Siege of Leningrad

Siege of Leningrad

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{{Campaignbox Axis-Soviet War}} {{Campaignbox Leningrad and Baltics 1941-1944}} {{Campaignbox Barbarossa}} The '''Siege of Leningrad''', also known as the '''Leningrad Blockade''' ({{lang-ru|блокада Ленинграда}}, [[Romanization of Russian|transliteration]]: ''blokada Leningrada'') was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German [[Army Group North]] to capture Leningrad, now known as [[Saint Petersburg]], in the [[Eastern Front (World War II)|Eastern Front]] theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last land connection to the city was severed. Although the Soviets managed to open a narrow land corridor to the city on 18 January 1943, lifting of the [[siege]] took place on 27 January 1944, 872 days after it began. It was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history and one of the [[List of battles by casualties#Sieges and urban combat|most costly in terms of casualties]]. ==Background== The capture of Leningrad was one of three strategic goals in the German [[Operation Barbarossa]] and the main target of [[Army Group North]]. The strategy was motivated by Leningrad's political status as the former capital of Russia and the symbolic capital of the [[Russian Revolution (1917)|Russian Revolution]], its military importance as a main base of the Soviet [[Baltic Fleet]] and its industrial strength, housing numerous arms factories. By 1939 the city was responsible for 11% of all Soviet industrial output. It has been reported that [[Adolf Hitler]] was so confident of capturing Leningrad that he had the invitations to the victory celebrations to be held in the city's [[Hotel_Astoria_(Saint_Petersburg)|Hotel Astoria]] already printed. The ultimate fate of the city was uncertain in German plans, which ranged from renaming the city to ''Adolfsburg'' and making it the capital of the new Ingermanland province of the Reich in [[Generalplan Ost]], to razing it to the ground and giving areas north of the River Neva to the Finns. ===German plans=== [[Army Group North]] under ''Feldmarschall'' [[Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb]] advanced to Leningrad, its primary objective. Von Leeb's plan called for capturing the city on the move, but due to strong resistance from Soviet forces, and also Hitler's recall of 4th ''Panzer'' Group, he was forced to besiege the city after reaching the shores of [[Lake Ladoga]], while trying to complete the encirclement and reaching the Finnish Army under Marshal [[Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim]] waiting at the [[Svir River]], east of Leningrad. Finnish military forces were located north of Leningrad, while German forces occupied territories to the south. Both German and Finnish forces had the goal of encircling Leningrad and maintaining the blockade perimeter, thus cutting off all communication with the city and preventing the defenders from receiving any food or supplies. ===Leningrad fortified region=== [[File:RIAN archive 5634 Antiaircrafters guarding the sky of Leningrad.jpg|240px|right|thumb|Antiaircraft guns guarding the sky of Leningrad, in front of [[St. Isaac's Cathedral]].]] On 27 June 1941, the Council of Deputies of the Leningrad administration organised "First response groups" of civilians. In the next days the entire civilian population of Leningrad was informed of the danger and over a million citizens were mobilised for the construction of [[fortifications]]. Several lines of defences were built along the perimeter of the city in order to repulse hostile forces approaching from north and south by means of civilian resistance. In the south one of the fortified lines ran from the mouth of the [[Luga River]] to [[Chudovo]], [[Gatchina]], [[Krasnoye Selo|Uritsk]], [[Pulkovo Heights|Pulkovo]] and then through the [[Neva River]]. Another line of defence passed through [[Petergof|Peterhof]] to Gatchina, Pulkovo, [[Kolpino]] and Koltushy. In the north the defensive line against the Finns, the [[Karelian Fortified Region]], had been maintained in the northern suburbs of Leningrad since the 1930s, and was now returned to service. A total of {{convert|190|km|mi|abbr=on}} of timber barricades, {{convert|635|km|mi|abbr=on}} of wire entanglements, {{convert|700|km|mi|abbr=on}} of anti-tank ditches, 5,000 earth-and-timber emplacements and reinforced concrete weapon emplacements and {{convert|25000|km|mi|abbr=on}}{{Citation needed|date=July 2008}} of open trenches were constructed or excavated by civilians. Even the guns from the cruiser {{Ship|Russian cruiser|Aurora||2}} were moved inland to the [[Pulkovo Heights]] to the south of Leningrad. ==Establishment== The [[Fourth Panzer Army (Germany)|4th ''Panzer'' Group]] from [[East Prussia]] took [[Pskov]] following a swift advance and reached the neighborhood of [[Luga, Leningrad Oblast|Luga]] and [[Veliky Novgorod|Novgorod]], within operational reach of Leningrad, but it was stopped by fierce resistance south of the city. However, the [[18th Army (Germany)|18th Army]] — despite some 350,000 men lagging behind — forced its way to [[Ostrov, Pskov Oblast|Ostrov]] and Pskov after the Soviet troops of the [[Northwestern Front]] retreated towards Leningrad. On 10 July, both Ostrov and Pskov were captured and the [[18th Army (Germany)|18th Army]] reached [[Narva]] and [[Kingisepp]], from where advance toward Leningrad continued from the [[Luga River]] line. This had the effect of creating siege positions from the [[Gulf of Finland]] to [[Lake Ladoga]], with the eventual aim of isolating Leningrad from all directions. The Finnish Army was then expected to advance along the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga. ===Orders of battle=== [[Image:German advance into USSR.png|300px|thumb|right|Map of Army Group North's advance into the USSR in 1941.
{{Nbsp|2}}Coral up to July 9.
{{Nbsp|2}}Pink up to September 1.
{{Nbsp|2}}Green up to December 5.]] ====Germany==== *Army Group North (''Feldmarshal'' von Leeb) **18th Army (von Küchler) ***XXXXII Corps (2 infantry divisions) ***XXVI Corps (3 infantry divisions) **16th Army (Busch) ***XXVIII Corps (2 inf, 1 armoured divisions) ***I Corps (2 infantry divisions) ***X Corps (3 infantry divisions) ***II Corps (3 infantry divisions) ***(L Corps — Under 9. Army) (2 infantry divisions) ** 4th ''Panzer'' Group (Hoepner) ***XXXVIII Corps (1 infantry division) ***XXXXI Motorized Corps (Reinhard) (1 infantry, 1 motorised, 1 armoured divisions) ***LVI Motorized Corps (von [[Manstein]]) (1 infantry, 1 motorised, 1 armoured, 1 ''panzergrenadier'' divisions) ====Finland==== *[[Finnish Defence Forces]] HQ (Finnish Marshal Mannerheim) **I Corps (2 infantry divisions) **II Corps (2 infantry divisions) **IV Corps (3 infantry divisions) ====Soviet Union==== *Northern Front (Lieutenant General Popov) **[[7th Army (Soviet Union)|7th Army]] (2 rifle, 1 militia divisions, 1 marine brigade, 3 motorised rifle and 1 armoured regiments) **[[8th Army (Soviet Union)|8th Army]] ***X Rifle Corps (2 rifle divisions) ***XI Rifle Corps (3 rifle divisions) ***Separate Units (3 rifle divisions) **[[14th Army (Soviet Union)|14th Army]] ***XXXXII Rifle Corps (2 rifle divisions) ***Separate Units (2 rifle divisions, 1 Fortified area, 1 motorised rifle regiment) **[[23rd Army (Soviet Union)|23rd Army]] ***XIX Rifle Corps (3 rifle divisions) ***Separate Units (2 rifle, 1 motorised divisions, 2 Fortified areas, 1 rifle regiment) **Luga Operation group ***XXXXI Rifle Corps (3 rifle divisions) ***Separate Units (1 armoured brigade, 1 rifle regiment) **Kingisepp Operation Group ***Separate Units (2 rifle, 2 militia, 1 armoured divisions, 1 Fortified area) **Separate Units (3 rifle divisions, 4 guard militia divisions, 3 Fortified areas, 1 rifle brigade) Of these, the 14th Army defended Murmansk and 7th Army defended Ladoga Karelia; thus they did not participate in the initial stages of the siege. The 8th Army was initially part of the Northwestern Front and retreated through the Baltics. (The 8th army was transferred to Northern Front on July 14). On August 23, the Northern front was divided into the Leningrad front and the Karelian front, as it became impossible for front headquarters to control everything between Murmansk and Leningrad. ===Severing lines of communication=== On 6 August, Hitler repeated his order: "Leningrad first, Donetsk Basin second, Moscow third." From August 1941 until January 1944, anything that happened between the Arctic Ocean and [[Lake Ilmen]] concerned the ''Wehrmacht''{{'}}s Leningrad siege operations. [[Arctic convoys of World War II|Arctic convoys]] using the [[Northern Sea Route]] delivered American [[Lend-Lease]] food and war materiel supplies to the Murmansk railhead (although the rail link to Leningrad was cut off by Finnish armies just north of the city), as well as several other locations in [[Lapland (region)|Lapland]].{{Citation needed|date=May 2008}} ===Encirclement of Leningrad=== Finnish intelligence was particularly helpful for Hitler, as the Finns had broken some of the Soviet military codes and were able to read their low-level communications. He constantly requested intelligence information about Leningrad. Finland's role in Operation Barbarossa was laid out in Hitler's ''Directive 21'', "The mass of the Finnish army will have the task, in accordance with the advance made by the northern wing of the German armies, of tying up maximum Russian strength by attacking to the west, or on both sides, of Lake Ladoga". The last rail connection to Leningrad was severed on 30 August, when the Germans reached the [[River Neva|Neva River]]. On 8 September, the last land connection to the besieged city was severed when the Germans reached Lake Ladoga at [[Orekhovets]]. Bombing on 8 September caused 178 fires. Hitler's directive on 7 October, signed by [[Alfred Jodl]], was a reminder not to accept capitulation. ===Finnish participation=== [[Image:Hitler Mannerheim Ryti.jpg|thumb|right|Hitler with Finland's Marshal [[Carl Gustav Mannerheim]] and President [[Risto Ryti]]; meeting at [[Imatra]] in 1942]] By August 1941, the Finns had advanced to within 20 km of the northern suburbs of Leningrad at the 1939 Finnish-Soviet border, threatening the city from the north; they were also advancing through [[East Karelia]], east of Lake Ladoga, and threatening the city from the east. The Finnish forces crossed the pre-[[Winter War]] border on the [[Karelian Isthmus]] by eliminating Soviet [[Salients, re-entrants and pockets|salient]]s at Beloostrov and Kirjasalo, thus straightening the frontline so that it ran along the old border near the shores of Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga, and those positions closest to Leningrad still lying on the pre-Winter War border. According to Soviet claims the Finnish advance was stopped in September through resistance by the [[Karelian Fortified Region]], however Finnish troops had already earlier in August 1941 received orders to halt the advance after reaching their goals, some of which lay beyond the pre-Winter War border. After reaching their respective goals, the Finns halted their advance and started moving troops to East Karelia. For the next three years, the Finns did little to contribute to the battle for Leningrad, maintaining their lines. Their headquarters rejected German pleas for aerial attacks against Leningrad and did not advance farther south from the [[Svir River]] in occupied East Karelia (160 kilometers northeast of Leningrad), which they had reached on 7 September. In the southeast, the Germans captured [[Tikhvin]] on 8 November, but failed to complete their encirclement of Leningrad by advancing further north to join with the Finns at the Svir River. On 9 December, a counter-attack of the Volkhov Front forced the Wehrmacht to retreat from their Tikhvin positions to the [[Volkhov River|River Volkhov]] line. On 6 September 1941, Germany's Chief of Staff Alfred Jodl visited Helsinki. His main goal was to persuade Mannerheim to continue the offensive. In 1941, [[President of Finland|President]] [[Risto Ryti|Ryti]] declared to the [[Eduskunta|Finnish Parliament]] that the aim of the war was to restore the territories lost during the Winter War and gain more territories in the east to create a "[[Greater Finland]]". After the war, Ryti stated: "On August 24, 1941 I visited the headquarters of Marshal Mannerheim. The Germans aimed us at crossing the old border and continuing the offensive to Leningrad. I said that the capture of Leningrad was not our goal and that we should not take part in it. Mannerheim and the military minister Walden agreed with me and refused the offers of the Germans. The result was a paradoxical situation: the Germans could not approach Leningrad from the north..." In fact the German and Finnish armies maintained the siege together until January 1944, but there was little, or no systematic shelling or bombing from the Finnish positions. The proximity of the Finnish positions — {{convert|33|-|35|km|mi|abbr=on}} from downtown Leningrad — and the threat of a Finnish attack complicated the defence of the city. At one point the defending Front Commander, [[Markian Popov|Popov]], could not release reserves opposing the Finnish forces to be deployed against the Wehrmacht because they were needed to bolster the 23rd Army's defences on the Karelian Isthmus. Mannerheim terminated the offensive on 31 August 1941, when the army had reached the 1939 border. Popov felt relieved, and redeployed two divisions to the German sector on September 5. Subsequently, the Finnish forces reduced the [[Salients, re-entrants and pockets|salient]]s of [[Beloostrov]] and [[Kirjasalo]], which had threatened their positions at the sea coast and south of the River Vuoksi. Lieutenant General [[Paavo Talvela]] and Colonel Järvinen, the commander of the Finnish Coastal Brigade responsible for Ladoga, proposed to the German headquarters the blocking of [[Road of Life|Soviet convoys]] on Lake Ladoga. The German command formed the [[Naval Detachment K|'international' naval detachment]] under Finnish command and the ''[[Naval Detachment K#Einsatzstab Fähre Ost|Einsatzstab Fähre Ost]]'' under German command. These naval units operated against the supply route in the summer and autumn of 1942, the only period the units were able to operate as freezing waters then forced the lightly equipped units to be moved away, and changes in front lines made it impractical to reestablish these units later in the war. ===Defensive operations=== [[File:RIAN archive 58228 Leningrad Front Soldiers Before Offensive.jpg|thumb|upright|Two Soviet soldiers, one armed with a [[Degtyaryov machine gun|DP machine gun]], in the trenches of the Leningrad Front on 1 September 1941.]] The [[Leningrad Front]] (initially the [[Leningrad Military District]]) was commanded by Marshal [[Kliment Voroshilov]]. It included the [[23rd Army (Soviet Union)|23rd Army]] in the northern sector between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga, and the [[48th Army (Soviet Union)|48th Army]] in the western sector between the Gulf of Finland and the [[Pavlovsk, Saint Petersburg|Slutsk]]–[[Mga]] position. The Leningrad Fortified Region, the Leningrad garrison, the Baltic Fleet forces, and [[Koporye]], [[Pulkovo Heights|Southern]] and Slutsk–[[Kolpino]] operational groups were also present. ==Defence of civilian evacuees== By September 1941, the link with the [[Volkhov Front]] (commanded by [[Kirill Meretskov]]) was severed and the defensive sectors were held by four armies: [[23rd Army (Soviet Union)|23rd Army]] in the northern sector, [[42nd Army (Soviet Union)|42nd Army]] on the western sector, [[55rd Army (Soviet Union)|55th Army]] on the southern sector, and the [[67rd Army (Soviet Union)|67th Army]] on the eastern sector. The [[8th Army (Soviet Union)|8th Army]] of the Volkhov Front had the responsibility of maintaining the [[Road of Life|logistic route]] to the city in coordination with the [[Ladoga Flotilla]]. Air cover for the city was provided by the [[6th Air Army|Leningrad military district PVO Corps]] and Baltic Fleet naval aviation units. The defensive operation to protect the 1,400,000 civilian evacuees was part of the Leningrad counter-siege operations under the command of [[Andrei Zhdanov]], [[Kliment Voroshilov]], and [[Aleksei Kuznetsov]]. Additional military operations were carried out in coordination with [[Baltic Fleet]] naval forces under the general command of Admiral [[Vladimir Tributs]]. The Ladoga Flotilla under the command of V. Baranovsky, S.V. Zemlyanichenko, P.A. Traynin, and B.V. Khoroshikhin also played a major military role in helping with evacuation of the civilians. ===Bombardment=== [[File:RIAN archive 888 Nurses helping people wounded in the first bombardment in Leningrad.jpg|thumb|Nurses helping wounded people during a German bombardment on 10 September 1941.]] By 8 September, German forces had largely surrounded the city, cutting off all supply routes to Leningrad and its suburbs. Unable to press home their offensive, and facing defences of the city organised by [[Marshal Zhukov]], the Axis armies laid [[siege]] to the city for 872 days. Artillery bombardment of Leningrad began in August 1941, increasing in intensity during 1942 with the arrival of new equipment. It was stepped up further during 1943, when several times as many shells and bombs were used as in the year before. [[Torpedo]]es were often used for night bombings by the Luftwaffe.{{Citation needed|date=May 2008}} Against this, the Soviet [[Baltic Fleet]] Navy aviation made over 100,000 air missions to support their military operations during the siege. German shelling and bombing killed 5,723 and wounded 20,507 civilians in Leningrad during the siege. ===Supplying the defenders=== [[File:CaminoDeLaVidaLeningrado.ogv|thumb|US propaganda film showing the Leningrad Road of Life during the siege of the city.]] [[File:RIAN archive 310 Foodstuffs for Leningrad.jpg|left|thumb|Supplies being unloaded from a barge on Lake Ladoga to a narrow-gauge train in 1942.]] To sustain the defence of the city, it was vitally important for the Red Army to establish a route for bringing a constant flow of supplies into Leningrad. This route was effected over the southern part of Lake Ladoga, by means of [[watercraft]] during the warmer months and land vehicles driven over thick ice in winter. The security of the supply route was ensured by the Ladoga Flotilla, the Leningrad PVO Corps, and route security troops. The route would also be used to evacuate civilians from the besieged city. This was because no [[emergency evacuation|evacuation]] plan had been made available in the chaos of the first winter of the war, and the city literally starved in complete isolation until 20 November 1941, when the ice road over Lake Ladoga became operational. This road was named the [[Road of Life]] ({{lang-ru|Дорога жизни}}). As a road it was very dangerous. There was the risk of vehicles becoming stuck in the snow or sinking through broken ice caused by the constant German bombardment. Because of the high winter death toll the route also became known as the "Road of Death". However, the lifeline did bring military and food supplies in and took civilians and wounded soldiers out, allowing the city to continue resisting the enemy. ==Effect on the city== {{Main|Effect of the Siege of Leningrad on the city}} The two-and-a-half year siege caused the greatest destruction and the [[List of battles by casualties#Sieges and urban combat|largest loss of life]] ever known in a modern city. On Hitler's express orders, most of the palaces of the [[Tsars]], such as the [[Catherine Palace]], [[Peterhof Palace]], [[Ropsha]], [[Strelna]], [[Gatchina]], and other historic landmarks located outside the city's defensive perimeter were looted and then destroyed, with many art collections transported to Nazi Germany. A number of factories, schools, hospitals and other civil infrastructure were destroyed by air raids and long range artillery bombardment. [[Image:Tanya Savicheva Diary.jpg|250px|right|thumb|The diary of [[Tanya Savicheva]], a girl of 11, her notes about starvation and deaths of her grandmother, then uncle, then mother, then brother, the last record saying "Only Tanya is left." She died of progressive [[dystrophy]] shortly after the siege. Her diary was shown at the [[Nuremberg trials]].]] The 872 days of the siege caused unparalleled famine in the Leningrad region through disruption of utilities, water, energy and food supplies. This resulted in the deaths of up to 1,500,000 soldiers and civilians and the evacuation of 1,400,000 more, mainly women and children, many of whom died during evacuation due to starvation and bombardment. [[Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery]] alone in Leningrad holds half a million civilian victims of the siege. Economic destruction and human losses in Leningrad on both sides exceeded those of the [[Battle of Stalingrad]], the [[Battle of Moscow]], or the [[atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki]]. The siege of Leningrad is the [[Most lethal battles in world history|most lethal siege in world history]], and some historians speak of the siege operations in terms of [[genocide]], as a "racially motivated starvation policy" that became an integral part of the unprecedented German war of extermination against populations of the Soviet Union generally. Civilians in the city suffered from extreme [[starvation]], especially in the winter of 1941–1942. For example, from November 1941 – February 1942 the only food available to the citizen was 125 [[gram]]s of bread, of which 50–60% consisted of [[sawdust]] and other inedible admixtures, and distributed through [[ration card]]s. For about two weeks at the beginning of January 1942, even this food was available only for workers and military personnel. In conditions of extreme temperatures (down to −30 °C) and city transport being out of service, even a distance of a few kilometers to a food distributing kiosk created an insurmountable obstacle for many citizens. In January–February 1942, about 700–1,000{{Citation needed|reason=It used to say 10,000. I changed that to 1,000. Which is more likely to be true, and more consistent with 700. But a source would be appropriate in any case.|date=April 2011}} citizens died every day, most of them from [[hunger]]. People often died on the streets, and citizens soon became accustomed to the sight of death. Reports of [[cannibalism]] appeared in the winter of 1941–1942, after all birds, rats and pets had been eaten by survivors. Hungry gangs attacked and ate defenceless people. Leningrad police even formed a special unit to combat cannibalism. On 9 August 1942, the Symphony No. 7 "''Leningrad''" by [[Dmitri Shostakovich]] was performed by the Radio orchestra of Leningrad. The score had passed the German lines by air one night in March 1942. The concert was broadcast on loudspeakers placed in all the city and also aimed towards the enemy lines. This date, initially chosen by Hitler to celebrate the taking of Leningrad, and a few days before the Sinyavino Offensive, can symbolise the reversal of the dynamics in favour of the Soviet army. ==Soviet relief of the siege== [[Image:Leningrad skiers.jpg|thumb|200px|right|Soviet ski troops by the [[Hermitage Museum]] in Leningrad.]] ===Sinyavino Offensive=== The [[Sinyavino Offensive (1942)|Sinyavino Offensive]] was a Soviet attempt to break the blockade of the city in early autumn 1942. The [[2nd Shock Army|2nd Shock]] and the [[8th Army (Soviet Union)|8th]] armies were to link up with the forces of the Leningrad Front. At the same time the German side was preparing an offensive, [[Operation Nordlicht|Operation ''Nordlicht'' (Northern Light)]], to capture the city, using the troops freed up after the capture of Sevastopol. Neither side was aware of the other's intentions until the battle started. The Sinyavino offensive started on 27 August 1942, with some small-scale attacks by the Leningrad front on the 19th, pre-empting "''Nordlicht''" by a few weeks. The successful start of the operation forced the Germans to redirect troops from the planned "''Nordlicht''" to counterattack the Soviet armies. The counteroffensive saw the first deployment of the [[Tiger I|Tiger]] tank, though with limited success. After parts of the 2nd Shock Army were encircled and destroyed, the Soviet offensive was halted. However the German forces had to abandon their offensive on Leningrad as well. ===Operation Iskra=== The encirclement was broken in the wake of [[Operation Iskra]] — (English: Operation Spark) — a full-scale offensive conducted by the [[Leningrad Front|Leningrad]] and [[Volkhov Front]]s. This offensive started in the morning of 12 January 1943. After fierce battles the Red Army units overcame the powerful German fortifications to the south of Lake Ladoga, and on 18 January 1943 the Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts met, opening a {{convert|10|-|12|km|mi|abbr=on}}{{verify source|date=March 2011}} wide land corridor, which could provide some relief to the besieged population of Leningrad. ===Lifting the siege=== The siege continued until 27 January 1944, when the Soviet [[Leningrad-Novgorod Strategic Offensive]] expelled German forces from the southern outskirts of the city. This was a combined effort by the Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts, along with the [[1st Baltic Front|1st]] and [[2nd Baltic Front]]s. The Baltic Fleet provided 30% of aviation power for the final strike against the [[Wehrmacht]]. In the summer of 1944, the Finnish Defence Forces [[Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive|were pushed back]] to the other side of the [[Bay of Vyborg]] and the [[Vuoksi River]]. ===1941=== *'''April:''' Hitler intends to occupy and then destroy [[Saint Petersburg|Leningrad]], according to plan [[Operation Barbarossa|Barbarossa]] and [[Generalplan Ost]] *'''22 June:''' The [[Axis powers]]' invasion of [[Soviet Union]] begins with [[Operation Barbarossa]]. *'''23 June:''' Leningrad commander M. Popov, sends his second in command to reconnoitre defensive positions south of Leningrad. *'''29 June:''' Construction of the [[Luga]] defence fortifications ({{lang-ru|}}) begins together with evacuation of children and women. *'''June–July:''' Over 300,000 civilian refugees from Pskov and Novgorod escaping from the advancing Germans come to Leningrad for shelter. The armies of the North-Western Front join the front lines at Leningrad. Total military strength with reserves and volunteers reaches 2 million men involved on all sides of the emerging battle.{{Citation needed|date=January 2009}} *'''19–23 July:''' First attack on Leningrad by [[Army Group North]] is stopped {{convert|100|km|mi|abbr=on}} south of the city.{{Citation needed|date=May 2008}} *'''27 July:''' Hitler visits Army Group North, angry at the delay. He orders [[Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb|Field Marshal von Leeb]] to take Leningrad by December. *'''31 July:''' Finns attack the Soviet 23rd Army at the [[Karelian Isthmus]], eventually reaching northern pre-[[Winter War]] Finnish-Soviet border. *'''20 August-8 September:''' Artillery bombardments of Leningrad hit industries, schools, hospitals, and civilian houses. *'''21 August''': Hitler's Directive No.34 orders "Encirclement of Leningrad in conjunction with the Finns." *'''20–27 August:''' Evacuation of civilians is blocked by attacks on railways and other exits from Leningrad. *'''31 August:''' Finnish forces go on the defensive and straighten their front line. This involves crossing the 1939 pre-Winter War border and occupation of municipalities of Kirjasalo and Beloostrov. *'''6 September:''' [[Oberkommando der Wehrmacht|German High Command]]'s [[Alfred Jodl]] fails to persuade Finns to continue offensive against Leningrad. *'''2–9 September:''' Finns capture the [[Beloostrov]] and [[Kirjasalo]] salients and conduct defensive preparations. *'''8 September:''' Land encirclement of Leningrad is completed when the German forces reach the shores of [[Lake Ladoga]]. *'''10 September:''' [[Joseph Stalin]] appoints [[Georgy Zhukov|General Zhukov]] to replace [[Kliment Voroshilov|Marshal Voroshilov]] as Leningrad Front commander. *'''12 September:''' The largest food depot in Leningrad, the Badajevski General Store, is destroyed by a German bomb. *'''15 September:''' [[Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb|von Leeb]] has to remove the 4th Panzer Group from the front lines and transfer it to [[Army Group Center]] for the [[Battle of Moscow|Moscow offensive]]. *'''19 September:''' German troops are stopped {{convert|10|km|mi|abbr=on}} from Leningrad. Citizens join the fighting at the defence lines.{{Citation needed|date=March 2008}} [[Image:Medal Defense of Leningrad.jpg|110px|right|thumb|1,496,000 Soviet personnel were awarded the medal for the defence of Leningrad from 22nd December 1942.]] *'''22 September:''' Hitler directs that "[[Saint Petersburg]] must be erased from the face of the Earth". *'''22 September:''' Hitler declares, "....we have no interest in saving lives of the civilian population." *'''8 November:''' Hitler states in a speech at Munich: "Leningrad must die of starvation." *'''10 November:''' Soviet counter-attack begins, forcing Germans to retreat from [[Tikhvin]] back to the [[Volkhov River]] by 30 December, preventing them from joining Finnish forces stationed at the [[Svir River]] east of Leningrad. *'''December:''' [[Winston Churchill]] wrote in his diary "Leningrad is encircled, but not taken." *'''6 December:''' Great Britain declared war on Finland. This was followed by declaration of war from Canada, Australia, India and New Zealand. ===1942=== *'''7 January:''' Soviet ''Lyuban Offensive'' is launched; it lasts 16 weeks and is unsuccessful, resulting in the loss of the [[2nd Shock Army]]. *'''January:''' Soviets launch battle for the [[Nevsky Pyatachok]] bridgehead in an attempt to break the siege. This battle lasts until May 1943, but is only partially successful. Very heavy casualties are experienced by both sides. *'''4–30 April:''' ''Luftwaffe'' operation ''Eis Stoß'' (ice impact) fails to sink [[Baltic Fleet]] ships iced in at Leningrad. *'''June–September:''' New German artillery bombards Leningrad with {{convert|800|kg|lb|abbr=on}} shells. *'''August:''' The Spanish [[Blue Division]] (''División Azul'') transferred to Leningrad. *'''14 August – 27 October:''' [[Naval Detachment K]] clashes with [[Road of Life|Leningrad supply route]] on Lake Ladoga. *'''19 August:''' Soviets begin an eight-week-long [[Sinyavino Offensive (1942)|Sinyavino Offensive]], which fails to lift the siege, but thwarts German offensive plans (''Nordlicht''). ===1943=== [[File:Стелла городу герою Ленинграду.jpg|right|117px|thumb|Hero-City Obelisk]] *'''January–December:''' Increased artillery bombardments of Leningrad. *'''12–30 January:''' ''[[Operation Iskra]]'' penetrates the siege by opening a land corridor along the coast of Lake Ladoga into the city. The blockade is broken. *'''10 February – 1 April:''' The unsuccessful [[Operation Polyarnaya Zvezda]] attempts to lift the siege. ===1944=== *'''14 January – 1 March:''' Several Soviet offensive operations begin, aimed at ending the siege. *'''27 January:''' Siege of Leningrad ends. Germans forces pushed 60–100 km away from the city. *'''January:''' Before retreating the German armies loot and destroy the historical Palaces of the Tsars, such as the [[Catherine Palace]], [[Peterhof Palace]], the [[Gatchina]], and the [[Strelna]]. Many other historic landmarks and homes in the suburbs of St. Petersburg are looted and then destroyed, and a large number of valuable art collections are moved to Nazi Germany. *During the siege, 3200 residential buildings, 9000 wooden houses (burned), 840 factories and plants were destroyed in Leningrad and suburbs. ===Controversy over Finnish participation=== Almost all historians regard the siege as a German operation and do not consider that the Finns effectively participated in the siege. Russian historian Nikolai Baryshnikov argues that active Finnish participation did occur, but historians have been mostly silent about it, most likely due to the friendly nature of post-war Soviet-Finnish relations. The main issues which count in favor of the former view are: (a) the Finns stayed at the pre-Winter War border at the Karelian Isthmus, despite German wishes and requests, and (b) they did not bombard the city from planes or with artillery and did not allow the Germans to bring their own land forces to Finnish lines.{{Citation needed|date=May 2010}} Baryshnikov explains that the Finnish military in the region strategically depended on the Germans, and it lacked the required means and will to press the attack against Leningrad any further. ===Monument to the 'Road of Life'=== On October 29, 1966, a monument to the Road of Life was erected. Entitled "Broken Ring", designed and created by [[Konstantin Simun]], this monument pays tribute not only to the lives saved via the frozen Ladoga, but also the many lives broken by the blockade. The monument is a huge bronze ring with a gap in it, pointing towards the site that the Soviets eventually broke through the encircling German forces. The German bunker they captured is preserved as a memento opposite the break. In the centre a Russian mother cradles her dying soldier son. It is customary for newlyweds to come here to give thanks to the fallen. Whilst being sited in the centre of a roundabout it is easily accessed. The monument implies that the siege lasted 900 days. ===Deportation of civilians=== Deportations of Finns and Germans from Leningrad area to inhospitable areas of the Soviet Union have been reported from March 1942. For that, the [[Road of Life]] was used. ==See also== {{portal|War}} *[[World War II casualties]] *[[List of famines]] *[[Effect of the Siege of Leningrad on the city]] *[[Operation Nordlicht|Operation Nordlicht (Northern Light)]] *[[Consequences of German Nazism]] *[[Hero-City Obelisk]] *[[Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery]] *[[Leningrad Affair]] ==External links== {{Externalimage|topic=the Siege of Leningrad|align=right|image1=[http://www.ido.edu.ru/ffec/hist/images/H_4.jpg Russian map of the operations around Leningrad in 1943] Blue are the German and co-belligerent Finnish troops. The Soviets are red.|image2=[http://victory.tass-online.ru/data/Photos/Photo/175.JPEG map of the advance on Leningrad and relief] Blue are the German and co-belligerent Finnish troops. The Soviets are red.}} *[http://youtube.com/watch?v=y4RdjV28qYY (Youtube) Leningrad blockade part1] (Retrieved on June 29, 2008) *[http://www.signandsight.com/features/2164.html "In the vortex of congealed time"], by [[Oleg Yuriev]]. An overview of the literature of the Siege of Leningrad. {{Reflist}} {{World War II}} {{Saint Petersburg}} {{coord missing|Saint Petersburg}} {{DEFAULTSORT:Leningrad, Siege Of}}