Battle Of Leningrad

Tikhvin defence operation (16.10.41-18.11.41)

Despite of an extremely heavy situation, the defence counsels of Leningrad not only have reflected all attacks of an enemy, but also have compelled it to proceed to a defense. Then Germans has decided to undertake deep detour of city from the southeast so that, having incorporated with the Finnish armies to the east of Ladoga to deprive it of any communication with rear of the country and compel to kapitulation.

For performance of this plan Germans have thrown in fight three corps. Directly on connection with the Finns was set 39-th motorize corps (8-th and 12-th tank divisions, 18-th and 20-th motorize divisions, totaled more than 65 thousand man and about 450 tanks). The corps actions were covered and supported by aircrafts. Simultaneously with offensive of 39-th corps, three divisions of 1-st army corps have begun offensive on both side of the river Volkhov in the Volhovsroy direction, and 38-th army corps in Malaya Vishera direction. In Gruzino area they break through front of Soviet armies and force of Volkhov riva. In the begining of November German tanks went on Tikhvin suburb. The Tikhvin loss- would mean loss last railway to the southeast coast of the Ladoga lake, on which there was a supply of Leningrad.

Conditions under Tikhvin has extremely heavy. The staff of 4-th Soviet army, having got under impact of German forces wihtdrawed on the east. The management of armies was broke, and they unorganizedly receded.

4-th Soviet army be not capable to stop German offensive. November 8, Germans have occupied Tikhvin city and quickly advanced on the east. The parts of Soviet divisions withdrawed in the north direction: 44-th along road Tikhvin - Lodeynoe Pole, 191-th to the east of road. The soldiers were morally suppressed. The parts of 44-th division at that moment have only 700 men. 191-th rifle division also was strongly weakened. In its was totaled about 1000 soldiers, but even these did not represent something integral. They acted with the separate units which haven't main command.

Conditions on the east direction from Tikhvins was represented about same, as well as to the north of it. The weakened divisions slowly withdrawed, gaining a pressure of German tanks. The fights went in two kilometers to the east of Astracha. There acted group from 44-th rifle division (about 300 men), 48-th regiment having about 1000 men and 305-th rifle regiment (about 200 men). That's all, than Soviet army had for covering a Vologda direction. In ways there was 65-th rifle division and two tank battalions. Their arrival on Bolshoy Bor was expected in two days.

The plan of Soviet counter-attack was, that by joint efforts of reserves and 44-th and 191-th rifle division attack advanced parts of 12-th German tank division. The main role in performance of this impact was allocated to 46-th tank brigade which is possessing experience conducting of fights in conditions of wood district.

The planned impact was held early in the morning on November 11. Arrival from 7-th army 46-th tank brigade and 1061-th rifle regiment in interaction with 44-th and 191-th rifle divisions attacked Germans and rejected on 12-13 km, have advanced to the north suburb of Tikhvin.

The conditions on the east of Tikhvins changed to best. The general Ivanov united 44-th rd, 48-th rr, 305-th rr and 60-th td in one group, working on this direction. Its group from a defense has passed to offensive. The fights carried extremely fierce character. The enemy clinged to each house, for each shed. To this time the group of the general Ivanov, strengthened by 191-th rifle division and two tank battalions came to Tikhvin on 5-6 kms and was fixed on the northeast suburb of Pagolda city. Thus, having received rebuff on both directions, Germans were compelled proceed to a defense. For continuation offensive they obviously hadn't forces. However, to strengthen blockade of Leningrad, they tried by all means keep of Tikhvin.

The clearing of Tikhvin area in that time got the extremely important meaning. It was question of life of Leningrad and "Leningrad" front. This circumstance obliged Soviet army arrange to prompt clearing of a railway line which was supply of Leningrad.

To the left of operative group of the generai Ivanov, 65-th division was unwrapped on the southeast approaches of Tikhvin. On this division lay the heaviest task - to take possession of city. . 27-th cavalry and 60-th tank divisions were transform in the Pavlovich's operative group. From units 93-rd, 4-th Guards divisions and tank regiment of 60-th tank division, was created "South operative group". As soon as the Germans has felt strengthening activity of our armies he begine strengthening himself. November 20, arrived from France 61-th field division of German command hastily throw in Tikhvin area. 61-th field German division have come in Tikhvin with the large delay and weak. Nevertheless, the Tikhvin grouping now consist of five divisions.

Soviet forces grew also. The army has replenished freshen 65-th rifle division and two tank battalions. It has allowed to create some overweight above the Germans on infantry, artillery and mortars but still considerably conceded in tanks. Soviet small superiority in artillery and mortars by lack of an ammunition was only apparent. The stocks on ammunition allowed to spend per day of fight on the average 6-3 shots on 120-mm mortar and 122-mm gun and 8-20 mines on 32-mm mortar. At last, important meaning had the durability of German defense. While were fights to the north and to the east of Tikhvins, Germans having time to fortificate city and its approaches.

But heavy situation in Leningrad and persevering requirements Soviet High Command as soon as possible to release Tikhvin compelled to offensive in the limited terms. And consequently forces of 4-th Soviet army have begun offensive, not having time to receive necessary military materials and reinforcement.

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