Bridgehead at Leningrad, 1941-43

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by davparlr, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Most Western people are unfamiliar with the Soviet Unions Great War with Germany. For instance, during the siege of Leningrad by the Germans, there was a bridgehead that was contested from 1941 to 1943. This bridgehead was about 2000 x 800 meters or about .6 of a square mile. In this small area over 260,000 men died.

    Take some time and go to this site for an education. Read the introduction and page through the great photos. This person has some great pictures of battlefields and forts around St. Petersburg including those from the war with Finland, another poorly understood war. I think you will enjoy it.

    Northern Fortress: Nevskij Bridge-head > Main
     
  2. Wotan

    Wotan Member

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  3. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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  4. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Although born Canadian, I'm the son of parents who left Germany after the war. My father's oldest brother, who I never met, was with the 212th Infanterie Division in the German army and died in a field hospital at Siverskaya after being wounded in the January 1944 Russian offensive. My father still has his Tagebuch and medals but has been unable to trace trhe divisions movements during his time in the Leningrad area. The 212th was completely wiped out in Kurland and apparently very little archived information remains.

    About 10 or 12 years ago, Dad, with one if his other brothers, being still very much intersted in tracing their older brother's steps, travelled to St. Petersburg with a contingent from the German War Graves Association. There was a large memorial being erected south of the city where the association was attempting to re-inter many of the dead who were scattered about in various graves in the area. As a side trip, Dad and his brother travelled down to Siverskaya just see the place. While in town, they went to a small cafe to have a coffee where they encountered an elderly woman and her daughter. Through translatiions, they asked the woman if she was in the area during the war and whether she remembered a German field hospital there. She said that yes, although she was a young girl at the time, she did remember the hospital although the building it was in was no longer standing. She did know however that the dead from that hospital were buried in a local church which was still there. After getting directions, Dad and my uncle came upon the church and found, in the adjacent graveyard, a small team from the German War Graves Association who were disinterring some of the soldiers buried there. They struck up a conversation and found that the team had records of the dead in that graveyard and that, sure enough, my Dad's brother was on the list and that his grave, along with several others beside it had been opened up for positive identification of those buried there. They used the dog tags for this but found that the one that was buried with the supposed remains of my Dad's brother was completely mangled and illegible so a positive 100% ID could not be made although the burial records appeared otherwise accurate.

    It was an extremely emotional experience for my Dad and uncle. They did obtain a small bone fragment from the grave, brought it to their small home town in Southern Germany and placed it in a box by a memorial gravestone in the local cemetery.
     
  5. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing that. It was a very touching story. Have there any thought of DNA testing?

    We know so very little of the horror of the Eastern front.
     
  6. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Thats pretty kool
     
  7. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    I think they asked about that but don't recall the answer. Maybe it's better they didn't know...
     
  8. Wotan

    Wotan Member

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  9. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    A great story, Crimea. Thanks for sharing.

    MM
    Proud Canadian
     
  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Thanks for the link above. I have always been interested in the war in the East. It really was a slaughter.

    My grandfather was at Stalingrad, that is probably where my interest in the front comes from.
     
  11. Brian Mikulencak

    Brian Mikulencak New Member

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    Thanks for sharring your story!
     
  12. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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  13. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing.!
     
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