Breakthrough of the siege of Leningrad: what price to pay the Red Army

History 30/01/20 Breakthrough of the siege of Leningrad: what price to pay the Red Army

12 January 1943 began operation “spark”. Troops of the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts were advancing towards each other. 18 January two fronts met, the Blockade was broken. Until the 30th of January the Soviet troops were entrenched on the captured positions and tried to expand reclaimed from the Germans the territory. However, punching was only a narrow, 11-kilometre corridor.
along this corridor to the besieged city went bread. And those who laid down their lives in the snowy fields in the lake Ladoga area, the cost of his life saved thousands of starving children in Leningrad.

Accurate data on how many lives had to pay for this victory, are still missing. The official figures given by G. F. Krivosheev in the reference book “Russia and USSR in wars of XX century. The losses of the armed forces.” According to the Handbook total loss for January was 115 082 persons, of which 33 940 is a deadweight loss. Leningrad front lost 41 264, Volkhov — 73 818 people.

the loss of German troops on Soviet sources made up during the same period about 19,000 men killed and wounded, 1 was captured 275 prisoners.
When the data of Soviet and German losses are given together, many of them puzzling, after all, our five to six times more.

to understand why such a difference, and could it be that there was no deception, we need more details to imagine how was the Soviet offensive. From the Leningrad front attacked the 67th army from the Volkhov front in the offensive involved the 2nd shock and part of the 8th army.
the Total number of troops shock troops, was slightly more than 300 thousand people. This number does not include connections that transferred after the start of the operation, about 50 thousand people. It turns out that lost almost a third of troops. That’s a lot, but it is possible. For example, the infantry division of 10 thousand people, directly in the attack are only 4.5-5 thousand people of the personnel of the infantry and machine-gun mouth. They usually are the vast majority of casualties in the attack. That is a little less than half of the total number of connections.

the Soviet troops suffered very heavy losses because they had to break through the forehead defenses, which the Germans had strengthened the long and carefully. The terrain there is marshy, and during winter it turns into white plains, where not to hide, nowhere to hide. In such a situation, ordinary pit, covered with logs and earth, hidden under the snow, with her gun, turns into a impregnable fortress. Which is not something that a company, battalion have to attack. Yes, and to attack not like in the movies. To attack our forces were knee-deep in snow, and in the best case. Any sniper, hiding among the bushes, could shoot our soldiers until the cartridges run out.

Imagine that you could do only one, 854 th artillery battalion of Germans, which had nine 211-mm mortars, firing at the attacking chains of our infantry. A 100-kg shell a mortar explodes in an open area, and in the area of a football field remain only killed, wounded or shell-shocked. All divisions were four, and there were mortars, larger calibre.

Any injury, even slight, could in this situation to be fatal. A man down in the deep snow, from which it is difficult to get healthy and will find it and freeze. Yet it turned out that peat bogs, which in that area a lot, not frozen, and elementary was drowning, and people, and tanks. Finally, though, and say that the war is not sick, but enough to imagine how in January cold for days to get through the snow, to crawl and then just lay around for hours in the snow, and then sleeping in the woods. The list of possible diseases in this situation can be very long. And in those days, and pneumonia was a deadly riskNYM. So out of Commission, not just those who went on the attack, but also those who are in the rear like the particular danger is not exposed.

as for the losses of the Germans, who seem to be quite small, then it only seems. On the German side, the defense held the 26th army corps of the 18th army of army group “North”. Its population was around 60 thousand.
In the January fighting, all German units and suffered heavy losses. But all continued to fight and in February, that is, combat capability they have kept. Therefore, the data that out of 60 thousand people of the 26th army corps lost a little less than 20 thousand, that is the third part of the personnel may seem rather overstated than understated. As cited in some sources the data on total losses in the 60-70 thousand incredible. Because exceed the total number involved in the operation of troops.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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