Except for people who are extremely interested in World War 2 history, very few people outside of Russia remember the “Battle for the Caucasus” anymore. Despite this, the city of Novorossiysk (spelled Novorossiisk above and Новороссийск in Russian) was one of just 12 cities awarded “Hero City” status by the Soviet Union.
The image above is from the New York Times and you can click on it to see the largest version (yellow highlighting is my doing btw).
I did my best to find some online summaries of just how important this fighting was for control of the Black Sea (today there are ferries that go from Constanta to Novorossiysk) but all of the good ones are in Russian. I did however find this little summary in English:
Ah yes, any student of the war might say: the Wehrmacht in Russia. Such a well known story. Dramatic early victories, sudden turnabout. Ultimate defeat.
The only problem is that I am talking about the Romanians.
They have gotten short shrift in histories of World War II, even those that specialize in the Eastern Front. And yet they played a key role in this greatest of all military struggles. Without them, the Barbarossa campaign of 1941 becomes nearly impossible, and 1942′s Operation Blue becomes absolutely impossible. The Romanian Army had nearly 700,000 men under arms in 1941 and 1.25 million by the summer of 1944.
I could find almost zero in Romanian language and certainly no mention of the importance of this 70th anniversary of this battle in any of the newspapers (nor much at all about this critical campaign).
The closest thing I could find was a letter written by the Romanian military command to the German military liaison warning of the difficulty in securing the recently-conquered bits of territory on Russia’s Black Sea coast, which were bitterly contested all the way into early 1943, which you can read below:
No one should be obsessed with history but it should not be forgotten either.