Battle Of Leningrad

Defence on near and distance approach

Hanko island defence (22.06.41-02.12.41)

Fights on the Finnish front

When the group of armies "North", to the south of Chudskoe lake has passed old Russian border, it has met with strong Soviet resistance. Its offensive in the northeast direction inevitably resulted that a south wing is more move away from group of armies "Centre", and the right flank became threatening deep.

Tank's forces of group army "Centre", which assistance was provided by the initial plan, for the present did not come. July 11, marshal of the Soviet Union - Voroshilov arrived as a commander of "Northwest" direction. He perfectly realized conditions at the front, is extremely not favorable for our armies. But he also well knew soul of Russian people preferring fatal struggle even to one cowardly step.

The offensive began on June 10, however Reynhardt immediately has met with fierce resistance and impassable district. Having managed to make the way all on some kilometrs, by June 12 he was compelled to stop. Both corps of 4-th tank group be wedged in an arrangement of the Soviet front line after they have overcome old Russian border and have reached area of Pskov. Left 41st Panzer Corps not reaching up to Luga in area Plussa met the organized resistance of advanced groups of 177th Rifle Division and departing parts of 11th Soviet Army, turned on northwest, and advancing along east extremity of Chudskoe lake, has reached the river Luga in the southeast of Narva.

As a result of fast actions the advanced formations of two tank divisions of 41st Panzer Corps on July 13-15 have taken possession of both bridges through the river Luga southeast of Narva and has grasped bridgehead in Ivanovo and Large Sabsk, kept them beating off attacks three "proletarian" divisions from the Leningrad.

Soviet counterattack under Soltsy 14-17.07.41

Luzhsk operative group is created on the river Luga in structure of seven rifle divisions (including three divisions of people's guard), rifle brigade and Leningrad military schools. Has rendered persistent resistance to the German troops on the Luga defence line.

August 1, 10th German Corps of the general Hansen, taking place on the left flank of 16-th German army, began offensive to the Staraya Russa main transport city to the south of lake Ilmen to cover deep right flank group of armies "North". 10th Corps has met with well protected 11th Soviet Army. The whole week of fierce battles was required, before 12th, 30th and 290th Field Divisions could advance on 9 miles to Staraya Russa. August 12, marshal Voroshilov puts counter-attack by recently generated 34th Soviet Army including 8 rifle divisions, tank and cavalry corps, to which the order was given to press 10-th German corps to the south coast of lake Ilmen, and then to destroy it. For two days Soviet army have advanced on 60 kms, having caused serious fears at German command for integrity of rear division, Novgorod, which has reached area. 10th German Army Corps, went to to the river Lovat, has got in a heavy situation and was compelled to proceed to a defence. On its right flank the strong group of Russian armies was suddenly forwarded through the river Lovat and threatened to reject the corps to lake Ilmen. To rescue Hansen, Leeb throws from area Luga 56th Panzer Corps and throws them against the left Russian flank, which already turned on the north. August 19, after a march - throw more than on 100 miles, two divisions (3rd Motorize and 3rd Motorize SS) impact in rear of Soviet 34th Army, which has appeared squeeze between it and 10-th German corps. The tank formations together with 10th Corps have rejected Russian armies back for the rivers Lovat and Pola. The tank corps of 3-rd tank group, approach from the south, has destroyed. Simultaneously south flank of 16-th army has advanced forward up to a boundary of Ilmen lake. By August 23, 34th Soviet Army has incurred heavy losses and has departed.

August 15, Hepner has addressed to Leeb with the request about immediate transformed 18th Army on the left flank of 4th Panzer Group to secure north flank before jerk on Leningrad. Kuhler has order to destroy 8th Soviet Army facing on Baltic, to pass coastal areas, and then to grasp strengthenings Russian along all south coastal line of the Finnish gulf. 18th German Army needed 3 weeks on performance of all this operation. The west flank of 18th Army, advancing between Chudskoe lake and Riga gulf, have cleared from Soviet forces in Latvia and Estonia. When on August 17, 4th Panzer Group has taken possession of Narva and narrowness between Chudskoe lake and the Finnish gulf, main forces of Russian armies already had time to depart through Narva on the east. By September 4, all south coast of the Finnish gulf has appeared in Germans hands, behind exception Oranienbaum ledge, where 26th Corps tried overcome 8th Soviet army. 4th Panzer Group consisting from 41st Corps has passed to a defense. Now German armies stood the southwest of lake Ilmen and at the Luga river before the persistently defending Soviet troops.

To July 30, Hitler has ordered to renew offensive on Leningrad with the same purposes, concentrated the main efforts between Narva and Ilmen lake. August 8, defence fights on near approaches to Leningrad have begun. The most powerful impacts Germans put from the bridge-heads on Luga river to Krasnogvardeysk city and on Novgorod-Chudovo direction. Their attempt to break through Krasnogvardeysk fortifications and defence line of Soviet armies under Luga were broken.

Krasnogvardeysk fortification, is constructed in the beginning of Great Domestic war,to cover the approaches to Leningrad from south. Extent on front -160 kms. August 16, was in battle readiness and the next day is engaged by parts 2-nd and 3-rd Soviet home guard divisions. August 21, attempts advanced troops of German 4th Panzer Group straight off to overcome fortification hadn't success. The fierce fights on Krasnogvardeysk positions in September have played the important role in failure of attempts break to Leningrad. However Germans has broken on the left flank of Luga defence line on August 15 from Shimsk area. In August 19, Novgorod was engaged. August 21, Chudovo station was occupied, and railway to Moscov was cut. After 8 days Tosno was taken. After persistent fights 39th German Motorize Corps on August 30, grasped a large railway station Mga. Last railway connecting Leningrad to the country, was cup off.

The main offensive on the right German wing was covered by 50th Corps (44th Motorize division SS and 269th Field Division) of 4th Panzer Group, and at the left - 38th Corps (1st, 58th and 291th Field Divisions) of 18th Army. On German right flank came 28th Corps of 16th Army (126th, 96th and 122th Field Divisions), while at the edge of left flank - 39th Corps of the general Shmidt with reinforcement 20th Motorize Division have put impact on Shlisselburg direction with the purpose of blocking city. September 11, height "167" - famous " Imperial height " - was fall.

16th German Army have achieved greatest sucsses. They began to bypass city from the east side, advancing on the left coast of Neva river to Ladoga lake. In the morning of September 6, 300 German aircrafts on a narrow site of front have made impact on the 1st Soviet NKVD Division that defence Shlisselburg city. September 8, Shlisselburg was taken by 42th German Field Regiment of 126th Division and thus Leningrad was cut off from its southeast communications.

Since September 8, Leningrad was blocked from land, and ships movement from the Ladoga lake on Neva is paralysed. In night on September 9 Germans try to be forwarded through wide and deep Neva river, but, having incurred large losses from fire of home guard, protecting the right coast. This natural boundary also was reliable board for besieged, under which covering they confidently beat attacks of German troops.

The fights for Slutsk-Kolpinsk defence distric have begun on 30.8.41 and till September 9 proceeded. 291th German Field Division during one day have destroyed more 150 concrete fortifications. Having pressed Soviet 55th Army, Germans has taken possession on Slutsk and Pushkino. The front in this direction (along the Moscow highway) was stabilized till January 1944.

As a result of Germans exit to Krasnogvardeysk from the west and offensive through Chudovo, the Soviet armies which are taking place in area Luga, have appeared in the heaviest situation and were compelled with heavy fights to depart to the north. September 12 Germans have grasped Krasnoye Selo. Not looking on numerous losses, they continued advanced and September 17, go out to the south coast of Finnish gulf. From Uritsk city enemy armies were on closest distance from Leningrad. 58th German Division have grasped suburbs, where trams usually went. Only 15 kms separated Germans from city centre. The fascists by unaided eye saw Leningrad, factory pipes, portal cranes of shipyards. The city Kolpino was line of front, and cities Peterhof and Pushkino were grasp.

To September 12, Hitler has ordered Leeb didn't take city with fight but only take in blockade and force capituladed it. In the middle of September the group of armies "North" was compelled to give back a part of it forces for realization offensive on Moscow. The south wing group of armies "North" remained on the Valdai height and the southeast of lake Ilmen, where Russian in second half of September already undertook strong counter-attack. Its centre was to the north of lake and aspired to keep Shlisselburg area and compress a ring of an encirclement around of Leningrad. Even September 18, German command group of armies "North" considered, that armies be wedged in defense of the Leningrad front, but in week of extremely fierce fights was compelled to inform that with the stayed forces can not continue offensive to city.

The population of besieged city with impatience waited for news about coming from the east Soviet 54th Army. People believe that it will cut through a corridor in a ring of blockade from Mga direction. The time went but all remained on former, the hopes began to die away. Conditions required speed in actions of 54th Army. Germans during six days after Shlisselburg capture could not create a strong defence on 40 kms Mga-Shlisselburg line. Soviet High Command demanding from marshal Kulik begin offensive to Germans as much as possible. However Kulik did not hasten, being limited artillery bombardment of enemy positions. The overdue and badly prepared offensive of 54th Army was terminated by failure. Though this army also has held down significant forces of Germans, but task of the Soviet High Command to deblock city it has not executed.

Sinyavsk operation 1941, September 19 till September 26, offensive of 54th Soviet army and "Neva" operative group directed on unencirclement of Leningrad, success had no. The 54th Army have advanced in Sinyavino direction only on 6-10 km, and on Mga direction were compelled to depart from Mga-Kirishi rail-road across Naziya river. The parts of the "Neva" operative group managed to force Neva river and grasp a bridge-head on its left coast in area of village Moscow Dubrovka.

Soviet forces of Leningrad Front have incurred heavy losses and were in a vice of blockade, but they were not broken, moreover, have appeared in a situation of the compressed spiral, why became more dangerous and threatening for the German. The first sharpest period of battle for Leningrad has not given the fascists of desirable result, the purpose was not achieved, and the time is irrevocably lost. And Leeb understood it. Skilled soldier understood, that the advantages of suddenness were terminated, his armies before winter are finally stopped and are in a unenviable situation. The continuation storm of city will result only in huge losses and without that of the weakened army. During heavy fights the group of armies "North" has put the Soviet Army significant losses, and partially and has destroyed its forces in fights to the south and to the east of lake Ilmen, however decisive operative success has not achieved.

Moonzun island defence (07.09.41-22.10.41)

Tallin defence (5-28.08.41)

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