Siege of Leningrad Partially Broken
Monday, January 11, 1943 www.onwar.com
Troops from Leningrad and the Volkhov Front celebrate the link up [photo at link]
On the Eastern Front... The siege of Leningrad, in the north, is partially broken. A narrow land corridor is opened south of Lake Ladoga by coordinated attacks from the Leningrad garrison and the Soviet Volkhov Front. In the Caucasus, in the south of the front, Soviet forces occupy Georgivesk, Pyatigorsk and Mineralnye Vody. Slightly to the north, Kuberle, on the railroad line from Zimovniki to Proletarskaya, falls as well.
In the Solomon Islands... On Guadalcanal, US forces take the “Sea Horse” position. The Japanese Gifu strongpoint continues to resist American pressure.
January 11th, 1943
UNITED KINGDOM: Escort carrier HMS Hunter commissioned.
Minesweepers HMS Pincher and Pickle laid down.
Minesweeper HMS Ready launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: U-1226 is laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: In the Caucasus, the Russians take Pyatigorsk, Georgivesk and Mineralnye Vody.
Leningrad: In the darkness before dawn this morning, with the thermometer at -23C, the Red Army opened Operation Iskra [Spark] to break the German siege of Leningrad.
2,000 guns and mortars smashed the frozen silence as the white-clad soldiers of the Second Shock Army advanced round the southern shore of Lake Ladoga towards the lakeside town of Schlusselburg. At the same time units of the 67th Amy of the Leningrad front, supported by warships of the Baltic Fleet, struck at their besiegers across the frozen river Neva. The plan, made by General Zhukov, newly arrived from Stalingrad, calls for the Leningrad army and the relieving force to meet at a workers’ housing development south of Schlusselburg. This would enable a supply route to be opened round the lake to bring food to the long-suffering citizens of Leningrad.
One daring part of Zhukov’s plan has already succeeded. The 12th Infantry Brigade, all expert skiers, has swooped through the freezing mist over Lake Ladoga to take the Germans in the rear. The Russians are only ten miles apart at some points, but they face a well-prepared Germany army which includes the Spanish Blue Division (Azul), “volunteers” sent by General Franco. It will be a bitter struggle.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The US 3rd Btn 35th Infantry on Guadalcanal capture the Japanese “Sea Horse” position at 1330 hours. This attack began yesterday at 0630.
CANADA: Minesweeper HMCS Fort William damaged collision with SS Lisgar at Halifax. Fort William was under repair for a month following the incident. Fort William was transferred to the Turkish Navy after the war and renamed Bodrum. She was removed from service and scrapped in 1971.
Corvette HMCS Louisburg laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Destroyer USS Stockton commissioned.
Destroyer USS Caperton laid down.
Destroyer escort USS Huse laid down.
China signs a treaty with the United Kingdom and the United States relinquishing extraterritorial rights. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 2025, the CS Flight was shelled and sunk by U-105.
At 0033, the Ocean Vagabond, a straggler from Convoy SC-115, was torpedoed by U-186 south of Iceland and sank at 0307 following two coups de grâce at 0059 and 0145 hours. One crewmember was lost. The master, 41 crewmembers and four gunners were picked up by HMS Wanderer and landed at Liverpool.
At 0040, U-522 attacked Convoy TM-1 NW of the Canary Islands (grid DH 5110) and reported one tanker sunk and one other damaged. In fact, the British Dominion was struck by three torpedoes and was abandoned. After 0300 the wreck was sunk by U-620 by a coup de grâce and gunfire. 33 crewmembers and four gunners were lost. The master, ten crewmembers and five gunners were picked up by corvette HMS Godetia and landed at Gibraltar. (Dave Shirlaw)