Svir-Petrozavodsk Operation of 1944
Svir’-Petrozavodsk Operation of 1944
an offensive operation by troops of the left wing of the Karelian Front in southern Karelia between June 21 and Aug. 9, 1944, during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45.
The Finnish defense on the Karelian Front consisted of troops of the Olonets and Massel’skaia operational groups, in all more than 11 divisions, which had four strongly fortified defensive zones to a depth of as much as 180 km. The left wing of the Karelian Front—commanded by General of the Army, K. A. Meretskov and consisting of the Thirty-second and Seventh armies, with support from the Onega and Ladoga naval flotillas and the Seventh Air Army—was ordered to defeat the enemy on the Onega-Ladoga Isthmus and to the north of Lake Onega. The Seventh Army was to strike the main blow along the shores of Lake Ladoga along the Ladeinoe Pole-Olonets-Sortavala axis; in its zone were concentrated the main rifle troops, artillery troops, tanks, and aviation. The Thirty-second Army was to launch an attack in the Medvezh’e-gorsk area after success along the main axis was assured.
As troops of the Leningrad Front successfully advanced in the period June 10–20, the enemy withdrew troops from southern Karelia and shifted them to the Karelian Isthmus, leaving behind two infantry divisions and a brigade to face the Thirty-second Army and three infantry divisions, three brigades, and reinforcement artillery in the zone of the Seventh Army. On June 21, troops of the main grouping of the front passed to the offensive. On the first day, they forced the Svir’ River, broke through the enemy’s main line of defense, and advanced 6 km. By the end of the second day, the bridgehead had been widened to as much as 60 km along the front and extended to as much as 12 km in depth. The Ladoga Naval Flotilla, carrying out the Tuloksa Operation of 1944, assisted the frontline troops’ attack on Pitkiaranta by disembarking a landing party.
The offensive moved forward successfully along the Petrozavodsk axis as well. On June 28, the Onega Naval Flotilla disembarked a landing party near Petrozavodsk, and on June 29 rifle units entered the city. Advancing troops of the Seventh and Thirty-second armies reached the line stretching between Kud-amaguba, Kuolisma, Loimola, and Pitkiaranta; by August 10, after bitter fighting, the front was stabilized along this line.
The Svir’-Petrozavodsk Operation played an important role in forcing Finland out of the war on the side of fascist Germany and in removing the threat to Leningrad from the north.