Siege of Leningrad, Part 2:
Supplying the City - 'The Road of Life'
Between 1942 and 1944 supplies flowed to Leningrad across Lake Ladoga over the ‘Road of Life’. The ‘road’ comprised a several routes between transshipment and port facilities (Map). Operating year-round, the facilities moved vital material, power and communications to the beleaguered city until a rail corridor was established in February 1943. The most storied part of this effort took place in winter, when supplies were delivered over tracks on the frozen lake that became known as the ‘ice road’.
Good coverage from 7 January1943 showed activities at the Kobona transshipment facility during ‘Ice road’ operations (Graphics 1 & 2). At the time of imaging, trains were delivering supplies at the south end of the facility and ice routes --including a line of power or communications poles-- headed out over the ice. Probable route markers were placed intermittently along the ice tracks.
Eight kilometers southwest of Kobona, more ice paths and a set of power/communication poles –likely from Lavrovo-- could be seen in the vicinity of two islands (Graphic 3). Anti-aircraft sites were deployed on one island. Recent bomb impacts indicated the Luftwaffe continued attacks on the ice routes.
Kobona was originally served only by canal and road, but it became a major logistical facility after it (along with a smaller facility at Lavrovo) was connected to the main east-west railway in late 1942 (Map). By year’s end Kobona spanned 15 kilometers on the lake’s east shore and included at least 12 rail-served piers- (including at least one rail ferry), open storage areas and a fuel depot. Coverages of Kobona from July and September 1942 illustrate the evolution of the facility (Grapnics 4–6).
Major terminals on the lakes’ western shore included small port facilities at Cape Moyre, Osinovets and Kokkorevo (Map). At least one fuel depot was located at Cape Morye (Graphic 7). Supplies also flowed to these facilities from points east, including Ports at Novya Ladoga and Sasstroy.