Battle Of Leningrad

Battle actions of the Soviet armies since October 1941 to 12.1.1943

In the beginning of October the weakened group of armies "North", transfered the part of forces to group of armies "Centre", according the instruction take the offensive from the north of lake Ilmen. In the middle of October the impact on the northeast direction was put by its troops, placed on the southeast of Ilmen lake at the Valdai height. It from the beginning put under threat success of offensive, during which northern flank of 16th German Army by November 10, overcoming persistent resistance of the Soviet troops, has advanced up to Tikhvins. After offensive through Valdai height on the northeast has failed, for covering southeast flank, which from Novgorod up to top of a shock wedge was stretched on 150 kms, any more there were no forces.

Tikhvin defence operation (16.10.41-18.11.41)

Tikhvin offensive (10.11.41-30.12.41)

Russian counter-offensive, begun in the beginning of December, has rejected parts of 16th German Army, advance up to Tikhvin, across the river of Volkhov, 18th Army have approached closely to Volkhov and kept Shlisselburg. The fights around Leningrad proceeded with exclusive fury. The German armies have reached the southern suburbs of city, however in view of most persistent resistance of defending armies strengthened by the fanatical Leningrad workers, the expected success was not. Because of shortage forces it was not possible also to supersede from continent Soviet armies consisting mainly from sea infantry, which with the purpose of protection Kronstadt kept in area Oranienbaum.

Per christmas days on all front group of armies "North" has come deceptive calm.

For the Finns the failure of German offensive on Tikhvin was one more heavy impact. They hoped, that now the Ladoga lake will have association of German and Finnish forces and as a consequence it — a complete environment of Leningrad, which soon will result in fall of city and will make excessive Finnish front on the Karelian isthmus. The failure of German plans, among other things, worsened a situation of the Finns also because they in expectation of a fast and resolute victory above the Soviet Union, to which aspired by all forces, have mobilized all capable to carry the weapon. It so was hardly reflected in a national economy, that Finnish command was compelled to dismiss from army a plenty of the people and to merge some military units. Despite of it, the Finnish armies kept front on northwest near Leningrad and at the river Svir.

The negotiation on new offensive in the spring of the next year, during which it was not possible to reach united opinion on a question on expedient use and number of armies exposed by both sides, could carry up to time before time only academic character. The disappointment Finnish command, which has connected destiny of the people with a victory of Germany, was, as well as it was necessary to expect, is rather great.

Similar complex conditions has arisen and on several front lines group of armies "North", where the coming Russian armies also have put before themselves wide tasks. The breaks between lake Ilmen and Leningrad should force 18-th German army to refuse an encirclement of Leningrad and besides to enable Russian to bypass this army from the south.

Lubansk operation

The offensive along the frozen river Lovat and through the southeast part of lake Ilmen pursued the double purpose. By impact on Staraya Russa around of lake Ilmen from the south it was necessary to assist a grouping, which has advanced across Volkhov to the north of lake. Simultaneously forces coming to the east of Staraya Russa in the south direction, aspired to establish communication with the northern wing of Russian armies, which in area Ostashkovo have broken on Holm. This impact, rendered from the south and the north, should cut off and destroy two army corps of 16-th German army located between the Valdai height and lake Ilmen. If all these plans managed to be carried out, the group of armies "North" would be rout.

18th German Army have beaten off attacks of superior forces of the Soviet troops and has kept front from Shlisselburg up to Volkhov, which provided rear connections of forces acting against Leningrad. But to the north of lake Ilmen Russian have advanced to Volkhov. Counter-attack, which were carried out to the west of the river from the north and the south, have narrowed width of break Russian up to several kilometers. Despite of it, Soviet who has broken to the west of Volkhov, has grasped area of radius 25 kms and aspired by continuous attacks to expand it on all sides. Only on spring possible to prevented supply of this grouping through Volkhov and then to destroy it. The break at the southeast coast of lake Ilmen was intercepted on the west direction in area Staraya Russa, but had complete success on the south direction.

Six German divisions of 2nd and 10th Army Corps was surrounded, on February 8 in "demyansk" encirclement by the large Russian forces. Soviet troops have laid to themselves a way on the south to the west of a valley of the river Lovat and together with forces, move from area Hill city, do this work.

Demensk operation (07.01.42-20.05.42)

So, in a result of battles on spring 1942, the Soviet armies, despite of mass heroism, resistance and selflessness, could not decide all tasks of a strategic defense and were compelled to leave the important areas and bridge-heads, intending for expansion of large offensive in the summer. The initiative of actions on all main directions has appeared in hands of Germans. Before Soviet High Command was a question about development of the new strategic decisions on continuation of struggle in the south with large German forces.

In the summer of 1942, forces of the Leningrad Front made active actions on all directions, achieving dispersal of a shock German group, which continued to remain in area Mga, Tosno. The Soviet armies rendered on enemy sensitive impacts, exterminated its alive force and military technique, held Germans in a constant pressure. So, 42nd Soviet Army of the general I.F. Nikolaev from July 20 till August 26 and 55th Army of the general V.P.Sviridov from July 23 till August 4 attacked Germans by the limited forces on the several sites on Uritsk and Kolpino areas. To achieve any significant successes it was not possible, but the active actions of the Soviet armies have compelled an enemy throw on these directions three divisions, taken off its with other front line. Offensive operations of 42nd and 55th Armies were original check offensive ability forces of the Leningrad Front, as though by rehearsal break of blockade.

Sinyavsk operation (19.08.42-10.10.42)

The German High Command begun careful preparation for the next storm of city at once after end of fights on "lubansk" direction. The plan of new operation was repeatedly discussed. It was decided to strengthening 18th Army by connections of 11th German Army from Crimeas and some divisions from the West Europe.

Rough term offensive was established by September 14. August 27, on the Leningrad Front line the staff of 11th German Army has arrived. It has developed a general plan of operation on capture city, which "consist in, that, using in the beginning strong artillery and air impact break through Soviet defence line by three corps its front to the south of Leningrad, having advanced thus only up to southern outskirts of the city. After that two corps should turn on east straight off suddenly to force Neva from the southeast of city. They should destroy the Soviet forces between the river and the Ladoga lake, to cut the road with city through the Ladoga lake and closely to capture city by a ring as well from the east. In such case of capture city it would be possible to achieve quickly and without heavy street fights... ". Developed by a staff of 11th Army the plan of operation was approved command of group armies "North".

In submission of 11th German Army were: arrived from Sevastopol area powerful artillery, 13 divisions, including Spanish " Light-blue division ", tank and mountain divisions, and also brigade SS. Group of armies "North" included significant forces of the aircraft which has been taken off from other sites of East front.

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