World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF RUSSIA: Toward the Strait

Over the marshy coastal plain of the Taman Peninsula rumbled hundreds of Soviet tanks and guns, perhaps 150,000 men. They cracked through Field Marshal Fritz von Manstein's defenses, pushed the Germans slowly back toward the narrow Kerch Strait, separating the Crimea from the Caucasus. Berlin radio claimed 61 Russian tanks knocked out one day, 59 the next, but admitted retreat: "In view of continuous Soviet attacks, it proved necessary to adopt a particularly elastic warfare."

Moscow barely reported the action, spoke mainly of artillery duels and intense air activity all along the front. The Russians claimed more than 456 German...

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