Military Review

Igor Petrov - “at least not right before our eyes” (extracts from the GA North Military Log)

Below are, in my translations, extracts from the combat logs of the GA Sever from the end of August to the beginning of November 1941 of the year regarding plans for Leningrad.

Microfilms with these KTBs are in NARA (T311 Roll 51, Roll 53, Roll 54), I used scanned materials posted on the site (which I thank). If someone for some conspiracy reasons is not satisfied with the copies on this site, he, of course, has the right to order his own in NARA.

It should be noted that the main content of KTB is the planning and implementation of military operations, so political questions fall on its pages rarely and, of course, are considered through, so to speak, a military monocle. A rather active discussion of the issue of the fate of Leningrad in the KTB data should probably be linked to the personality of the Northern Fleet Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Leeb. The documents show some fronde regarding the instructions of the OKW and Hitler, however, the choice against the direct physical extermination of the civilian population of Leningrad, but in favor of his death by starvation is unlikely to put the field marshal in the ranks of major humanists. A few months later Leeb was removed from his post as commander in chief.

original 28.08
Igor Petrov - “at least not right before our eyes” (extracts from the GA North Military Log)

OKH regarding operational plans of GA Sever
2) The complete encirclement of the city of Leningrad as the ultimate goal must be achieved through a ring, which is compressed as close as possible around the city and thereby saves power. To avoid their own major losses, the city itself should not be attacked by infantry; after the destruction of the air defense and enemy fighters, the city should be deprived of all viability and defenses through the destruction of hydraulic structures, warehouses, light sources and electricity; military structures and enemy defense forces must be destroyed by fire and shelling.
OKH will agree with the Finnish army, which should take the environment from the north and north-east, to act on the basis of the same principles.

02.09 original

Order Army Group Command 16 Army
In order to cut off all the supply routes to Leningrad from the outside and in the end by means of starvation to make the city surrender, it is necessary for the Schmidt group to break through the Mga station to Lake Ladoga.

03.09 original

Keitel's message to the chief of staff
The Fuhrer and OKW do not see any obstacles to the shelling and bombardment of Leningrad.

05.09 original

Assessment of the situation by the commander-in-chief of a group of armies
Regarding the treatment of the city of Leningrad, it is stipulated that Leningrad should not be taken, but only surrounded. I expressed the opinion that if Leningrad, possibly driven by famine, surrenders, then at least [it should be] deprived of the opportunity to defend itself again, i.e. all soldiers and military service must be taken prisoner, and all weapon handed over. Then at Leningrad it will be possible to leave only a small part of the forces, the remaining forces will be freed.

15.09 original

Commander-in-Chief of the Army Group - OKH
He asks to give an indication of what should be done in the case of a proposal to surrender Leningrad. In his opinion, it is necessary at least to deprive the city of all its means of protection. The best situation will be ensured by the military occupation of the city (1 army corps of two divisions, one SS police division, until further instructions, an external military cordon around the city), it is also urgently needed from military and economic considerations: most of the 18 army will be freed.

17.09 original

Assessment of the situation by the commander-in-chief of a group of armies
Ostensibly Leningrad is overflowing with refugees from Krasnogvardeisk, Krasnoe Selo and Kolpina. It seems that bread rates are already decreasing. I cannot exclude that after regrouping, when the front line is re-formed, we will quickly move in the direction of Leningrad. What to do with the city itself, whether to accept its surrender, whether to destroy it with fire, or starve it — unfortunately, there are no decisions of the Fuhrer on this score.

18.09 original

Chief of General Staff Chief of Staff of Army Group
He, like the High Command of the Ground Forces, is aware of the difficulties facing the Army Group North. They believe that cleaning Leningrad will succeed only through starvation, and not by force of arms.

18.09 original

Assessment of the situation by the commander-in-chief of a group of armies
During the visit of Field Marshal Keitel, it was discussed: the Finns will only make significant progress when we attack that bank of the Neva. What should happen to Leningrad in the case of surrender, the Führer keeps to himself, he will inform about it only when the surrender occurs.

18.09 original

From the conversation of the liaison officer of the OKH with the Chief of the General Staff
Surrounding Leningrad and possible surrender.
Colonel-General Halder recommends using all means to protect the ring around the city from breakthrough attempts (mines, barriers), since undoubtedly serious attempts to break through should be considered.
In no case should the capitulation of Leningrad be accepted without the knowledge of the OKH. If there is a proposal for delivery, you should only find out: who offers what he offers, what are his powers?
Based on these materials, the OKH should make a decision as soon as possible.
In addition to surrounding Leningrad, the destruction of the remnants of 8 of the Russian army in the area west of Leningrad is urgent.

20.09 original

Report of the Chief of Staff
Regarding the city of Leningrad, the same principle remains: we do not enter the city and cannot feed the city. But Field Marshal Keitel thinks he has found a way to expel women and children to the east1. No final decisions have been made yet.

25.09 original

Commander-in-Chief of the Army Group - OKH
Army Group North with its remaining forces is no longer able to fully continue the attack on Leningrad. Thus, systematic artillery bombardment of the city is eliminated. To force the city to surrender, only bombing and starvation remain.
The experience of other large cities says that one should not expect that the bombardment will produce a significant impact, besides the forces of the Luftwaffe after the announced withdrawal [of parts to another front] are very weak, and their tasks remain multilateral.
Izmor has been called into question, as the steamboat traffic on Lake Ladoga operates, besides, outside the city north of the Neva to the former Russian-Finnish border there are land areas up to 75 km in depth suitable for harvesting potatoes and grain.
If starvation should bring results, the seizure of these squares and harbors on Lake Ladoga is necessary. Due to lack of strength, Army Group North is not capable of this. Only advancing the Finns against the now weakened enemy will allow them to take land from the Russians outside the city and the shore of Lake Ladoga.

12.10 original

Order OKV (3)
The Fuhrer decided that the capitulation of Leningrad, even if offered by the enemy, would not be accepted. The moral grounds of such a measure are clear to the whole world. In Kiev, the bombings with a clockwork represented a tremendous danger to the troops, in Leningrad this should be considered on a much larger scale. The fact that Leningrad is mined and will be defended to the last person, the Soviet-Russian radio reported itself. We should expect major epidemics.
No German soldier should enter the city. Those who want to leave the city through our front line, drive back by fire. Small unclosed holes [in a cordon], which will allow the flow of the population to get deeper into Russia, on the contrary should only be welcomed. And for all other cities, the rule applies that before taking them they must be destroyed by artillery fire and attacks aviation, and the population should be forced to flee. It is irresponsible to put the life of German soldiers at stake to save Russian cities from the danger of fires or to feed their population at the expense of the German homeland. The chaos in Russia will become greater, our management and exploitation of the occupied territories the easier, the larger the population of Soviet-Russian cities will take flight into the depths of Russia. This will of the Führer should be brought to the attention of all commanders.
Adding the OKH: In order to make it easier for the troops to hold these events, the current environment of Leningrad should be narrowed down to places where it is absolutely necessary for tactical reasons.

24.10 original

Memo on the trip of the first officer of the General Staff (Ia) to the location of the 18 armyи
2) In all the units visited, the question was asked how to behave if the city of Leningrad offered its surrender and how to behave in relation to the flow of hungry people who would rush out of the city. It seemed that the troops were very concerned about this issue. The commander of the 58 Infantry Division emphasized that he had passed an order to his division, which he received from above and which complies with the instructions that such attempts to break through should open fire to strangle them in the bud. From his point of view, the division will execute this order. But will she not lose her temper, when, with repeated breakthroughs, she will have to shoot at women, children, and defenseless old men, he doubts. It is worth noting his remark that the general situation in the sector of the front, which is increasingly aggravated on its flank in Uritsk, is less feared than in the situation with the civilian population. Such is the mood not only of him, but of his subordinates. The troops are fully aware that we cannot provide food for millions of people surrounded in Leningrad without this worsening the food situation in our own country. For this reason, the German soldier must prevent such breakthroughs, including with the use of weapons. Well, this can easily lead to the fact that the German soldier loses his stability, i.e. and after the war, such acts of violence will not frighten him.
The command and the troops are trying in every way to find a different solution to the issue, but no suitable option has yet been found.
3) The civilian population still living there is evacuated from the fighting areas both on the ring around Leningrad and on the coast south of Kronstadt. This is necessary because the population there cannot be provided with food. The conclusion is that the civilian population in groups moves into the rear area and there it is distributed among the villages. Despite this, a large part of the civilian population went south on their own to find new homes and opportunities for existence. Along the highway from Krasnogvardeisk to Pskov there is a stream of thousands of refugees, mainly women, children and the elderly. It is impossible to establish where they go, what they eat. It seems that these people must die of starvation sooner or later. And this picture makes a depressing impression on the German soldiers, leading construction work on this road.
The 18 army command draws attention to the fact that leaflets are still being dropped on Leningrad, including those calling for desertion. This is not consistent with the indication that defectors should no longer be accepted. While defectors-soldiers (this is 100-120 people per day) are still being accepted. But the content of the leaflets should be changed.

27.10 original

Commander-in-Chief of the Army Group to the Commander of the 18 Army
The question of Leningrad and especially of the local civilian population is strongly occupied by the commander in chief. The Ground Forces Command offered to arrange minefields in front of their own positions in order to save the troops from direct combat with the civilian population. If the red troops near Leningrad and Kronstadt surrender, surrender their weapons and will be taken prisoner, the commander-in-chief does not see any further need to maintain the encirclement of the city. Troops will be deployed to the quartering areas. And in this case, most of the population will die, but at least not right before our eyes. The opportunity to bring part of the population onto the road to Volkhovstroy should be deliberated.

09.11 original

Assessment of the situation by the commander-in-chief of a group of armies
After the capture of Tikhvin, the waterway through Lake Ladoga was cut for Leningrad. The enemy has the ability to communicate with the outside world only through aviation and radio. In any case, the further supply of supplies in large quantities is impossible, since the only area through which it can still pass - the area between Tikhvin and Sviryu - does not have major highways and railways. Tikhvin was taken two months after Shlisselburg, thus, after the cutting of supply routes by land, which occurred then, the supply routes through Lake Ladoga are now cut.
There are no changes in the operational plans.

1 - Wed
Reporting Leningrad.
1. occupy the city, i.e. behave as with other Russian major cities.
Reject, since we will then be responsible for the food [of the population]
2. To surround the city with a dense ring, preferably a fence, through which electricity is fired, and which will be guarded by machine-gunners.
Disadvantages: out of two million people, the weak will die of starvation in the foreseeable time, while the strong will take possession of the food and stay alive. The danger of epidemics that spread to our front. In addition, the question is whether it is possible to demand from our soldiers to shoot at women and children trying to escape.
3. Women, children, old people, lead out through the gate in the ring of the environment, the rest leave to die of hunger.
a) The transfer of Volkhov for the enemy front line is a theoretically good solution, but practically hardly feasible. Who should hold and direct hundreds of thousands? Where then is the Russian front?
b) If we refuse to withdraw from the Russian front, then those released will be distributed over the [occupied] territory.
In any case, the disadvantage is that the starving population of Leningrad is a hotbed of epidemics and that the strongest will live in the city for a long time.
4. After moving forward the Finns and the complete encirclement of the city, again go beyond the Neva and transfer the terrain to the north of this site to the Finns.
The Finns unofficially stated that they would like to have the Neva as a state border, but Leningrad should disappear. As a political decision is good. But the question of the population of Leningrad through the Finns can not be solved. We must do this.
Outcome and proposal:
There is no satisfactory solution. Army Group North must, however, in its time receive an order that we will actually fulfill.
a) We state to the whole world that Stalin defends Leningrad as a fortress. Thus, we are forced to treat the city and its entire population as a military facility. Nevertheless, we are taking a step towards: letting a friend of the people of Roosevelt after the capitulation of Leningrad supply the residents who were not captured with food through neutral ships under the supervision of the Red Cross and allow these ships free navigation (the proposal cannot be accepted, of course, only from a propaganda point of view)
b) We hermetically cordon off Leningrad and destroy the city as far as possible with the help of artillery and aviation (initially aviation is weak!)
c) when the city is ripe due to the terror and the beginning famine, separate gates will open and unarmed ones will be released. As far as possible, pushing deep into Russia. The rest is forced to be distributed across the [occupied] territory.
d) the rest of the "garrison of the fortress" for the whole winter is left to itself. In the spring, we then enter the city (if the Finns enter earlier, there are no objections), we deduce everything that exists, deep into Russia or into captivity, leveled Leningrad with the earth with the help of explosives and transfer the territory north of the Neva to the Finns.
(Report from the L Department of OKW / WFSt from 21.09., Cited by W.Wette / G.Ueberschär "Unternehmen Barbarossa")
2 - The message corresponds to paragraph 3 of the order of the Chief of Staff of the Navy.
3 - In the original order of Jodl from 07.10. (Nuremberg document 123-C) says about the "capitulation of Leningrad, and later of Moscow"
A few comments.
1. Obviously, the bombings in Kiev are used by Hitler as an excuse, but not as a reason. He repeatedly expressed his intention to level Leningrad to the ground, even when Kiev was deep in the Soviet rear (see, for example, an entry in KTB OKW from 08.07.1941)
2. With all the fluctuations in tactical issues (what to do with prisoners of war and the population and the related discord), the three main points of the program remain virtually unchanged.
a) Leningrad hermetically cordoned off, but not to enter the city
b) there is no interest in preserving the city
c) the civilian population will not be supplied with food
3. The technical implementation of plans to push the civilian population out of the city to the east and even "inland" is questioned by the authors themselves. In any case, it is clear that at the end of the fall / winter for hundreds of thousands of hungry people it would be a death march.
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  1. soldat1945
    soldat1945 1 February 2014 09: 09
    In high school, you need to read out in history classes in order to save for a toothache in memory, which cost our ancestors how to preserve us as a nation!
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. Canep
      Canep 1 February 2014 11: 35
      I suppose this has to do with RAIN. Then on the goblin website appeared:
  2. Michael_59
    Michael_59 1 February 2014 09: 15
    What the Fritzes did not succeed by the power of their weapons then comes out of the weakness of our brains now. Ukraine is an example of this.
    1. Firstvanguard
      Firstvanguard 2 February 2014 16: 20
      You're lying, you won’t take it! Then survived and now stand!
  3. igordok
    igordok 1 February 2014 10: 16
    Thank you for the article and information.
  4. svp67
    svp67 1 February 2014 10: 24
    They believe that cleaning Leningrad will succeed only through hunger, and not by force of arms.

    As regards the city of Leningrad, the same principle remains: we do not go into the city and cannot feed the city. But it seems to Field Marshal Keitel that he has found a way to expel women and children to the east1.
    The Führer decided that the surrender of Leningrad, even if proposed by the enemy, would not be accepted.

    Those who want to leave the city through our front line, drive back by fire. Small unclosed holes [in a cordon], which will allow the flow of the population to get deeper into Russia, on the contrary should be welcomed. And for all other cities, the rule applies that before taking them they must be destroyed by artillery fire and aircraft attacks, and the population must be forced to flee. It is irresponsible to bet the lives of German soldiers at stake to save Russian cities from the danger of fires or to feed their population at the expense of the German homeland

    Here you can’t add not reduce. All that is happening now is the result of our inactivity on the ideological front. After reading these documents, a NORMAL person simply could not have questions in his head about the possibility of a VOLUNTARY surrender of the city of Leningrad at that time ...
  5. shelva
    shelva 1 February 2014 11: 07
    Glory to the defenders of Leningrad !, their unparalleled courage and dedication. They held significant enemy forces for 872 days, preventing them from relocating. The enemy troops besieging Leningrad were unable to take part in the bat for Moscow, nor in Stalingrad, nor on the Kursk Bulge. All this thanks to the selfless population of the Hero City.
  6. Zomanus
    Zomanus 1 February 2014 15: 57
    Yeah. Apparently, something is wrong about this in schools. Otherwise, questions about the surrender of Leningrad and the USSR simply would not have arisen. And apparently, a very long time ago this was not told in schools. Otherwise, the USSR would not have been allowed to collapse.
  7. smile
    smile 1 February 2014 16: 16
    By the way, for those who sometimes argue that good and honest Finnish guys are better than the Nazis, I would like to remind you that they are responsible for an unprecedented attempt to destroy so many civilians in exactly the same way as their allies. And if you recall the way they behaved with the civilian population of the captured Karelia, you have to admit that they outdid the Germans - even the Germans did not start implementing the Ost plan immediately ... and the Finns totally drove the entire civilian population to concentration camps, or destroyed in place ... about 10 percent of Russians in the territory they occupied escaped this fate.
  8. Captain45
    Captain45 1 February 2014 21: 32
    The entire editorial office of the "rain" for a week, or better for a month, should be locked in a room (cell) without leaving and around the clock to read these documents, so that, as G. Zheglov said, "it would reach the heart, liver and the rest of the rotten liver."
    1. 120352
      120352 2 February 2014 00: 19
      It won't work! 872 days and not a second less! And they should be given 125 grams of bread per day and from food, as in the blockade, nothing else. Well, okay, you can add a glass of water. Toilets, plumbing, electricity and heating too. And no connection, only "LENINGRAD METRONOM" and poems by Olga Berggolts 10 minutes a day from entertainment. Then something will appear in the brain. But first, brains must appear.
  9. Barrcode
    Barrcode 1 February 2014 21: 35
    It was necessary to take Berlin into a ring and starve everyone there. Cruel, but fair. The race with the allies for the capture of Berlin would not have allowed this to be done + the world community would start crying and cursing. I think for educational purposes it is necessary in schools in the historical period from 1938 to 1946. make a special emphasis. Yes, and in the foreign policy arena to remind gayropeans about their atrocities and the true guise of "Western civilization" more often, with the aim of firmly rooting in the minds of the "small peoples" of Western Europe a clear understanding of "hu out of hu". Remind them that people are not important to them, that they do not care not only about the fate of human beings, but also the fate of entire nations, that they are only concerned about the earth and its bowels, as well as the land as a territorial scale indicator of the sphere / level of influence and power. Then Europe will break out in the fire of revolutions (and this is already happening in a number of regions) and will begin to crumble into small "principalities" and from the thirst for power, wealth and influence slide back to the level of feudalism. It was then that we will remember them their past deeds ... (ah ... dreams-dreams))) Not only Germans took part in the blockade of Leningrad, in the blockade ring itself. Many gayropean peoples responded to Hitler's call to take part in the "campaign to the East", which he compared with the campaigns of the crusaders. Volunteers from all over Europe marched east. At different times in the blockade ring were Germans, Italians, Hungarians, Romanians, Estonians, Finns, Latvians (together with Lithuanians), French and Spaniards. There was as yet unconfirmed data on Swedish, Norwegian and Danish volunteers gathered in one unit. When the blockade was broken through, the French were just finishing their march exactly at the place of the breakthrough and were "under the hot hand" (they were generally smashed outright). Now all these peoples, except for the Germans and Italians, are pretending to be "innocent victims of the occupation." Apparently they forgot that the guns from which they fired at Leningrad were cast in France, they brought soldiers and supplies on trucks built thanks to the Americans (Ford, on Hitler's personal order, was awarded the iron cross), and the Czechs did not help with ammunition and tanks. All the states of Western Europe helped the Germans and it is important to remember this. And the resistance shown by the "occupied poor people" was mostly expressed in protests, printed leaflets and drawings on buildings. There were only isolated episodes, and even those were organized by the British. It seems to me that in the forties they began the "campaign to the East", but did not finish and are now trying to finish, only the method has changed. It is necessary to tell and remind the citizens of all "post-Soviet" states about the exploits of the peoples of the USSR and about the innumerable sacrifices. And to remind gayropeans whose descendants they are and how it all ended last time. Thanks to the author for the article.
    PS: If anyone is interested, there is such a project "I Remember" ( Interviews with veterans are published there. And the veterans tell "how it was" in fact (and not according to the official version). The stories of those who were in besieged Leningrad tear their souls to pieces.
    1. kotvov
      kotvov 2 February 2014 12: 37
      I don’t agree with you, but what would we become then? the same villains. but we must constantly remind them, and our liberals, as well.
      1. Barrcode
        Barrcode 2 February 2014 17: 19
        To become like them or not to give an equal response to their actions? It is a double-edged sword of morality. On the one hand, you cannot do the same as they do - it is inhuman, but at the same time nothing was done equal in damage (both physical and material, and moral). On the other hand, they perceived this "inconsistency" as weakness or even spinelessness. Western civilization only understands strength. They perceive any concessions and manifestations of nobility or even "mercy" (mercy) as weakness. So they believe that we are weak and do not give up hopes and attempts to tear us apart in one way or another. The best moral qualities must be shown in relation to their peoples, but not to enemies.
  10. konvalval
    konvalval 1 February 2014 23: 06
    Glory to the defenders and blockades of Leningrad and many thanks for standing by. The child himself was in the occupation. I sipped a little. The German was aiming with a carbine and whinnying: "Pooh, Pooh," he was amused. And these from the "rain" into the snow and feed at least not 900, but 90 days with the Leningrad ration, maybe their brains have cleared up, although they are unlikely.
  11. mabuta
    mabuta 2 February 2014 01: 26
    Thanks for the article. It is a worthy answer to the rain and others .....
  12. Alexander I
    Alexander I 2 February 2014 09: 09
    Nevertheless, it is a pity that at one time they did not make lampshades from Sindeeva's ancestors.
  13. kotvov
    kotvov 2 February 2014 12: 40
    Thank you for the article, plus I didn’t deliver it because I can’t ply under cannibal documents. Sorry.
  14. PValery53
    PValery53 2 February 2014 19: 42
    We have to regret that the mass of the fascist riffraff managed to escape from the Russian retaliation into the zone of occupation of the Americans and the Britons. The influence of this evil spirits on the content of the poll of "Rain" is clear and logical - "Rain" pours its water on their mill.