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Soviet soldiers remove the bodies of civilians killed by German forces in the village of Bagerovo, Kerch Peninsula, Crimea, January 1942 

Battle of the Kerch Peninsula was a World War II offensive by German and Romanian armies against the Soviet Crimean Front forces defending the Kerch Peninsula, in the eastern part of the Crimea. It was launched on 8 May 1942 and concluded around 18 May 1942 with the near complete destruction of the Soviet defending forces. The Red Army lost over 170,000 men killed or taken prisoner, and three armies (44th, 47th, and 51st) with twenty-one divisions. The operation was one of the battles immediately preceding the German summer offensive (Fall Blau), and its successful conclusion made it possible for the Axis to launch a successful assault on Sevastopol in the following months.
The German invaders killed about 15,000 citizens and deported another 14,000 during their occupation. Evidence of German atrocities in Kerch was presented in the Nuremberg trials. After the war, the city was awarded the title Hero City.
The Adzhimushkay catacombs (mines) in the city’s suburbs were the site of guerrilla warfare against the occupation. Thousands of soldiers and refugees found shelter inside, and were involved in counterattacks. Many of them died underground, including those who died of numerous alleged poison gas attacks. Later, a memorial was established on the site.


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