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    The Defence and Evacuation of the Kuban Bridgehead, January – October 1943


    Galbraith, David R. (2014) The Defence and Evacuation of the Kuban Bridgehead, January – October 1943. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis examines German and Soviet operations in the Kuban area of southern Russia during January – October 1943. As the bulk of German Army Group A withdrew from the Caucasus in early 1943 to avoid encirclement following the Soviet counter-offensive at Stalingrad, Seventeenth Army was ordered to hold a bridgehead on the Kuban Peninsula as a jumping-off point for a future resumption of the German offensive into the Caucasus. In early February, the Soviets attempted to eliminate the German bridgehead through a combined amphibious and ground operation. The ground operation did not achieve any significant gain, and the main amphibious landing operation was a catastrophic failure, but a secondary landing succeeded in gaining a foothold in the southern suburbs of the port city of Novorossiysk that was quickly expanded and became known as Malaya Zemlya (The Small Land). Early April saw the launch of Operation Neptune, a German effort to eliminate the Malaya Zemlya beachhead. This failed utterly due to the weakness of the German assault groups and the tenacious Soviet defence. The Soviets then launched a series of attempts through the spring and summer to break the German line, with minimal success. The final phase of operations in the Kuban was the withdrawal of Seventeenth Army by sea and air across the Kerch Strait to the Crimea. Almost a quarter of a million men and the bulk of their equipment were successfully evacuated, with very light losses. The thesis examines some factors that contributed to the success or failure of these operations and also considers why a region that was of key strategic interest in both German and Soviet planning in the first period of the war quickly diminished in importance and has been largely neglected in the published history of the war.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Defence; Evacuation; Kuban Bridgehead; 1943;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > History
    Item ID: 5581
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2014 16:16
    URI:

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