In the southwestern part of the Odesa microdistrictTairov, which is adjacent to the village of Lustdorf, there is a huge green massif. It is simply surprising how he survived among the dense development of elite cottages: this area has long been considered prestigious. And the answer is very simple: it is a memorial park dedicated to the defense of Odessa during the Second World War. On the site of the park was the combat position of coastal defense battery No. 411.
Now, when we turn to those events, it becomes clear how many myths and misconceptions are connected with the wartime. On June 22, the massive offensive of Hitler’s troops on the USSR began. Odesa was one of the first cities to be attacked from the air. Army Group “South” was moving towards Odesa through Lviv and Kyiv, since access to the Black Sea was among Germany’s most important priorities.
It is much less known that the attack on Odesa was led mainly by Romanian units, the German troops were represented by one incomplete division. Not surprising. Just a year before, following the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Soviet troops occupied Romanian Bessarabia. The allies of the Germans were sure that they would not just recapture this region, but would add a large part of the coast to it, including Odesa. When the German offensive on other fronts began to choke due to the autumn rains, in the south the Romanians only intensified their attacks.
The defense of Odesa, namely the period of active combat, lasted from August 5 to October 16, 1941. Battles took place at sea and on land. Luftwaffe planes periodically bombed the positions of those who were defending. The Romanian command was ordered to take the city no matter what, and the Soviet commanders were ordered to “defend to the last fighter.”
It is quite possible that it would be so. But by the middle of September, the situation in Crimea worsened sharply. By order of Stalin, on the night of October 16, the Soviet troops left Odesa, evacuating their weapons along the way. Everything that could not be taken away was sunk or destroyed. The powder warehouses on Marazliivska were blown up, not paying attention to the civilian casualties.
In Soviet military historiography, the defense of Odessa is considered the first successful defense of a sea fortress on land. Well, for the Soviet army of those years, the evacuation of the remnants of the fighting forces could indeed be considered a success. But in fact, on October 16, Odesa was surrendered. Two and a half years of occupation began.
Monuments and memorials in honor of military events began to be erected already in the sixties, when the cult of Victory was born. In Odesa, it was decided for a long time who would be awarded the main merits, the army or the navy. Therefore, the creation of a monument at the positions of the 411 battery was initiated by citizens – ordinary residents of the city.
On the central avenue of the memorial park there are obelisks, stands with photos of the war years and military equipment. There are anti-tank hedgehogs, depth mines, and anti-aircraft guns. A little far away in the park there is a battle boat, in the central square – an armored train, a fighter plane, a combat tram with a machine gun in a trailer, and even a real submarine. Of course, everything dangerous is removed from the formidable equipment even before installation, and children happily fight over the formidable guns. And there are many children walking here.
Life, as usual, sooner or later defeats death. The Odessa Defense Memorial, as before, reminds of the two tragic months of 1941. But the green, blooming park is too beautiful to think about wars and the perishability of things in it. More and more, it turns into a favorite place for walks and rest.
In the summer, trampolines are inflated in the park, animators deftly blow huge soap bubbles. A rope park begins a little away from the central avenue. Tracks of several difficulty levels are designed for both children and adults. On the other hand, the local military-patriotic club equipped a training obstacle course.
The kiosks sell hotdogs and soft drinks. By the way, alcohol is not respected in the park: even beer will have to be searched for, and perhaps to no avail. So lovers of feasting in nature come by car with their products and are located away from the main avenues on the outskirts of the park.
But in search of a place for a picnic, it is not recommended to take much to the western part of the park. First, as in many large parks, there is a pet cemetery. Miniature graves look very touching, but they are not suitable for recreation. And secondly, immediately outside the border of the park, the active military part of the coastal defense begins.