Volkhov Front

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Volkhov Front (1st formation)
1941 Tikhvin.jpg
Active 17 December 1941 – 23 April 1942
Country  Soviet Union
Branch Red Army flag.svg Red Army
Type Front
Role Offensive
Size six Combined Arms Armies, one Air Army, three Corps
Engagements Relief of the Siege of Leningrad

Marshal of the Soviet Union

Kirill Meretskov

The Volkhov Front (Russian: Волховский фронт) was a major formation of the Red Army during the first period of the Second World War. It was formed as an expediency of an early attempt to halt the advance of the Wehrmacht Army Group North in its offensive thrust towards Leningrad. Initially the front operated to the south of Leningrad, with its flank on Lake Ladoga.

First formation[edit]

The Volkhov Front was formed on 17 December 1941 from the left wing of the Leningrad Front and elements of the Reserve of the Supreme High Command (Stavka Reserve) during the conduct of the Tikhvin Offensive operation under the command of the General of Army Kirill Meretskov, with General Grigory Stelmakh (former commander of the 4th Army) as Chief of Staff and Army Commissar 1st Rank A.I.Zaporozhets.[1] Initially Sokolov's 26th Army (later 2nd Shock Army) and Galanin's 59th Armies were allocated to the Front's formation. The Front also included Meretskov's 4th Army[2] and Klykov's 52nd Army. The Front's air support was provided by the 14th Air Army (Russian: 14-я воздушная армия) of General-Major I.P. Zhuravlev.[3] The 8th Army that was formed in early January was also added to the Front.[4] Initially the Front held a frontage of 250 km. The Front's neighbouring formations were the 54th Army of the Leningrad Front (later incorporated into the Volkbov Front) and the 11th Army of the North-Western Front.[1]

2nd Shock Army and Vlasov[edit]

Andrey Vlasov was named Deputy Commander under Meretskov and in charge of the 2nd Shock Army (Russian: 2-ая Ударная Армия). On January 7, 1942, he spearheaded the Lyuban Offensive Operation to break the Leningrad encirclement. Planned as a combined operation between the Volkhov and Leningrad Fronts on a 30 km frontage, other armies of the Leningrad Front (including the 54th) were supposed to participate at scheduled intervals in this operation. Crossing the Volkhov River Vlasov's army was successful in breaking through the German Eighteenth Army lines and penetrated 70–74 km deep inside the German rear area.[1] The other armies (Volkhov Front's 4th, 52nd, and 59th Armies, 13th Cavalry Corps, and 4th and 6th Guards Rifle Corps), however, failed to provide the required support, and Vlasov's army became stranded. Permission to retreat was refused. With the counter-offensive in May 1942, the Second Shock Army was finally allowed to retreat, but by now, too weakened, it was annihilated. Vlasov was taken prisoner by the Wehrmacht troops on July 6, 1942.[5]

Volkhov Operational Group[edit]

The Front was disbanded and its elements reorganised as the Volkhov Operational Group and incorporated into the Leningrad Front on 23 April 1942.[6]

Strategic operations[edit]

Front and Army operations[edit]

Second formation[edit]

Volkhov Front (2nd formation)
Active 9.6.42 - 15.2.44
Country USSR
Branch Combined Arms
Type Front
Role Offensive
Size six Combined Arms Armies, one Air Army, three Corps
Engagements relief of the Siege of Leningrad
Marshal of the Soviet Union K.A.Meretskov

The Front was reformed on the 9 June 1942 from the Volkhov Operational Group of the Leningrad Front and served until 15 February 1944, participating in the relief of the Siege of Leningrad and taking part in other operations including:


Winter Campaign on 1942-43

Summer Autumn Campaign of 1943

Winter-Spring Campaign of 1944

The strategic operations[edit]

Front and army operations[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Meretskov, On the service of the nation, Ch.6
  2. ^ (Second Formation). ВОВ-60 - (4-я Отдельная армия) 4th Independent Army (1st Formation) was a part of the Western Front.
  3. ^ 14-я воздушная армия 14-я воздушная армия with permission from Aviators of the Second World War site (research by V.V.Kharin)
  4. ^ Meretskov, On the service of the nation, Ch.6. The Front's order of battle on January 1, 1942 can be found here
  5. ^ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. Harper & Row Publ., New York (1973), p 252, 253.
  6. ^ Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation


  • Meretskov, K.A., On the service of the nation. Moscow, Politizdat, 1968 (Russian: Мерецков К.А. На службе народу. — М.: Политиздат, 1968.)
  • Bonn/Glantz, Slaughterhouse: Handbook of the Eastern Front, Aberjona Press, Bedford, PA, 2005
  • John Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad, 1975, p. 278, 332
  • Lubbeck, William and David B. Hurt. At Leningrad's Gates: The Story of a Soldier with Army Group North, Philadelphia, PA: Casemate, 2006 (ISBN 1-932033-55-6).