First Terrible Months of the Siege of Leningrad: Freezing Cold, Hunger and Bombings

None of the residents of the city expected that during the winter there will be freezing cold of -30 degrees Celsius, only 125 grams of bread a day and almost round the clock bombing.

Partial evacuation of the people of Leningrad was started in late June of 1941 and continued until August 27th. But people still didn’t believe in the worst case scenario and therefore were leaving reluctantly. Before the complete siege of the city nearly 489,000 people managed to evacuate. By September 8, in Leningrad there were 2.5 million people left, including 400,000 children, and another 150,000 refugees from neighboring regions.

Rations of Bread during Siege

In July of 1941, in the city the sale of food products was restricted and a card systemwas introduced. Measurement of foodstuffsheld on September 11 showed that for ordinary residents and soldiers defending the city, the stocks would last for a month or two at most. During autumn the established ration for bread for residents of Leningrad got decreased 5 times, and by November 20 it reached 250 grams for workers and 125 grams – for all others. Bread was baked from all edible surrogates – bran, pulp, cellulose. Famineset in.

Shooting Attacks

On September 4, the Germans began sweeping the city with fire using long-range guns (30 km). Leningrad residents lived under continuous roar of cannon fire. On the 15thand 17th of September the attacks lasted for more than 18 hours.

During the three months of autumn the city was fired at 272 times for 430 hours. During the whole period of the siege of Leningrad the Germans fired 150,000 projectiles.

Removing Klodt`s Horses_

Removing Klodt` horses. Leningrad, 1941 / 2013. The collage by Sergey Larenkov

Bombings

Since September 8, regular bombing began. During the first enemy attack on Leningrad 12000 kilograms of incendiary bombswere dropped. 183 objects caught fire in the city, and among them – Badaevsky warehouses where flour and sugar were stored. It was a three-day supply of food for Leningrad.

The raids took place every night. During the fall, 100 air attacks took place, almost 65,000 incendiary and over 3000explosive bombs were dropped.During the whole siege of Leningrad the Nazis dropped over 107000 bombs.

As a result of shootings and bombings in 872 day siege of Leningrad 33782 city residents were wounded and 16,747 people were killed.

Severe Frost

Another disaster for the besieged city became freezing cold. The winter of 1941/42 began early and already in October the temperature dropped below zero, and snow drifts on the streets reached half a meter, with the temperature in November and February reaching -32 degrees Celsius. Warmer weather came only in April.

Climatological winter lasted 178 days, becoming the longest cold period in the history of meteorological observations in Russia.

But Leningrad held on.

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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