Battle Of Leningrad


Structure of Group "North" included 16th and 18th Field Armies, 1st Air Fleet and 4th Panzer Group- 29 divisions, the aggregate number of forces reached approximately 500.000 soldiers. The armies were perfectly armed and are equipped with the perfect communication facility. Command of group "North" has assigned on marshal Leeb. Leeb was entrusted to destroy Soviet forces located in Pribaltic, and to develop offensive through Dvinsk, Pskov, Luga, grasp all Soviet naval bases on the Baltic sea and to July 21 take possession of Leningrad.

June 22, the enemy has fallen upon on 8th and 11th Soviet Armies. The impact was so powerful, that soon Sovit formations lost communication with staffs. The isolated troops could not stop Germans and to outcome of the first day of war connection of German 4th Panzer Group have broken through a defence line and have rushed forward. From the first day of war Pribaltic military district was transformed into Northwestern Front, which had in the structure: 13 Rifle, 2 Motorize and 4 Tank Divisions.

The main Germans advantage was, that it had an opportunity to render impacts on Soviet armies in parts, using that divisions were scattered and were far from border. The construction Libavsk, Shaulyask and others military districts was not completed to the moment of German army attack.

In some days Leeb's army, having grasped Lithuania and Latvia, have entered to the border of RSFSR. Panzer Corps directed to Pskov. The actions of enemy's Field Armies actively were supported by 1st Air Fleet. From the north on Leningrad came Finnish forces in structure of seven field divisions.

July 4, Reyenhardt's 41st Panzer Corps headed by 1st Tank Division in avant guarde, after insignificant resistance has taken Ostrov. Thus neither railway, nor the highway bridges were not blown up by the Soviet Command. Germans in Ostrov area have lost more than 140 tanks. Simultaneously the main Germans tank forces were directed on Porhov and Pskov. In the same direction 28th Soviet Tank Division receded from Estonia. Tank Division, having only 150 men and 10 tanks. It has received the task to be fixed in area of the Cherih river on a line of Pscov-Ostrov highway. For strengthening tank division in area between a highway and river Velikaya have settled down 118th and 111th Soviet Rifle Divisions. Command seemed, that on the river Velikaya the significant strengthening is created and Pskov can play the certain role in restraint offensine an enemy. But as a result of night fight from July 7 to 8, Germans was possible break on a highway and leave to the south suburb of Pskov in area of Krestov. It has created real threat of encirclement of Soviet troops, which were across the river. The general N.M.Glovatskiy has addressed to staff with the request to permit removal troops in Pskov city, but has received refusal. Soviet divisions tried to constrain of German progress.

July 7, Brauhich was approved with the Hepner's plan of prompt offensive on Leningrad. Entrusted him 41st Panzer Corps should be come lengthways roads of Pskov - Luga- Leningrad, while 56th Panzer Corps at first should move on Novgorod, and then on Leningrad.

To the beginning of Battle for Leningrad on a boundary Pyarnu, Tartu, to the east of Pskovs, Ostrov resisted 8th, 11th and 27th Soviet Armies of Northwestern Front. Soviet forces conducted battle actions in Pribaltic and have carried large losses. Completely strong was only seven rifle divisions from 23, in 11 divisions have 2-3 thousand soldiers, three mechanized corps have all 332 tanks. In total to the beginning of battle in armies of Northern and Northwestern Fronts were totaled 45 divisions (33 divisions, seven tank divisions, five motorized), three brigades и 8 forts, all: 540.000 personnel, 5000 guns, 700 tanks, 235 aircrafts.

Germans have 31 divisions, including 8 Finnish (22 fd, 3 td, 3 md, 3 security) all: 810.000 man, 5300 guns, 440 tanks, 1200 aircrafts.

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