History 01/02/20 Operation “January thunder”: how the Germans wanted to make a “second Stalingrad”

After the encirclement and destruction of German forces at Stalingrad, almost all operations are surrounded by any of the factions of the Wehrmacht received the informal name “the second Stalingrad” or “new Stalingrad”. While almost all conducted by the red Army offensive, as after the battle of Stalingrad and the beginning of the war had the aim to encircle any German troops. But unlike Stalingrad, even in cases when they could surround it, are not always formed with the second part — to destroy.

the German command always with great care attitude to attacks on their flanks and, with rare exceptions (like at Stalingrad) did not withdraw its troops, and left the enemy a chance to surround them. At the same time potentially dangerous for the Germans, in terms of hitting the pot places like Rzhev or Demyansk salient, the Wehrmacht was able to hold the Fort. Your “Stalingrad” tried to hold the Germans on the Leningrad front.

“Neva-2” or “January thunder”

the Siege of Leningrad, though, and was broken in January 1943, but from a military point of view, the situation in Leningrad is not fundamentally changed. Punched through the blockade ring, narrow corridor, with great effort and losses allowed to supply the city and save its inhabitants from starvation. But while the Germans might consider the Northern capital even without binoculars, and the German artillery rained on her hundreds of shells.

to lift the blockade completely failed only after a year. In the fall of 1943 Soviet intelligence reported that the German command was considering exhaust the troops out of Leningrad at the “Panther Line”. In this case it was a planned operation “Neva-1” provides for the prosecution of branching army group “North”, not to allow them to gain a foothold. Was also made and the plan of operation “is NotVA-2”, aimed to break the defense of the 18th army and the defeat of its main forces.

the operation was Conducted by forces of two fronts: the Leningrad and Volkhov. Volkhov front was carried out by the Novgorod-Luga operation, and Leningrad had planned to make the Germans the “second Stalingrad”, taking in the ring and defeating Peterhof-Strelninsky grouping of the 18th army of army group “North”. In September 1941, German troops reached the Gulf of Finland, cutting off part of the troops of the Leningrad front at Oranienbaum bridgehead. In this part of the Wehrmacht in the area of Peterhof, Strelna and Uritsk found themselves in the semicircle: the troops of the Leningrad front, hung on the flanks, threatening the Germans possible environment.

the Planned operation “January thunder”, formally known as the Krasnosel’skii-ropshinskaya offensive, provided for the application of converging blows of the two armies, which were to connect in the area of Ropsha. Of course, the scale of the planned “Leningrad Stalingrad” any comparison not go with “operation Uranus”, which was surrounded by an entire army.

In Soviet times, and now, too, in describing the battles don’t like to clarify what were the strengths of the opponent, especially when it comes to the great Patriotic war. This also applies to the operation “January thunder”. It only a significant superiority of forces of the Leningrad front, but the opposing forces of the Wehrmacht generally specify: the 18th army and all.

From the Oranienbaum bridgehead was to attack the 2nd shock army, forces 43, 108 th and 122 th infantry corps: 8 infantry divisions, a tank brigade and 3 separate tank regiment. Against the troops in the bridgehead acted 3rd Aviapolis body, consisting of 9-th and 10-th Aviapolis divisions. The 10th division was holding the line from the South, and the 9th from the South-East, and on its left flank, was to attack the division of the 2nd shock army, not counting the 50th infantry brigade and separate the parts that were struck along the coast of the Gulf of Finland from Peterhof.

the reserve was the 3rd Panzer corps of the SS, SOStave is: 11-I motorized SS division “Norland”, 4th motorized brigade SS “the Netherlands” and the combat group of the police division of the SS.

From the Leningrad came 42nd army, the strike group which consisted of 30 guards, 109th, and 110th rifle corps. A total of 9 rifle divisions, 2 tank brigades and 5 separate tank regiments. They were opposed by the 50-th army corps of the Germans in the composition of the 126 th and 170 th infantry divisions.

Despite the fact that the Germans after the start of the offensive was able to transfer one infantry division under the of Ropsha and three to the Red Village, the balance of power in favor of the red Army was overwhelming.

Ropshinskie incidents

the Offensive began on 14 January 1944 and after heavy fighting, on the 20th of January, the advanced units of the 2nd shock and 42nd armies met South of Ropsha. Peterhof-Strelninsky enemy force was surrounded. But the “New Stalingrad” is unable to make. In the environment were only a few small German units in Strelna, Uritsk, and Krasnoye Selo. Most of the troops had to withdraw from the generated “boiler”, however, leaving part of heavy weapons, including 85 heavy artillery. But a significant part of siege artillery bombarded Leningrad, the Germans managed to take out.

the Historian Vyacheslav Mosunov in his article “Ropsha incident” drew attention to some “white spots” in this operation, which is still not lit.

19 January in Moscow, was given a salute in honor of the release of Ropsha and was awarded the title “Ropshinsky” units and formations, distinguished themselves in the capture of the city. However, as evidenced by German and Soviet documents, I-9 aviaprima division left Ropsha, only in the night from 19th to 20th, and the 108th rifle corps entered the city just at 3.30 the 20th of January.

Another strange fact: the title “Ropshinsky” has received 13 units and formations. But, as you can see on the maps of the fighting of the 2nd shock and 42nd armies directly fighting for the city were 43 and 198 th infantry diviZia and the 98th tank regiment. But somehow they get the honorary title is not appropriated.

Another small, but the problem is that after the war in Ropsha a monument. On the pedestal is KV. This is a real tank, which took part in Krasnoselsky-ropshinskaya operation, but the KV tanks, the city did not take, this tank is a 31-th separate guards tank regiment breakthrough, which operated as part of the 42nd army in the area of Ropsha was not.

the Price of victory

Accurate data on the losses in the Krasnosel’skii-ropshinskaya operation, as from our side, and German. There are only General data on the Leningrad front, Leningrad-Novgorod offensive, where on March 1, 227 were lost 440 men killed, missing and wounded.

On very approximate data, the 18th army lost more than 50,000 people, but only for January. Although to compare the losses is not possible, it is clear that they are huge.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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