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Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

Article about: Today I am going to start a thread about a place or rather about a series of places, but also about a long battle in which Spaniards and Germans fought side by side against Soviet troops. Bu

  1. #1

    Default Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Today I am going to start a thread about a place or rather about a series of places, but also about a long battle in which Spaniards and Germans fought side by side against Soviet troops.
    But don't be surprised, friends, because we will also talk about characters from the Middle Ages and a great writer and an even bigger composer. We will talk about roads, signs and distances between places. We will talk about how men facing death and far from their homeland fighting in a foreign land are capable of having a sense of humor. Because perhaps that is the only way to survive each day on hostile land.
    We will see some relics of the battlefield and the graves of the courageous sons of Mother Russia.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    All the places we will talk about are close to Saint Petersburg, although in those years of 1941 and 1942 the name of this city was Leningrad, which will go down in WWII history for its terrible 900-day siege.
    This sector of the eastern front was known as "the dung heap of the front" and certainly the living conditions in the place, as we will see little by little, were very harsh.

    This area began in the town of Chudovo northeast of Novgorod where the Rolbahn that led to Leningrad passed.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    Two little Russian boys posing at the sign. To Petersburg passing through Chudovo.

    As almost all of you already know, the German soldiers named the place: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    And like good comrades they warned where it started so that no one was surprised.
    I hope you like it

    Santi

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  3. #2

    Default Welcome to the ass of the World!!

    BACKGROUND.

    On June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa was unleashed: the invasion of the Soviet Union by Axis forces. Some 200 divisions divided into three Army Groups began the operation on three axes of advance.
    Army Group North: towards the Baltic States - Leningrad. Army Group Center: towards Belarus - Smolensk- Moscow. Army Group South: towards Ukraine and the Volga.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Advande of the Army Group North towards Leningrad

    As is known, the unstoppable German advance lasted until the first days of December 1941, when at the gates of Moscow, the Soviet counter-offensive stopped the invasion in its tracks.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    The Front Line was established on the Volkhov River

    For what concerns here, Army Group North reached the outskirts of Leningrad, initiating the siege of the city, which would last about 900 days.
    In this sector, the front line was finally stabilized on the banks of the Volchov River.

    The Volchov River flows from Ilmen Lake in a northerly direction to drain into Lake Ladoga (the largest in Europe). It is navigable in its entire length. Its flow is highly variable depending fundamentally on the level of Lake Ilmen. The river freezes in late November and thaws in early April.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Although the Soviet counter-offensive against Moscow, which brought the Army Group Center to a halt, is the most important and the best known, the truth is that the Soviet counterattacks spread to all sectors of the front.
    "To the surprise of Stalin and his Stavka, the invaders were weaker than expected by pushing them back against Moscow in December, so it was decided to launch a series of ambitious assaults in the new year.
    Powerful units attacked at the junction of the Center and North Army groups, threatening to engulf the Ninth Army and take Smolensk, Vitebk, and Rzhev. Only the arrival of a few reinforcements and the charismatic command of General Walter Model, prevented the disaster.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    Model Kommt!

    But Stalin had planned another assault. Major forces were to cross the Volchov and cut Jamburg, east of Leningrad, directly, to break the siege and isolate and annihilate the Eighteen German Army.”

    As the 250th Division of Spanish Volunteers (Blue Division) fought on that front, their actions in the battle that was about to begin are well known to some of us.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    General Muñoz Grandes (third from left) with a group of officers from the Blue Division.

    What happened was that on January 13, 1942, the Soviets broke the German lines to the left of the Blue Division. The Fifty-Second, Second Shock and Fifty-Nine Armies, which were concentrated along the eastern bank of the river, overwhelmed the German defenses, introducing large contingents of mechanized troops that deepened to the rear, threatening to envelop the entire Army Group North.
    In the first attacks, the Germans lost Teremez, and the Spanish counterattacked, suffering significant losses.
    The Soviets attacked numerous Spanish positions (“La Ermita”, “El Alcázar”, Chutyni, “El Mogote” ...) while men, horses, cannons and tanks continue to penetrate their bridgehead.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Three Soviet armies came in behind the Volkhov

    By January 15, the Russians already had a firm bridgehead with a six-kilometer gap, opened between the 126th and 215th divisions, had cut the Rollbahn and the Novgorod railway.
    "Their spearheads deepened west through icy swamps and forests, reaching Eglino, halfway to Leningrad, before February 1"
    With the initial momentum lost due to a shortage of supplies, the Soviet wedge turns north and endangers Liuban, on the Chudovo-Leningrad railway line.
    Last edited by TABSTABS1964; 07-08-2020 at 06:20 PM.

  4. #3

    Default

    THE ELIMINATION OF THE VOLKHOV´S POCKET

    During the months of January to June 1942, the battle to eliminate the Volkhov pocket took place, in which the Soviets accumulated more than two hundred thousand men. Germans and Spaniards were fighting to keep the pocket closed and to annihilate the encircled troops; as the Russians attempted to break through the encirclement from within, while further offensives attempted to contact encircled soldiers to open an escape route. Fifty-fourth Soviet Army attacked from Pogoste, trying to reach Liuban from the North.

    I Will use some well known photos taken by George Gundlach, photographer, 506th Infantry Regiment, 291st Wehrmacht Infantry Division.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    “Rasputitsa” turned the area into a huge swamp

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

  5. #4

    Default

    The first German offensive to cut the pocket, Operation Raubtier (Predator) was planned for March 5. Although the cold was still extreme, “the crunches of ice on the river announced the arrival of the rasputitsa. The Volchov would soon be a barrier again "

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    Advancing was a titanic task

  6. #5

    Default

    Faced with the looming crisis, Stalin sent to the pocket General Andrei A. Vlasov, a young and rising star military man who had distinguished himself in the defense of Moscow, and appointed him Second Chief of the Northwest Front.

    The Chief of the German Eighteenth Army, General Lindemann, understood that the German attack had to cut the Soviet line of penetration from its flanks, isolating the enemy from its sources of supply. It was attacked on March 17, and the two German pincers cut the Soviet line on March 19, isolating 130,000 men. That day “a new and subtle sound was heard. A trickle first and then a torrent of black, putrid water that flowed into the river: ¡the rasputitsa!”

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

  7. #6

    Default

    General Andrei Vlasov assumes command of the forces encircled in the pocket on March 21, 1942 - two hundred thousand men - which, at the end of the month, is turned into a quagmire. Swamps and rivers liquefy, and the atmosphere reeks of decomposing corpses and rotting vegetation. Mosquito waves torment the soldiers. It is the season of thawing, the Russian "raputitsa".

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    During the rest of March and the months of April and May, Vlasov's troops will constantly fight to break the siege with everything they had: T-34 tanks, heavy artillery, airplanes and infantry, the German siege lines are softened but they do not yield, and with great efforts some units of the Second Shock Army (some sixteen thousand men) will be able to infiltrate and escape towards their lines, on the morning of June 23. Vlasov (to whom Stalin sent an airplane to rescue him from the encirclement, to which the general refused), orders: save yourself who can! Organized resistance ceases. Thus ends the battle of the Volchov´s pocket and the operation of elimination of the isolated troops will begin.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    From January 13 when the Russians crossed the Volchov with the strategic objective of lifting the siege of Leningrad, until June 28 when the resistance ceased, they lost three armies, had more than 100,000 dead and wounded, and the Germans captured more than 32,000 prisoners.

  8. #7

    Default

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    July was a month of operations of “search and destroy” of the "green hell" of the pocket. Spaniards and Germans entered the marshes covered by clouds of mosquitoes, breathing dense and nauseating air from the sweet smell of thousands of decomposing corpses. The soldiers chewed quinine pills constantly, and day after day captured hundreds of starving Russian soldiers who surrendered willingly, after spending months fighting in terrible conditions and weeks without supplies of any kind. Falling prisoners was an acceptable prospect, especially if it was from the Spanish soldiers who used to treat Russian soldiers decently.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    Skulled and exhausted Russian POWs

    On July 12, General Vlasov, denounced by a peasant, is captured by two German information officers. Upon hearing the news of his capture in Moscow, his wife was arrested and executed by the NKVD.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Sent to a German concentration camp, he announced his willingness to defect, proposing to cooperate with the Germans along with other anti-Stalinist Russians. A Russian general who switched sides was a unique occasion for the German propaganda apparatus. Vlasov will lead the so-called Russian Liberation Army (ROA).
    In the last days of the war, Vlasov and his men fled west to surrender to Anglo-American troops, who denied him asylum. Sent to Moscow, he was tried and sentenced to death, along with eleven other ROA officers. He was hanged on August 2, 1946. Vlasov's soldiers were taken to the USSR, executed or sent to Gulags, where thousands of them found death.

  9. #8

    Default The Volkhov´s Feldbahn

    The entire combat area of this front was forested and partially swampy, but with the arrival of the spring thaw of 1942, the terrain simply became impossible for wheeled vehicles, carts, and even horses and men on foot.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    An image of the fighting in Chudovo

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    April 26, 1942
    TABSTABS collection

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    TABSTABS collection

    The solution was given by the railway troops and the Wehrmacht engineers: to draw a narrow-gauge railway line: The Volkhov´s Feldbahn, in which to transfer everything an army needs

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

  10. #9

    Default

    So the men stopped joking and resting and worked hard.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    And very soon they got a railroad that ultimately led the German troops to victory.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    TABSTABS collection

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    TABSTABS collection
    Last edited by TABSTABS1964; 07-08-2020 at 07:59 PM.

  11. #10

    Default

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Everything that could be transported was loaded onto the carriages of this narrow gauge railway

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Of course everything was properly marked: the directions, the detours, the platforms of the stops ...

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    TABSTABS collection

    Troops of course

    Geography of the USSR: The Ass of the World.
    TABSTABS collection

    Soviet prisoners walk to the rear, their captivity and most likely their death.

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