The Battle of the Sea of Azov was a battle between elements of the German, Italian and Rumanian armies (all under the command of the German Eleventh Army, commanded by the German Erich von Manstein), against the forces of Soviet Russia (specifically the Soviet 9th and 18th Armies, under the commands of Generals Cherevichenko and Smirnov respectively); during September-October 1941, in World War II. The battle took place during the German Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Soviet Russia and attempted conquest by Nazi Germany, and happened in a location near to the Russian coast with the Sea of Azov, near the Crimea.
The battle was originally an attempt by the Russians to rupture the northern flank of the Seventeenth Army as it advanced along the coastline, and into the steppes of Russia proper. However, even though the Russians were successful in causing turmoil amongst some of the Rumanian troops who were in the path of the advance of the 9th and 18th Armies, the line held for the most part due to the tenacity of the German resistance, limited objectives set by the Russian command, and poor co-ordination and logistical support. Whilst the Russians were held in place along the front, the German 1st Panzer Group under the command Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist flanked the Russian positions, cut them off along their lines of communications, and surrounded them when the Panzer Group advanced to meet with the German forces of the Eleventh Army. The 9th and 18th Armies were crushed in the resulting pocket, and over 106,000 Russian POWs were sent into captivity, 212 Soviet tanks were destroyed, and 766 Russian guns of various assortments were put out of service. The battle lasted from the 26th September, to the 7th October 1941.