Why the battle for Leningrad was the largest artillery battle in history

History 20/01/20 Why the battle for Leningrad was the largest artillery battle in history

of Course, no list of artillery battles, where the defense of Leningrad during the Great Patriotic war occupied the first place.

However, some historians, such as the major expert in this area, Alexander Shirokorad, in his work “the Siege duel” believes that in Leningrad he played the largest artillery battle in history.

the Guns of the Baltic fleet

In an artillery duel on the Leningrad front the role of the Soviet land artillery was extremely small. The red Army did had some big guns and special power, especially today. And although in 1943 at the Leningrad front was formed by the 3rd counter-battery artillery corps, its main striking force was the railway artillery brigade of the Baltic fleet, and the land artillery was represented by only 6-9 — 152-mm guns, beat 25 km away. the Rest– 90 — 152-mm howitzer guns mod. 1937 and-32 — 122-mm gun mod. 1931/37 G.

the Number of barrels of naval artillery much more, not to mention calibers. However, many authors, resulting in the quantitative composition of the marine artillery, who defended Leningrad, do not give quite exact numbers. The fact that a significant portion of the guns of Kronstadt fortress was not involved in the fight against the German forces because of its geographical position.

the Artillery of the Baltic fleet near Leningrad is traditionally divided into three components.

the First is naval artillery. In its composition, battleships “Marat” and “October revolution”, the cruiser “Kirov”, “Maxim Gorky” and the unfinished “Petropavlovsk”. The main caliber of the battleships— 12 — 305-mm guns, the cruisers— 9 — 180-mm guns. The “Petropavlovsk” was prepared 4 — 203-mm guns. In addition, there were nine destroyers and the leader of the “Leningrad”, only 41 — 130-mm gun. Eight gunboats boats with 3-5 — 100-130-mm guns each.

during the fighting the ships went down, recovered, part of the gun-boats was transferred to the Ladoga lake. Battleships with several 120-mm guns were sent to the land front.

the Second was coastal artillery. The main strike force here was the Fort “Red hill”, which installed 8 — 305 mm, 3 — 152-mm, 4 — 130-mm and 3 — 120-mm guns.

there was a Fort “Seraya Loshad”. But his 4 — 203 mm, 3 — 152-mm and 4 120 mm (later replaced by the 130-mm) guns could fire on the Germans, only the South-Western borders of the Oranienbaum bridgehead.

On Oranienbaum bridgehead were battery Big Izhora and Kalishche with 152-mm and 100-mm guns.

there were more FORTS in the Gulf of Finland and Kotlin island, with a very strong coastal artillery, which always mention. However, FORTS that were North of Kronstadt, could not fire on the South Bank, where the Germans and the southern FORTS were armed with only anti-aircraft artillery.

In the North-Eastern part of Leningrad, on Rzhevka, was Scientific-testing naval artillery range, from which fired on the German positions 1 to 406-mm, 1 — 356-mm, 2 — 305 mm, 5 — 180 mm, 2 — 152-mm and 4 — 130-mm guns.

Special role was played by railway artillery, which was the main means of counter-battery fire. Including because those cannons are less afraid to put wear and were actively used. All the railway installations were merged into the 101-th (later 1st guards) railway artillery brigade. The main striking force of the brigade was 3 — 356-mm and 10 — 180-mm guns. To them in the course of the Siege was added a 36 — 130 mm, 4 — 152-mm, 4 — 120-mm and 2 — 100 mm built at the Leningrad plant.

it is Worth mentioning that the Baltic fleet had their armored train “Baltiets” and “For the Motherland”, which was much stronger than their land counterparts, as armed 120-130-mm guns.

According to Yu combo box in the book “Soviet coastal artillery”, in the operation to break the Blockade in 1943 it was involved in 88 guns with a caliber over 100 mm, including 1 — 406-mm, 1 — 356-mm and 9 — 180 mm. a year later, in operation “January thunder” was involved 213 of such instruments, including 1 — 406-mm, 4 — 356 mm, 28 — 305-mm, 2 — 254 mm, 3 — 203-33 mm — 180 mm. It was a very formidable force.

But on the other side of the front was not less formidable cannon.

the Big guns of the Wehrmacht

Initially, the army group “North” was not siege artillery. However, when Leningrad was surrounded and there was a question about how to force it to surrender, the command of the Wehrmacht began to build a strong artillery group. In September 1941 the city was moved three divisions with 150-mm and 210-mm German and 240-mm Czech guns, and later added two more 150-mm and 240-mm German guns. But that was only the beginning. In the winter of 1942 near Leningrad threw two rail position: German 280-mm gun and the French 520 mm. However, the howitzer almost immediately failed and was replaced four 400-mm French howitzers.

during 1942 was the transfer of new guns, and fall to the army group “North”, according to historian V. Mosunova, had at its disposal the most powerful weapon of the Second World war 800-mm gun “Dora” and two 600-mm self-propelled mortars. 340 mm, 280 mm, 240-mm French and German railway and stationary guns. To give precise figures on the composition of the artillery groups of the Wehrmacht near Leningrad will not work due to lack of space, as it is constantly changing. Overall, we can say that in the autumn of 1942 there were about a hundred big guns and special power. About half were German 210-mm mortars, other weapons were more powerful.

near Leningrad, in addition to those mentioned above, “mark” 340-mm and 240-mm French, 280 mm German rail, 240 mm and 210-mm German and Czech, 194-French mm, 170 mm German 150-mm German and 155-mm French guns. And 420-mm Czech howitzers and 420 mm German mortar, 355 mm and 305 of the German-Czech mm mortars, 240-mm howitzers of Czech.

in the summer of 1943 by the outgoing guns were replaced by 220-mm French mortars. And eliminated guns from the front constantly, and not because of combat losses. This was due to the lack of ammunition and heavy wear. First and foremost, it concerns the French guns, which remembered the First World war. So by the end of 1943 a large part of French guns from the front departed.

Even a very brief listing of the composition of artillery groups as the one and the other side shows that nothing like this has ever happened not only on the Soviet-German front, but in all other operations, both the Second and First World wars.

Hundreds of big guns and special power, thousands of tons of metal produced in a single volley each party or anything like that in history occurred. Therefore, the battle for Leningrad 1941-1944, may be the largest artillery battle in history.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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