11. An attempt to break the Siege of Leningrad at the hands of German forces, Operation Iskra successfully created a thin corridor between the Soviet Fronts to provide a much-needed supply line and reinforcements to the beleaguered Russian city
With the Siege of Leningrad starting in the autumn of 1941, the city had endured more than a year cut off from supply routes and reinforcements. Despite several attempts in 1942 to breach the blockade, including most famously the Sinyavino Offensive, all such efforts remained unsuccessful. With fortunes improving following the German defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad, Soviet commanders planned a fresh offensive in an attempt to inflict a critical defeat upon Germany’s Army Group North. Launched with the aim of creating a land connection between the Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts, Operation Iskra commenced on January 12, 1943.
Ending the possibility of the German conquest of the city, the offensive opened a ten-kilometer-wide corridor between the fronts to provide relief to the beleaguered city within which a railroad was rapidly constructed. Although within range of enemy artillery, the railroad provided a vital lifeline to Leningrad’s isolated inhabitants. Nevertheless, Operation Iskra was not without a heavy cost, with the Soviets losing thirty-three thousand soldiers to the German’s twelve thousand, in addition to suffering more than twice as many wounded. Gradually expanding the hard-won corridor, the German siege would not be broken completely until more than another year later.