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15 kilometers to the Hermitage - battlefield trip

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  • 15 kilometers to the Hermitage - battlefield trip

    About a month ago I went on a battlefield trip with Stryker to explore the furthest points of German advance to the borders of Leningrad.

    I've crudely drawn the frontline of the Siege (as of September 1941 - January 1943) and the route of our walk. The site of our walk is shown as a red box on the big map. http://maps.google.com/maps?t=h&hl=r...6,0.01929&z=16

    Josh, if you've got any pics from that trip, just post them here with short explanations, and I'll expand on them if necessary.

    I'll post the first part of the pics this evening, now I'll have to translate several documents related to the battles around this area.
    Attached Files
    www.histours.ru

    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

  • #2
    Nice to see two ACGer's getting together to share common interest. Thanks for the map and heads up for any following pic's
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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    • #3
      We started our walk from the southernmost point of this map, railway station Ligovo. The railroad goes from east to west parallel to the highway on the southern border of the map. The station is slightly to the west of the red frontline (signed as "станция Лигово").

      The following text is borrowed from this site and the book "City-front"

      On September 10 German tanks broke into Ligovo area, but the fire of our artillery made them turn back. From September 13th heavy battles were fought on the territory of village Staro-Panovo (just to the south of the station), Uritsk (area to the north and northeast of the station), Volodarsky settlement (further west of the map).

      "By the evening of September 15, huge fires engulfed the town of Uritsk. The sight was terrifying and awe-inspiring. And then the situation deteriorated even more. The Hitlerites sent 60 tanks in an attack, striking at the junction between the 42nd and 8th armies towards the coast of the Gulf of Finland. In the evening it became known they had broken into the Strelna-Leningrad road.

      The enemy's 58th Infantry division entered the flaming Uritsk with its tanks and captured it.

      Facing the Fascists at the Ligovo settlement were the border guards of the 21st NKVD division, led by Colonel M.D. Papchenko."



      Everything what could be found nearby was thrown to block the passage of enemy tanks. 106th engineering battallion fought in the area between Strelna and Uritsk. Squads of Kirov Metalworks' workers and Zubkov's people [military railway workers] hurriedly prepared gun emplacements along the rails of the Circular Railroad.


      German aerial reconnaissance photos of Staro-Panovo


      and Uritsk

      In the period of tree days of September 15-18th Red Army troops carried out unceasing counterattacks against the enemy, and the area of Uritsk and Staro-Panovo changed hands several times.

      As Zhukov wrote in his memoirs, "on September 17 the fighting around Leningrad reached its absolute climax. Having considered the situation as exceptionally dangerous, the Front's Military Council issued a decree of utmost strictness to the Military Councils of the 42nd and 55th Armies. It said the following:

      "The line Ligovo-Kiskino-Verkhnee Koirovo-Pulkovo Heights-Moskovskaya Slavyanka area-Shushary and Kolpino are of paramount importance for the defence of Leningrad, and therefore they can not be abandoned under any circumstances"

      By the sunset of September 17th all district troikas [party executive bodies made up of 3 people] received orders to prepare the city's main industrial sites for demolition in case the Germans had managed to break through.

      And here our trip began


      View of Ligovo train platform. Staro-Panovo is to the left of the rails and Uritsk is to the right


      View of what has once been Uritsk


      Memorial marking the site where the Germans were finally stopped. It's just behind the overpass which is going perpendicular to the railroad. Josh is leaning forward to read the inscription: "At this line, on September 18, 1941, heroic defenders of Leningrad stopped the German hordes and formed an impregnable defence".


      The space between the obelisk and the houses seen in the distance was no man's land.
      www.histours.ru

      Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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      • #4
        I love hikes, especially historic ones. Thanks for posting, it looks very interesting.

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        • #5
          This was a really interesting hike, I have several pictures, but still sifting through which ones are good enough to post, I'm pretty horrible at taking pictures.
          Кто там?
          Это я - Почтальон Печкин!
          Tunis is a Carthigenian city!

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          • #6
            Well guys, I'll have to think about making a trip over to Peter and Lenin's city join you on your next walk then.

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            • #7
              Okay, it's finally time to resurrect the thread!

              Thanks to skoblin a big part of the text about the Soviet sniper Nikolayev who fought in this area has been translated. I got the text long ago but somehow didn't post it until now.

              Below is a foreword to his book "Stars on the rifle".



              It was mid-September, 1941. Units of the 21st NKVD Rifle Division had received the task of defending the southern approaches to Leningrad from the Finnish gulf to the Neva river and further east to the town of Zanevka. The enemy must not reach the city! The 14th Red Banner Regiment, which had only just finished occupying its assigned sector of the defenses, dug furiously into the earth, making hastily-contrived trenches. This was the last line of defense before Leningrad. The position ran alongside the town of Uritsk and stood only a few kilometers beyond Leningrad's Kirov district. By day, we could see the smoke stacks of the Kirov factory from our trenches, while by night the ever-present glare of mortar fire over the forward lines was reflected in the windows of the little houses in the nearby town of Avtovo. Meanwhile, the second lines of both the regiment and the division already found themselves deployed within the city of Leningrad itself.

              It was at this moment that the decision was taken to establish a sniper training course. Among those selected for the course was the military scout, Ye. A. Nikolaev.



              Nikolaev had found himself drawn to sport shooting even before the war; first while in school and later during the two years he spent at the Tambov Railway Technical School. He also had the opportunity to take part in several shooting competitions. The rifle team at the technical school was very strong and four of the team were accepted into the city combined team. During his youth, he was not only drawn to sport shooting: well before being called up to serve his stint on the army, Yevgenii already wore a complete set of defense badges on his chest; moreover, these were of the highest level: GTO (Labour and Defense Training), GSO (Sanitary Defense Training), PVKhO (Anti-Aircraft and Chemical Defense Training) and the “Voroshilov Sharpshooter” - awarded for marksmanship.

              Yevgenii was quickly appointed as team leader for the sniper school attached to the 14th NKVD Red Banner Regiment. Regular training began, running from dawn to dusk. The cadets endeavoured to master all the skills of the sniper's art as quickly as possible, which were readily shared with us by our instructor and mentor – Lieutenant Butorin.

              Combat duties began and proved rather successful. Already by the beginning of December 1941, Sergeant Ye. A. Nikolayev had personally accounted for some 46 kills among enemy officers and soldiers. The stock of his sniper's rifle was adorned with 4 medium-sized and 6 small-sized painted stars which marked his personal tally.

              One day, having ensconced himself in a half-destroyed tram, he killed some 11 Fascists (including 1 general, 2 colonels and several officers who had arrived on orders from the General Staff in Berlin) in only 2 hours of “hunting”. Soon after, however, his position was discovered, and the Germans rained down heavy artillery fire. The shell-bursts blanketed him with dirt and only the timely assistance of his comrades saved Nikolayev from certain death.


              Nikolayev in an ambush, winter 1941-1942

              I'll continue later
              www.histours.ru

              Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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