As the Soviet Independent Coastal Army and the German V Infantry Corps battles in and around Kerch, one previously peaceful area along the main Axis supply road to the front became the scene of frequent partisan attacks. Since the road ran through completely barren steppeland, the local Romanian command was mystified by how the partisans could appear so suddenly and the abruptly disappear without a trace. Eventually it was discovered that their base of operations was near the road in a huge underground quarry that for many years had supplied a type of soft stone for building houses. The quarry had numerous entrances, and all but one of them were sealed off by the Romanians who then attempted an attack down into it. This failed with heavy casualties. Now they would try again, using different tactics and specially trained and equipped assault troops.