History 05/02/20 “Corridor of death”: why is this called the road to besieged Leningrad

January 12, 1943 began operation “spark”. 18 Jan advancing towards each other, troops of the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts met at the Eastern edge of the camp No 1. Was broken through the narrow corridor along the coast of lake Ladoga with a width of 8-11 km. There was no railway nor roads, only the swamp.

Soviet troops began the operation “polar star,” but she failed and the result punched the corridor have failed to expand. Had to use what is there in Leningrad died from starvation children.

the decision Was made on construction of the new railroad along the shore of lake Ladoga. The road was supposed to connect Volhovstroevsky line Kirov railway irinovskaya line in the center of Shlisselburg.

the work involved more than 5,000 people, is based on the Leningrad metro builders. Metro before the war to build it did not, and now they had to solve quite different tasks. The vast majority of the builders were women. To build the roadbed had to be in a place where in normal situation would never have occurred even path to tread. Under the snow cover were peat swamps that do not freeze even in the dead of winter. A frost was recorded to -43 C. Needed the soil, and it was not, it was a tree, and it was nowhere to take it: in Leningrad, the tree was more precious than gold.

Part of the isthmus was densely mined; in addition, lay on the ground a lot of unexploded bombs and shells. While we were building the road, sappers defused mines and Soviet 1338 393 German, 7 unexploded bombs and artillery shells 52.

And still the road was built on the sight of the Germans: in some areas up to advanced was not more than 4 km. How many people died from the shells, froze to death or drowned, is nowhere mentioned.

In the fantastic time, seventeen days was built 33 km of road and three bridges, including the bridge across the river length of 1300 m. All were constructed with deviations from the usual technical regulations. Railroad tracks led with a minimum turning radii and steep climbs. Used simple technology of the so-called sleeper cells, and often instead of sleepers in the course were the usual logs.

Such primitive technologies is justified not only because it has managed to build the whole route. In case of damage can be rapidly repaired, and it has also proved to be a major advantage.

on 7 February in Leningrad the first train arrived, the engine of which now stands on the station Volkhovstroy. On the same day the stock went to the mainland.

Initially was able to perform two or three compositions a day, and then entered the caravan traffic pattern. Trains in one night went in the direction of Leningrad, the other on the mainland.

the Trains moving with a minimum interval, so you can see the tail light coming on. Along the road were experienced movers who carried out a “live lock”. Instead of traffic lights regulate the movement of handheld lights. Together with these women (men for such work is not enough) along the road on duty gunners — they were afraid of sabotage. St. Petersburg historian, Oleg Krasilnikov, quotes the memoirs of the Deputy chief of traffic services A. K. Ugryumova: “Taking the part of the driver had continuously monitor everything that is happening in front, to avoid hitting the tail in front of a train. Heating of locomotive it was impossible to sharply boost, as this will inevitably fire burst from the pipe, and thereby detected motion in front of the observers of the enemy.”

Already by March 25 managed to achieve the passage of 20-25 trains per night, in may, has held more than 30. As a result, the city began to be supplied in two and a half times more cargo than ice “Road of life” across lake Ladoga. The first increase of the extradition rules Iia were in the city on February 23. The road called “Road of Victory”, but also in the process of construction she was called the “Corridor of death”.

Despite the fact that the trains moved only at night, for the Germans were not easy to fire way, in the afternoon sighted the target. The fire led not only from guns, but in some places even from the battalion mortars. Trains were a very convenient target. People to the movement, was quite vulnerable to attacks. St. Petersburg and Leningrad journalist-historian Volt Suslov in the book “was the front city, the Blockade was…” gives these data: “there were more than 1200 damage path is broken about 4 thousand rails, 3 thousand sleepers, 52 arrows, dozens of locomotives, hundreds of wagons”. Other, later sources, it was destroyed a half thousand units of rolling stock.

among the railroad people’s Commissariat during the operation of the road was killed 110 people and injured 175, but the data is considered incomplete. How many fighters were killed train crews, the personnel of air defense units and units of protection as accompanying and guarding the road itself, as well as civilians, is still unknown, even approximately. A local journalist, Andrei Martianov, found such data on the railroad

“February 21, 1943, killing 13 and injuring 35 people, 27 February lost in killed 8 and wounded 14 people. On March 3 were killed 3 and wounded 4 persons”.

March 10, 1944, a train from Leningrad went through liberated the station mga. “Victory road” was not needed and it was soon dismantled. In the place where once was a ferry across the river, monuments builders and railway workers.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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