Defence and Liberation of Leningrad, 1941-1944

Itinerary on the map

Tour Highlights

  • Learn about the desperate defence of Leningrad in August - September 1941 and visit its battlefields 

  • See the Imperial suburb of Gatchina which became the headquarters of SS Einsatzgruppe "A", and learn about the fate of civilian population under occupation and the local resistance

  • Visit the site of Red Army's greatest tank ambush and explore the controversy that surrounds it

Defence and Liberation of Leningrad, 1941-1944

Departure from St. Petersburg

1. Gatchina

Arrival to Gatchina, walking tour of the city center and an outside view of the Gatchina Palace. You will learn about the desperate defense of this town by Red Army troops in the dramatic and decisive days of September 1941 and the bittersweet joy of its liberation in January 1944.

2. Bornitsy Memorial

We'll stop at the memorial near the village of Bornitsy, where the outgunned and outnumbered NKVD Military-Political School cadets managed to halt the advance of the 8th Panzer Division for a day, buying crucial time for the defenders of Gatchina to regroup and prepare their defenses.

3. Zinovy Kolobanov's tank ambush

The famous tank ambush became the subject of much controversy in the last few years as historians argue whether it did happen or it was a propaganda myth invented to bolster the flagging morale of the defenders. This way or another, it is considered the most successful Soviet tank ambush in WW2, where 22 tanks were destroyed by a single KV-1 under command of Senior Lieutenant Zinovy Kolobanov in August 1941.

4. Tiger capture at Skvoritsy

In January 1944 Soviet troops mounted an operation to completely lift the Siege of Leningrad, and the German troops resisted bitterly in order to slow down the Soviet advance. In the village of Skvoritsy the T-34 of Lieutenant Alexander Mnatsakanov literally butted heads with a Tiger of the 502nd Heavy Tank Battallion, not only capturing the crew but using the dreaded Panzer to inflict more casualties on the retreating enemy. We'll get to the site of this unusual jousting match for which Mnatsakanov was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union medal.

5. Desperate defense at Russko-Vysotskoye

When Army Group North started their last decisive push towards Leningrad, this little village faced the spearhead of the German attack. Bunker crews of the 265th Artillery-Machinegun Battallion, being hopelessly outnumbered and encircled, resisted the German troops for 2 days and denying them the use of a strategically important highway. We'll explore the remains of these bunkers which bought crucial time for the Soviet troops to consolidate their last line of defense on the Pulkovo Heights.

Arrival to St. Petersburg

Gatchina now and then
Gatchina now and then
Bornitsy memorial to NKVD cadets
Kolobanov's battle memorial
Map of German advance across the Krasnogvardeisk Defensive Region
Bunker in Russko-Vysotskoye
Bunker in Russko-Vysotskoye
Itinerary on the map day 2