WWII–-75th ANNIVERSARY DISCUSSION--#26---SEPTEMBER 1941
RJL518 last edited by
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade (Russian: блокада Ленинграда, transliteration: blokada Leningrada) was a prolonged military blockade undertaken mainly by the German Army Group North against Leningrad, historically and currently known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. The siege started on 8 September 1941, when the last road to the city was severed. Although the Soviets managed to open a narrow land corridor to the city on 18 January 1943, the siege was only lifted on 27 January 1944, 872 days after it began. It was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history and possibly the costliest in terms of casualties.
It was also known as “The 900 Days”, but the siege of Leningrad ranks as one of the most brutal periods of WWII.
You are the commander of Army Group North, Ritter Von Leeb.
Can you do what the Germans couldn’t do historically?
CAPTURE THE CITY?
I’m a bit puzzled by the question. It asks the reader to picture himself as the German commander (the one who’s implementing the siege, with help from the Finns in the north) and it asks him how he’d break the siege (which is a question that applies to the side which is under siege, not the side that’s implementing it), so I’m not sure what this is driving at. Note, incidentally, that prior to the Russian seizure of enough territory to open a land corridor to the city, the Russians did manage to get limited supplies to the city in wintertime over the frozen surface of Lake Ladoga, by road and eventually by railroad.
KurtGodel7 last edited by
Germany had essentially two options here. 1) Capture the city quickly, before the defenses could be built up. 2) Capture it via siege.
I don’t think that creating an urban combat situation, in which Germany attempted to capture the city street by street, would have been viable. In typical combat situations German soldiers had a 3:1 or 4:1 advantage in combat effectiveness over their Soviet counterparts. But in urban, street-to-street fighting the ratio was about 1:1. Germany could not afford anything even remotely approaching that 1:1 ratio, which is why something other than street-to-street fighting was necessary.
Von Manstein wrote that during the Barbarossa operation of '41 there had been a perfectly good opportunity to take Leningrad. But that this was wasted, allowing the Soviets to fortify it.
The other option would have been to do a better job of putting it under siege. This would have entailed tightening the cordon around the city, preventing just about anything from making it through. I think there was a case when Germany attempted exactly that. However, at the same time the Soviets were attempting to break the siege, so each side’s offensive encountered the other’s. From a tactical view there may have been more Germany could have done. But I think the real problem was strategic: the Soviet Union had too much military strength. A discussion on how to address that problem is probably outside the scope of this thread.