History The usage of the term "hero-city" is dated to articles in Pravda as early as in The first official usage of the title is dated by May 1, 1945, when Joseph Stalin issued his Supreme Commander Order #20 commanding to fire salutes in "hero cities Leningrad, Stalingrad, Sevastopol, and Odessa. Cities Heroes of Soviet Union
Some facts about On June 22, 1961 (20th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War) the term "Hero City" was applied to Kiev in the ukases that awarded Kiev the Order of Lenin and introduced the Medal For the Defence of Kiev The statute of the title was officially introduced on May 8, 1965 by the ukase of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of USSR, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. The same day ukases were issued about awarding the cities mentioned above: Leningrad, Volgograd (former Stalingrad), Kiev, Sevastopol, and Odessa. Additionally, Moscow was declared Hero City and Brest declared Hero-Fortress. Subsequent awards were issued as follows: September 14, 1973: Kerch and Novorossiysk. June 26, 1974: Minsk December 7, 1976: Tula May 6, 1985: Murmansk, Smolensk In 1988 the issuance of the award was officially discontinued. Badges –Cities Heroes
Brest Hero-Fortress The fortress in Brest (Belarus) was awarded the title Hero_Fortess in It was located right on the recently established border between the Soviet Union and Naze Germany. History: German artillery heavily shelled the fortress; the subsequent attempt to quickly take it with infantry failed, however, and the Germans started a lengthy siege. The Brest garrison, about 4,000 soldiers in the fortress itself, offered bitter resistance to the German assaults. The fighting ended only in late July. The actual front had by then already moved hundreds of kilometres further East. Even after the fortress was officially taken, the few surviving defenders continued to hide in the basements and to harass the Germans for several months.
Leningrad The city of Leningrad saw what is regarded as one of the greatest human tragedies of the entire War. Leningrad, one of the cities with a large amount of classical and baroque architecture on the Baltic Sea, was a city with a pre-war population of three million inhabitants. By August 1941, the Germans had reached the city's southern outskirts. Building on fire The city centre of Leningrad after a German bombardment, 1941 The Road of Life across the frozen Lake Ladoga
Stalingrad Volgograd is the present-day name of the city of Stalingrad. The defence of Stalingrad from July to November 1942, the counter-offensive of 19 November 1942 that trapped the Axis forces in and around the ruined city, and the German surrender on 2 February 1943 marked the turning-point of the European Theatre of World War II. The intensity and sheer scale of the battle of Stalingrad illustrate the ferocity of the Great Patriotic War.
Оdessa In early August 1941, the Black Sea port of Odessa, located in present-day Ukraine, was attacked and besieged by Romanian forces fighting alongside their German allies. The fierce battle in defense of the city lasted until 16 October, when the remaining Soviet troops, as well as 15,000 civilians were evacuated by sea. Partisan fighting continued, however, in the city's catacombs. Odessa was awarded the title Hero City in 1965.
Sevastopol The Black Sea port of Sevastopol was a heavily defended fortress on the Crimean peninsula. German and Romanian troops had advanced to the outskirts of the city from the North and launched their attack on 30 October Having failed to take the city, Axis forces began a siege and heavy bombardment, with such unusual pieces of ordnance as the Mörser Karl self-propelled mortar, and the gigantic Schwerer Gustav railroad cannon. A second Axis offensive against the city, launched in December 1941, failed as well, as the Soviet army and navy forces continued to fight fiercely. Eventually the city was taken in June It was liberated in bloody fighting in May Sevastopol was awarded the title Hero City in Hero City monument at Sevastopol
M o s c o wM o s c o w H I s t o r y: At the gates of the Soviet capital, the German invaders suffered their first defeat in The advance of the German Army Group Centre came to a halt in late November 1941, at the outskirts of Moscow itself. The Soviet Government had by then been evacuated, yet Stalin remained in the city. Struggling between determination and despair, the city's population helped build defensive positions in the streets. The underground metro stations provided shelter during German air raids. General Georgy Zhukov, who assumed command of the city's defence, largely left close combat tactics to the local commanders on the city's approaches, and focused on concentrating fresh troops from Siberia for an eventual counter- attack. The Soviet counter-offensive was launched on 5 and 6 December In the freezing cold of an unusually harsh winter, Soviet forces, including well-equipped ski battalions, drove the exhausted Germans back out of reach of Moscow and consolidated their positions on 7 January The victory in the battle provided an important boost in morale for the Soviet population. Moscow was awarded the title Hero City in 1965.
K i e vK i e v The capital of present-day Ukraine became the site of the largest encirclement battle in the summer of When the Germans commenced their offensive on 7 July, Soviet forces concentrated in the Kiev area were ordered to stand fast, and a breakout was prohibited. Defence of the pocket was fierce. Thousands of civilians volunteered to help defend the city. Eventually Kiev was taken on 19 September. Over 600,000 Soviet troops were taken captive when the pocket was cleared. The prolonged resistance effectively disrupted the German plans of blitzkrieg. However, in military terms, the battle was a great victory for the German Army and a disaster for the Soviets.
Novorossiysk The city of Novorossiysk on the Eastern coast of the Black Sea provided a stronghold against the German summer offensive of Intense fighting in and around the city lasted from August until September The Soviets however retained possession of the Eastern part of the bay, which prevented the Germans from using the port for supply shipments. Novorossiysk was awarded the title Hero City in 1973.
K e r c hK e r c h Kerch, a port in the East of the Crimean peninsula, formed a bridgehead at the strait dividing Crimea from the Southern Russian mainland. After fierce fighting, it was taken by the Germans in November On 30 December 1941 the Soviets recaptured the city in a naval landing operation. In May 1942 the Germans occupied the city again, yet Soviet partisan forces held out in the cliffs near the city until October On 31 October 1943 another Soviet naval landing was launched. The largely ruined city was finally liberated on 11 April Kerch was awarded the title Hero City in 1973
Minsk The city of Minsk, capital of present-day Belarus, was encircled by advancing German forces in late June Trapped in a vast pocket, the Soviets defended their positions desperately. Their resistance was broken on 9 July, with over 300,000 Soviet troops taken captive. During the following three- year occupation, the Germans killed about 400,000 civilians in and around the city. The Minsk area became a centre for the Soviet partisan activity behind enemy lines. Minsk was awarded the title Hero City in 1974.
T u l aT u l a Tula, a historical Russian city with important military industry South of Moscow, became the target of a German offensive to break Soviet resistance in the Moscow area between 24 October and 5 December The heavily fortified city held out, however, and secured the Southern flank during the Soviet defence of Moscow and the subsequent counter-offensive. Tula was awarded the title Hero City in 1976.
Murmansk The city of Murmansk, located on the Kola Peninsula close to the Norwegian and Finnish borders, was a strategically important sea port and industrial city. It was the only Soviet port on the Northern coast that did not freeze in the winter, and was vital for the transport of supplies to the South. German forces, including 800 Finns under German command, launched an offensive against Murmansk on 29 June More than 180,000 grenades and inflammable shells were fired on the city itself. Fierce Soviet resistance in the tundra and several Soviet counter-attacks made an Axis breakthrough impossible, however. Axis forces discontinued their attacks in late October 1941, having failed to take Murmansk or to cut off the Karelian railway line. Murmansk was awarded the title Hero City in 1985.
Smolensk Located on the approaches to Moscow, the city of Smolensk saw a fierce Battle of Smolensk unfolding in the summer of German armoured divisions of Army Group Centre began an offensive on July 10, 1941 to encircle Soviet forces in the Smolensk area. Soviet resistance was strong, and several counter-attacks were conducted. The Soviets even managed to temporarily break the German encirclement and to evacuate troops out of the pocket. The battle ended in early September. The bitter fighting had considerably delayed the overall German advance toward Moscow, so that defence lines further East could be strengthened. Smolensk was awarded the title Hero City in 1985.