Vyborg Operation of 1944

Vyborg Operation of 1944

 

one of the concluding operations of the battle for Leningrad during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45; a component of the strategic operation to the northwest in June-August 1944, whose goal was to take Finland out of the war. The operation was carried out by troops of the right wing of the Leningrad front (Marshal of the Soviet Union L. A. Govorov) with the Baltic fleet (Admiral V. F. Tributs) and the Ladoga military flotilla (Rear Admiral V. S. Cherokov) from June 10 to June 20.

Combat took place in an inaccessible swampy lake and forest area of the Karelian isthmus. The permanent deeply echeloned defensive position of the Karelian secured region was saturated with reinforced concrete and wood and earthen installations, large barricades, and obstacles. The plan of the Vyborg operation anticipated a main attack at Beloostrov and Vyborg. At the beginning of the operation the general alignment of forces favored the Soviet troops, which were twice as strong in infantry, almost six times as strong in artillery and tanks, and three times as strong in air power.

For ten hours on June 9, the eve of the operation, 240 guns of 122-406 mm and air strikes destroyed important defensive installations. On June 10, after heavy artillery and air preparation, the tanks and infantry attacked enemy positions. During the course of the four-day battle, the Twenty-first and part of the Twenty-third Army broke the first line of enemy defenses in a joint effort; an attempt to break the second line with a rush was unsuccessful. Then the front commander executed a skillful maneuver and transferred the main strength of the troops to the coastal road. Despite the bad roads, up to 110 artillery divisions were secretly regrouped; as a result, the troop density at the broken section of the defense reached 200 guns and mortars for 1 km. On June 14 Soviet troops began to storm the second and most powerful line of defense. A massive air strike along the important defense junction of Kutersel’kia and the successful roundabout maneuver of the first guard tank brigade predetermined the successful breaking of the second line toward the evening of June 15. On June 17 the Soviet forces approached the third line of the enemy defense; it was here that the enemy attempted to stop the advance of the Soviet troops. The Soviet command destroyed the enemy’s plan by bringing reserves into the combat and by coordinating land, sea, and air action. The third line of defense was broken, and on June 20 the Soviet forces took Vyborg by storm.

The Vyborg operation marked the first time in military history that a modern secured region was penetrated in such a short time, with an average pace of 10-12 km in a 24-hour period. The enemy was forced to transfer more than five divisions to the Vyborg defense, which seriously weakened the grouping of forces near the Karelian front. This created the conditions for the Svirsk-Petrozavodsk operation of 1944.

REFERENCES

Istoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1941-1945, vol. 4. Moscow, 1962.
Bitva za Leningrad 1941-1944. Moscow, 1964.

G. T. KHOROSHILOV

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