August, the Romanians ordered the 4th Army to capture Odessa. They thought the city would surrender quickly. However, Odessa was a heavily fortified city. It had trenches, anti-tank ditches, pillboxes and other defences.

Overall, the Red Army had some 34,500 men and 240 artillery pieces in the area. Airplanes included two seaplane squadrons and one bomber squadron.

The Romanian 4th Army planned to attack Odessa. The 5th Corps would go north then turn south.

Battle change

On 9 August, the 4th Dorobanti Regiment defeated the Soviet forces in the Bakalovy area. The 30th Dorobanţi Regiment captured the village of Ponyatovka.

The 1st Armored Division defeated the Soviet forces at Bolschaya Buzhalyk, breaking through Odessa's first line of defense.

The 10th Dorobanţi Regiment beat the Soviet forces at Lozovaya. The 4th Army surrounded Odessa.

On 17 August, Romanian troops capturing Odessa's water reservoirs. The Soviet forces fought hard. There were many losses on both sides.

By 24 August, the Romanians were stopped at the Soviets' main line of defense. The 4th Army already had 27,307 casualties, including 5,329 killed.

On 28 August, the Romanians attacked again. They had help from a German assault battalion and ten heavy artillery battalions.

A German force came to help the Romanians. The Soviets also received 15,000 men and ammunition. Then the 157th Rifle Division arrived with 12,600 troops. Also, 18 Soviet companies were brought in from Novorossiysk.

Footnotes change

  1. Axworthy (1995), p. 50.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Glantz (1995), p. 293
  3. " - the Battle of Odessa - 1941".
  4. 4.0 4.1 Axworthy,Mark. Third Axis Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945. p. 58.
  5. See also Axis History Forum thread

References change

  • Axworthy, Mark; Scafes, Cornel; Craciunoiu, Cristian (1995). Third Axis Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945. London: Arms & Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-267-7.
  • Glantz, David M. & House, Jonathan (1995), When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, ISBN 0-7006-0899-0