Military Review

The first "Stalinist strike." Part of 2. The liberation of Veliky Novgorod from the German invaders

The first "Stalinist strike." Part of 2. The liberation of Veliky Novgorod from the German invaders

Veliky Novgorod was abandoned by Soviet troops 19 August 1941. Long and difficult was the path to the desired victory. The German occupation lasted 883 day. The most important part of the strategic Leningrad-Novgorod offensive operation was the Novgorod-Luga operation, which began on January 14. It was conducted by the Volkhov Front in full force and part of the forces of the Leningrad Front. 20 January 1944, the soldiers of the Red Army hoisted the red banner on the ancient Kremlin wall of Novgorod. In the Soviet capital in honor of the liberation of the ancient Russian city was given a salute.

Novgorod-Luga offensive operation (January 14 - February 15 1944 of the year)

January 14 The 1944 of the year simultaneously with the troops of the Leningrad Front launched the offensive of the 59 Army of the Volkhov Front. Thus began the Novgorod-Luga offensive operation. 59-I army under the command of Ivan Korovnikov received the task of defeating the German grouping in the area of ​​Novgorod, to free Novgorod and the October Railway. The army struck a blow by the forces of the two groups in directions converging on Lyubyolady. The main forces attacked from the bridgehead on the left bank of the Volkhov in 30 kilometers north of Novgorod, auxiliary - in the area of ​​Lake Ilmen, south of Novgorod. Later, after the liberation of Novgorod, it was planned to develop success in the western and south-western directions, to capture the city of Luga and cut off the ways of the withdrawal of the Nazis towards Pskov. The 8-I and 54-I armies of the Volkhov Front were to distract the enemy in the Tosno and Lyuban sectors, so that the Germans could not transfer them to the aid of the Novgorod grouping.

The Soviet troops were opposed by the 38-th, 26-th and 28-th army corps of the 18-German army (6 infantry divisions and 2 infantry brigades, 3 airfield divisions). The Germans relied on a network of strong resistance centers, among which Novgorod, Chudovo, Lyuban, Tosno, Mga and Luga were particularly notable. In the direction of the main attack of the Red Army, the Germans had two defensive lines: the main - along the Novgorod - Chudovo highway, the second - along the Kerest river. In addition, the city itself was defended by three defensive lines. In Novgorod itself, many stone buildings were turned into long-term firing points.

German tank PzKpfw IV moves to the position, Army Group North, February 1944

The Volkhov Front at the beginning of the operation numbered about 298 thousand people (according to other sources about 260 thousand people). The 59th Army, which played the main role in the offensive, numbered about 135 thousand people, the 8th Army - 45 thousand people, the 54th Army - 67 thousand people, the 14th Air Army - more than 16 thousand people, more than 33 thousand people were in the front-line subordination units. The WF had 3633 guns and mortars, about 400 tanks and self-propelled guns, 257 aircraft.

On the first day of the offensive, the 59th Korovnikov army did not achieve noticeable success. The Germans, relying on a powerful defense, fought desperately. In addition, snow and blizzard ruled out support aviation, and the help of artillery made ineffective. Armored vehicles were stopped by swamps. Soviet troops advanced only 600-1000 meters. The auxiliary, “southern group” of the 59th Army, under the command of Major General T. A. Sviklin, advanced more successfully. Soviet soldiers were able to cross the ice of Lake Ilmen at night and, with a sudden attack, captured a number of enemy strongholds and occupied a bridgehead.

The German command, fearing the encirclement of the Novgorod group, sent additional forces to the area (units of the 290 and 24 units of the infantry divisions, and the Nord cavalry regiment).

The commander of the 59 Army, in order to increase the force of the strikes, introduced additional forces from the second echelon in the northern and southern directions. As a result of the brutal 15-16 battles of January, the Red Army broke through the enemy’s main line of defense. Railway Novgorod - Chudovo was cut. In the following days, the troops of the 59 Army continued their slow advance. 18 January, the southern group cut the highway and the Novgorod-Shimsk railway. Parts of the northern group 20 January went to the railway Novgorod - Batetsky. The resistance of the German troops was strong, so the rate of advance was low - 5-6 km per day. It is also necessary to take into account the off-road and wooded-marshland factor. This did not allow in a short time to surround the Novgorod grouping of the enemy. The German command retained the ability to maneuver reserves and deploy troops from unattached sections of the front.

The German command, trying to rectify the situation, redeployed new troops - units of the 21, 121 of the infantry and 8 of the chasseurs divisions and some other units. However, the situation could not be saved. To avoid the encirclement of parts of the 38 Army Corps, the commander of the 18 Army, Lindeman, ordered to leave Novgorod. The Germans, abandoning heavy weapons, retreated in the direction of Batetsky. In the morning of January 20, Soviet troops occupied Novgorod without a fight.

The Novgorod grouping - the compounds of the 28 th jäger, 1 th airfield divisions and the SS "Nord" cavalry, could not leave. Two groups 59 th Soviet army had already joined. Reflecting all attempts to break out of the encirclement, as well as German attacks from outside the ring, part of Korovnikov’s army, together with the 7 rifle corps from the front reserve, destroyed the enemy’s disparate groups in the forests west of Novgorod. About 3 thousand Germans were captured.

January 16 The 1944 of the year launched an offensive on the wonder-Lyuban line of the 54 Army under the command of Sergei Roginsky. She fought part of the 26 and 28 of the German army corps. For several days there were fierce battles. Roginsky's army was able to advance only 5 km. The German command ordered to keep the Chudovo and Lyuban area at any cost, since important communications took place here - the October Railway and the Leningrad-Moscow highway. The Mginsk grouping was retreating to this area, and the Avtoban interim defense line was here.

January 21 The 8-I Army of the Volkhov Front liberated MGU. The retreat of the German troops from the Mginsky-Sinyavinskiy ledge forced the Soviet command to correct plans. The 67 Army of the Leningrad Front and the troops of the Volkhov Front were given the task of liberating the Oktyabrskaya Railway and Krasnogvardeisk. On January 22, the Military Council of the HF presented to BET the development plan for the operation. Parts of the 59 Army were to liberate Luga, and the troops of the 8 and 54 armies were to be in the Tosno and Lyuban area. The 54 th army strengthened at the expense of parts of the 8 th, 67 th armies and reserves of the front. Fierce fighting went on for several days. Only 26 of January Soviet troops took Tosno, January 28 liberated Lyuban and January 29 - Chudovo. From the enemy cleared the October Railway and the Leningrad highway.

By the end of January, the troops of the Volkhov Front, having overcome 60-100 km with heavy fighting, reached the Luga River. However, the German command was able to quickly strengthen its forces in the area of ​​Luga and gain a foothold on the previously prepared line. The Germans moved the 12 Tank Division here.

On January 31, units of the 2 Shock Army of the Leningrad Front forced Luga and began storming Kingisepp. 1 February Kingisepp was released. Developing success, the army captured small bridgeheads on the left bank of the r. Narva. The 42 Army of the Leningrad Front reached the border of Luga by January 27. Having crossed the river, the army of February 1944 took Gdov and went out to Lake Peipsi.

The main task of the Volkhov Front still remained the liberation of the city of Luga. 59-I and 8-I armies attacked the city from the east, and 54-I army from the northeast. The Soviet offensive on Luga developed slowly. The German command collected all the available forces and reserves of the 18 and 16 army in the area of ​​Pskov and Luga. The commander of the Army Group North, Walter Model, gave the order to keep the area at all costs. The model was appointed commander of Army Group North, 31, in January, replacing Georg von Kühler, who began a general retreat, despite the direct ban of Adolf Hitler. As a result, the Soviet troops were able to liberate Luga only February 12.

Due to the fact that the troops of the Volkhov Front could not solve the task of mastering the enemy’s Luga knot, the front was disbanded. February 13 1944 The headquarters transferred the 54, 59 and 8 armies to the Leningrad Front, the 1 shock troops (February from 2 to 15 as part of the WF) to the 2 Baltic Front. The front control was transferred to the reserve Supreme Command Stakes.

Thus, during the Novgorod-Luga opeartion, the Soviet troops won a victory, which to a large extent predetermined the success of the entire Leningrad-Novgorod strategic offensive operation (the first “Stalinist strike”). By February 15, the troops of the Volkhov Front, and the LF army, drove the enemy back to 50-120 km and reached the southern coast of Lake Peipsi. 779 cities and towns were liberated, including Novgorod and Luga. Of great importance was the release of such strategic communications as the October Railway and the Leningrad Highway.

German troops could not cling to the Luga line, establishing a new front line between the Ilmensky and Peipsi lakes. The German command had to withdraw troops to the line of defense "Panther".

But the advance of the Red Army did not develop as rapidly as originally planned. To seize Luga in a short time and only by the forces of the WF failed. To accomplish this task, the forces of the 42 and 67 armies of the Leningrad front had to be attracted. This weakened the onslaught of the Leningrad front in the Narva region. Therefore, even though the German 18 Army was defeated, it was not completely defeated and retained its combat capability. As a result, this did not allow the Soviet armies to crush the main forces of Army Group North by the spring of 1944, break through the Panther line and proceed to the liberation of Estonia and Latvia.

Destruction of Novgorod

During the occupation, the Nazis almost completely destroyed the city. Of the 2346 dwellings available before the war in Novgorod, only 40 remained. Almost all industrial enterprises, including a foundry, a mechanical, a ship repair, two brick plants: a tile and a sawmill, were destroyed. A shipyard, railway depot, meat processing plant, bread factory, shoe and furniture factories were also destroyed. The Nazis destroyed the city infrastructure: water supply, water and pump stations, telephone exchange, post office, telegraph, radio center and electrical facilities. The Germans struck at scientific, educational and cultural institutions. Before the war, Veliky Novgorod was a major Soviet scientific and cultural center. The Nazis destroyed the museum building and its art gallery; robbed a scientific library, a photo library containing the rarest data and a bibliographic file of the Institute stories Academy of Sciences of the USSR; pedagogical institute, technical schools, pedagogical school, medical schools, 3 hospitals, maternity hospital, children's clinic, main building of the psychiatric hospital, Red Army House, city theater, 2 cinema, 5 clubs, etc., were burned. According to the Emergency Commission on the atrocities of the fascist invaders, material damage to the city amounted to more than 11 billion rubles.

Painting "The Escape of the Nazis from Novgorod", Kukryniksy, 1944 — 1946.

Many unique sights and monuments were completely destroyed or badly damaged. From the Novgorod Museum, which did not have time to evacuate, the most valuable collections on the history of archeology and art were stolen. The destruction and losses were so great that they became an irreparable loss of part of the Russian national culture. St George's Cathedral, built at the beginning of the XII century, was badly damaged. St. Sophia Cathedral, built in the XI century and being one of the oldest monuments of Russian architecture, a treasure of Russian culture, which had frescoes and icons of the XII century, was destroyed. The interior of the cathedral was looted. The Church of the Annunciation on the arcade of the XII century, with frescoes of the same century, was turned into a pillbox and a barracks room. The church suffered greatly. The Church of the Assumption on Volotovy Field, a monument of the northern Russian architecture of the XIV-XV centuries, was turned into a pile of debris. The Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior on Ilyin Street, a monument of Novgorod architecture of the 14th century, also famous for its paintings made by the great master Feofan Grek, has suffered greatly. Most of the frescoes were destroyed and the remaining ones were damaged. The Church of the Savior Nereditsa - a monument of ancient Russian art of the XII century, famous for Byzantine and Russian painting, was barbarously destroyed. The Novgorod Kremlin, its towers and internal structures suffered greatly. By order of the commander of 18 of the German army, Colonel-General Lindemann, the Nazis dismantled and prepared for sending to the German Empire a monument to the 1000 anniversary of Russia. The monument was dismantled, many unique sculptural images of the most prominent Russian state, military, public and cultural figures were destroyed.

Soviet power paid special attention to the restoration of Veliky Novgorod. 1 November 1945, the city was included in the number of fifteen settlements that were subject to primary restoration. Particular attention was paid to the restoration and restoration of historical monuments. One of the first was the restoration of the monument “The Millennium of Russia”, erected in Veliky Novgorod in 1862, in honor of the millennium of Russian statehood. Already 5 November 1944, the second grand opening of the monument.

German prisoners on the streets of Leningrad
Articles from this series:
The first "Stalinist strike": the complete elimination of the blockade of Leningrad
The first "Stalinist strike." Part of 2. The liberation of Veliky Novgorod from the German invaders
The second Stalinist blow. Liberation of Right-Bank Ukraine
The second Stalinist blow. Part of 2. Destruction of the enemy's Korsun-Shevchenko grouping
The second Stalinist blow. Part of 3. The defeat of the Nikopol-Krivoy Rog adversary group
The second Stalinist blow. Part of 4. Proskurov-Chernivtsi offensive
The second Stalinist blow. Part of 5. Uman-Botosha operation

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  1. lewerlin53rus
    lewerlin53rus 20 January 2014 10: 28
    In addition to the liberation of Novgorod, positional battles took place for a long time from 41 to 44 years. Everyone knows such names as the Demyansky Cauldron, Meat Bor, where a huge number of Soviet soldiers died. And I want to say a huge THANK YOU those guys from the search squads who, sparing no expense, spend their personal time searching in places of battles and, as far as possible, restore the names of the fallen soldiers. In particular, the guys from the platoon search squad from the village of Svecha, Kirov Region, a few years ago, found the burial place of my great-uncle Antonova Evgeniya. Here is a short video about their activities:
    In our city there is a detachment "Star" They also regularly go in search of Success for them.
  2. Luga
    Luga 20 January 2014 14: 03
    From Novgorod to Luga in a straight line 85-90 km. For a month, the troops of the Volkhov Front with difficulty overcame this distance. And then, only because Govorov’s troops were already reaching the Sturgs of Krasnoye from the northwest — halfway between Pskov and Luga, that is, roughly speaking, the Germans were forced to evacuate Luga, since the Russians were ready to cut Luga-Pskov communications.
    I personally attribute the reasons for such a shamefully slow advance of our troops entirely to the front command, primarily K.A. Meretskov. Quite rightly, at the end of this operation (which was a failure in its essence), the Headquarters disbanded the Volkhov Front, and its administration transferred it "to the headquarters reserve."
    For comparison: during the same period, the troops of the Leningrad Front from Leningrad reached Kingisepp and Narva (captured bridgeheads in Estonia), turned south, forced the river. Meadow and p. Plyussu, bypassing the city of Luga from the west, having traveled at least 250 km through an area with a much less developed infrastructure, less populated and overcoming the wide swamp strip existing south of Leningrad. And at the same time they also defeated the reserves raised by the Germans, which they were preparing for a counterattack. And if you recall that at the beginning of the operation Govorova had to break into the strongest defense directly near Leningrad ...
    The troops under the command of Meretskov fought straightforwardly, in the forehead, there were no roundabouts, there was no talk of concentrating forces in the directions of the main strike, the main strike was not — where they advanced more - there was a more important strike. Meretskov picked up the army commanders to suit himself - those who were uninitiated, timid with the bosses and sharp (to put it mildly) with their subordinates.
    And what was the plan ... The Volkhov Front would be able to cut the Luga-Pskov road for a couple of weeks, and at least a week earlier and the 18 army would remain completely in the boiler in the Lyuban-Tosno-Luga area, because the Germans were cut off from Estonia . It would be a victory comparable to Stalingrad.
    And so ... They squeezed out the Germans, allowed them to retreat in an organized manner, and had to again with the same divisions, fight with the same soldiers later.
    1. bulanash
      bulanash 20 January 2014 17: 18
      "everyone imagines himself a strategist, seeing the battle from the outside." You just try to walk 100 km through the swamps. Without weapons and equipment, without resistance and hurricane fire, the Fritz had been digging in there for three years ...
    2. max73
      max73 20 January 2014 19: 41
      this distance the troops of the Volkhov Front more than two years before this tried to overcome .. and? and there Khozin also commanded .. and take the neighboring fronts, there that the offensive developed more successfully in the 42nd, 43rd, and in the 44th ...? they said that Meretskov was to blame and that’s it, the ultimate truth. the same Meretskov in the 41st (having abandoned the Karelian front) managed to stop, God forbid, to organize the 39th shopping mall near Tikhvin and to organize a counterattack. you, I hope, in the know how much effort was spent (forgive me for such dry words) only on the deblockade of Leningrad in January 43rd? but before that there were several more attempts .... let's not scolding indiscriminately, read as much information as possible about the state of affairs on the North-West, Volkhov and Leningrad fronts from all possible sources, including memoirs and the enemy, and then draw conclusions
      1. Luga
        Luga 21 January 2014 09: 24
        Read, read and memoirs and historians. Both ours and German. And about the 41 and the 44. That is why I allow myself such harsh statements about the command of the Volkhov Front. I live in the Leningrad Region, so ignoring the battle for Leningrad would be at least ridiculous for me. And as for the fighting for the Meadow ... smile
        My assessment of Meretskov’s activity as the commander of the Volkhov Front, by the way, is based, among other things, on the opinion of the Supreme High Command Headquarters, if interested, read some directives, especially concerning the operation under discussion, following which, by the way, the Volkhov Front was disbanded, and Meretskov was sent to a secondary Karelian front.
        And the last.
        Compare the achievements of the Volkhov and Leningrad fronts in the operation in question. However, I already wrote about this in the first comment.
  3. Aydin
    Aydin 20 January 2014 14: 28
    The elder brother of his father, a fighter of the 18th Mginsky Rifle Division, died on 03.04.1944/XNUMX/XNUMX near the village of Novo Uvarovo and was buried in the village of Zaitsevo of the Pskov region. This division participated in the Novgorod-Luga operation.
  4. igordok
    igordok 20 January 2014 15: 14
    Comment on this photo on Yandex-Photo
    - "It was not without reason that they said that in Novgorod, almost all remakes that are higher than 2 meters - everything was destroyed"
  5. vomag
    vomag 20 January 2014 16: 52
    Pay attention to the tracks of the "groove"
  6. konvalval
    konvalval 20 January 2014 19: 28
    The victory was won as a result of ten Stalin attacks. Now Stalin would have dealt the 11th blow for the final Victory.
    1. Santa Fe
      Santa Fe 21 January 2014 08: 29
      Quote: konvalval
      The victory was won as a result of ten Stalin attacks.

      The victory was won thanks to the endurance of the Russian people and the sacrifice of several tens of millions of people.
      with sweat and blood
  7. invisibility
    invisibility 20 January 2014 20: 40
    During the occupation, the Nazis almost completely destroyed the city. Of the 2346 residential buildings available before the war in Novgorod, only 40 remained. Almost all industrial enterprises were destroyed, including a foundry, mechanical, ship repair, two brick tile and sawmills. A shipyard, railway depot, meat processing plant, bread factory, shoe and furniture factories were also destroyed. The Nazis destroyed the city infrastructure: water supply, water and pump stations, telephone exchange, post office, telegraph, radio center and electrical facilities. The Germans struck at scientific, educational and cultural institutions. Before the war, Veliky Novgorod was a major Soviet scientific and cultural center. The Nazis destroyed the museum building and its art gallery; robbed a scientific library, a photo library containing the rarest data and a bibliographic file of a branch of the Institute of History of the USSR Academy of Sciences; they burned a pedagogical institute, technical schools, a pedagogical school, medical schools, 3 hospitals, a maternity hospital, a children's clinic, the main building of a psychiatric hospital, the House of the Red Army, a city theater, 2 cinema, 5 clubs, etc. According to the Extraordinary Commission on Crimes of Nazi Invaders, material damage to the city amounted to more than 11 billion rubles.

    Where are the lovers of historical truth who squeal about the noble soldiers of the Wehrmacht (pah!), About millions of raped Germans, about Russian barbarians? After what these animals created on our land, to roll all Germany with caterpillars was a small punishment! Only one army in the world could treat the enemy with such nobility! The whole western world, that’s where the barbarians are!
    1. Svyatoslavovich
      Svyatoslavovich 20 January 2014 22: 23
      My applause !!!
    2. igordok
      igordok 20 January 2014 23: 06
      Quote: invisible
      During the occupation, the Nazis almost completely destroyed the city. Of the pre-war 2346 houses in Novgorod, only 40 remained

      In German aerial photography, after liberation, whole houses can be counted on the fingers.
  8. Glagol
    Glagol 21 January 2014 00: 02
    The eternal shame of the Germans. They won’t wash themselves, unless we surrender
    Memory for yourself. Criminal liability for falsification
    The events of the Second World War will help to fight for the preservation of memory and truth.