The Siege of Leningrad or Leningrad Blockade was one of the longest and most devastating in history, lasting 872 days from September 1941 till January 1944. Taking the port city of Leningrad was crucial to the German plans in the Soviet Union, however the defiant citizens rallied to create defences around the city, fighting on despite the continuing shelling.
As rations ran out, daring trucks brought limited amounts of supplies to the city over the frozen Lake Ladoga, the so called “Road of Life”, nevertheless these were far from sufficient and in the first winter of the siege up to 4000 people were dying daily. The Soviet forces launched Operation Spark on the 12th January 1943 and successfully broke through at key points in the German and Finnish line of defences. On the 18th January they opened a path to the city, allowing the much needed supply of rations to return.
The siege finally ended on the 27th January 1944. Estimates of the death toll vary but it is generally believed a third of the population of the city died during the siege, up to a million citizens, mainly from hunger and disease. It was the first city to be awarded the title of Hero City in 1965.