Why the assault Liepaja for the Germans was worse than the capture of the Brest fortress

History 04/01/20 Why the assault Liepaja for the Germans was worse than the capture of the Brest fortress

Until 1917 the Latvian city of Liepaja wore German name Libau. In the early twentieth century, ethnic Germans were not majority, but still accounted for 11% of the population of liepāja (census 1911). However, when Hitler’s army in 1941, tried to “hurriedly” grab “the German native city”, she faced stiff resistance.

the German Offensive to Liepaja

the Distance from Liepaja to German Memel was about 80 miles, so it is not surprising that the Baltic port became one of the first objectives of the blitzkrieg on the Eastern front. On 22 June 1941, Liepaja made 291-infantry division, commanded by major-General Kurt Herzog. It was composed of 3 infantry regiments, two battalions of Marines, as well as 9 Ju 88 bombers, artillery and armored train. The total number of troops that attacked the city was 20 thousand people.

Organization of defense

In 1940, after the annexation of Latvia by the Soviet Union, in Liepaja was founded Libowsky naval base of the Baltic fleet. In her defence said the chief of staff Mikhail Klevensky. In June 1941 the personnel of the base had 4 thousand fighters. The sailors had boats, three batteries of guns and two anti-aircraft artillery battalions. Also, the Navy treated the 32-th separate local battalion, and aviation base was represented by three divisions.

the Destroyer “Lenin”, which was in repair at the shipyards of Liepaja, the defenders of the city destroyed so he can’t get the enemy.

outside the naval base was stationed 67th infantry division numbering 5,300 men (commander – major-General Nikolay Dedev). Organisers of the defence could also rely on the fighter 148th aviation regiment.

In General, the number of the defenders was 2 times less than the number of the approaching Wehrmacht.

In the early days of the defenders of Liepaja successfully counterattacked the Nazis. For example, on 24 June, they destroyed the train, and the Soviet infantry were previously occupied by the Germans the town of Grobina, 11 kilometers East of Liepaja.

According to the plan of operation Barbarossa, the Germans had to take the first even on June 25, but on that date they were still in the area.

the task of the Soviet troops was not to keep the championship at any cost – it was more important to bring organized efficient part, were surrounded. 26 Jun two columns of the defenders broke through on the North and East. Subsequently, these sailors and Marines helped in the defense of Riga.

Street fighting

the Battle on the streets of Riga between the Germans and the remaining Soviet forces began on June 28. Workers and Komsomol members defended the Rainis Park, old town and suburbs, and the sailors of the military Harbor. National groups were represented by the Latvians and Jews. Artillery shells were falling hail, turning houses into piles of rubble.

on the Morning of 29 June, the defenders blew up the Nazi armored personnel carrier with a loudspeaker through which the invaders had planned to convince the enemy to surrender without “ambitious suffering”. However, by the evening of Liepaja was captured completely.

the Nazis, frustrated by the protracted resistance, dealt harshly with the locals. In the first days of the occupation from the Nazis and Latvian collaborators killed many Jews.

the loss of the parties

in the capture of Riga by the Germans lost 5 thousand men in killed and wounded is several times more than during the storming of the Brest fortress, the attacker has lost 1142 people.

the loss of Russian in Liepaja amounted to only 706 people.

“In Liepaja soldiers of the red army first showed what he’s capable of when it’s based on prepared positions, is under the command of a cold-blooded and energetic of commanders,” he wrote later, the former Nazi propagandist, Karel Paul.

the Reason that the Wehrmacht took seven days for the otYachiyo of Liepaja, was not only the courage of the defenders, but also for the mistakes of the German command. German Marines were not sufficiently provided with heavy weapons and used captured Soviet weapons. Affected the lack of offensive support from the air.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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