The Dieppe of the Black Sea - Red Victory
The Dieppe of the Black SeaBy Ozgur Budak
29 - 3 - 3
04 FEBRUARY 1943, OZEREIKA BAY, 12KM SOUTHWEST OF NOVOROSSIISK: After surrounding the German forces at Stalingrad, STAVKA planned another smaller operation codenamed "Operation Sea". The aim of the operation was to capture the Black Sea harbor town of Novorossiisk and block the 17th Army's path of retreat from the Caucasus into the Crimea. The assault was to be a combined one that included amphibious and airborne landings. The amphibious operation was directed against Novorossiisk while airborne troops delayed the reinforcements. The location of the beach landings was the bay of Ozereika which is a couple of kilometers southwest of Novorossiisk. The Ozereika Bay provided a suitable landscape for landings and advance inland. The Axis defenses in the area consisted of the 38th Rumanian Infantry Regiment which was defending the beaches and the German 789th Coastal Artillery Battalion with its 105mm howitzers emplaced in the heights dominating the bay and the village of Yuzhnaye Ozereika. The Soviet plan was to push through the defense in order to reach a line between Yuzhnaye Ozereika and Stanichka; then turn right and envelop Novorossiisk from the West. The mission was undertaken by the elements of the 255th Naval Brigade, a stubborn and crack unit which was supported by lend lease Stuart tanks from the 563rd Tank Battalion. Soviet command used every vessel for naval transportation; patrol boats, rubber boats, fishing boats and barges. The destroyer "Minsk" provided artillery support on pre-assigned targets. At 02:00 hours the first wave of the assault force closed in on the beach. The landing forces found trenches, mines and obstacles intact after the artillery preparation and engaged in a heavy fight with the Rumanian infantry.