Photos and historical info.
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Kerch was one of the first cities fault under assault of Nazi troops in the beginning of the war. For all the time line of the front four times run through it and for the years of the war the city was twice occupied by Nazi troops, and as a result 15 thousand peaceful citizens were killed and more than 14 thousand of kerchians were deported to Germany for slave labor.
First time the city was captured in November, 1941 after sanguinary battles. But on December, 30 the troops of 51st army released Kerch in course of Kerch-Feodosia operation.
In May, 1942 Nazi concentrated large forces on Kerch peninsula and begun new attack on the city. After hard and battles Kerch was left again. Legendary page written into the history became hard fighting and long time defense in Adzhimushkai quarries. Soviet hero patriots demonstrated to the world example of togetherness, fidelity to military duty and battle brotherhood. Undergrounders and guerrillas also were on the warpath with the occupants.
During 320 days while the city was in enemy’s hands, occupants destroyed all factories, burnt all bridges and ships, deforested and burnt all parks and gardens, destroyed power station and telegraph, exploded railroads on the peninsula. Kerch was almost wiped off the map.
The largest landing operation during the war was Kerch-Feodosia landing, thanks to its hero participants were blocked enemy’s plans of military advance to the Caucasus elaborated by the invaders. With the beginning of 1943 German command considered Crimea as one of the most important place of arms, so near Kerch tremendous forces were concentrated: tanks, artillery, and aviation.
Besides this Germans mined the strait itself to prevent battling through of Soviet liberating troops to occupied territories. At night of November 1, 1943 18 automatic riflemen occupied small mound near Eltigen settlement. All heroes died on taken place of arms but let not enemy to pass trough.
40 days long continuous battle got into history under the name “Fire Land”. This feat from which winning of Kerch straight back put the beginning to liberation of Kerch peninsula.
Eltigen, Adzhimushkai, Bagerovo – these places were juiced with the blood of hero defenders of Kerch peninsula. Bravery of the warriors of Separate Seaside army was marked with highest awards. For defense and liberation of Kerch 153 men were awarded with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. The city was liberated on April, 11 1944, and on September 14, 1973 Kerch was awarded with the title of Hero City.