Hitler's obsession with the Crimea was the source of fierce disagreements with his General staff, who, according to the Fuhrer, 'knew nothing about the economics of war'. So it was that the German 11th Army under Manstein broke through the Soviet lines in October 1941 - but this was only the beginning of a series of bloody battles that cost the Russians two whole armies. For his bombardment and capture of Sevastapol, Manstein was promoted to Field Marshal. However, the tide turned after the disastrous German defeats at Stalingrad and Kursk. Cut off and isolated in the Crimea, the Germans faced massive Russian attacks and Sevastapol surrendered - against Hitler's orders - in May 1944. Twelve German and Rumanian divisions were completely destroyed and 25,000 prisoners were taken.
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