Novorossiysk-Taman Strategic Offensive Operation

The 'Novorossiysk-Taman Strategic Offensive Operation' was the Soviet 30-day undertaking in two parts to complete the campaign for the Caucasus and to liberate the last portion of the Taman peninsula (10 September/9 October 1943).

As a result of their offensive operations during the spring and summer of 1943, General Ivan Ye. Petrov’s North Caucasus Front had neared the heavily fortified Axis defensive line on the approaches to the Taman peninsula, which were held by General Erwin Jaenecke’s 17th Army of Generalfeldmarschall Ewald von Kleist’s Heeresgruppe 'A'.

In accordance with the overall Soviet scheme for the campaign, which was supervised by Marshal Semyon K. Timoshenko in his capacity as the representative of the Soviet high command, General Leytenant Konstantin N. Leselidze’s 18th Army, together with forces of Vitse Admiral Lev A. Vladimirsky’s Black Sea Fleet, delivered the main blow on Novorossiysk in the and then pressed forward to Verkhnebakansky and Anapa, while General Leytenant Andrei A. Grechko’s 56th Army advanced on the villages of Gladkovskaya and Gostagayevskaya, and General Major Aleksei A. Grechkin’s 9th Army advanced on Kurchanskaya and the city of Temryuk.

On 10 September there began the 'Novorossiysk Landing Operation', which ended on 16 September with the liberation of Novorossiysk.

The final part of the North Caucasus campaign lasted from 2 to 9 October. On the night of 2 October, the 56th Army crossed the Staraya Kuban river and proceed to crush the Axis forces in the area between the Akhtanizovsky and Kiziltash river estuaries, liberating the village of Vyshetebliyevskaya on 4 October. The 56th Army then turned onto the rear of the Axis forces defending the area in the north of the Taman peninsula. Thus the Axis forces in the Taman peninsula were divided into two parts, and in the night of 7 October the Axis forces fell back from Akhtanizovsky and retreated to the Kuchugur region.

At the same time that the 56th Army was advancing at Starotitarovskaya, parts of the 18th Army were advancing along the Taman peninsula’s southern coast. The 18th Army broke through the German defences near the village of Veselovka and liberated Taman on 3 October, six day before the completion of the 'Krimhilde-Bewegung' undertaking in which the remnants of the 17th Army were evacuated across the Strait of Kerch into the eastern part of Crimea.