Siege of Leningrad
The siege started on 8 September 1941, when the last road to the city was severed. Although the Soviets managed to open a land corridor to the city on 18 January 1943. It was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history, Leningrads capture was one of three strategic goals in the German Operation Barbarossa and the main target of Army Group North. By 1939 the city was responsible for 11% of all Soviet industrial output and it has been reported Adolf Hitler was so confident of capturing Leningrad that he had invitations printed to the victory celebrations to be held in the citys Hotel Astoria. According to a 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 center. Following the citys encirclement, requests for surrender negotiations shall be denied, since the problem of relocating and feeding the population cannot, in this war for our very existence, we can have no interest in maintaining even a part of this very large urban population.
Hitlers ultimate plan was to raze Leningrad to the ground and give areas north of the River Neva to the Finns, Army Group North under Feldmarschall Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb advanced to Leningrad, its primary objective. Finnish military forces were north of Leningrad, while German forces occupied territories to the south, thus, it is argued that much of the Finns participation was merely defensive. The Germans planned on lack of food being their weapon against the citizens. On 27 June 1941, the Council of Deputies of the Leningrad administration organised First response groups of civilians, in the next days, Leningrads 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 perimeter to repulse hostile forces approaching from north and south by means of civilian resistance. In the south, the line ran from the mouth of the Luga River to Chudovo, Uritsk, Pulkovo. Another line of defence passed through Peterhof to Gatchina, Kolpino, in the north the defensive line against the Finns, the Karelian Fortified Region, had been maintained in Leningrads northern suburbs since the 1930s, and was now returned to service.
Even 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 officers corpse, after the capture of Novgorod, General Hoepners 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, the Finnish Army was expected to advance along the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga
Bessarabia is a historical region in Eastern Europe, bounded by the Dniester river on the east and the Prut river on the west. The acquisition was among the Empires last territorial acquisitions in Europe, the newly acquired territories were organised as the Governorate of Bessarabia, adopting a name previously used for the southern plains, between the Dniester and the Danube rivers. In 1917, in the wake of the Russian Revolution, the area constituted itself as the Moldavian Democratic Republic, bolshevik agitation in late 1917 and early 1918 resulted in the intervention of the Romanian Army, ostensibly to pacify the region. Soon after, the assembly declared independence, and union with the Kingdom of Romania. The legality of acts was however disputed, most prominently by the Soviet Union. Axis-aligned Romania briefly recaptured the region in 1941 during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, in 1947, the Soviet-Romanian border along the Prut was internationally recognised by the Paris Treaty that ended World War II.
Part of the Gagauz-inhabited areas in the southern Bessarabia was organised in 1994 as a region within Moldova. According to the interpretation, the name Bessarabia derives from the Wallachian Basarab dynasty. Recent research has however cast doubt on this view, as the name was first applied to the territory by Western cartographers, showing up in local sources only in the second half of the 17th century. Furthermore, the use of the term to refer to the Moldavian lands near the Black Sea was explicitly rejected as a confusion by the early Moldavian chronicler Miron Costin. The confusion may have been caused by Polish references to Wallachia as Bessarabia, according to Dimitrie Cantemir, the name originally applied only to the part of the territory south of the Upper Trajanic Wall, somewhat bigger than current Budjak. The name Bessarabia may literally mean Bessi slaves after the Thracian tribe which was expelled by Trajan north of the Danube. The region is bounded by the Dniester to the north and east, the Prut to the west and the lower River Danube and it has an area of 45,630 km2.
The area is mostly hilly plains with flat steppes and it is very fertile, and has lignite deposits and stone quarries. People living in the area grow sugar beet, wheat, tobacco, wine grapes and they raise sheep and cattle. Currently, the industry in the region is agricultural processing. The regions main cities are Chișinău, Izmail and Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, historically called Cetatea Albă / Akkerman, other towns of administrative or historical importance include, Khotyn and Kilia, and Lipcani, Soroca, Bălți, Ungheni, Bender/Tighina and Cahul. In the late 14th century, the newly established Principality of Moldavia encompassed what became known as Bessarabia
Battle of Smolensk (1941)
The First Battle of Smolensk was a battle during the opening stage of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, in World War II. It took place around the city of Smolensk between 10 July and 10 September 1941, about 400 km west of Moscow, the Wehrmacht had advanced 500 km into the USSR in the 18 days after the invasion on 22 June 1941. During the battle the German army encountered unexpected resistance, leading to a delay in their advance on Moscow. Three Soviet armies were encircled and destroyed just to the south of Smolensk, on 22 June 1941, the Axis nations invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. At first, the met with spectacular success, as the surprised Soviet troops were not able to offer coordinated resistance. After three weeks of fighting, the Germans had reached the Dvina and Dnieper rivers and planned for a resumption of the offensive, the main attack aimed at Moscow, was carried out by Army Group Centre. Its next target on the way to the Soviet capital was the town of Smolensk, the German plan called for the 2nd Panzer Group to cross the Dnieper, closing on Smolensk from the south, while the 3rd Panzer Group was to encircle the town from the north.
After their initial defeats, the Red Army began to recover and took measures to ensure a more determined resistance, Stalin placed Field Marshal Semyon Timoshenko in command and transferred five armies out of the strategic reserve to Timoshenko. These armies had to conduct counter-offensives to blunt the German drive, the German high command was not aware of the Soviet build-up until they encountered them on the battlefield. Facing the Germans along the Dnieper and Dvina rivers were stretches of the Stalin Line fortifications, the defenders were the 13th Army of the Western Front and the 20th Army, 21st Army and the 22nd Army of the Soviet Supreme Command Reserve. The 19th Army, was forming up at Vitebsk, while the 16th Army was arriving at Smolensk, the result was a disaster, as the offensive ran directly into the anti-tank defenses of the German 7th Panzer Division and the two Soviet mechanized corps were virtually wiped out. On 10 July, Guderians 2nd Panzer Group began an attack over the Dnieper, his forces overran the weak 13th Army and by 13 July, Guderian had passed Mogilev.
His spearhead unit, the 29th Motorised Division, was already within 18 km of Smolensk, the 3rd Panzer Group had attacked, with the 20th Panzer Division establishing a bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Dvina river, threatening Vitebsk. As both German panzer groups drove east, the 16th, 19th and 20th armies faced the prospect of encirclement around Smolensk, from 11 July, the Soviets tried a series of concerted counter-attacks. The Soviet 19th Army and 20th Army struck at Vitebsk, while the 21st, several other Soviet armies attempted to counter-attack in the sectors of the German Army Group North and Army Group South. This effort was part of an attempt to implement the Soviet prewar general defense plan. The Soviet attacks managed to slow the Germans but the results were so marginal that the Germans barely noticed them as a large coordinated defensive effort, Hoths 3rd Panzer Group drove north and east, parallel to Guderians forces, taking Polotsk and Vitebsk. The 7th Panzer Division and 20th Panzer Division reached the area east of Smolensk at Yartsevo on July 15 and this advanced bridgehead became the center of the Yelnya Offensive, one of the first big coordinated Soviet counter-offensives of the war
Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943
Eugen Ritter von Schobert
Eugen Siegfried Erich Ritter von Schobert was a German general who served in World War I and World War II. He died in the Soviet Union when his plane crashed in a Soviet minefield. Schobert was born as Eugen Schobert in Würzburg in the Kingdom of Bavaria and he was the son of Major Karl Schobert and Anna née Michaely. Schobert entered the Royal Bavarian Army in July 1902 and he served primarily in the 1st Bavarian Infantry Regiment König and underwent pilot training in 1911. During World War I, Schobert remained a Bavarian infantry officer, during the German Spring Offensive of 1918, he led the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Bavarian Infantry Regiment. This was Bavarias highest military honor, comparable to the Prussian Pour le Mérite, hence Eugen Schobert became Eugen Ritter von Schobert. After World War I, Schobert remained in the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht and he was Inspector of Infantry from December 1933 to September 1934 and commanded the 17th Infantry Division and the 33rd Infantry Division.
He took command of the VII Army Corps on 4 February 1938, in September 1939, Schobert led his VII Army Corps in the invasion of Poland as part of the reserve of Army Group South. In May–June 1940, his corps, part of General Ernst Buschs Sixteenth Army of Army Group A, participated in the invasion of Belgium and Luxembourg and the Battle of France. He received the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross for his leadership of the VII Corps in the breakthrough of the Maginot Line and he remained in command of the corps during preparations for the invasion of Great Britain. In September 1940, Schobert was given command of the Eleventh Army, the army was assigned to Army Group South for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. During combat operations in the southern Soviet Union, Schobert was killed when their Fieseler Storch observation aircraft crashed in a Soviet minefield, a German war correspondent, Leo Leixner, wrote Schoberts biography. Schobert married Alice Rieder-Gollwitzer in 1921 and they had three children, two sons and one daughter.
His younger son was killed in combat in 1944 while serving as a pilot for the Luftwaffe. Knights Cross of the Iron Cross on 29 June 1940 as General der Infanterie and commanding general of the VII
Battle of Raseiniai
The Battle of Raseiniai was a large tank battle that took place in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The battle was fought between the elements of the German 4th Panzer Group and the Soviet 3rd Mechanized Corps with the 12th Mechanised Corps, Army Group North controlled the 18th Army and the 16th Army, along with the 4th Panzer Group. The Germans had 20 infantry divisions, three Panzer and three motorized infantry divisions, Air support was provided by Luftflotte 1. The front had the 8th and 11th Armies with the 27th Armies in its second echelon, the 4th Panzer Group advanced in two spearheads, led by the XLI Panzer Corps and LVI Panzer Corps. Their objective was to cross the Neman and Daugava, the most difficult obstacles in front of the Army Group North. German bombers destroyed many of the signals and communications centers, naval bases, Šiauliai and Kaunas were bombed. Soviet aircraft had been on alert but were held on their airfields after the first wave of German bombers passed.
By noon, the Soviet divisions began to back and the German columns began to swing towards Raseiniai. By the evening, Soviet formations had fallen back to the Dubysa, north-west of Kaunas, forward elements of LVI Panzer Corps reached the Dubysa and seized the vital Ariogala road viaduct across it. By the end of 22 June, the German armoured spearheads over the Niemen had penetrated 80 km, the next day, Kuznetsov committed his armoured forces to battle. Near Raseiniai, the XLI Panzer Corps was counter-attacked by the Soviet 3rd, the concentration of Soviet armour was detected by the Luftwaffe, which immediately attacked tank columns of the 12th Mechanised Corps south-west of Šiauliai. German forces encountered a unit equipped with the Soviet KV heavy tanks for the first time, the Germans fired at the tracks of the KVs, bombarded them with artillery, anti-aircraft guns or sticky bombs. A report of the 1st Panzer Division described the engagement, The KV-1 and KV-2 and our companies opened fire at about 800 yards, but it remained ineffective.
We moved closer and closer to the enemy, who for his continued to approach us unconcerned. Very soon we were facing each other at 50 to 100 yards, a fantastic exchange of fire took place without any visible German success. The Russian tanks continued to advance, and all armour-piercing shells simply bounced off them, thus we were presently faced with the alarming situation of the Russian tanks driving through the ranks of 1st Panzer Regiment towards our own infantry and our hinterland. Our Panzer Regiment therefore about turned and rumbled back with the KV-1s and KV-2s, in the course of that operation we succeeded in immobilizing some of them with special purpose shells at very close range 30 to 60 yards. A counter attack was launched and the Russians were thrown back, a protective front established and defensive fighting continued
Battle of Rostov (1941)
After concluding the Battle of Kiev in September 1941, the German Army Group South advanced from the Dniepr to the Sea of Azov coast. Walther von Reichenaus 6th Army captured Kharkov, carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagels 17th Army marched through Poltava towards Voroshilovgrad. Erich von Mansteins 11th Army moved into the Crimea and had control of all of the peninsula by autumn. To replace him, General of Infantry von Manstein was ordered to travel from the Leningrad sector of the front to the southern sector. He would support from the 4th Luftwaffe Air Fleet. Therefore, initially von Manstein replaced the LIV Corps with the smaller XXXth Army Corps and XLIXth Mountain Corps, and ordered the LIV Corps into the first echelon in the advance to Rostov. Late in September the 3rd Romanian Army joined the 11th Army in its advance towards Rostov, but was severely depleted by the attacks of the Soviet 9th and 18th Armies on 26 September. This forced a halt to the Armys advance to safeguard its flank, and forced von Manstein to use his only reserve unit.
Smirnov, was killed by fire on his command post in the village of Popovka during the breakout attempt between 5 and 10 October 1941. This was interpreted by Hitler as such a success that he declared The battle of the Sea of Azov is over, on 11 October before the troops had even reached their objective. As a commemorative gesture, Hitler issued the order to redesignate the Leibstandarte Brigade as 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, the German 11th Army was ordered back to Crimea to effect the breakthrough of the Isthmus of Perekop. During the subsequent reorganisation of Axis forces the 3rd Panzer Corps and 14th Panzer Corps took the lead, supported by the XLIX Mountain Corps recently arrived from Crimea. However the Red Army was at this stage fortunate in that the Autumn rains had begun, and this meant that the leading German units did not reach the outskirts of Rostov until mid-November, having lost contact with the Red Army in the meantime. The assault on Rostov began on 17 November, and on 21 November the Germans took Rostov, the German lines were over-extended, and von Kleists warnings that his left flank was vulnerable and that his tanks were ineffective in the freezing weather were ignored.
When von Rundstedt refused to obey, Hitler sacked him, and it was the first significant German withdrawal of the war. Battle of Rostov – the German 17th Army captured the city, Battle of Rostov – the Soviet Union recaptured the city. Haupt, Army Group South, The Wehrmacht in Russia 1941-1945, Schiffer Military History, Atglen,1998
Hertsa is a city located in Chernivtsi Oblast in western Ukraine. It is the center of Hertsa Raion. The city is the smallest raion administrative center in Ukraine and is located close to the Romanian border, until 1992 Hertsa was part of Hlyboka Raion. Some Romanians still have a strong sentiment of discontent about the fact that the town and it was attached to the Ukrainian SSR. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has been part of independent Ukraine, the town has a large Romanian community as well as an important Ukrainian minority