The Battle for Leningrad, 1941-1944

David M. Glantz

The German siege and Soviet defense of Leningrad in World War II was an epic struggle in an epic war, a drama of heroism and human misery unmatched in the annals of modern warfare. While innumerable writers have dealt at length with the besieged city itself, David Glantz provides for the first time the definitive military history of the conflict waged beyond the city's borders.

One of the first major Soviet cities threatened by the German blitzkrieg, Leningrad was as much a symbolic target as it was a strategic one for Adolf Hitler, who fully expected the birthplace of the Russian Revolution to be reduced to rubble quickly and with ease. The Red Army's ferocious defense of the city, however, made that impossible.

“Glantz’s previous works were acclaimed among the finest books written about the Eastern Front. This book continues the tradition. . . . Glantz uses many recently released documents (particularly from Russia) to provide details rarely seen elsewhere and correct some misconceptions concerning the battle. . . . He blends personal accounts, field orders, and excerpts from the Leningrad War Diary to tell the story. For each battle and campaign, he describes key decisions and orders of battle, and provides a wealth of statistics, giving the reader a total perspective on the Battle of Leningrad and its significance. Glantz’s superb analysis is the strongest aspect of the book. Using his vast military experience to analyze events and decisions on both sides, he focuses on the operational level of war but also gives his thoughts on actions taken at the tactical level. Glantz has the rare ability to discuss what happened,and, more important, why it happened. . . . The definitive history on the struggle for Leningrad.

—Military Review

“An original and important contribution not only to the battle for Leningrad but also to a wider understanding of the Great Patriotic War. Drawing upon previously unavailable or neglected Soviet and German sources, it provides a major corrective to the shortcomings of previous accounts and will stand as a significant and durable achievement on a subject that continues to fascinate.”

—John Erickson, author of The Road to Stalingrad

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Glantz digs deep to recount the full story of how these two military giants bludgeoned each other for nearly three years with a relentless barrage of offensives and counter-offensives designed to crush one another, in horrendous weather and a harsh terrain and with staggering loss of life on both sides. His richly detailed history shows how battles and campaigns were conceived, engaged, and resolved—including a half dozen or more "forgotten battles" that took place during the blockade.

From a crazy quilt of military operations, Glantz reconstructs the border battles of June and July 1941; the little-known battles to liberate southern Leningrad oblast, including the battles for Luga, Narva, Pskov, and Ostrov; and the liberation of northern Leningrad oblast, comprising the Vyborg operation and failed attempts to invade Finland. He explains how these battles shaped the struggle for Leningrad and how they impacted other theaters of operation along the Eastern Front, eventually forcing the Germans into their long and costly retreat back toward Berlin.

Glantz also provides insights into conditions within the city, adding new details to the horrors of the siege; sheds new light on partisan warfare in the countryside surrounding Leningrad; and corrects errors found in earlier works, revealing among other things the fate of those Soviet commanders who were purged or repressed because of their poor performance in battle.

Based on an unparalleled access to Russian archival sources and going far beyond the military aspects of such renowned works as Harrison Salisbury's 900 Days, Glantz's book is a testament to the nearly two million Russians who lost their lives during the Leningrad conflict and confirms his status as the preeminent authority on the Russian military experience in World War II.

About the Author

David M. Glantz is founder and former director of the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office. His many books include The Battle of Kursk, Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of World War, Zhukov’s Greatest Defeat: The Red Army’s Epic Disaster in Operation Mars, and When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, all published by Kansas.

Additional Titles in the Modern War Studies Series