269th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
The 269th Infantry Division was a major fighting formation of the German Army. It was created in August 1939, first saw combat in the Battle of France, was posted to occupation duties in Denmark. In the summer of 1941 the division advanced towards Leningrad in operation Barbarossa as part of Army Group North. Following final drive on the city and the subsequent siege, the division spent the winter and the next summer in defensive action along the Volkov river front, combating repeated Soviet attempts to restore land communications to Leningrad. In December 1942 the division was transferred to Norway; the division returned to action in November 1944, firstly in the west against the US forces and as a Battle group back in the east where the remains of the division surrendered to the Soviet forces in May 1945 at the end of the war. General der Artillerie Ernst-Eberhard Hell, 1. September 1939 – 12. August 1940 Generalleutnant Wolfgang Edler Herr und Freiherr von Plotho, 12. August 1940 – 31. March 1941 General der Infanterie Ernst von Leyser, 1 April 1941 – 31 August 1942 Generalleutnant Kurt Badinski, 1.
September 1942 – 24 November 1943 Generalleutnant Hans Wagner 25. Nov. 1943 – 8 May 1945
30th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
The 30th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht was created on 1 October 1936 in Lübeck and mobilized on 26 August 1939 for the upcoming invasion of Poland. At that time, it consisted of the usual German infantry division elements: three infantry regiments of three battalions each, one three-battalion regiment of light artillery, one battalion of heavy artillery, a panzerjager battalion, an aufklärungs battalion, a signals battalion, a pioneer battalion, divisional supply and administrative units. Just prior to the invasion of Poland, the division was positioned on the left wing of Army Group South under the X Army Corps, it was to attack in the general direction of the area in front of Łódź. It fought battles in areas of Kalisch, during the Vistula crossing at Warta at Kol. Balin and Uniejew. During the Battle of Bzura they suffered heavy losses, including 1500 POWs captured by the Poles, they had to reject violent attempts to escape by the trapped Polish troops. Their commander Major General von Briesen led his last held in reserve battalion into battle and was wounded and lost his right forearm.
The Division, henceforth was referred to as "Briesen Division". After the Battle of Bzura was over, the division moved north of Lowicz in pursuit of the defeated enemy. On 16 June 1940, the unit conducted a victory parade in Paris. In the winter of 1941 the division was trapped in the Demyansk Pocket along with the 12th, 32nd, 123rd and 290th infantry divisions, the SS-Division Totenkopf, as well as RAD, Todt organization and other auxiliary units, for a total of about 90,000 German troops and around 10,000 auxiliaries, their commander was General der Infanterie Walter Graf von Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt, commander of the II. Armeekorps. Generalleutnant Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel, creation – 4 February 1938 Generalmajor Kurt von Briesen, 4 February 1938 – 1 July 1939 Generalleutnant Franz Böhme, 1 July 1939 – 19 July 1939 General der Infanterie Kurt von Briesen, 19 July 1939 – 25 November 1940 Generalmajor Walter Buechs, November 1940 – 5 January 1941 General der Infanterie Kurt von Tippelskirch, 5 January 1941 – 5 June 1942 Generalleutnant Thomas-Emil von Wickede, 5.
Juni 1942 – 29 October 1943 Generalleutnant Paul Winter, September 1943 Generalmajor Gerhard Henke, 29 October 1943 – 5 November 1943 General der Infanterie Wilhelm Haase, 5 November 1943 – 15 March 1944 Generalleutnant Hans von Basse, 15 March 1944 – 15 August 1944 Generalmajor Otto Barth, 15 August 1944 – 30 January 1945 Generalleutnant Albert Henze, 30 January 1945 – capitulation Breithaupt, Hans. Die Geschichte der 30. Infanterie-Division 1939 – 1945. Podzun, Bad Nauheim. Müller-Hillebrand, Burkhard. Das Heer 1933-1945. Entwicklung des organisatorischen Aufbaues. Vol. III: Der Zweifrontenkrieg. Das Heer vom Beginn des Feldzuges gegen die Sowjetunion bis zum Kriegsende. Frankfurt am Main: Mittler. P. 286. Tessin, Georg. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg, 1939 – 1945. Vol. IV: Die Landstreitkräfte 15 -30. Frankfurt am Main: Mittler
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad was a prolonged military blockade undertaken from the south by the Army Group North of Nazi Germany against the Soviet city of Leningrad on the Eastern Front in World War II. The Finnish army invaded from the north, co-operating with the Germans until they had recaptured territory lost in the recent Winter War, but refused to make further approaches to the city; the siege started on 8 September 1941. Although the Soviet forces managed to open a narrow land corridor to the city on 18 January 1943, the siege was not lifted until 27 January 1944, 872 days after it began, it was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history, the costliest in casualties suffered. Some historians classify it as genocide. Leningrad's capture was one of three strategic goals in the German Operation Barbarossa and the main target of Army Group North; the strategy was motivated by Leningrad's political status as the former capital of Russia and the symbolic capital of the Russian Revolution, its military importance as a main base of the Soviet Baltic Fleet, its industrial strength, housing numerous arms factories.
By 1939, the city was responsible for 11% of all Soviet industrial output. It has been reported that Adolf Hitler was so confident of capturing Leningrad that he had invitations printed to the victory celebrations to be held in the city's Hotel Astoria. Although various theories have been put forward about Germany's plans for Leningrad, including renaming the city Adolfsburg and making it the capital of the new Ingermanland province of the Reich in Generalplan Ost, it is clear Hitler's intention was to utterly destroy the city and its population. According to a directive sent to Army Group North on 29 September, "After the defeat of Soviet Russia there can be no interest in the continued existence of this large urban centre. Following the city's encirclement, requests for surrender negotiations shall be denied, since the problem of relocating and feeding the population cannot and should not be solved by us. In this war for our existence, we can have no interest in maintaining a part of this large urban population."Hitler's ultimate plan was to raze Leningrad to the ground and give areas north of the River Neva to the Finns.
Army Group North under Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb advanced to Leningrad, its primary objective. Von Leeb's plan called for capturing the city on the move, but due to Hitler's recall of 4th Panzer Group, von Leeb had to lay the city under siege indefinitely after reaching the shores of Lake Ladoga, while trying to complete the encirclement and reaching the Finnish Army under Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim waiting at the Svir River, east of Leningrad. Finnish military forces were north of Leningrad, while German forces occupied territories to the south. Both German and Finnish forces had the goal of encircling Leningrad and maintaining the blockade perimeter, thus cutting off all communication with the city and preventing the defenders from receiving any supplies – although Finnish participation in the blockade consisted of recapture of lands lost in the Winter War. Thus, it is argued that much of the Finns participation was defensive; the Germans planned on lack of food being their chief weapon against the citizens.
On Friday, 27 June 1941, the Council of Deputies of the Leningrad administration organised "First response groups" of civilians. In the next days, Leningrad's civilian population was informed of the danger and over a million citizens were mobilised for the construction of fortifications. Several lines of defences were built along the city's perimeter to repulse hostile forces approaching from north and south by means of civilian resistance. In the south, the fortified line ran from the mouth of the Luga River to Chudovo, Uritsk and through the Neva River. Another line of defence passed through Peterhof to Gatchina, Pulkovo and Koltushy. In the north the defensive line against the Finns, the Karelian Fortified Region, had been maintained in Leningrad's northern suburbs since the 1930s, was now returned to service. A total of 306 km of timber barricades, 635 km of wire entanglements, 700 km of anti-tank ditches, 5,000 earth-and-timber emplacements and reinforced concrete weapon emplacements and 25,000 km of open trenches were constructed or excavated by civilians.
The guns from the cruiser Aurora were moved inland to the Pulkovo Heights to the south of Leningrad. The 4th Panzer Group from East Prussia took Pskov following a swift advance and managed to reach Novgorod by 16 August; the Soviet defenders fought to the death, despite the German discovery of the Soviet defence plans on an officer's corpse. After the capture of Novgorod, General Hoepner's 4th Panzer Group continued its progress towards Leningrad. However, the 18th Army – despite some 350,000 men lagging behind – forced its way to Ostrov and Pskov after the Soviet troops of the Northwestern Front retreated towards Leningrad. On 10 July, both Ostrov and Pskov were captured and the 18th Army reached Narva and Kingisepp, from where advance toward Leningrad continued from the Luga River line; this had the effect of creating siege positions from the Gulf of Finland to Lake Ladoga, with the eventual aim of isolating Leningrad from all directions. The Finnish Army was expected to advance along the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga.
Army Group North 18th Army (v
Army Group North
Army Group North was a German strategic echelon formation, commanding a grouping of field armies during World War II. The German Army Group was subordinated to the Oberkommando des Heeres, the German army high command, coordinated the operations of attached separate army corps, reserve formations, rear services and logistics, including the Army Group North Rear Area; the Army Group North was created on the 2 September 1939 by reorganization of the 2nd Army Headquarters. Commander in Chief as of 27 August 1939 was Field Marshal Fedor von Bock; the first employment of Army Group North was in the invasion of Poland of 1939, where in September it controlled: 3rd Army 4th Army a reserve of four divisions 10th Panzer Division 73rd Infantry Division 206th Infantry Division 208th Infantry Division. The Army Group was commanded by Fedor von Bock for the operation. After the end of the campaign, it was transferred to the Western Theatre and on the 10 October 1939 was renamed as the Army Group B, consisted of: 6th Army 4th Army In preparation for Operation Barbarossa, Army Group North was reformed from Army Group C on 22 June 1941.
Army Group North staged in East Prussia. Its strategic goal was Leningrad, with operational objectives being the territories of the Baltic republics and securing the northern flank of Army Group Centre in Northern Russia between Western Dvina River and Daugavpils-Kholm Army Group boundary. On commencement of the Wehrmacht's Baltic offensive operation the army group deployed into Lithuania and northern Belorussia, it served in Baltic territories and north Russia until 1944. Commander in Chief 22 June 1941: Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, its subordinate armies were deployed with the following immediate objectives: 18th Army - from Koenigsberg to Ventspils - Jelgava 4th Panzer Group - Pskov 16th Army - Kaunas, Daugavpils Army Group troops Army-Group signals regiment 537 Army-Group signals regiment 639 All operational objectives such as Tallinn were achieved despite stubborn Red Army resistance and several unsuccessful counter-offensives such as the Battle of Raseiniai, the army group approached Leningrad, commencing the Siege of Leningrad.
However, while the Baltic states were overrun, the Siege of Leningrad continued until 1944, when it was lifted as a result of the Red Army Leningrad-Novgorod strategic offensive operation. In September 1941, the Spanish Blue Division was assigned to Army Group North. Composition: October 1941 16th Army 18th ArmyNevsky PyatachokOperation Nordlicht Commander in Chief 17 January 1942: GFM Georg von Küchler Composition: September 1942 11th Army 16th Army 18th ArmyDecember 1942 16th Army 18th ArmyDemyansk PocketKholm Pocket Soviet Toropets-Kholm OperationBattle of Velikiye LukiBattle of Krasny Bor Commander in Chief 9 January 1944: Field marshal Walter Model Commander in Chief 31 March 1944: Generaloberst Georg Lindemann Commander in Chief 4 July 1944: Generaloberst Johannes Frießner Commander in Chief 23 July 1944: GFM Ferdinand Schörner March 1944 Army detachment "Narwa" 16th Army 18th ArmyBattle of Narva, consisting of: Battle for Narva Bridgehead and Battle of Tannenberg LineCombat in South Estonia, 1944 Soviet Baltic OffensiveBattle of PorkuniBattle of Vilnius Battle of Memel After becoming trapped in the Courland Cauldron after 25 January 1945, the Army Group was renamed Army Group Courland.
On the same day, in East Prussia, a new Army Group North was created by renaming Army Group Center. On the 2 April 1945, the army group was dissolved, the staff formed the 12th Army headquarters. Army Group North, was driven into an smaller pocket around Königsberg in East Prussia. On April 9, 1945 Königsberg fell to the Red Army, although remnants of Army Group units continued to resist on the Heiligenbeil & Danzig beachheads until the end of the war in Europe. October 1944 16th Army Armee-Abteilung Grasser 18th ArmyNovember 1944 16th Army Armee-Abteilung Kleffel 18 ArmeeDecember 1944 16th Army 18th ArmySoviet East Prussian OffensiveBattle of KönigsbergHeiligenbeil pocket Commander in Chief 27 January 1945: Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic Commander in Chief 12 March 1945: Walter Weiss Composition: February 1945 Armee-Abteilung Samland 4th ArmySoviet East Pomeranian OffensiveBattle of KolbergCourland Pocket On the 25 January 1945 Hitler renamed three army groups. Army Group North became Army Group Courland, more appropriate as it had been isolated from Army Group Centre and was trapped in Courland, Latvia.
German order of battle for Operation Fall Weiss Police Regiment North Frieser, Karl-Heinz. Die Ostfront 1943/44 – Der Krieg im Osten und an den Nebenfronten. Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg. VIII. München: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt. ISBN 978-3-421-06235-2
Operation Iskra was a Soviet military operation during World War II, designed to break the Wehrmacht's Siege of Leningrad. Planning for the operation began shortly after the failure of the Sinyavino Offensive; the German defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad in late 1942 had weakened the German front. By January 1943, Soviet forces were planning or conducting offensive operations across the entire German-Soviet front in southern Russia, Iskra being the northern part of the wider Soviet 1942–1943 winter counter offensive; the operation was conducted by the Red Army's Leningrad Front, Volkhov Front, the Baltic Fleet from 12 to 30 January 1943 with the aim of creating a land connection to Leningrad. Soviet forces linked up on 18 January, by 22 January the front line was stabilised; the operation opened a land corridor 8–10 kilometres wide to the city. A railroad was swiftly built through the corridor which allowed more supplies to reach the city than the Road of Life across the frozen surface of Lake Ladoga reducing the possibility of the capture of the city and a German–Finnish linkup.
The success led to Operation Polyarnaya Zvezda less than two weeks which aimed to decisively defeat Army Group North, lifting the siege altogether. The operation was a failure. Soviet forces made several other attempts in 1943 to renew their offensive and lift the siege, but made only modest gains in each one; the corridor remained within range of German artillery, the siege was not lifted until a year on 27 January 1944. The Siege of Leningrad started in early autumn 1941. By 8 September 1941, German and Finnish forces had surrounded the city, cutting off all supply routes to Leningrad and its suburbs. However, the original drive on the city failed and the city was subjected to a siege. During 1942 several attempts were made to breach the blockade but all failed; the last such attempt was the Sinyavino Offensive. After the defeat of the Sinyavino Offensive, the front line returned to what it was before the offensive and again 16 kilometres separated Leonid Govorov's Leningrad Front in the city from Kirill Meretskov's Volkhov Front.
Despite the failures of earlier operations, lifting the siege of Leningrad was a high priority, so new offensive preparations began in November 1942. In December, the operation was approved by the Stavka and received the codename "Iskra"; the operation was due to begin in January 1943. By January 1943, conditions were improving for the Soviets; the German defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad had weakened the German front. The Soviet forces were planning or conducting offensive operations across the entire front in southwestern Russia. Amidst these conditions, Operation Iskra was to become the first of several offensive operations aimed at inflicting a decisive defeat on Germany's Army Group North; the area south of Lake Ladoga is a forested area with many wetlands close to the lake. The forest shielded both sides from visual observation. Both factors hindered the mobility of artillery and vehicles in the area, providing a considerable advantage to the defending forces; the Sinyavino heights were a key location, with terrain 150 meters higher than the surrounding flat terrain.
Because the front line had changed little since the blockade was established, German forces had built an extensive network of interconnected trenches and obstacles, interlocking artillery and mortar fire. The Neva River was frozen, allowing infantry to cross; the Germans were well aware that breaking the blockade was important for the Soviet side. However, due to the reverse at Stalingrad and the Soviet offensive at Velikiye Luki to the south of Leningrad, Army Group North was ordered to go on the defensive and was stripped of many troops; the 11th Army, to lead the assault on Leningrad in September 1942, which had thwarted the last Soviet offensive, was transferred to Army Group Center in October. Nine other divisions were reassigned to other sectors. At the start of the Soviet offensive, the German 18th Army, led by Georg Lindemann consisted of 26 divisions spread across a 450 kilometres wide front; the army was stretched thin and as a result had no division-level reserves. Instead, each division had a tactical reserve of one or two battalions, the army reserves consisted of portions of the 96th Infantry Division and the 5th Mountain Division.
The 1st Air Fleet provided the air support for the army. Five divisions and part of another one were guarding the narrow corridor which separated the Soviet Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts; the corridor was only 16 kilometres wide and was called the "bottleneck". The German divisions were well fortified in this area, where the front line had been unchanged since September 1941, hoping to repel the Soviet offensive; the plan for Operation Iskra was approved in December. With the combined efforts of the Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts, defeat the enemy in the area of Lipka, Dubrovka and thus penetrate the Leningrad blockade. Finish the operation by the end of January 1943; this meant opening a 10 kilometres corridor to Leningrad. After that, the two fronts were to rest for 10 days and resume the offensive southward in further operations; the biggest difference from the earlier Sinyavino Offensive was the location of the main attack. In September 1942 the Soviet forces were attacking south of the town of Siniavino, which allowed them to encircle several German divisions, but left the army open to flanking attacks from the north, it was this which caused the offensive to fa
A field army is a military formation in many armed forces, composed of two or more corps and may be subordinate to an army group. Air armies are equivalent formation within some air forces. A field army is composed of 100,000 to 150,000 troops. Particular field armies are named or numbered to distinguish them from "army" in the sense of an entire national land military force. In English, the typical style for naming field armies is word numbers, such as "First Army". A field army may be given a geographical name in addition to or as an alternative to a numerical name, such as the British Army of the Rhine, Army of the Niemen or Aegean Army; the Roman army was among the first to feature a formal field army, in the sense of a large, combined arms formation, namely the sacer comitatus, which may be translated as "sacred escort". The term is derived from the fact that they were commanded by Roman emperors, when they acted as field commanders. While the Roman comitatensis is sometimes translated as "field army", it may be translated as the more generic "field force" or "mobile force".
In some armed forces, an "army" has been equivalent to a corps-level unit. Prior to 1945, this was the case with a gun within the Imperial Japanese Army, for which the formation equivalent in size to a field army was an "area army". In the Soviet Red Army and the Soviet Air Forces, an army was subordinate in wartime to a front, it contained at least three to five divisions along with artillery, air defense and other supporting units. It could be classified as either tank army. In peacetime, a Soviet army was subordinate to a military district. Modern field armies are large formations which vary between armed forces in size and scope of responsibility. For instance, within NATO a field army is composed of a headquarters, controls at least two corps, beneath which are a variable number of divisions. A battle is influenced at the field army level by transferring divisions and reinforcements from one corps to another to increase the pressure on the enemy at a critical point. NATO armies are commanded by a general or lieutenant general.
Armeeoberkommando Military unit Military history List of numbered armies
44th Rifle Division (Soviet Union)
The 44th Kievskaya of the Red Banner Rifle Division of Nikolay Shchors, or 44th Kievskaya for short, was an elite military formation of the Soviet Union. Although it was an elite formation, the division was destroyed during the Winter War, after being ordered to help the 163rd Infantry Division break a Finnish siege on the Raate road. On 30 November 1939, it was part of the Special Rifle Corps, 9th Army, together with the 54th Rifle Division; the unit is famous for being the one of the first military formations out of, formed the short-lived Soviet Ukrainian Army. It was formed by the order no.6 of the Communist Party of Ukraine on September 22, 1918, as the 1st Insurgent Division along with the 2nd Insurgent Division. The 1st Insurgent Division was formed out of insurgent squads of Tarashcha and Novgorod-Sieversky uyezds; the chief of division was appointed N. Krapivyansky and the chief of staff S. Petrikovsky. Initial order of battle1st Red Cossacks Regiment 2nd Insurgent Regiment called Tarashcha 3rd Insurgent Regiment of Bogun called Bogun 4th Insurgent Regiment By the end of September the Division grew to 6700 bayonets, 450 sabers, 14 guns, from 10 to 18 machine guns "Maxim", 5 to 6 Colt, 20 to 30 Lewis.
Because of that, selected regiments were reorganized into brigades. However, the name for the units were nominal as the brigade's headquarters were never formed, functions of kombrigs were performed by the regimental commanders. 1st Brigade of Red Cossacks 2nd Brigade Around that time at the divisional headquarters a security company was formed out of some 700 soldiers. That new unit was planned to be used as a reserve; the 4th Insurgent Regiment was recommissioned as the 6th Insurgent Regiment and along with the 1st Regiment of Red Cossacks was soon transferred to the 2nd Insurgent Division. In their places, were created the 3rd Insurgent Regiment called Novgorod-Sieversky and the 4th Insurgent Nezhyn Regiment transformed out the security company. During the preparations for an assault on Kharkiv most of the division, refused to obey orders except for the Red Cossacks and the 4th Insurgent Nezhyn Regiment. For that the divisional commander N. Krapivyansky was dismissed and court martialed. I Lokatosh was appointed the new chief of division and I.
Panafidin the political commissar. The name of the division changed to the Special Insurgent Division as well as its formation consisting now only out of two brigades: 1st brigade 2nd brigade Приказом по войскам 12-й армии №2 от 16 июня 1919, объявлено о формировании из частей 1-й Украинской Советской армии в составе 44th Rifle Division of the Red Army; the 44th Rifle Division participated during the Soviet invasion of Poland in autumn 1939. During the Finno-Russian Winter War, the division was sent to the Finnish front as reinforcement for the Soviet 163rd Rifle Division which had attempted to advance into central Finland and become surrounded after capturing the town of Suomussalmi and was suffering heavy casualties; the 163rd Division, running short of food, was completely annihilated in combat with the Finnish 9th Infantry Division before the 44th Rifle Division could reach its position. With no ski troops, the 44th Rifle Division was road bound in the deep snow; the Finns, mounted on skis, carrying superior arms, were able to break the route of march of the 44th Division on the road leading to Suomussalmi.
By breaking the division into pieces along the road, after Finnish radio intelligence had confirmed that the whole division had entered the Raate road, the Finns were able to annihilate the entire unit. According to Robert Edwards, the division's Commander A. Vinogradev managed to escape, but on the orders of Stalin's emissary, Lev Mekhlis, he was shot for incompetence following a sham trial. Of the 44th Division's 17,000 troops, 1000 were captured and 700 escaped; the rest died. Other records suggest that Commander Alexei Vinogradov was sentenced in January 1940 to the Highest Degree of Punishment by the Military Tribunal of the 9th Army. Along with his chief of staff Onufri Volkov. On January 11 he was publicly executed in front of formation; the division was recreated after its destruction and part of 13th Rifle Corps, 12th Army, Kiev Special Military District in June 1941.'Captured Soviet Generals' says that the division commander, Major General S. A. Tkachenko, was captured by the Germans.
The division was caught up in conflict and suffered heavy losses. By 21 July 1941 the division was short of shtat by over 4,000 soldiers, 199 cargo trucks, over 3,000 rifles and carbines. Divisional morale fell despite some small victories; the division was wiped out in combat near the village of Podvyskoe in the Kirovograd and Uman region. The division was recreated at Leningrad in October 1941, it fought in northern Russia and Kurland with the 54th Army of Volkhov Front in January 1944 and the 67th Army of the Leningrad Front in May 1945. It was reactivated after the war from 1955 at Uralsk in Uralsk Oblast, from the 270th Rifle Division, it was redesignated the 44th Motor Rifle Division on 4 June 1957. In January 1958 it became part