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…