Leningrad Siege Chronicles – Part 1

Source: http://worldoftanks.ru/ru/news/pc-browser/12/chronicles_the_siege_of_leningrad/

Hello everyone,

World of Tanks RU portal published an interesting article about the siege of Leningrad. The siege itself was an attempt of the German forces to literally starve the city of three million people to death, because they did not want to get heavily involved in city fighting – that city fighting almost always turns into a meatgrinder was a lesson they knew about, but would nevertheless experience by themselves through the horrors of Stalingrad.

The city on river Neva was under siege for 872 days, the encirclement was only broken on 27.1.1944. To commemorate the event, Wargaming posted series of photos from Leningrad on their portal – here they are:

Leningrad until the war: a normal peaceful city

In August 1944, the fighting advanced toward Leningrad through the Krasnogvardeysk fortified area. By this time, people of Leningrad already heard the artillery shells.

The fighting was brutal and at close range. Even tanks were used at point-blank distances. Here, captain L.Kukushkin crushed a Panzer II during combat.

In September 1941, Luftwaffe started bombing Leningrad. Regardless of the efforts of its citizens, the bombs started many fires.

The effect of bombing: large crater from a bomb on the bank of river Fontanka

Many citizens of Leningrad found themselves without a home. Here, two women sit in their appartment, destroyed by a bomb.

The city was defended by AA guns against air raids. Here, we can see quad MG’s, widely-spread type AA defenses

Early warning of an air raid meant lives saved. The signal was the sound of hand-held sirens, as we can see on the picture. Schoolboy A.Novikov is operating one of them.

In October 1941, the city was cut off from the rest of the world. It was redying itself for defense. Tens of thousands of citizens dug field fortifications and defense posts, such as the ones on the picture in the southern sector (Pulkovo)

Fortifications were built in the city itself as well. Much of the work was done by women, as the men were sent to the front.

In early October 1941, the forces of the Soviet 8th Army retreated to Oranienbaum (nowadays Lomonosov). There, they formed a bridgehead, that kept on fighting until the end of the siege.

The Soviets made attempts to break through the siege all along the front. Here, October 1941, the tanks of Leningrad front are readying themselves for an attack.

Here, a Leningrad KV-1 is attacking the vanguard forces of the Germans. These tanks were a terrible opponent for Wehrmacht.

KV-1 was developed by the engineers of the Leningrad Kirov plant. They were produced there until winter 1942-1943.

In October 1941, a bridgehead was formed on the eastern bank of the river Neva in the village of Nevskaya Dubrovka. In order to get heavy equipment across the river, the engineers built special means of crossing.

Here, a unit of liutenant V.Bogomaz is getting ready to cross the river to reach the bridgehead.

The bridgehead, a photo taken from the western bank of the river, October 1941

There was some heavy fighting over the river at the bridgehead. Soviet soldiers, preparing to storm across the river are already seeing the explosions.

Throughout the siege, the Soviet troops were trying to break the ring of steel around the city. Here, a photo of the German front line with firepoints designated on it.

A photo of a street in Leningrad during the siege. The writing on the wall warns the citizens that it’s dangerous to walk on that side of the street during German artillery strikes. It stayed there for two years.

The most terrible winter of the siege was the winter of 1941-1942. The water piping was not working, the citizens had to take the water from the river.

The central heating was not working either – the pipes froze. The people were forced to create makeshift furnaces/ovens and were stocking up on wood whenever it was possible. The most common things to burn were pieces of furniture, fences and roof thatches and debris.

Hundreds of thousands of children were stranded in the city during the siege. Here, a New Year picture from one of the children hospitals.

Regardless of the hunger, the cold and the pain, the city lived. The factories worked and schools and hospitals were still used. Throughout the days, only a few less people were walking on the 25th October Prospect (future Nevsky Prospect) than they were during peace times…

44 thoughts on “Leningrad Siege Chronicles – Part 1

  1. “The most terrible winter of the siege was the winter of 1941-1942. The water piping was not working, the citizens had to take the river from the river.”

    Don’t you mean “Water from the river”?

  2. I hope there will be second part to this, pursuing an attempt of the Soviet forces to literally starve the West Berlin to death during the peacetime.

    • A proverb exists: “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” But yeah it would be interesting to see more of these history-focused articles.

        • D’you really think the Soviets would forget everything after the peace treaty had been signed just because “peacetime”? If you do then you’re naive.

        • I don’t know, I wouldn’t compare the siege of Leningrad and West Berlin blockade. The first one was a militar operation to crush one of the biggest russian cities and all its industry, and the second one was the first Cold War crisis due to an economical dispute and Stalin’s intentions to unify all Germany and annex it to the USSR. The Germans attacked Leningrad with artillery strikes and bomber raids, while West Berlin wasn’t attacked, and the Soviets expected the western countries to accept the coinditions to end the blockade..

          Obviously, neither of those operations is good in any way, whatever the reason may be, I’m just saying that the siege of Leningrad was much much worse and cannot be compared to West Berlin’s Blockade.

        • Why pointing out flaws of the stalinist regime is considered nazi fanboyism nowadays? Poles have no affection for either, but it is astounding how often the red army sins are glossed over compared to the nazi germany’s ones.

          Just noticed you writing in cyrylic, that would explain quite a bit actually…

          • 1. I haven’t said a word about “fanboyism”, have I?
            2. Red army/NKVD/Stalinist regime had committed many crimes, yet by far not so many as the Nazis did.
            3. It was not the Stalinist regime nor the red army that started the biggest onslaught in human history, was it?
            4. Cyrillic? What’s wrong with that? Should I have used Schwabacher in order to please the right-wing as well?

            • Stalinist regime and red army were part of starting World War II by splitting all the countries between Germany and Soviet Union and invading em, including poland, baltics and finland, in 1939. Those two giant totalitarian regimes started World War 2 by cooperating together at first and attaking several independent nations without provocation (even though they faked such).

              Was all part of this pact:

              “Vladimir Putin says there was nothing wrong with Soviet Union’s pact with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany”

              So allying with nazis and doing exactly what they do is just fine when it suits Russia’s own imperialistic plans to conquer other countries? Hypocrisy much?

              Also on what statistics you base your “Red army/NKVD/Stalinistic regime didnt do as many crimes as Nazis” claim on? Id like to hear more details. Since both caused massive suffering to humanity in 1900s, with casualties up in tens of millions. Winning side gets more of those crimes pardoned?

              • First, Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler indeed, but that happened after the western countries – UK and France – had no balls to stand up against Hitler and his mad ideas and betrayed Czechoslovakia in 1938 (Munich Agreement a.k.a. Munich Betrayal). Western allies promised to come to come to aid if Czechoslovakia was in trouble and when it was needed they threw the country to Hitler. After the betrayal Chamberlain claimed that he had saved peace, in fact, he did not save shit and millions had died. Yes, you’ve got it right with hypocrisy.
                Second, you ask me statistics. Well, you should read again what is written in point number 3 in my previous response. In case you are lazy to scroll up, I will write it for you again.
                - It was not the Stalinist regime nor the red army that started the biggest onslaught in human history, was it? I add, it was not the Stalinist regime that claimed other races to be inferior and therefore to be exterminated.
                So this is the statistics you have asked for.

                • 1. The implication in that last comment is pretty clear.

                  2/3 The russian empire shares some of the guilt of escalating the austro-hungary – serbian mess into what would become the true ‘biggest onslaught in human history’. But if you’re looking at just WW2, the war started a long time before what the russian textbooks call the ‘Great Patriotic War’, with the red army mobilising just two weeks after the germans and jointly invading a sovereign country, which is one of the things I was referring when talking about things being glossed over (the others would be the ‘adventures’ of soviet soldiers in prussia and east germany, or three certain big events on Ukraine sometime around the war, just to name a few). ‘But they started it’ is a schoolyard excuse when it comes to history.

                  4. Nothing wrong with cyrylic in and of itself, but I’ve come to expect a particular mindset from people who use it casually. So far I have not been proven wrong.

                • @Grumpy_Stranger
                  For some reason I cannot directly reply to you, so I have to go around. Nvm. Yes Soviet Union invaded Poland indeed as well as it had a non-aggression treaty signed with Nazi Germany and the Munich betrayal (1938 – before the war started) has already been mentioned as well. Who was first and who started what. Oh well, we could go back in time until… hold on… stone age? Alright, in order to avoid endless discussions about which Nazi was better and which crime should/shouldn’t be pardoned, I will go back to the core which was an attempt to compare Berlin blockade with the siege of Leningrad and here I say it is nonsense and these 2 things are incomparable. Yes mate that is the opinion of a casual Cyrillic user. Have a nice day.

                  P.S. If you happened by, you might wanna (or might not) answer this 1 question…
                  “But they started it’ is a schoolyard excuse when it comes to history.”
                  Who exactly is the “they” group?

                • Reply depth limit.

                  If the blockade was intended to break the western berlin by denying the people basic necessities, then it kind of is, yes. Granted, the people in Berlin did not have the added concern of shells falling out from the sky, but starving people into submission is starving people into submission. Germany gets dick points for blowing up the city, but russians get dick points for actually pulling it off during peacetime.

                  They, as in ‘They’re taking our jobs’, ‘They wouldn’t do it so why should we’, etc. A loose social construct that can be applied to any formal or nonformal group of people generally supposed to be viewed as ‘the devil’, a staple of the ‘us vs them’ kind of political discourse and an easy way to make excuses. In that context I was referring to the mentality of ‘We did our war crimes, but they (the nazis) did worse!’, with the implication that how the guy dares to adress anything lesser than the obvious elephant in the room.

    • An Ukrainian historician-amateur, Mark Solonin, actually compared the capability of Ladoga Lake fleet and the Allied air supply line in West Berlin.
      And You know what? Russians had all the means to save civilians from starvation, they just choose not to do so.

      • “An Ukrainian historician-amateur” uh-huh, yea, that explains it. Russians had all the means. They even had all the means to prevent the war, but they just chose to lose 20+ million men, women and children for fun, didn’t they? Come on mate don’t compare what is incomparable.

        • Basics of Soviet loss count: Half the number killed by the Germans, other half-not so lucky- starved in gulags or Holodomor.

            • *slow clap* Bravo. Can’t defend your point with rational arguments, start namecalling your opponent. Classic.

          • Still in previous posts you compared what was incomparable. As for your recent post, what do you what to point out? That the Nazis were less guilty, for many Soviets had died in Gulags or … am I missing something? Have a nice day though.

            • When Germany kills three to five million „casual cyrilic users” in a few years, it’s a crime. But when Stalin orders to „collect food” from seven millions in a single winter…
              I know, it’s hard to comprehend such big numbers, but the fact remains: russians did more and bigger crimes than anyone else during (and around) the time of WW2. And get it right, you „casual cyrilic user”: Stalin killed more russians than Hitler ever dared to dream of. If you don’t care that your barbaric nation did most of the unspeakable in the war, at least you should care that the ones you glorify (and try to gloss over) did more nasty stuff to YOUR OWN COUNTRYMEN. And Putin is already well on the path to do the same, while western countries are (again) too coward to act; care to guess who will start the next WW? Hint: nobody in their right mind would ever believe again that it could be called… „patriotic”.

  3. Parts of my mom’s family git rekt in Leningrad and my dad’s uncle got bombed by a friendly German Stuka (he was a Finn).

    Leningrad y u do dis?

    • My french great-grandpa fought with the Germans on eastern front even though he was french (Malgrés-nous, they took men from Alsace in their lines). He probably was around Leningrad and got captured and survived a soviet POW-camp. Crazy what you learn about your ancestors.

  4. The KV-1 being built put the size of the tank in perspective. And by that I mean that it’s smaller than I expected.
    Maybe that without the tracks and the turret, it just looks smaller than expected. Not by any means a small tank, but not the 1940 behemoth that terrorized the Germans I had in mind.

  5. i would like to see an article about the siege of Berlin. i live in Berlin thats why :)

    Berlin also got bombed to hell by allied bombers.

  6. Don’t want to nit-pick, but another typo in the paragraph below the first (peacetime) picture: “In August 1944, the fighting advanced toward Leningrad…” 1941, of course.

  7. I was born in Lenigrad in 1978, and lived there until i was 13. The siege or “Blokada” was not forgotten. That sign about about one side of the street being more dangerous? – One was left as a memorial. I remember my parents telling me about it. One of my grandmothers survived the siege. By the end the rations were 125g of bread filled with sawdust.
    People were eating glue, boiling leather boots. During winter supplies were delivered by trucks over the iced over Ladoga lake and kids evacuated. The icy road was known as “Road of life” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_of_Life

  8. Great article, but yesterday I was watching “Soviet Storm – WWII in the east S01E03 The Siege of Leningrad” on YouTube and that was also very interesting ;)

  9. With all these calls for various battles of WWII, how about one that is early enough that most Chinese consider the Second World War to effectively have started in 1937? No, I’m not talking about the battle for Beijing after the Marco Polo Bridge. I’m talking about the Defence of Shanghai, the direct lead-up to Nanjing… (the Emperor’s uncle was behind most of Nanjing, but he lived while the general in charge who tried to keep his men under control got hanged. Fucking MacArthur and co were too soft in the surrender terms. The entire Imperial Family of Japan should have been tried one by one for war crimes… and Nanjing happened in some part due to frustration and high casualties among their units from facing such fierce, unexpected resistance at Shanghai).

    Before you start calling me a Japanese apologist for that last line, read the sentence about putting the Japanese Imperial Family on trial. And yes I’m aware that megalomaniac Mao killed more Chinese people than the Japanese probably did, but since we’re dealing with old battlefields anyhow, might as well have an article about Shanghai, right?

  10. Pingback: Leningrad Siege Chronicles – Part 2 | For the Record

  11. Hi, SS. There is a typo under the photo with a boy with alarm device :
    > It was redying itself for defense.
    Correct spelling is “readying”.