The Council of Deputies of the Leningrad administration days after the Gerjman invasion organised "First response groups" of civilians (June 27). Officials informed the civilian population of the danger. Authorities mobilized over a million citizens to construct of fortifications. Several lines of defences were built along the perimeter of the city to support the defense of the city. There was work to the north and south, but mostly in the south. Their accomplishments were legend.
In the south facing the Finns one of the fortified lines ran from the mouth of the Luga River to Chudovo, Gatchina, Uritsk, Pulkovo and then through the Neva River. Another line of defence passed through Peterhof to Gatchina, Pulkovo, Kolpino and Koltushy. In the north facing the Germans the defensive line against the Finns, the Karelian Fortified Region, had been established erarlier (1930s). The Soviets erected 190 km (120 miles) of timber barricades, 635 km (395 miles) of wire entanglements, 700 km (430 mi) of anti-tank ditches, 5,000 earth-and-timber emplacements and reinforced concrete weapon emplacements and 25,000 km (16,000 miles) of World War I type open trenches were constructed or excavated by civilians often working with only hand tools.
The Red Army defendrs were bolstered by sailors from the Baltic Sea fleet.
The Germans bottled up the Soviet Baltic Sea Fleet in the port. The sailors were as a result active in the defense of Leningrad. Tens of thousands of Baltic Fleet sailors fought at land units in naval brigades. During
Guns from the cruiser Aurora were removed and taken inland to the Pulkovo Heights to the south of Leningrad. The Germans attacked the outer belt of the fortifications around Leningrad. To the astonishment of the Germans, the Soviets held. The 0.2 million Red Army and Red Navy defending force in well if hastily constructed defenses managed to hold back the Germans. Tte Germans made their major effort east of the city at Tikhvin resulting in savage fighting (October).
Fighting at Tikhvin went on until the Red Army launched the counter-offensive before Moscow (December).
The city's defenses held. This initself was a major achievement. Since the Germans had launched tge War with theie Blitzkrieg in Poland, the action outside Lenningrad was the first time that a major attacking German Army had been stopped. And this was before the winter weather set in. One factor in the Red Army success was that the Finns attacking from the North when approaching the Lenningrad suburbs stopped at the old (pre-Winter War border). This allowed Zukov to move forces facing the Finns south to bolster the forces facing the Germans.
Navigate the CIH World War II Section:
[Return to Main Lenningrad seige page ]
[Return to Main Lenningrad page]
[Return to Main World War II campaign page]
[Biographies] [Campaigns] [Children] [Countries] [Deciding factors] [Diplomacy] [Geo-political crisis] [Economics] [Home front] [Intelligence]
[POWs] [Resistance] [Race] [Refugees] [Technology]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to Main World War II page]
[Return to Main war essay page]