Heroic Defense of the Adzhimushkai Quarry in 1942

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 26 Sep 2005 22:55

Qvist wrote:Hello Oleg

The only info on the subject is available either via personal accounts or post-Soviet research. At this forum these tend to be rejected as “propaganda” .


I should hope that this is not the case to any unreasonable degree, at least among our more reasonable posters.

The way to check would be to see if German unit in question had any tear gas available to it and if there was reported drop on quantity. The problem is I have no idea what was the German unit in question.


I agree - there ought to be some trace of it somewhere in German documentation if something as extraordinary as the use of chemical agents for combat purposes was taking place. I doubt however that German units carried tear gas on any routine basis.

Given the general behavior of Germans in Crimea (Bagerovskiy Rov) for instance – I definitely would not put it past them


Nor would I, in terms of scruples. But there appears to have been very strong inhibitions against the use of poison gas in combat with the German military, quite beyond any moral factors.

was involved from the
cheers
yes but I don't even know if it was German military - it might have been some security unit or police formation. -I am being repetitive here - but I don't know who was involved from the German side. In Soviet literature they referred to as "Germans" which of course could be whoever

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Kim Sung
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Post by Kim Sung » 20 Feb 2006 14:45

I've found another story on the defense of Adzhimoshkay quarry from Catherine Merridale's Ivan's War pp. 148~150.

In mid-May the last remnants of Mekhlis' army boarded small boats and set off across the five-mile strait toward the mainland. But the German advance had been so swift that many remained trapped in limestone hills behind the town. These men and women looked down on the strait below- they must have dreamed of walking of it - and knew there could be no escape. But what came next was anguish of a kind that even this war would see only once or twice. It was typical because it involved individual courage, and shattered faith, and then a cruel waste of life. It was unique because the drama took place underground. The heroes of the story found their graves in a maze of tunnels deep within Crimea's rock.

The officers of the Special Section, hardened agents in the mold of Mikhail Ivanovich and the OSMBON, took charge at once. Barking their orders and fingering loaded guns, they gathered every straggler and mustered the men. Then they produced a group of local guides, people who knew the landscape and its secret caves. These men led the entire company into a quarry, an enormous labyrinth of pits and tunnels from which the stone to build a fortress for the port's defense had been taken eighty years before. This cave city would now become the soldiers' home. Three thousand people, including nurses and refugees from Kerch, huddled away into the darkness. They dragged their horses and their guns, they carried bundles of supplies. If they had glanced behind them as they shuffled down into the earth, they would have glimpsed the grassy steppe, the blue spring light, burgeoning yellow tansy, and the crimson splashes of the first poppies. These colors would have been the last that they would see. Few would blink in daylight again or even feel a cool breeze on their skin.

The cave city was organized. That is, the men from the Special Section knew their work. They split their men into detachments and assigned clear tasks to each. Some were organized into sentry rotations, others sent off down dank tunnels to look for hidden exits, search for water, or scrape together any food or fuel. The men in charge made their headquarters in the largest, safest cave. The hospital was set up in the deepest one. It was soon needed. Without a regular supply of food, the refugees began to eat flesh of horses that had died in the escape. Three months later this meat was still the only food they had. At first scouts from the quarry made raids to the surface, seizing whatever they could steal and harrassing the German guards who watched over the site, but in a few weeks all that stopped as well. The quarry people were trapped. As they waited for death, they lit their darkness with thin, stinking candles made from burning strips of rubber tire.

The Germans planted explosives around the exits from the site. Rocks and splinters rained down on the fugitives below. Then poison gas was released into the tunnels, killing all but a few score of the Soviet defenders. These last died hungry and despairing in the next few weeks, but they did not surrender. In Soviet myth, the quarry at Adzhimushkay became another Leningrad, a Brest fortress, a place where heroes held out to the last. But in fact these brave men and women had no choice. Although some of the officers, the Special Section men with their revolvers and their survival training, must have escaped and reported the tale, the others were forced to remain. They were kept in the pit at gunpoint, threatened with death by comrades from their own side. If they would not behave like heroes, choosing a noble end, they would die from a Soviet bullet in the neck.


From multiple sources including this one, we can conclude that poison gas(maybe a kind of choking gas) was used in this most tragic, heroic last stand in human history.

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Post by Larry D. » 20 Feb 2006 15:24

From multiple sources including this one, we can conclude that poison gas(maybe a kind of choking gas) was used in this most tragic, heroic last stand in human history.


This story is largely unknown outside Russia and the area of the former Soviet Union, so I suspect that most of Merridale's sources are of that origin. No doubt the event happened. If it was the Heer that detonated the tunnels and then pumped in the gas, then it almost certainly was a choking gas of some sort. But if the SS did the job, then all bets are off. They might have used tabun, clorine, mustard, Zyklon B or some other illegal agent.

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TISO
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Post by TISO » 20 Feb 2006 21:53

Song:
Adzhimoshkay
Music: V. Shainsky Lyrics: B. Dubrovin Singer: S. Zakharov 1980's.

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Post by JamesL » 20 Feb 2006 22:36

Merridale credits "Information from the Adzhimuskai museum and from local people in Kerch."

Note 89, Chap. 4 of "Ivan's War."

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Post by Kim Sung » 22 Feb 2006 02:53

One of my initial four questions still isn't answered. What happened to those 48 survivors captured by Germans in October 1942? How many of them survived the war?

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Post by Kim Sung » 24 Feb 2006 15:25

TISO wrote:Song:
Adzhimoshkay
Music: V. Shainsky Lyrics: B. Dubrovin Singer: S. Zakharov 1980's.

Impressive song! It sounds like a requiem for the heroes of the Adzhimushkay quarry. Do you have lyrics for that?

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TISO
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Post by TISO » 24 Feb 2006 16:54

Do you have lyrics for that?

Unfortunatly not.
On the site sovmusic.ru where impressive collection of Soviet era music is collected some texts are missing, among them also for this song.
I only managed to find translated and translitered text (in latinic script) on one other site:

RKKA ww2 armcahair general-multimedia it is in the post war file (go to details next to the song).

"Adzhimushkai"

Ot kanonad,
Ot kanonad
Pylala Kerch' vdali,
Riady soldat,
Riady soldat
V kamenolomni shli.

- Derzhis'!
Ne otstupai!
Derzhis'!
Ty ne srazhion.
Adzhimushkai,
Podzemnyi garnizon.

Adzhimushkai.

- Derzhis'!
Ne otstupai!
Derzhis'!
Ty ne srazhion.
Adzhimushkai,
Podzemnyi garnizon.

Opiat' obval,
Opiat' obval.
I vsio temno vokrug.
I prosheptal,
I prosheptal
Upavshii politruk:

- Derzhis'!
Ne otstupai!
Derzhis'!
Ty ne srazhion.
Adzhimushkai,
Podzemnyi garnizon.

Adzhimushkai.

- Derzhis'!
Ne otstupai!
Derzhis'!
Ty ne srazhion.
Adzhimushkai,
Podzemnyi garnizon.

I net vody,
I net vody,
I khleba tozhe net.
I lish' v grudi,
I lish' v grudi
Zhiviot nadezhdy svet:

- Derzhis'!
Ne otstupai!
Derzhis'!
Ty ne srazhion.
Adzhimushkai,
Podzemnyi garnizon.

Adzhimushkai.

- Derzhis'!
Ne otstupai!
Derzhis'!
Ty ne srazhion.
Adzhimushkai,
Podzemnyi garnizon.

Gul kanonad,
Gul kanonad
Unositsia v veka.
No vsio zvuchat,
No vsio zvuchat
Slova izdaleka:

- Derzhis'!
Ne otstupai!
Derzhis'!
Ty ne srazhion.
Adzhimushkai.

Adzhimushkai.

Derzhis'!
Derzhis'!
Ne otstupai!
Ne otstupai!
Derzhis'!
Derzhis'!
Ty ne srazhion.
Ty ne srazhion.
Adzhimushkai,
Podzemnyi garnizon.
Last edited by TISO on 24 Feb 2006 16:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Kim Sung
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Post by Kim Sung » 24 Feb 2006 16:55

Hlava, that'd be enough!

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Post by Kim Sung » 27 Feb 2006 15:45

The reason why Germans used poison gas in the battle of Adzhimushkay is that they had some advantages there. The defenders were totally isolated for 5 months and there was no hope of Soviet rescue, so it was very easy to conceal the fact that Germans used poison gas.

Germans couldn't use poison gas in an open field battle, because it would give the Soviets a good subject for propaganda on German cruelty. But, in Adzhimushkay, it was possible to use poison gas without letting the outside world know the hedious truth.

In regard to the use of poison gas in Brest fortress, it was not proven yet except the official Brest fortress homepage and some Japanese materials. But the situation there was very similar to that of Adzhimushkay, so it's highly probable that Germans used poison gas in Brest too.

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Post by Larry D. » 27 Feb 2006 16:49

Kim Sung wrote:

....The reason why Germans used poison gas.....


So you have found absolute proof now that "poison" gas was used in violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions? Could you share that proof with us? Did you take soil samples? Did you find a German veteran living in Germany who has now, after 60 years, broken down and revealed all? This is an outstanding investigative feat, K.S., and I sure hope you will be able to give us a few more details.

--Larry

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Post by Kim Sung » 27 Feb 2006 17:34

Larry, I know you take a very careful attitude in investigation of atrocities committed during the war.

My sources for German poison gas use at Adzhimushkay are as follows.

1. http://www.pobediteli.ru says that there was gas attack in June 1942 in which some hundred cilvilians were killed. To get more corroborating data on the gas attack in Adzhmushkay, I sent an e-mail to the administrator of this site five months ago, but there has been no reply so far.

2. Diary of a dead defender at Adzhimushkay as Oleg Grigoryev posted above some months ago

3. Alexei Kupler's Two among Two Millions(Алексей Каплер: Двое из двадцати миллионов)

4. Catherine Merridale's Ivan's War pp. 148~150 as I posted above

The Soviet authorities didn't know about the gas attack until the survivors told their story to them after the war. If they take any soil samples then, it was too late to get meaningful data because three years have already passed. And there were innumerable German atrocity cases, so I assume that there was no reason that the Soviet government concentrated on this specific incident.

If you take a very more careful attitude on the use of poison gas in Adzhimushkay than me, I'll respect that.

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Post by Larry D. » 27 Feb 2006 18:06

Okay, K.S. You have done an excellent job researching this and I sincerely respect that. But why not simply insert the words "probably used" before the word "poison gas"? That way you safeguard your credibility and avoid the possibility of leaving others who come here and read this thread with the impression that this is "a done deal?" That illegal, proscribed poison gas was definitely used? As I already said above a week or so ago, it is likely that poison gas was used, but not a certainty.

I, for one, may be more concerned with your credibility than you are. You post a lot of very interesting and useful information on AHF that's not otherwise available to most of us because we don't have your very considerable skills with Asian and Western languages. I, and I'm sure others, want to continue our confidence in you and the reliability of your posts. Generally, you are very good about providing sources so we can judge for ourselves the probability of the information being accurate, and this is why I have taken issue with these poison gas assertions. It almost seems, from the context of the entire thread, that you WANT us to believe that poison gas was used and I don't think that's a good impression to leave us with. That's why, if I were you, I would use those important adverbs and adverbial phrases "probably", "most likely", "circumstantial evidence suggests", "the odds are", etc.

Please don't take this personally, K.S. I enjoy and learn something from 99% of your posts. But this one I have a problem with.

Cheers,

--Larry :)

P.S. I make mistakes here, too, and have to go back and make corrects or amends. "To err is human."

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Post by Kim Sung » 28 Feb 2006 04:44

Thank you for your kind advice, Larry. Careful approach is needed when we post something on a incident that is unknown in the western world. If there had been enough English materials on this legendary incident or if my Russian is perfect, I could have provided more corroborating data. When it comes to the Eastern Front, many things are still in the clouds.

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Post by Larry D. » 28 Feb 2006 14:05

Kim Sung wrote:Thank you for your kind advice, Larry. Careful approach is needed when we post something on a incident that is unknown in the western world. If there had been enough English materials on this legendary incident or if my Russian is perfect, I could have provided more corroborating data. When it comes to the Eastern Front, many things are still in the clouds.


I agree completely, K.S. Given time and some luck, you may be able to find some additional information on this tragic incident that will help us come to some final determination.

Best wishes,

--Larry

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