Leningrad Siege Chronicles – Part 2

Continuing from part 1.

The winter of 1941-1942 was marked by a lot of hunger – the rations of bread per day consisted of 125-250 grams. The people were trying to get food by any means possible, exchanging their things and valuables for it.

One of the many tickets through the city, through which the citizens offered their valuables (such as photo camera, gold cufflings and such) for food.

The “lifeline” – last thin thread, connecting Leningrad with the outside world. The trucks used this path to bring the most needed supplies to the city and returned from it with full with evacuated people.

Not even the siege stopped the sports in Leningrad. This photo comes from May 1942 – a football match between the Leningrad “Dynamo” team and the sailors from the sea fleet.

The theater worked as well – here, in 1942, the audience is waiting in front of the “Muzkomedii” theater.

By spring 1942, every available strip of land was used to grow vegetables. Here, near the Isaakovsky cathedral, there will be a cabbage patch growing.

Here, the same improvised patch in autumn 1942 – the cabbage is being harvested.

Everyday scene from Leningrad of 1942 – people are pulling away the tram after the house got destroyed.

Fighting continued all along the Leningrad front. Here, a destroyed German captured tank Somua S35, acquired from the French.

T-34 tanks of the Leningrad front are moving towards their combat assignment

Attack of the Soviet tanks through the swampy area. The photo was taken through the driver’s slit in autumn 1943

Even children participated in the work of Leningrad factories in the war. These schoolgirls are assembling the submachine guns.

The army did not draft qualified workers, personally working in the military industry. On this picture, we can see a SPG being assembled in the Kirov plant.

In 1942, a special medal “For the defense of Leningrad” was issued. The medals were manufactured at Leningrad mint. The picture is from 1943.

Military successes of the Red Army allowed for more stable supplying of Leningrad with everything necessery, including toys. It was possible to buy these in stores and in stalls on the streets.

In January 1944, the Red Army attacked the enemy, forcing him to completely lift the siege.

January, 1944. Only weeks left until the end of the siege. Here, the Red Army is on the move south of Leningrad at Krasnegvardeysk.

January, 1944. Soviet troopers disembark the vehicles during the fighting for Krasnoye Sela (near Gatchina, south of Leningrad)

Red Army Assault near Krasnoye Selo, January 1944

Attack on Pavlovsk, south of Leningrad. Soviet tanks are overcoming a water obstacle.

On 21.1.1944, Soviet high command issued an order, mentioning the lifting of the siege and the parade in the honor of it. The 872 terrible days of siege were over.

On 27.1.1944, three hundred guns fired 24 salvoes in honor of the terrible and heroic siege of Leningrad.

The citizens on the photo remove the warnings of artillery strikes. The front is far away now and there is no danger to the streets anymore.

21 thoughts on “Leningrad Siege Chronicles – Part 2

  1. “In 1942, a special medal “For the defense of Leningrad” was issued. The medals were manufactured at Leningrad mint. The picture is from 1943.”

    All the boxes in the background contains medals? That would mean a LOT of medals…

    • Russians REALLY love medals.

      Three things which sieged Russian needs are food, weapon and medal.

      • If anything, those citizens that never gave up hope, who continued to fight in the factories, in the farms, in the morale aids…they deserve some commemoration of their part, eh?

  2. My grandfather participated on the german side of the siege. I’m quite happy that he lost his arm due to a russian attack and was sent home to tell me about it.
    Sobering to read about the shit that goes on for both sides on a siege. He certainly was happy to be home.

    • It sucks that he had to loose an arm to get away from it all. Respekt für deinen Opa :)

  3. I recently read a book from Max Hastings and the details from this siege are terrible. It even describes of cannibalism cases.

  4. >Even children participated in the work of Leningrad factories in the war. These schoolgirls are assembling the submachine guns.

    They’re assembling PPD-40, an early Soviet submachinegun that was replaced by PPSh-41. Since the production of PPD-40 was discontinued in 1942, and most of them were produced in 1940, it’s interesting why they were assembling it in 1943.

    • You have to remember that city was effectively cut off since 1941. Naturally it was impossible to bring in new assembly lines. That and the desperate situation means they had no choice but use everything that was available. Even if it was older technology.

      • Yeah, the city was in fact so much cut off, that they could still somehow build tanks…

    • Both actually. You simply drop as many tanks into the water, as are needed to create a bridge for the rest of the vehicles.

  5. When I was living in Moscow in the 1990s, my elderly landlady had a plump ginger cat, which she really spoiled – gave it chicken, prawns, cat treats.

    When I joked with her about it, she explained that she wasn’t sentimental about that particular cat, but she gave it (and its predecessors over several decades) treats because of a lifelong trauma – Leningrad.

    Briefly, she’d been a child during the siege, and the family had suffered terribly from hunger. They had a pet ginger cat, which they cherished. As things got worse, they spent weeks protecting the cat from the neighbours, who wanted to eat it (they lived in a Kommunalka, or shared apartment).

    Her mother fell sick (probably from the effects of malnutrition, as she fed most of her ration to the children), and the two kids more or less realised that it had to be the cat or their mother – so the cat ended up being made into soup.

    My landlady had then kept a ginger cat in the family at all times since the war, and always spoilt it – as a sort of atonement to the species.

    (She had some awful stories about the siege, including describing how they had to help take a dead body to a collection point. The bodies and the ground were all frozen solid, so they were stacked in a place until the authorities were able to find time to dig graves. Apparently it was obvious that some of the bodies had been partly dismembered – presumably for food.)

  6. Thanks for the interesting follow up.
    Only thing is that it should have been posted on 27/1 to commemorate this very important historical event.