70 years since the breakthrough of the Siege of Leningrad (PHOTOS)

The siege of Leningrad started in early autumn 1941. // The sign on the house reads, "This side of the street is most dangerous during bombings".
During 1942 several attempts were made to breach the blockade but all failed. // Leningrad townsfolk at the ruins of a destroyed residential house during the siege.
The last such attempt was the Sinyavino Offensive. After the defeat of the Sinyavino Offensive, the front line returned to what it was before the offensive and again 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) separated Leonid Govorov's Leningrad Front in the city and Kirill Meretskov's Volkhov Front. // Besieged Leningrad townsfolk leave the bomb shelter after attack over.
Despite the failures of earlier operations, lifting the siege of Leningrad was a very high priority, so new offensive preparations began in November 1942. // A monument to the emperor Nicholas I in the Isaak Square, concealed during the Leningrad blockade.
The Germans were well aware that breaking the blockade was very important for the Soviet side. However due to the reverse at Stalingrad and the Soviet offensive at Velikiye Luki to the south of Leningrad, Army Group North was ordered to go on the defensive and was stripped of many troops. The 11th Army, which was to lead the assault on Leningrad in September 1942, and which had thwarted the last Soviet offensive, was transferred to Army Group Center in October. Nine other divisions were also reassigned to other sectors. // A woman and a girl dragging a dead body along Nevsky avenue.
Despite these tragic losses and the inhuman conditions the city's war industries still continued to work and the city did not surrender. // Two Soviet soldiers and a woman gathering cabbage near St. Isaac's cathedral in besieged Leningrad.
In December 1942 in the depths of an unusually cold winter, the city's food rations reached an all time low of only 125 grams (about 1/4 of a pound) of bread per person per day. In just two months, January and February of 1942, 200,000 people died in Leningrad of cold and starvation. // A nurse rushing to a wounded man. Leningrad's siege.
The only way for supplies to reach the city was the Road of Life, ice transport route across the frozen surface of Lake Ladoga. // Nurses helping an old woman in a ruined house. The siege of Leningrad.
In December, the operation plan was approved by the Stavka and received the codename "Iskra" (Spark). The breakthrough of the Siege was undertaken January 18 after more than a yearlong blockade. It let the Soviet army create a land corridor to Leningrad which allowed more supplies to reach the city. // Girls on duty on the roof in besieged Leningrad. Air defense.
By January 1943, the situation looked very good for the Soviet side. The German defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad had weakened the German front. // Soviet sailors talking to children on the embankment of the Neva River in besieged Leningrad.
The Soviet forces were planning or conducting offensive operations across the entire front, especially in southern Russia. Amidst these conditions, Operation Iskra was to become the first of several offensive operations aimed at inflicting a decisive defeat on the German Army Group North. // Soviet soldiers fighting in Pushkin. The breakthrough of Leningrad's siege.
Operation Iskra was a strategic victory for the Soviet forces. From a military perspective, the operation eliminated the possibility of the capture of the city and a German-Finnish link up, as the Leningrad Front was now very well supplied. // Tanks drive toward front line out of besieged Leningrad.
For the civilian population, the operation meant that more food was able to reach the city, as well as improved conditions and the possibility of evacuating more civilians from the city. // Three nurses ready for service.
In January 1943 the Siege was broken and a year later, on January 27 1944 it was fully lifted. At least 641,000 people had died in Leningrad during the Siege (some estimates put this figure closer to 800,000). Most of them were buried in mass graves in different cemeteries, with the majority in the Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery, resting place to over 500,000 people and a timeless reminder of the heroic deeds of the city.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

We've got more than 2 million followers on Facebook. Join them!

This website uses cookies. Click here to find out more.

Accept cookies