Breakthrough of the Blockade of Leningrad
18 January 1943 Breakthrough of the Blockade of Leningrad
18 January 1943 of the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts broke through the blockade of Leningrad. The largest political, economic and cultural center of the USSR, after the most difficult 16 month-long struggle, regained its land connection with the country. The break of Leningrad blockade began on January 12, 1943 on the order of the General Headquarters.
The main idea of the operation was to defeat the Nazi troops’ alignment holding Shlisselburg-Sinyavino heights by means of the cross-strike of two fronts – the Leningrad one from the West and the Volkhov from the East. The fronts’ commanders were L.A. Govorov, a lieutenant general, and a General of the Army K.A. Meretskov. The cooperation was coordinated by the Headquarters’ representatives, a General of the Army G.K. Zhukov and a marshal K.E. Voroshilov.
On January 12, 1943 after the careful preparation, the 67th army of the Leningrad front (General M.P. Dukhanov) made a strong strike from West to East. Towards it was breaking the second shock army and the 8th army of Volkhov front under the commandment of Generals V.Z. Romanovsky and F.N. Starikov. The attack was also supported by the fire from ships, coastal artillery and the Baltic Navy aviation as well as the long-range aviation.
On January 18, 1943 at 9:30 a.m. at the East outskirts of the Industrial community N 1 near Shlisselburg after a decisive attack, the 123rd infantry brigade units of the Leningrad front joined the units of the 372nd division of the Volkhov front. Later other Soviet military formations also met each other. On the same day Shlisselburg and the entire south shore of Ladoga lake were freed.
Around midnight of January 18 the radio broadcasted the blockade break. Citizens on the streets and avenues triumphed. Early in the morning of January 19 the hero city was decorated with flags.
Although only a small corridor from Volkhov front to Shlisselburg was won back as a result of the break, a strip of peatbog from 8 to 11 kilometers wide enabled to reestablish land communication with Leningrad up to the final blockade raising. Along the southern shore of Ladoga lake began the construction of 36 kilometers’ railway from Shlisselburg to Polyany. On February 6 along the new “Road of Life” brought trains to Leningrad.