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Operation Iskra. On the 70th anniversary of breaking the blockade of Leningrad. Part 2
Break of the Siege of Leningrad (January 18-20).
By January 18 the troops of the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts were fierce battle near the village of Labor number 5, and they shared a few kilometers. The German command, realizing that the delay surrounded by strong points is no longer necessary, gave orders to the garrison Schliesselburg Limes and make its way to Siniavino. To facilitate the breakthrough forces defending workers' settlements number 1 and number 5 ("Hyunera Group") had to hold on very long. In addition, the counterattack was organized by the Working settlement of the area number 5 to the 136th Infantry Division and the 61st Independent Tank Brigade, to overthrow it and facilitate a breakthrough surrounded by troops. But the impact was recorded, were killed and 600 Germans prisoner took up to 500 people. Russian warriors in pursuit of the enemy broke into the village, where approximately 12-00 hours day or troops of the 2nd Strike and 67th armies united. Troops met 2-armies and in the Working settlement number 1 – it was the 123rd Infantry Brigade separate Leningrad Front, headed by the deputy commander for political affairs, Major Melkonian and 372 th Infantry division Volkhov Front, headed by the chief of the 1st department of divisional headquarters, Major Melnikov. On the same day was completely cleared of Germans Shlissel'burg, and the end of the day or the southern shore of Lake Ladoga was liberated from the enemy, and its disparate groups are destroyed or captured. Were released and Limes. So Makar, January 18, 1943 siege of Leningrad was lifted.
But it was impossible to say that the situation is quite stable. Common front of the 67th and the 2nd attack army was not yet quite dense, because part of the encircled German troops (about 8 million people), throwing heavy weapons and dispersed, broke past the Working settlement number 5 to the south and to the left on January 20 to Siniavino. The German command, took the retreating troops prepared in advance to positions on the strip Townships number 1 and number 2 – The industrial community number 6 – Siniavino – the western part of the grove "round." Police were transferred there in advance SS Division, the 1st Infantry Division and the connection of the 5th Mountain Division. Later, the command of the 18th Army reinforced this trend parts hunter 28th, 11th, 21st and 212th Infantry Divisions. The command of the 67th Army and the 2nd Shock Army did not preclude the ability of the enemy counter-offensive to recover the lost ground. Because the troops 2-finished armies offensive acts and were secured on the achieved positions.
January 18 in Moscow received the news of breaking the blockade of T-bills has decided to exempt the construction of the forced strip of land railway branch, which was supposed to connect with the Volkhov Leningrad railway junction. Metal street from the field to the Schliesselburg were constructed in 18 days. Immediately across the river was built a temporary railway bridge. In the morning on February 7 Leningrad met with great joy the first railway train, who came from the mainland. In addition, along the southern shore of Lake Ladoga was the work of auto traffic. Continued to operate and the road of life. So Makar, naikrupneyshy political, economic and cultural center of the Soviet Union after the hardest 16-month struggle regained land link with the government. Has been substantially improved supply the town with food and other basic goods, and industrial enterprises began to get in more raw materials and fuel. Already in February 1943 in Leningrad has sharply increased electricity production, has increased markedly creation of weapons. Restoration of communications allowed without annoying reinforce the troops of the Leningrad Front and Baltic Fleet replenishment, arms and ammunition. All this has improved the strategic position of Russian troops operating in the north-west.
Continued coming. 20 – 30 January
Once the troops are 67th and 2nd Shock Army formed a common front and dug in on the new frontiers, it was decided to continue the operation and reach the limit Mustolovo – Michael (River Wash), and then grab the Kirov metal road. January 20 Zhukov told Stalin plan "Mginskoy operations", prepared together with Voroshilov, Meretskov and Govorov.
But the German high command has already managed to perfectly prepare for the likely Russian offensive. Prepared in advance of the defensive line defended by the forces of nine divisions, significantly supported by artillery and aircraft. Also advancing army were deprived of maneuver, and they had to storm the enemy's positions "in our heads." Compounds of Russian armies were already very exhausted and drained of blood by previous heavy fighting for Shlisselburgsky-Sinyavinskaya ledge. Count on success in these criteria was difficult.
January 20 after an artillery training of the army went to the offensive. 67th army forces of the 46th, 138th Infantry Divisions and the 152nd Armored Brigade attacked the south-east of the 1st and 2nd Boroughs. The army was to capture and bypass Mustolovo Siniavino from the west. 142 Marine Brigade, 123rd Infantry Brigade advancing on Siniavino. 123rd Infantry division, 102nd Infantry, 220th Tank Brigade had to break the resistance of the puzzle the enemy in the 1st and 2nd of town and go to Arbuzovo. But Russian troops met massive resistance and were not able to solve the assigned tasks. Progress has been insignificant. Front Commander Govorov decided to continue the attack and isolated from the reserve of the front four infantry divisions, two infantry and one armored brigade. January 25 troops again went into coming, but, despite the commissioning of the battle reinforcements to break through the German defenses failed. Stubborn fighting lasted until the end of January, but the 67th Army was never able to break the German orders.
Similarly developed at the site of action and the 2nd Shock Army. The troops were obliged to tread on marshland that deprived them of their tribute to the support of artillery and tanks. German troops, with an emphasis on strong, put up fierce resistance. January 25 2nd shock army resin to capture industrial community number 6. Before the end of the month of the army were engaged in heavy fighting for the Sinyavino height, part grove "Round" and a grove of "square" in the Working settlement number 6. 31 January 80th Infantry Division was even able to take Siniavino, but German troops vyshybli its strong counterattack. In other parts of the army did not have great success.
By the end of the month, it became clear that the coming and failed to implement a plan of liberation of the Neva and the Kirov steel road until you come out. The plan was in need of a strong adjustment, position the Germans in the bands 1, 2 Boroughs – Siniavino – Gaytolovo proved to be very strong. Russian commanders began to prepare the latest operation, which will meet in February 1943.
Results of operations
Russian troops have made a "corridor" along the shore of Lake Ladoga, 8-11 km wide, broke through the enemy's long-term blockade that choked Leningrad. Timeout event, which is so long expected by all Russian people. There was a land connection between the second capital of the Soviet Union and the mainland. Were disrupted military and strategic plans of the German military and political control in respect of Leningrad – the city supposed "clean up" of inmates by long-term blockade of hunger. Was thwarted by the possibility of the particular compound of German and Finnish troops east of Leningrad. Leningrad and Volkhov fronts have a specific relationship that increment their fighting ability and significantly improved the strategic position of the Red Army in the north-west. Operation "Iskra" was a turning point in the battle for Leningrad, now a strategic initiative to completely ran across the Russian troops. The threat of the assault on the town of Neve has been excluded.
It should be noted that the breakthrough of the blockade of Leningrad was a serious blow to the prestige of the Third Reich in the world. Not in vain British military commentator Reuters noted that "the breakthrough of German fortified zone south of Lake Ladoga is the same blow to the prestige of Hitler as a crushing defeat of German forces at Stalingrad."
Russian warriors in this battle showed increased military skills by defeating the armies of the 18th German Army. For courage and heroism in battle against the Nazis, 25 soldiers were awarded the highest title of Hero of the Russian Union of about 22 thousand soldier and officers were awarded orders and medals. 136th and 327th Infantry Divisions were marked by the fact that they transformed, respectively, in the 63rd and the 64th Guards Division. 61th Armored Brigade was reorganized into the 30th Guards Tank Brigade, and the 122nd Armored Brigade marked the Order of Red Banner.
About that, in any complex criteria for the operation took place, and about the power of the German defense in this sector well they say the loss. Russian troops lost during the period 12-30 January ("Operation Spark") 115 082 people (their their – the loss of 33,940 non-refundable). The loss of the Leningrad Front – 41264 people (12320 – dead), and the Volkhov – 73818 people (21620 – non-returnable). During the same period were lost 41 tanks (according to other sources, more than 200), 417 guns and mortars, and 41 aircraft. Germans report to the winding up of 847 tanks and 693 aircraft (for the period January 12 – April 4). Russian sources report that during the period 12 – 30 January Germans lost more than 20 thousand people killed, wounded and captured.
At the same time, Russian troops were not able to victoriously complete the operation. Army Group "North" as used to be a tough opponent, and the German High Command to react to the loss of Shlisselburgsky-Sinyavinskaya ledge. Russian shock troops were weakened by fierce fighting in a very fortified area and could not crack the latest German defensive line. The defeat mginsko-Sinyavinskaya German group had to be postponed to February 1943. Leningrad, after breaking the blockade, a year was under siege. It is free city on the Neva River from the German blockade was only in January 1944, during "Operation January Thunder."
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