Crimea: the final victory



Crimea: the final victory


Article headlines: Crimea the final victory, died in thousands, one-man rafts. Account of defeat of 40,000 man German 17th Army defending the Crimea.

Spatial Coverage





One newspaper cutting


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit and




Crimea: the final victory

From Paul Winterton

News Chronicle Special Correspondent


THIS is the story of how 40,000 men of the German 17th Army, entrusted by Hitler with the defence of the Crimea, were smashed and obliterated on the narrow headland called the Khersones peninsula after the fall of Sevastopol.

It is a story of evacuation hopes frustrated by the Russians, of German disillusionment and surrender.

North of the headland there is a little bay, with neither quay nor jetty. The Germans, having destroyed practically all that was left of Sevastopol, hoped to be evacuated from this bay.

Died in thousands

Until the last moment they scanned the horizon for ships that never appeared, and in an inferno of fire they died in thousands.

On the tip of the headland they made their last stand behind a line only just over half a mile long. They had little artillery left, but thousands of men and one small aerodrome, no longer capable of providing protection.

All through the fearful night of May 11-12 the Russians poured unceasing fire into this tiny triangle.

One-man rafts

The enemy was almost without cover. Lt.-Gen. Boehme, commander of the German Firth Army Corps, was crouching in the cellar below the lighthouse with privates who refused to obey officers any more.

In the last hours the Germans maddened by the murderous fire had knocked together tiny one-man rafts of planks.

Some had actually paddled off with Rumania, 180 miles away, as their goal, and had been drowned or destroyed on their hopeless journey.

I saw the bodies of the last of the German Seventeenth Army. I have seen the extent of the German disaster and can record that no Russian victory since Stalingrad has more decisively disposed of any German force.

Twenty-five thousand of the enemy, mostly Germans, surrendered.

And there is a postscript. Riding back at night from Sevastopol to Simferopol I passed columns of German prisoners shambling slowly northwards into captivity.


“Crimea: the final victory,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 22, 2024,

Item Relations

This item has no relations.