Bolinder landing 10 M3A1 plus 2 Ammo trucks - according to the plan ...
M3A1 Stuart at Osereika Beach
... unfortunately, the plan didn't work as expected
Light Tank M3A1 »Stuart« at the Osereika landing
During early February, 1943, the Russian winter counteroffensive, starting around Stalingrad 2.5 months ago, had almost driven the Germans out of the Kaukasus.
The latter found themselves encircled on the Taman peninsula and pressed against the Black Sea shores.
In order to outflank the German defense, the Northern Kaukasus Front launched an amphibious landing operation at the Ozereika bay.
30 »M3L« M3A1 tanks of the 563rd Independent Tank Batallion were loaded on three ferries (World War One »Bolinder« of Swedish origine) heading for the beaches.
However, instantly discovered by the German and Roumanian troops, the operation ended in a disaster with the loss of almost all tanks.

The first hit occured on the minesweeper "Gelendzhik" towing Bolinder No. 2.

About 300 sailors and tankers went into the icy water of which only a handful managed to reach shallow water.

Despite strong resistance from the shore, Bolinder No. 4 towed by "Alupka" was the next to approach the beach. Some 100 meters offshore, Bolinder No. 4 bumped into an underwater steel hedgehog.
Despite of catching fire and exploding ammunition, some 8 tanks could still be released, albeit in deep water. Hence, not all M3A1 managed to reach the shore.

Last to appear to the scene was Bolinder No. 6 with its tug "SP-19".
This barge received a direct hit, yet continued the approach to the shore. However, it managed to unload only four tanks.

As result, half an hour later there were just over 1,200 marines and 8-10 tanks on the shore.

Note angled rear and white capricorn (my guess) on hull side as batallion insignia


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Last Updated: July 17, 2014