top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Kerch: Hero City of the USSR

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

From a folder of historic cards published in 1985 on the 40th anniversary of the victory of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War we continue our series looking at the Hero Cities and Fortresses as well as other sites and battles critical to the Soviet victory. The folder was entitled "No one is Forgotten. Nothing is Forgotten."

This ninth post looks at the battles for the Hero City of Kerch and the Kerch Peninsula.

It is important to never forget the tremendous determination, courage and sacrifices of the Soviet peoples and Red Army in the great struggle of liberation against Nazism and fascism that was World War II.

The fight for Kerch was of great importance for the liberation of Crimea from the Nazi invaders. The Kerch bridgehead played an important role in the offensive battles of the Soviet Army. During the course of defensive battles, the invasion of fascist German troops into the Caucasus through the Taman Peninsula was prevented.

Hitler's troops, using a huge superiority in manpower and equipment, broke into Crimea by mid-October 1941. Kerch was preparing for defense. Fighter battalions and partisan detachments were created, and city enterprises built the Voykovets and Gornyak armored trains. There were stubborn battles for the city for more than 300 days. On November 16, 1941, despite the heroic resistance of Soviet troops and partisan detachments, Kerch was occupied by the enemy.

But the city did not submit. The five-month stubborn struggle in the Adzhimushkai quarries became a legendary page in the history of the war. Units of the Soviet troops and residents of the city, even under occupation, continued to fight the fascist invaders - they made daring forays, inflicting short but strong blows on the enemy. Soviet patriots showed the world an example of loyalty to military duty, mutual assistance, and military brotherhood.

Soviet troops liberated the city twice - in 1941 and 1944. The scale of the operations carried out is indicated by the following figures: more than 6 divisions, over 250 ships and vessels, and about 660 aircraft took part in the Kerch-Feodosia landing operation of 1941. For five and a half months there were fierce battles between the soldiers of the Separate Primorsky Army, the sailors of the Black Sea Fleet and the Azov Military Flotilla with the enemy on the outskirts, and then on the streets of Kerch. On April 11, 1944, the city was completely liberated.

For the courage and fearlessness shown by Soviet soldiers during the crossing of the Kerch Strait and the capture of bridgeheads on Crimean soil, for the heroism shown in the battles during the liberation of Kerch, 134 soldiers were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, more than 10,000 were awarded orders and medals. 20 military units and formations were given the honorary names of Kerch. On September 14, 1973, Kerch was awarded the honorary title “Hero City” with the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal.

Kerch's Obelisk of Glory



bottom of page