Battle of Kiev (1941)
The First Battle of Kiev was the German name for the operation that resulted in a very large encirclement of Soviet troops in the vicinity of Kiev during World War II. This encirclement is considered the largest encirclement in the history of warfare, the operation ran from 7 August to 26 September 1941 as part of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. In Soviet military history, it is referred to as the Kiev Strategic Defensive Operation, kirponos was trapped behind German lines and killed while trying to break out. The battle was a defeat for the Red Army, exceeding even the Battle of Białystok–Minsk of June–July 1941. The encirclement trapped 452,700 soldiers,2,642 guns and mortars and 64 tanks, the Southwestern Front suffered 700,544 casualties, including 616,304 killed, captured or missing during the battle. The 5th, 37th, 26th, 21st and the 38th armies, consisting of 43 divisions, were almost annihilated, like the Western Front before it, the Southwestern Front had to be recreated almost from scratch.
After the rapid progress of Army Group Centre through the sector of the Eastern front. A substantial Soviet force, nearly the entire Southwestern Front, positioned in, on 3 August, Hitler temporarily cancelled the drive on Moscow in favor of driving south and attacking Kiev in Ukraine. However, on 12 August 1941, Supplement to Directive No, the three Panzer Groups, under the control of Army Group Center, will lead the advance on Moscow. On 18 August, OKH submitted a survey to Hitler regarding the continuation of operations in the East. The paper made the case for the drive to Moscow, arguing again that Army Groups North and South were strong enough to accomplish their objectives without any assistance from Army Group Center. Pointing out that there was enough time left before winter to conduct a single decisive operation against Moscow. On 20 August, Hitler rejected the proposal based on the idea that the most important objective was to deprive the Soviets of their industrial areas, on 21 August Jodl of OKW issued a directive, which summarized Hitlers instructions, to Brauchitsch commander of the Army.
The paper reiterated that the capture of Moscow before the onset of winter was not a primary objective, Hitler referred to the Soviet forces in the salient collectively as the Russian 5th Army. Engel in his diary for 21 August 1941, simply summarized it as, Halder offered his own resignation and advised Brauchitsch to do the same. However, Brauchitsch declined, stating Hitler would not accept the gesture, Halder withdrew his offer of resignation. On 23 August, Halder convened with Bock and Guderian in Borisov, during a meeting between Guderian and Hitler, with neither Halder nor Brauchitsch present, Hitler allowed Guderian to make the case for driving on to Moscow, and rejected his argument. In point of fact Hitler had already issued the orders for the shift of Guderians panzer group to the south, Guderian returned to his panzer group and began the southern thrust in an effort to encircle the Soviet forces in the salient
Battle of the Dnieper
The Battle of the Dnieper was a military campaign that took place in 1943 on the Eastern Front of World War II. It was one of the largest operations in World War II, Kiev was liberated in the Battle of Kiev. Following the Battle of Kursk, the Wehrmachts Heer and supporting Luftwaffe forces in the southern Soviet Union were on the defensive in the southern Ukraine, on the Soviet side, Joseph Stalin was determined to launch a major offensive in Ukraine. The main thrust of the offensive was in a direction, the northern flank being largely stabilized. The operation begun on 26 August 1943, divisions started to move on a 1, 400-kilometer front that stretched between Smolensk and the Sea of Azov. Overall, the operation would be executed by 36 Combined Arms, four Tank,2,650,000 personnel were brought into the ranks for this massive operation. The operation would use 51,000 guns,2,400 tanks and 2,850 planes, the Dnieper is the third largest river in Europe, second only to the Volga and the Danube. In its lower part, its width can reach three kilometres, and being dammed in several places made it even larger.
Moreover, its western shore —the one still to be retaken— was much higher and steeper than the eastern, in addition, the opposite shore was transformed into a vast complex of defenses and fortifications held by the Wehrmacht. Faced with such a situation, the Soviet commanders had two options and this option were supported by Marshal Zhukov and Deputy Chief of Staff A. I. Antonov, who considered the substantial losses after the battle of Kursk. The second option would be to stage an assault without waiting. This option left no time for the German defenders. This second option was backed by I. V, Stalin due to the concern that the German scorched earth policy might devastate this region if the Red Army did not advance fast enough. STAVKA paid attention to the possible scorched earth activities of German forces with a view to preventing them by a rapid advance. The assault was staged on a 300-kilometer front almost simultaneously, all available means of transport were to be used to transport the attackers to the opposite shore, including small fishing boats and improvised rafts of barrels and trees.
The preparation of the equipment was further complicated by the German scorched earth strategy with the total destruction of all boats. The crucial issue would obviously be heavy equipment, without it, the bridgeheads would not stand for long
Battle of Moscow
The Battle of Moscow is the name given by Soviet historians to two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942, the Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitlers attack on Moscow, capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the largest Soviet city. Moscow was one of the military and political objectives for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion plan, called for the capture of Moscow within four months, the German Army Group North moved towards Leningrad, Army Group South took control of Ukraine, and Army Group Center advanced towards Moscow. By July 1941, Army Group Center crossed the Dnieper River, in August 1941, German forces captured Smolensk, an important stronghold on the road to Moscow. At this stage, although Moscow was vulnerable, an offensive against the city would have exposed the German flanks. In part to address these risks, in part to attempt to secure Ukraines food and mineral resources, Hitler ordered the attack to turn north and south and eliminate Soviet forces at Leningrad and this delayed the German advance on Moscow.
When that advance resumed on 2 October 1941, German forces had been weakened, for Hitler, the Soviet capital was secondary, and he believed the only way to bring the Soviet Union to its knees was to defeat it economically. He felt this could be accomplished by seizing the economic resources of Ukraine east of Kiev, when Walther von Brauchitsch, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, supported a direct thrust to Moscow, he was told that only ossified brains could think of such an idea. Franz Halder, head of the Army General Staff, was convinced that a drive to seize Moscow would be victorious after the German Army inflicted enough damage on the Soviet forces. This view was shared by most within the German high command, but Hitler overruled his generals in favor of pocketing the Soviet forces around Kiev in the south, followed by the seizure of Ukraine. The move was successful, resulting in the loss of 660,000 Red Army personnel by 26 September, with the end of summer, Hitler redirected his attention to Moscow and assigned Army Group Center to this task.
The forces committed to Operation Typhoon included three infantry armies supported by three Panzer Groups and by the Luftwaffes Luftflotte 2, up to two million German troops were committed to the operation, along with 1,000 tanks and 14,000 guns. German aerial strength, had severely reduced over the summers campaign. Luftflotte 2 had only 549 serviceable machines, including 158 medium and dive-bombers and 172 fighters, the attack relied on standard blitzkrieg tactics, using Panzer groups rushing deep into Soviet formations and executing double-pincer movements, pocketing Red Army divisions and destroying them. Facing the Wehrmacht were three Soviet fronts forming a line between the cities of Vyazma and Bryansk, which barred the way to Moscow. The armies comprising these fronts had involved in heavy fighting. Still, it was a formidable concentration consisting of 1,250,000 men,1,000 tanks and 7,600 guns, the Soviet Air Force had suffered appalling losses of some 7,500 or 21,200 aircraft
The Soviet Union achieved a major victory by destroying the German Army Group Centre and completely rupturing the German front line. On 23 June 1944, the Red Army attacked Army Group Centre in Byelorussia, by 28 June, the German Fourth Army had been destroyed, along with most of the Third Panzer and Ninth Armies. The Red Army exploited the collapse of the German front line to encircle German formations in the vicinity of Minsk and destroy them, with Minsk liberated on 4 July. With the end of effective German resistance in Byelorussia, the Soviet offensive continued further to Lithuania and Romania over the course of July and August. The Red Army successfully used the Soviet deep battle and Maskirovka strategies for the first time to full extent, Army Group Centre had previously proved tough to counter as the Soviet defeat in Operation Mars had shown. Operation Suvorov had seen Army Group Centre itself forced to retreat westwards from Smolensk during the autumn of 1943. By the middle of June 1944, the Western Allies on the Cotentin Peninsula were just over 1,000 km from Berlin, for the Third Reich, the strategic threats were about the same.
Army Group Centre only had a total of 580 tanks, tank-destroyers and they were opposed by over 9000 Soviet machines. The redeployment of forces from Army Group Center left only 80 men defending every kilometer of the front line, the operation enabled the next operation, the Vistula–Oder Offensive, to come within sight of the German capital. The Soviets were initially surprised at their success of the Belorussian operation which had nearly reached Warsaw, the Soviet advance encouraged the Warsaw uprising against the German occupation forces. The military tactical operations of the Red Army successfully avoided the mobile reserves of the Wehrmacht, despite the massive forces involved, Soviet front commanders left their adversaries completely confused about the main axis of attack until it was too late. The Russian word maskirovka is roughly equivalent to the English word camouflage, during World War II the term was used by Soviet commanders to describe measures to create deception with the goal of inflicting surprise on the Wehrmacht forces.
The Oberkommando des Heeres expected the Soviets to launch a major Eastern Front offensive in the summer of 1944, the Stavka considered a number of options. The timetable of operations between June and August had been decided on by 28 April 1944, the Stavka rejected an offensive in either the Lvov sector or the Yassy-Kishinev sectors owing to the presence of powerful enemy mobile forces equal in strength to the Soviet strategic fronts. The first two options were rejected as being too ambitious and open to flank attack, the third option was rejected on the grounds the enemy was too well prepared. The only safe option was an offensive into Belorussia which would enable subsequent offensives from Ukraine into Poland, the Soviet and German High Commands recognised western Ukraine as a staging area for an offensive into Poland. This was the purpose of Bagration. In order to maximize the chances of success, the maskirovka was a double bluff, the Soviets left four tank armies in the Lvov-Peremyshl area and allowed the Germans to know it
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
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
Eastern Front (World War II)
The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, of the estimated 70 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, many of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of the European portion of World War II and it resulted in the destruction of the Third Reich, the partition of Germany for nearly half a century and the rise of the Soviet Union as a military and industrial superpower. The two principal belligerent powers were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in action in the Eastern Front, the United Kingdom. The joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front, in addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front.
Despite their ideological antipathy, both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union shared a dislike for the outcome of World War I. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was an agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It contained a secret protocol aiming to return Central Europe to the pre–World War I status quo by dividing it between Germany and the Soviet Union, Estonia and Lithuania would return to Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. I need the Ukraine so that they cant starve us out, the two powers invaded and partitioned Poland in 1939. The annexations were never recognized by most Western states, the annexed Romanian territory was divided between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf for the necessity of Lebensraum, acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, Wehrmacht officers told their troops to target people who were described as Jewish Bolshevik subhumans, the Mongol hordes, the Asiatic flood and the red beast.
The vast majority of German soldiers viewed the war in Nazi terms, Hitler referred to the war in unique terms, calling it a war of annihilation which was both an ideological and racial war. In addition, the Nazis sought to wipe out the large Jewish population of Central, after Germanys initial success at the Battle of Kiev in 1941, Hitler saw the Soviet Union as militarily weak and ripe for immediate conquest. On 3 October 1941, he announced, We have only to kick in the door, Germany expected another short Blitzkrieg and made no serious preparations for prolonged warfare. Throughout the 1930s the Soviet Union underwent massive industrialization and economic growth under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, Stalins central tenet, Socialism in one country, manifested itself as a series of nationwide centralized Five-Year Plans from 1929 onwards. It served as a testing ground for both the Wehrmacht and the Red Army to experiment with equipment and tactics that they would employ on a wider scale in the Second World War
Case Blue, renamed Operation Braunschweig, was the German Armed Forces name for its plan for the 1942 strategic summer offensive in southern Russia between 28 June and 24 November 1942. Initially, the offensive saw gains, with an advance into the Caucasus capturing large areas of land, the Red Army defeated the Germans at Stalingrad, following Operations Uranus and Little Saturn. This defeat forced the Axis to retreat from the Caucasus, only the city of Kursk and the Kuban region remained tentatively occupied by Axis troops. On 22 June 1941 the Wehrmacht had launched Operation Barbarossa with the intention of defeating the Soviets in a Blitzkrieg lasting only months, the Axis offensive had met with initial success and the Red Army had suffered some major defeats before halting the Axis units at Moscow. Although the Germans had captured vast areas of land and important industrial centers, in the winter of 1941–42 the Soviets struck back in a series of successful counteroffensives, pushing back the German threat to Moscow.
Despite these setbacks, Hitler wanted a solution, for which he required the oil resources of the Caucasus. By February 1942 the German Army High Command had begun to develop plans for a campaign to the aborted Barbarossa offensive – with the Caucasus as its principal objective. On 5 April 1942, Hitler laid out the elements of the now known as Case Blue in Führer Directive No.41. The main focus was to be at the capture of Caucasus region, the Caucasus, a large, culturally diverse region traversed by its eponymous mountains, is bounded by the Black Sea to the west and the Caspian Sea to the east. South of the lay the densely populated region of Transcaucasia, comprising Georgia, Azerbaijan. This heavily industrialized and densely populated area contained some of the largest oilfields in the world, the capital of Azerbaijan, was one of the richest, producing 80 percent of the Soviet Unions oil—about 24 million tons in 1942 alone. The Caucasus possessed plentiful coal and peat, as well as nonferrous, manganese deposits at Chiaturi, in Transcaucasia, formed the richest single source in the world, yielding 1.5 million tons of manganese ore annually, half of the Soviet Unions total production.
The Kuban region of the Caucasus produced large amounts of wheat, sunflower seeds and these resources were of immense importance to Hitler and the German war effort. Of the three tons of oil Germany consumed per year,85 percent was imported, mainly from the United States, Venezuela. An indication of German reliance on Romania is evident from its oil consumption, in 1938, in late 1941, the Romanians warned Hitler that their stocks were exhausted and they were unable to meet German demands. Whereas in 1941 most units fought on the central front supporting Army Group Centre,1,610 aircraft, initially commanded by Löhr, on 20 July 1942, Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen took command of Luftflotte 4. Blau II, Sixth Army, commanded by Friedrich Paulus, would attack from Kharkiv and move in parallel with Fourth Panzer Army, to reach the Volga at Stalingrad. Blau III, First Panzer Army would strike south towards the lower Don River, with Seventeenth Army on the western flank, the strategic objectives of the operation were the oilfields at Maykop and Baku
Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a sovereign state in Northern Europe. A peninsula with the Gulf of Finland to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, the country has borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north. Estonia is south of the country across the Gulf of Finland, Finland is a Nordic country situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia, which includes Scandinavia. Finlands population is 5.5 million, and the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region,88. 7% of the population is Finnish people who speak Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages, the second major group are the Finland-Swedes. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe, Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, from the late 12th century, Finland was an integral part of Sweden, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status.
In the spirit of the notion of Adolf Ivar Arwidsson, we are not Swedes, we do not want to become Russians, let us therefore be Finns, nevertheless, in 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. In 1906, Finland became the nation in the world to give the right to vote to all adult citizens. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent, in 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Reds supported by the equally new Soviet Russia, fighting the Whites, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought repeatedly to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia and Kuusamo, Petsamo and some islands, Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and established an official policy of neutrality. The Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era, Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialization, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s.
It rapidly developed an advanced economy while building an extensive Nordic-style welfare state, resulting in widespread prosperity, Finnish GDP growth has been negative in 2012–2014, with a preceding nadir of −8% in 2009. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, a large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, though freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution. The first known appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three rune-stones. Two were found in the Swedish province of Uppland and have the inscription finlonti, the third was found in Gotland, in the Baltic Sea. It has the inscription finlandi and dates from the 13th century, the name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, which is mentioned first known time AD98. The name Suomi has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, in addition to the close relatives of Finnish, this name is used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it, other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn. The eastern parts of the Gulf of Finland belong to Russia, as the seaway to Saint Petersburg, the Gulf of Finland has been and continues to be of considerable strategic importance to Russia. Some of the problems affecting the Baltic Sea are at their most pronounced in the shallow gulf. The area of the gulf is 30,000 km2, the length is 400 km and the width varies from 70 km near the entrance to 130 km on the meridian of Moshchny Island, in the Neva Bay, it decreases to 12 km. The gulf is shallow with the depth decreasing from the entrance to the gulf to the continent. The sharpest change occurs near Narva-Jõesuu, which is why this place is called Narva wall, the average depth is 38 m with the maximum of 100 m. The depth of the Neva Bay is less than 6 metres, therefore, a channel was dug at the bottom for safe navigation.
Because of the influx of fresh water from rivers, especially from the Neva River. The average water temperature is close to 0 °C in winter, in summer, it is 15–17 °C at the surface, the gulf is usually frozen from late November to late April, the freezing starts in the east and gradually proceeds to the west. Complete freezing is usually reached by late January, and it not occur in mild winters. There are frequent strong winds causing waves, surges of water. The northern coast of the gulf is high and winding, with abundant small bays and skerries only a few large bays, the coast is mostly sloping, there are abundant sandy dunes, with occasional pine trees. The southern shores are smooth and shallow, but along the entire coast runs the Baltic Klint with the height up to 55 m, in the east, the gulf ends with Neva Bay and on the west merges with the Baltic Sea. The gulf contains numerous banks and islands, starting from 1700, nineteen artificial islands with fortresses were built in the gulf by Russia.
Their purpose was defense from attacks from water and their construction was urged by the Great Northern War of 1700–1721 and those include Fort Alexander, Krasnaya Gorka, Totleben and others. The largest rivers flowing into the gulf are Neva, keila, Pirita, Jägala, Luga and Kovashi flow into the gulf from the south. From the north flow Sestra River, Porvoo and several small rivers