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World War II Sites

Adjimuschkay Quarries (Аджимушкайские каменоломни)


Adjimuschkay underground were used for extracting stone for construction of several buildings in the Kerch peninsula. However it became infamous during World War II, when it became the symbol of Soviet resistance against overwhelming Nazi forces.


Location: Kerch, Crimean Peninsula Map




Description of Adjimuschkay

Adjimuschkay Quarries have been used by the local people for centuries to extract stones for construction projects. However quarry located near a village of Adjimuschkay became famous during the World War II after it was abandoned. These artificial underground saw some of the fiercest battles in the Crimean Peninsula between May and October 1942. Remains of the Crimean Front were entrapped in the quarries for months without hope of rescue. Most of defenders were killed.


On May 8th 1942 German Wermacht attacked Red Army stationed in the Crimea and on May 16th Kerch fell into enemy hands. Remains of 83rd Marine Division, 95th Border Division, students of the Yaroslavl Pilot School and students of Voronezh Radio School along with countless civilians took cover in the Adjimuschkay quarries. They expected quick counter attack by the Soviet forces that would liberate them. Unfortunately their predictions didn't pan out and few weeks that they expected turned into long months.


Central Quarry of Adjimuschkay Quarries were protected by a small garrison headed by colonel P.M. Yagunov, I.P. Parachin, G.M. Burmin and in the Minor Quarry colonel A.C. Ermakov along with lieutenant M.G. Povajniy and M.N. Karpechin. About 13,000 defenders managed to hold their grounds for over 170 days. German troops used mortar rounds to collapse some of the passages, poison gasses to kill people and filled up most of the wells in the area once they realized it was the only source of water for people inside the undergrounds. When Germans finally took Adjimuschkay Quarries they captured only 48 soldiers who ran out of bullets.


Adjimuschkay Map

Map of underground passages




Adjimuschkay Quarries were liberated by the Soviet troops at the end of November 1943. Quarries entrances were largely caved in or hard to access. A search group "Poisk" ("search" in Russian) managed to descend deep inside the mountain in 1972. Together with speleologists, soldiers and volunteers they searched for remains of soldiers as well as find historic staff documents as well as documents of the Communist Party that might have been found there.


Expedition had to work in difficult conditions with numerous cave- ins and landslides. The participants of the first expedition discovered several shells of various caliber including 45- mm caliber that didn't explode. Overall the results of this expedition were modest. Therefore in the summer of 1973 a large expedition led by military historian V. Abramov along with participants of the Adjimuschkay Quarries defenses F. Kaznacheev and S. Shayndurov. With their help expedition knew the location of the key position of this underground fortress.


The central tunnel was the center of the defenses of Adjimuschkay Quarries. It also housed the master transceiver. Expedition discovered over 150 items left by its brave garrison. This included two smoke grenades that didn't explode. It served as a proof that the German forces used smoke to drive the soldiers out of their shelters.


Adjimuschkay  Adjimuschkay

Tractor used as a power generator                                                  Remains of the make shift hospital



Abandoned helmets at the water collecting posts. Once the wells outside were sealed off this was the only way to get precious water.


Red Army recaptured Adjimuschkay only in November of 1943. Much of the history associated with this episode were deemed as non- heroic enough and potentially harmful to the careers of some generals so most of the documents were made secret shortly after liberation.









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