Ceremonial Vase
Dedicated to the Defence
of Sevastopol and Odessa
A gift to Joseph Stalin on his 70th birthday
from the staff of Budyansk Faience
Factory, Soviet Socialist Republic
of Ukraine, 1949
A Soviet ceremonial vase, telling the tale of the heroic
feat of two cities situated on the Black Sea
shore – heroes of the Great Patriotic War
(as called part of WWII fought on the Soviet territory).
Decorated with the portrait of the Commander-in-Chief,
this vase went to Joseph Stalin as a gift on his birthday.
Selfless courage, fury in the fight against the enemy and
dedication of the defenders of Sevastopol and Odessa – such
were the themes of the interesting painting over faience, created
by Ukrainian artist V.I. Peshinsky. On one side of the vase,
you can see the depiction of a brave Red Navy commander
leading his Marines into attack in Sevastopol.
The heroic defence of Sevastopol went on for 250 days, despite the fact that the
fascists, who attacked Crimea in 1941, had flash attack plans to capture the
southern sea fortress. After the failure of the first attempt, the German
command arranged for three more large-scale attacks on the city of Russian
Navy (there were no ground troops left in Sevastopol even before the first
attack). The attacking army had colossal power: a twofold greater manpower,
three times more artillery power, tenfold superiority in the number of tanks and
planes (the Luftwaffe planes made an average of 600 sorties daily).
Interestingly enough, when attacking Sevastopol in 1942 the super heavy
artillery weapon "Dora," which weighed in at 1000 tons and had a 32-meter
long barrel, was used for the first and the last time. The gun's carriage was as
high as a three-story building. This monster was snuck in parts by five trains
from Germany and was covertly placed in the especially dug hideout in the hills
near Bakhchisaray. This gun's shell made a one-meter diameter and 12 meter
depth hole in the ground in case of direct landing and the long-range high
explosive projectiles travelled as far as 35 kilometers into the sea. People who
witnessed “Dora" in action first heard the explosion after the sound of the
flying shell (weighing in at 7100kg). But the Germans did not succeed in
achieving high accuracy by "Dora" and its use did not cause expected damage
to the defenders of Sevastopol.
Medal "For the Defence of Sevastopol"
On the opposite side of the vase, you can see the heroic defence of
Odessa. The artist chose the image of a particular spot in the city as
the symbol of this heroic act: the shell exploded right near the
memorial bust of Aleksander Pushkin on the Primorsky Boulevard near
the building the building of the Communist Party regional committee.
Fortunately, the monument to the Russian poet, which was
erected with the public's funds in 1887 to commemorate
the 50th anniversary of Pushkin's death, withstood the attack.
The courageous defence of the most important Black Sea Naval base, Odessa,
continued for more than two months. This base was already surrounded by land
by August of 1942. Eighteen Romanian army divisions were assigned to capture
the city. This number of attacking soldiers far exceeded the number of defending
soldiers. Still, the Soviet army successfully defended the city. However, the
threat of the fall of Crimea forced the High Command to order the Primosky
Army to the peninsula. This evacuation was with full combat capability and
unblemished honor: leaving Odessa for the fascists. The Soviet army took all of
the weapons and hardware with them. Arriving in Crimea, the Primosky Army
joined forces with the defenders of Sevastopol. However; on the 1st of July,
1943, the valiant Black Sea fortress fell… To understand the scale of this great
defensive effort one should see the number of German losses as well as the
number of Soviet losses. The significance of this event can be understood if we
come to know that all the German military personnel, who took part in this
operation, received a special sleeve insignia "Crimean Shield" and the
commander of this effort, Erich von Manstein, was promoted to Field Marshal.
Medal "For the Defenсe of Odessa"
Collection custodian:
“The body of the vase is covered in exquisite painting: Ukrainian
national motifs, decorative flowers and oak leaves. The base is
decorated with traditional Ukrainian wheat. On the lid are ‘golden’
figures of Red Army and Red Navy soldiers – the same symbols which
were used on the medals ‘For the Defencee of Sevastopol’ and ‘For
the Defence of Odessa.’ We can see the image of this medal above
the words of Joseph Stalin, dedicated to the defenders of these
Soviet cities.”