Tikhvin Defensive Operation of 1941

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tikhvin Defensive Operation of 1941


a Soviet defensive operation in October and November 1941 in the vicinity of Tikhvin and Volkhov during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–15.

The fascist German command of Army Group North, led by Field Marshal W. von Leeb, sought to capture Leningrad more swiftly and, having failed in attempts to storm the city, decided to direct a thrust through Tikhvin toward Lodeinoe Pole in order to link up with Finnish troops on the Svir’ River, thereby completely blockading Leningrad. The enemy concentrated the I Army Corps and the XXXIX Motorized Corps (four infantry divisions, two armored divisions, and two motorized divisions) in the area south of Kirishi, Liuban’ and Chudovo. The 130-km front on the Volkhov River along the Tikhvin axis was defended by the Fifty-second Army, commanded by Lieutenant General N. K. Klykov, and the Fourth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General V. F. Iakovlev, which totaled only five understrength rifle divisions and one understrength cavalry division. The Fifty-fourth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General M. S. Khozin (replaced by Major General I. I. Fediuninskii on October 26), was in defensive positions on the Volkhov axis; its main forces, concentrated in the west, were preparing an offensive on the Sin-iavino axis.

The enemy, with a threefold to fourfold superiority in infantry and artillery and an absolute advantage in tanks, launched an offensive against the Fifty-second and Fourth armies on October 16, directing the main thrust toward Budogoshch’ and Tikhvin and a secondary strike toward Malaia Vishera. Soviet troops put up stiff resistance, but the onslaught of the enemy’s superior numbers forced them to abandon Bol’shaia Vishera on October 22 and Budogoshch’ on the following day. The Fifty-fourth Army’s offensive on the Siniavino axis was begun on October 20; although it did not succeed, it tied down almost five German divisions. In order to cover the left flank of its attacking group, the enemy directed a thrust on October 24 along the Volkhov River toward Kirishi and pressed back the left wing of the Fifty-fourth Army toward Volkhov. In order to eliminate the breach, Soviet General Headquarters dispatched reserves to the Fifty-second and Fourth armies, which stopped the enemy’s advance on October 27 at the Malaia Visherka River (Fifty-second Army) and in the vicinity of Sitomlia (Fourth Army).

The fascist German command was compelled to redeploy armored and motorized units from near Malaia Vishera toward Tikhvin, and it resumed the offensive on November 5. The enemy occupied Tikhvin on November 8, cutting off the last railroad along which freight for Leningrad had been carried to Lake Ladoga, and began an offensive toward Volkhov on October 28. By November 25, after intense fighting, forces of the Fifty-fourth Army had stopped the enemy at the closest approaches to Volkhov. By their stubborn defense, Soviet troops sapped the enemy’s strength, prevented the enemy from securing the Svir’ River and Lake Ladoga, and laid the foundation for a counteroffensive.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.