The deadliest battle


More people died in the Siege of Leningrad than the combined World War Two losses of the United Kingdom and United States combined. The Siege, also known as the Leningrad Blockade, lasted 872 days and, according to some estimates, resulted in over a million deaths each from the Red Army and the civilian population.
Estimates of total deaths range from 1,117,000 to 4,500,000, but even at the lower end of estimates it ranks as one of the, if not the, bloodiest battles in recorded history. In total casualties it rivals two other bloodbaths of the Eastern Front – the Battle of Stalingrad (with losses estimated at between 1,250,000 and 1,798,619) and the Battle of Moscow (estimates of 930,000 to 1,680,000 dead).
It probably even exceeded the losses in the Battle of the Somme (with approximately 1,200,000 dead).
Many of the civilian deaths came from starvation, particularly in the savage winter of 1941 – 1942. During this period the official bread ration was reduced to 125 grams with the bulk of this meagre sustenance comprising sawdust and plaster. Cannibalism became such a threat to morale that the Leningrad Police formed a unit to deal with cannibals. Leningrad was rewarded with the Order of Lenin to commemorate its bravery.
It took more than laudatory speeches and medals to restore the city – its population collapsed to 600,000 and only returned to its pre-war level of three million in the 1960s.

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