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Siege of Leningrad Timeline

The Germans and the reluctant Finns attempted to strangle the life out of the Soviet city of Leningrad - the heart of the Red revolution.

Authored By Staff Writer

From the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), Hitler wanted to take the all-important port city of Leningrad - the revolutionary heart of the Soviet nation herself. Soviet offensives along other fronts forces a delay in the German advance so much so that the city and its citizens could enact lines of defense.


The German allies in Finland took control of the Karelian isthmus to ensure the north was covered. The German Army arrived in the south and the stranglehold was in place. Volleying of control along various major fronts around the city saw supply routes closed and reopened and then closed again. During this time, the rations appropriated to the citizens of Leningrad had all but run out, effectively forcing the mass starvation of civilians.


The frozen surface of Lake Ladoga was a prime route for Soviet forces and proved vital in supplying the dying city. The brutally cold north winters here made the lake passable for some time. The siege of Leningrad lasted until the spring 1943 to which thousands of Leningrad citizens died.


Despite the hardship, the city was still beating with a heart of determination. As an industrial city, Leningrad continued to produce tanks and automatic weapons that were quickly sent to the frontlines for use against Germans. The Germans held fast for a time, ordering artillery barrages and aerial bombardments of the city in an attempt to break the will of the people and utterly burn Leningrad to the ground.


A major Soviet offensive finally linked the city to the rest of the Soviet Union. The German Army, weary of constant combat and the brutal winters, was finally in retreat. Like other major Soviet campaigns in the war, success was ultimately theirs, however this coming at an extremely high cost in lives.

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Total Siege of Leningrad Events: 22

1941
Monday
September 1st

German Army elements begin the shelling of Leningrad.

1941
Monday
September 15th

The Soviet fortress at Shlusselburg southeast of Leningrad falls to the Germans.

1941
Monday
September 15th

The Germans now control the southern end of Leningrad, cutting its citizens off from the rest of the Soviet Union.

1941
Monday
September 15th

Finnish forces, siding with the Germans, now control the Karelian isthmus, covering Leningrad from both sides.

1941
Sunday
November 9th

The Germans take the supply line route of Tikhvin, located east of Schlusselburg.

1941
Wednesday
October 1st - December 31st

As rations begin to run out in the encircled city of Leningrad, its citizens begin to starve.

1941
Wednesday
December 10th

The Soviets retake the town of Tikhvin.

1941
Wednesday
December 10th

The Soviet supply route is restarted across frozen Lake Lagoda.

1942
Thursday
January 1st - July 31st

Some 800,000 of Leningrad's citizens are evacuated through the frozen passage above Lake Lagoda.

1942
Wednesday
January 7th

Along the Volkhov Front to the south of Novgorod, the Soviets launch a major offensive.

1942
Sunday
March 1st - March 30th

The Soviet offensive near Novgorod is stopped by German ground and air elements.

1942
Sunday
March 1st - March 30th

The whole Soviet 2nd Shock Army is lost near Novgorod.

1942
Wednesday
July 1st - July 31st

Hitler orders two directives in the operation against Leningrad. The first calls for its immediate encirclement and the second for its immediate destruction from land and air.

1942
Wednesday
August 19th - September 30th

A Soviet offensive aimed at smashing through the German lines fails.

1942
Friday
September 25th

With winter upon the German Army once more, Hitler orders a halt to any major offensives around Leningrad.

1942
Thursday
October 1st - October 31st

With a lull in the fighting, Soviet forces near Leningrad are able to receive much needed supplies and reinforcements.

1943
Tuesday
January 12th

The Soviets enact Operation Spark and cut a path through the German lines clearing a path to Leningrad. This offers the citizens of the city some much needed foot rations.

1943
Tuesday
January 19th

The Soviets retake the city of Shlusselburg.

1944
Friday
January 14th

Soviet armies from the 2nd Baltic, Volkov and Leningrad fronts overtake German Army Group North in a massive two-week offensive.

1944
Friday
January 28th

German Army Group North is pushed away from the city of Leningrad.

1944
Thursday
January 27th

The Moscow-Leningrad railway route is reopened in favor of the Soviets.

1944
Thursday
January 27th

The siege of Leningrad is declared by Soviet leader Stalin as over.
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