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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Leningrad -- Hero City of the USSR

Soviet artillery in action during the siege of Leningrad

From a folder of historic cards published in 1985 on the 40th anniversary of the victory of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War we continue our series looking at the Hero Cities and Fortresses as well as other sites and battles critical to the Soviet victory. The folder was entitled "No one is Forgotten. Nothing is Forgotten."

This second post looks at the Hero City of Leningrad which endured and held out through the deadliest siege in history at the cost of a million lives.

It is important to never forget the tremendous determination, courage and sacrifices of the Soviet peoples and Red Army in the great struggle of liberation against Nazism and fascism that was World War II.

Leningrad: Hero City #2

The battle for Leningrad was of great political and military-strategic importance. Having held back large enemy forces, the battle near the walls of Leningrad had a significant impact on the course of hostilities in other sectors of the Soviet-German front.

The heroic defense of Leningrad is one of the outstanding mass feats of the people and the army. Fierce fighting on the outskirts of Leningrad unfolded from mid-July 1941. However, the plan of the Nazi offensive to capture the city quickly failed. At the walls of Leningrad, more than 40 fascist divisions ran into an insurmountable barrier. Under the leadership of the Leningrad party organization, the city was turned into an impregnable fortress: internal defensive structures were created, 10 divisions of the people's militia, air defense battalions, fighter battalions and many other formations were formed in a short time. Unable to overcome the resistance of the heroic defenders of Leningrad, the Nazi command ordered its troops surround the city with a blockade ring, trying to destroy it with continuous artillery shelling and barbaric air raids. The enemy also counted on the fact that hunger would break the will of the defenders of Leningrad.

Almost 900 days (September 8, 1941 - January 27, 1944) Leningrad lived and fought in the enemy ring. Leningrad residents endured incredible hardships and suffering. But during the years of blockade unprecedented in the history of the city, the working people of the city manufactured and repaired 2,000 tanks, 1,500 aircraft, 1,257 ships, 12,000 mortars, 225,000 machine guns, about 10 million shells and mines. 1,615,000 tons of cargo were delivered along the "road of life". Leningrad not only withstood the siege, but also defeated the enemy. In just one Leningrad-Novgorod offensive operation, Soviet troops destroyed 3 and defeated 23 enemy divisions. The Communist Party and the Soviet government highly appreciated the heroism and courage of the soldiers of the Leningrad Front and the sailors of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet who defended Leningrad. The high title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to 226 people, over 350 thousand soldiers, officers and generals were awarded orders and medals, about a million people were awarded the medal "For the Defense of Leningrad". In 1945, Leningrad was awarded the Order of Lenin, and in May, 1965, was named a Hero City and awarded the Gold Star medal.

Memorial at the Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery on the Avenue of the Unvanquished honouring those who died in Leningrad.

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